|Vincenzo Dibennardo (1900 - 1982)|
He joined the Salesian order but
never completed the journey to
Here is the next translated entry from my grandfather's diary, written in Sicily when he was 15 - 16 years old.
8 December -- Wednesday
Morning. Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The novices are very happy; for the first time, they have worn the clerical garments, and it is one of the most beautiful days of their lives. The function was held in our chapel at 9:30 in the morning.
Also present were young men from the oratory, some of whom have entered the Order of San Luigi Gonzaga.
The cooperatives - Coworkers of the Truth - were also there and received a medal by the inspector for steadfastness in their will. But what remains imprinted in my mind is the substitution of the novices: Riceri, Bonfante, Furmari, Bologna, Rodino, Vagliarini.
The inspector, one by one, removed the garb they wore and substituted them with clerical clothing while saying: Induato, Domine, novum hominem here secundum Democreatus east justizia et Santitate veritatis. Amen.
I could not restrain the tears from falling for that function to which I so wanted to go and take part with those lucky young men but, oh Lord, the day will also come for me: Fiat voluntas Sua. Later, we all walked in a procession to the Church of the Immaculate, and along the way I cried; I cried with heart... Here we attended to Mass and the sermon of the Catechist, Don Mattia, who greatly moved me with his touching words.
After, we returned and went to lunch.
At 5 o'clock in the evening, we entered the theater hall and sat in our seats.
The band director, Don Morri, gathered together his musicians and had them play a beautiful march that seized our applause. Afterward, my professor, Don Bologna, began the introduction to the assembly, as it was called in the program; but it was really a speech that lasted a bit too long. It was succeeded by various young men, whom together did nothing but exalt the beauty of the Madonna and discuss her excellent qualities.
Once the various sermons of my companions came to an end, a Jesuit priest said a few closing words.
Don Morri closed the wonderful day with a march, and all ended to our regret.
10-12-915 (10 December, 1915). Friday.
This morning we had just completed three quarters of an hour of school when the Director came to announce: Those of you who want to put on clerical garments for the funeral of Mr. Salvatore Di Bella, go with the novices who will be so good as to lend them to you.
I rejoiced greatly, launching myself to full speed, and in a few jumps arrived in the room of the novices where I lingered with Riccioli who let me try one of his robes; but alas, it was too short. I, however, did not dismay and tried one belonging to Vagliarini, but it was a bit long. I overlooked this and descended quickly to the sacresty where I slipped on the surplice.
Shortly after, the others were ready, and we all went into the parish to hear the Mass of the dead. After, we ambled outside in a single line, each holding two candles as we headed to the cemetery. The hearse held us back, while ahead was a carriage with four horses.
During the procession, we recited the Rosary, De Profundis, Miserere...
Having arrived at the cemetery, the deputy mayor of San Gregorio recited some facts about Mr. Salvatore Di Bella.
Afterward, we returned to the school, and when I took off the clerical garb, my heart crashed.