Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati was a twentieth-century Italian from Turin. Born into a prestigious and aristocratic family, Pier Giorgio was handsome, athletic, popular, a practical joker, and a hardworking engineering student this young man had it all. Yet he was also touched by the needs around him, so he set privilege aside and committed himself to working for the marginalized.
Pier Giorgio had a special love for the poor and sick. He sought them out in the slums to bring them food, medicine, clothing, and money. “Jesus comes to me every morning in Holy Communion,” he would say, “and I repay Him in my very small way by visiting the poor.” He was always looking to put money aside for his charities, choosing to walk instead of taking the bus, to ride the train in third class rather than first.
He took friends to church and told them, “Approach the Communion table as often as you can. Feed on this bread of angels. There you’ll draw the energy you need to fight inner battles.” Pier Giorgio was just twenty-four when he died suddenly of polio, which doctors suspected he caught while visiting the sick.
Pope John Paul II called Pier Giorgio a “man of the Beatitudes” when he beatified him in 1990. “The power of the Spirit of Truth, united to Christ, made Pier Giorgio Frassati a modern witness to the hope which springs from the Gospel and to the grace of salvation which works in human hearts…. By his example he proclaims that a life lived in Christ’s Spirit the Spirit of the Beatitudes is ‘blessed,’ and that only the person who becomes a ‘man or woman of the Beatitudes’ can succeed in communicating love and peace to others.”
“Lord, raise up many men who will communicate Your love to others. May they first come to know and experience Your love so they can give it away. Help us to love everyone with Your justice one that is tempered with mercy and compassion.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
1. What are some of the attributes of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati that made him a man of love?
2. What was the source of his great love, especially for the poor? How did Pope John Paul II describe this source?
3. What do you think it means to become a “man of the Beatitudes”?
4. Which of the attributes demonstrated in Pier Giorgio’s life need to be strengthened in your life? What steps can you take to do this?
(This article is part of NFCM's sponsorship of the Catholic Man channel and originally appeared in The Word Among Us, May/June 2003. Used with permission from The Word Among Us.
Reflection Questions on Page 2