The Life of Dominic Savio
The Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception.
Something has been said above about Dominic's devotion to Our Blessed Lady, and it may be well imagined that the circumstances of December, 1854, provided occasions for extra fervour that were not lost upon him.
On the eighth of that month the Sovereign Pontiff defined the Dogma of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception, and the Catholic world was filled as with a wave of devotion. Young Savio was always practical in his manifestation of fervour. His idea was not only to celebrate the event, but to set on foot something that might be a permanent remembrance, and might be productive in years to come of a continual stream of devout clients of Our Lady.
He therefore set to work amongst his closest friends, and proposed to them the formation of a sodality or association, to be called the Sodality of the Immaculate Conception. Its object was to obtain the special protection of Our Lady during life and particularly at the hour of death. The means proposed were to practice and promote acts of devotion in honour of the Mother of God, and the adoption of the practice of frequent Communion by all members. It was to have a special rule and these were the subject of long consideration, so that they were only in their final shape by June 8th, 1856, about nine months before his death. These were read out by him before the Altar of Our Lady on that day. The articles were of an exhaustive character, twenty-one in number, providing for the regular meeting of the members, the spiritual duties undertaken, and the means for gaining the chief ends mentioned above. These rules were all submitted to the judgment of the Director, and concluded with an appeal to Our Blessed Lady to assist the associates and bless their efforts. Several of those who took part in the formation of this society were distinguished, like Dominic, for their piety and talents. One in particular was gifted with exceptional brilliance, and being afterwards ordained as a secular priest, he had a most fruitful apostolate, and took a large share in the arrangements for the opening of the Sanctuary of Our Lady, Help of Christians, at Turin, during the octave of which celebrations he was called to his reward. While still a cleric he founded the Sodality of the Blessed Sacrament, which has since been a traditional sodality in our schools, and by its means effected great good among the boys of the Oratory.