Pier Giorgio Frassati was born in Torino, Italy, on 6 April 1901. The eldest son of a affluent family, his father, Alfredo Frassati, was a senator, ambassador and editor of the important Turin newspaper La Stampa. His mother Adelaide Ametis was a painter and it was she who passed on the faith to Pier Giorgio and his younger sister, Luciana, in the midst of a strict and rigorous upbringing.
Even though he came from a high social class, Pier Giorgio never conformed to the bourgeois lifestyle and from childhood he showed a particular interest in the poor. Whenever he saw someone else in need, he attended to it without delay by donating his belongings or the money the family gave him for his expenses. With a deep devotion to the Eucharist, he received daily Communion, and then devoted himself to returning this love he had received by loving Jesus in the poor.
Passionate about justice, he decided to study mining engineering in order to be close to the most disadvantaged class of the time, the miners. He was a member of various Catholic associations such as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Catholic Action and the Dominican Third Order, where he found opportunities to live his faith with coherence and commitment.
Always cheerful and full of energy, he enjoyed sports and especially loved the mountains. Every climb was for him an occasion to admire the greatness of the Creator. He shared with his friends frequent excursions, as well as a strong and joyful friendship based on sharing faith and prayer.
On 4 July 1925, at the age of 24, he died of polio. A crowd of poor people attended the funeral of this young man of high class, revealing how he had lived his short and fruitful life: in favour of others. Defining him as “the young man of the eight Beatitudes”, Pope John Paul II beatified him in 1990.
Prayers to Pier Giorgio Frassati
O Father, you gave
to the young Pier Giorgio Frassati the joy of meeting Christ
and of living his faith
in the service of the poor and the sick; through his intercession may we, too,
walk the path of the beatitudes
and follow the example of his generosity, spreading the spirit of the Gospel in society.
Through Christ our Lord, Amen.