Italian police have found the relic of St John Bosco which was stolen earlier this month.
The relic of the saint’s brain was discovered in a copper teapot in a kitchen cupboard last week.
The alleged perpetrator of the crime is a 42-year old man with a criminal record, residing in Pirenolo, Turin. He was arrested by the Asti police. It is thought he planned to sell the reliquary, which he believed to be of solid gold.
St John Bosco, founder of the Salesians, was a 19th Century Italian priest who had a particular love and apostolate for at-risk and underserved youth. Today, the order serves youth throughout the world primarily in schools, homeless shelters, and community centres.
Fr Enrico Stasi, provincial of the Salesians in Piemonte and Valle d’Aosta, thanked “the judiciary, all the police and all those who have contributed to the positive solution to this unpleasant affair”.
“It is consoling for the Salesians, for the Church in Turin and for the many friends of Don Bosco throughout the world who have abundantly demonstrated their closeness in this time,” he said.
The basilica has experienced some other minor thefts in recent weeks, though nothing of spiritual value.
Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin also commented on the missing relic, saying it was news “you would never want to hear, because it makes us think of a profound moral misery” that someone would steal something of spiritual and devotional value.