|RMG – “With you I want to recall what happened that evening”|
(ANS – Roma) – Yesterday, a little anniversary was celebrated by default. On May 14 1862, a little over two years after the foundation of the Salesian Congregation (18 December 1859), 22 persons officially made their first Salesian religious profession. In concomitance with the launching of various phases of preparation for the 27th General Chapter and in the year of historical knowledge of Don Bosco, the memory of this episode helps us to understand the responsibility of being “witnesses to the radical approach of the Gospel”.
In the records of the “Superior Chapter” we can read the chronicle of that little event. The episode is also related in the Biographical Memoirs (vol. VII, ch. XVII) and taken up in the letter “He summoned those He wanted and they came to Him” on the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Salesian Society.
14 May 1862 - “The members of the Society of St. Francis of Sales were called together by their superior. Most of them (who had completed the year of novitiate) confirmed their allegiance to the fledgling Society by formally pronouncing triennial vows. The ceremony took place as follows:
“Wearing a surplice, Don Bosco, our superior, asked us to kneel; then kneeling himself, he began to recite the Veni Creator (…), there followed Our Lady’s Litany. (…) These prayers over, all the members loudly and clearly pronounced their vows together according to the formulary (…) … and signed their names in a special register, as follows (in sacris (with holy orders) Fr. Alasonatti Victor. Fr. Rua Michael, Fr. Savio Angelo, Fr. Rocchietti Joseph, Fr. Cagliero John, Fr. Francesia John. Bapt., Fr Ruffino Dominic; the clerics Durando Celestine, Anfossi John. Bapt., Boggero John, Bonetti John, Ghivarello Charles, Cerruti Francis, Chiapale Aloysius, Bongiovanni Joseph, Lazzero Joseph, Provera Francis, Garino John, Jarac Aloysius, Albera Paul; and the lay members Chevalier Oreglia Frederick of S. Stefano, and Gaia Joseph.”
Fr Bonetti, in his chronicle, continues: “Twenty-two of us, besides Don Bosco, who was kneeling by the table on which the crucifix stood, took vows as prescribed by our rules, repeating the formulary, phrase by phrase as Fr Rua read it. Afterwards Don Bosco alone stood up and gave us a few comforting words of encouragement … Among other things he said: « (…) One may wonder: – Did Don Bosco make these vows too? – Well: as you were making your vows before me, I too was making them in perpetuity before this crucifix; I offered myself in sacrifice to the Lord, ready to bear anything for His greater glory and the welfare of souls, particularly the souls of the young. May the Lord help us to be faithful to our vows (…). My dear sons, we live in troubled times (…) I have sound reasons – not mere probable ones - that it is God’s will that our Society be born and grow. (…) Everything leads us to believe that God is with us (…) Who knows but that the Lord may wish to use this Society to achieve much good in his Church! (…) Twenty-five or thirty years from now, if the Lord continues to help us, as He has done so far, our Society, may count a thousand members in different countries.” 
In the list of the 22 mentioned in the minutes there are eight new names all young or very young, from twenty-two year old Dominic Ruffino to the seventeen year olds Paul Albera and John Garino.
Don Bosco only allowed his sons to make the first perpetual vows, with which one consecrates oneself to God for the whole of life, after having completed triennial vows.