6 May; formerly 10 March
One of ten children of a blacksmith and seamstress. Protege of Saint John Bosco. Altar boy at age 5. At 12 he entered the Oratory School preparatory to becoming a priest. Well-liked and pius, his health forced him to give up his dream of the priesthood. He died at age 15. His dying words: "What beautiful things I see!"
His birthplace is now a retreat house for teenagers; the home where he grew up in Morialdo is now a retreat house for children. The final house in which he lived is the home in Mondonio where the Savio family moved when he was 10, and where he eventually died. Here you can see his father's metal shop, and his mother's tailoring shop. His tomb is in the basilica of Mary, Help of Christians in Turin, not far from the tomb of his mentor, teacher and biographer, Saint John Bosco.
2 April 1842 at Riva di Chieri, Italy
9 March 1857 at Mondonio, Italy
1950 by Venerable Pope Pius XII
12 June 1954 by Venerable Pope Pius XII
belonging to God (= Dominic) wise; learned (= Savio)
boys, children's choirs, choir boys, choirs, falsely accused people, juvenile delinquents, Pueri Cantors
Patron of the Falsly Accused
b. 1842 d. 1857
St. Dominic Savio was born in Italy in 1842. One day when he was just four, he disappeared and his good mother went looking for him. She found the little fellow in a corner praying with his hands joined and his head bowed. He already knew all his prayers by heart! At five, he was an altar boy. When he was seven, he received his First Holy Communion. On that solemn day, he chose a motto: "Death, but not sin!" and he kept it always.
"A teenager such as Dominic, who bravely struggled to keep his innocence from Baptism to the end of his life, is really a saint," said Pope St. Pius X.
Yes, Dominic was an ordinary boy with an extraordinary love for God.
At the age of twelve, Dominic entered the school run by St. John Bosco. Don Bosco examined him first and at the end of the questions, Dominic asked,
"What do you think of me?"
"I think you're good material," answered the priest, with a big smile.
"Well, then," said Dominic, "You are a good tailor, so if the material is good, take me and make a new suit out of me for Our Lord!"
Everyone in the school saw from the way he prayed that this boy was different. He greatly loved all the boys, and even though he was younger, he used to worry about them. He was afraid that they would lose the grace of God by sinning.
One day, a fellow brought a magazine full of bad pictures to school. In a minute, a group of boys had gathered around him to see it.
"What's up?" wondered Dominic, and he, too, went to look. Just one peek was enough for him. He grabbed the magazine and tore it to pieces! "Poor us!" he cried in the meantime, "Did God give us eyes to look at such things as this? Aren't you ashamed?"
"Oh, we were just looking at these pictures for the fun of it," said one boy.
"Sure, for fun," answered Dominic, "and in the meantime you're preparing yourselves to go to hell!"
"Oh, what's so wrong about looking at these pictures anyway?" another fellow demanded.
Dominic had a ready answer. "If you don't see anything wrong," he said sadly, "this is even worse." It means you're used to looking at shameful things!"
No one said anything after that. They all realized that Dominic was right. Another time he stopped a terrific stone-throwing fight between two angry boys. Holding up a little crucifix between them, he said, "Before you fight, look at this and say, 'Jesus Christ was innocent and He died forgiving His murderers. I am a sinner, and I am going to hurt Him by not forgiving my enemies.' Then you can start - and throw your first stone at me!"
The two boys were so ashamed of themselves that they apologized, and promised to go to confession too.
One day Dominic began to feel sick and was sent home to get better. While at home he grew worse, instead, and received the last Sacraments. He was only fifteen then, but he did not fear death. In fact, he was overjoyed at the thought of going to Heaven. Just before he died, he tried to sit up.
"Goodbye," he murmured to his good father. Suddenly his face lit up with a smile of great joy and happiness. "I am seeing such wonderful things!" he exclaimed. Then he spoke no more, for he had gone to Heaven.
Dominic is the patron saint of choir boys and of the falsely accused.
This latter title was given to him due to the following incident. One time, two boys filled the school stove with snow and garbage during the cold winter months. When the teacher came back into the room, they falsely accused Dominic of doing the "dirty" deed. Although disciplined in front of the entire class, Dominic refused to tell on the two mischievous boys. When the truth was later revealed, Dominic was asked why he didn't confess to his innocence. He remarked that he was imitating Our Lord, Who remained silent during His persecutions and crucifixion.
His feast day is March 9th.
Prayer to Saint Dominic Savio
Dear Saint Dominic, you spent your short life totally for love of Jesus and His Mother. Help youth today to realize the importance of God in their lives. You became a saint through fervent participation in the sacraments, enlighten parents and children to the importance of frequent confession and Holy Communion. At a young age you meditated on the sorrowful Passion of Our Lord. Obtain for us the grace of a fervent desire to suffer for love of Him.
We desperately need your intercession to protect today's children from the snares of the world. Watch over them and lead them on the narrow road to Heaven. Ask God to give us the grace to sanctify our daily duties by performing them perfectly out of love for Him. Remind us of the necessity of practicing virtue especially in times of trial.
Saint Dominic Savio, you who preserved your Baptismal innocence of heart, pray for us.
Prayer to Saint Dominic Savio
Great model for God-loving boys and cherished pupil of the famous Don Bosco, you died prematurely, humanly speaking, but you had already attained mature spiritual wisdom. Your kindness won you many friends, but your love above all sought the Master who is present in our tabernacles. His praises you eucharistically sang. Make choir boys be singers like you, for the love of Jesus, our most loving Master. Amen.