When Don Bosco traveled through France: the crowd around him, or when he considers illness preferable to health

On April 19 (1883), he arrived in Paris and went to stay at the convent of the Ladies of the Sacred Heart, a few steps from the Madeleine. But even in the huge capital it does not remain ignored for long. Paris is moved: a saint is passing through, a man whose wonders are told, a priest who reads souls and predicts the future!
In whatever great church he celebrates Mass, the unfortunate and the distraught always know how to reach him.
On May 3, the feast of the Ascension, he is in Sainte-Clotilde. No one announced it; the church is still archicombed. At the end of his Mass, a human torrent rushes behind him into the sacristy. The choir must be barred for fear that it will be suffocated.
An hour passes; the crowd does not decrease. The parade continues.
After two hours, Don Bosco asked the Count of Franqueville who accompanied him:
"My dear count, are there still many people in the church?"
— About five hundred people.
"I am absolutely exhausted, dead of fatigue. Maybe I could have a cup of coffee?
"Definitely, my father!"
No sooner had the abbot restored himself a little than the flood of misery invaded him again. For everyone, he has a good word, a piece of advice, a consolation.
Spend another hour.
"Where do we stand, dear friend?"
The count yawns the door of the sacristy:
"There are a thousand of them now.
"For God's sake, let us continue!

One afternoon, Don Bosco, returning to his home on Rue de la Ville-l'Évêque, found the house surrounded by the crowd.
— Let me pass, please.
"Sweet, Monsieur le curé. We all want to see Don Bosco. Each in turn. We were given numbers; what is yours?
"Unfortunately, I don't have one.
"So, wait until you are given one. Put yourself behind.
"But if you don't let me pass, you will never see Don Bosco.
—Why not?
"Because it's me, Don Bosco.
— Prankster! Wait your turn!
"All right, I'm leaving! Don Bosco sighs, and he goes near a sick person who asks for his visit.
Another time, it took him half an hour to enter the church of the Madeleine where he had to preach.
At Saint-Sulpice, the Swiss had to make his way to the sacristy. Wherever he goes, the streets are congested. We crash around him. "Have mercy on me!... Save my child!... Give peace to my home !...."
At the Benedictine monastery, a multitude of people are waiting for him, sick on stretchers, paralytics in carts, desperate, lame, crutchers, mothers with their children under their arms.
Not that Don Bosco heals everyone. It is faith that is lacking, or the thaumaturge considers, in such a case, the disease preferable to health. "God loves you," he said to a young girl sitting in her wheelchair. Carry your cross for his love! »
"I know what you're thinking, my good Michel," he told Don Rua. You wonder why this young girl has not been healed. She is too beautiful. By regaining her health, she would lose her soul. »
Among the Lazarists he was introduced to Father Dutilleux, who was dying.
"Why would you want to heal?" don Bosco asks.
"I would so much like to work for a few more years in the service of my congregation!
"Oh! you will do it best from the top of the sky.
The next morning, Father Dutilleux exhaled in peace.

(Don Bosco, the Apostle of Youth, G. Hünermann)

Quand don Bosco voyageait à travers la France : la foule autour de lui, ou quand il estime la maladie préférable à la santé