A huge, grey, wolf -like phantom with a fierce protectiveness
No one know where the giant dog had come from or whom he belonged to,
but there was always one thing everyone could be sure of: When ever Father
Don Bosco was in danger, his guardian angel protector would emerge from
the shadow to pull him out of the jam.
So far as historians and other have been able to determine, Don Bosco never
requested a guardian angel or performed any ritual to summon a guardian angel
(as people of more primitive cultures have been known to do.)
But somehow the deeply-religious priest and the shaggy, ferocious-looking mastiff
stray became interlinked starting in the mid - 1800's to around 1883 ...
Could it be that the mystery stray dog was assigned to him at birth by some higher power to shield him form harm throughout his life?
It was a good match, because the determined priest worked in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods of Turin, which was in the mid-1800's was a city known for its lawlessness.
Yes Don Bosco seriously needed a tutelary spirit to look after his welfare.
Father Bosco devoted himself to helping tough street children, spending most of his walking hours rescuing them from the squalor of the slums.
Had Many Enemies
But there were certain predatory elements who made their living off these young street children and didn't appreciate the priest stripping them of their source of income. So he had many enemies.
Father Bosco dubbed his mysterious guardian angel Gerigio (the Grey One) because of his dirty grey coat. But the priest knew little else about the animal except that he was intensely loyal.
The thugs who sometimes stalked the hardworking priest through the garbage-littered streets and alleys believed Father Bosco's protector to be an avenging angel.
They were correct, because Gerigio had a fighting spirit every bit as fearsome as the archangel
Michael, the mighty leader of God's heavenly forces against the sons of darkness.
Almost Killed Thugs
In fact a couple of hoodlums who attacked the priest while he was making his rounds were
nearly killed by the dog.
Gerigio first introduced himself to Father Bosco in a most innocuous fashion. The priest was walking alone one day when he noticed the big dog following him.
After a few moments of apprehension - because of its size and probable status as a famished stray he decided to summon the ambling grey dog to his side.
Gergio patiently allowed the priest to pet him. As soon as the priest resumed his journey, the giant canine more fell in behind him and didn't leave until it had seen him safely to this door.
There is a historical record of the first time Gerigio stepped in to save Don Bosco's skin.
The encounter took place between Gerigio and street thug who ambushed the Father Bosco while he was walking home thru a tough area on an Autumn evening in 1852.
The ruffian stayed in the shadows, stalking the unsuspecting priest until they came to an especially dark area on the narrow street. He then attacked Don Bosco.
The tough holding a club over his head, preparing to strike the priest, when the huge dog charged through the Shadows. Gerigio grabbed the ruffian by the throat, throwing him to the ground.
Ran for His Life
Screaming and crying for help, the attacker struggled to his feet and ran down the cobblestone street with the fiercely growling animal in pursuit.
The dog didn't stop until Father Bosco twice called his name and commanded him to let the thug go.
After obediently returning and affectionately nuzzling the priest the dog walked the humble priest home to a nearby hostile, where he kept a room.
Gerigio patiently waited until the grateful priest walked into the building and shut the door.
It was only then, when he was certain that the priest was safely inside, that the huge animal disappeared back into the shadows.
Some months after the first rescue, Father Bosco was on another of his solitary walks when two shots were fired at him from behind a tree.
Neither of the shots struck his home, but moments later, a big man hurtled from the darkness
and began grappling with the priest.
The struggle had scarcely begun before Gerigio materialized out of nowhere and grabbed the would - be - assassin's throat.
Again the terrified man broke away and fled from the furiously snarling and snapping avenging angel.
After that second incident, everyone knew that Gerigio had appointed himself the priest's full - time bodyguard.
Whenever Father Bosco ventured outside the apt. for one of his solitary walks through the menacing slum district, he found the strange beast waiting for him.
The dog patiently escorted him to and form his destinations, always refusing to leave his side until he knew the priest was safe.
Father Bosco's protector never sought nor accepted as much as a crap of food, although he looked as pare and hungry as any of the hundreds of other strays that constantly searched through the garbage and refused of the quarter.
One of the priest's most disturbing experiences with his self-appointed guardian occurred one night when Father Bosco opened the door of his hostel and found Gerigio stretched across the threshold.
Blocked His Path
The priest bent down and gave the dog an affectionate pat on the head, then gently began to push him to the side because he was blocking the door. In response, the dog growled and bared his fangs.
The priest was as perplexed and disappointed as he was respectful of the danger of being mauled by his old friend. He had seen Gerigio snarl before, but never at him.
There was no mistaking the message, however, Gerigio was clearly determined not to allow the gentle priest to move out of the building and into the street.
Father Bosco was still trying to figure out what was wrong with his protector when a friend ran up to him and delivered a frightening message.
Enemies of the priest had set up an ambush and were planning to murder him that night.
Father Bosco's menacing animal guardian's reputation spread like wildfire. Stories began circulating about what kind a of a creature he really was.
Some of the rougher elements figured the priest's protector was a dog form the netherworld
some say he was a demon animal summoned from the darkest pits of hell.
But Father Bosco was a priest whose life was dedicated to God and to uplifting his fellow-man.
He was not a Satanist or some devilish alchemist who was likely to command the devotions of a hell-hound.
Dog's Real Identity
Father Bosco's supporters and true admirers were certain they knew the real identity of Gerigio: He was a guardian angel who had taken on an earthly form that would enable him to most readily protect the priest.
Gerigio was Don Bosco' tutelary spirit.
After a few more close calls, things quieted down for the priest, and the mystery dog dropped out of his life. Some 10 years later, Father Bosco was by himself again, walking down a spooky country road about 50 miles east of Turin, on his way to spend the night at the farm home of friends, when he thought of his old protector.
The priest had been warned that the lonely road was not a safe place to be for a solitary traveler, and he muttered half aloud: "OH, for Gerigio."
The words were barely out of his mouth before the dog bounded out of the shadows and jumped up on him, wagging his tail and licking the priest's hands.
Father Bosco was overjoyed as Gerigio accompanied him to the farm-house. Once inside, the dog curled up in a corner by himself while the priest and his hosts ate supper.
Gerigio Vanished Again
After the meal, Father Bosco gathered up some table scraps for his friend. But when he turned to carry them to the corner where Gerigio had been, the dog was gone!
That was a puzzle, because no one had opened the door and the windows were all closed.
Somehow, the Dog had disappeared from the warm kitchen as silently and completely as if he had vanished into thin air!
It was 1883 when Don Bosco saw his spirit protector for the last time.
The priest was on another of his solitary journeys, this time near the town of Bordighera on the Ligurian Sea, when he became lost.
Once more, the faithful Gerigio loomed out of the darkness, looking no older than he had 30 years earlier.
Once again, with angelic devotion, he safely guided Don Bosco to his destination for the last
I hope that you enjoy the angelic story's. This is one of my favorite..