Pier Giorgio Frassati

Feast Day: July 4
Beatified: May 20, 1990
Venerated: October 23, 1987

Some people have called Pier, or Peter, Frassati a saint for today’s young people. He was handsome and athletic. He hiked, climbed mountains, rode horses, and skied with his many friends. He loved to laugh, and he was famous for his practical jokes. He loved life and lived it to the fullest.

Pier was born in Turin, Italy, in 1901. His mother was an artist and his father founded and ran the Italian newspaper La Stampa. As he was growing up, Pier developed two habits that became part of his everyday life. He went to Mass daily to receive the Eucharist, and he also prayed the Rosary. He never hesitated to share his faith with others.

Pier had a great concern for the poor, even as a child. One day a needy mother with a young son came to the Frassati home to beg for food. Pier noticed that the child was barefoot. He took off his own shoes and gave them to the boy, and then he and his mother fed the poor family. Pier used the money he got as a graduation gift to rent a room for a woman who had been evicted from her apartment because she had no money. He gave away his allowance to the poor, and sometime he chose to walk home from school because he gave the money for his bus or train fare to someone in need.

He joined the St. Vincent de Paul Society as a young man and spent hours on activities that helped the poor and sick. As a mining engineer, he cared deeply about the rights of the miners. He wanted them to have just working conditions and fair wages.

When he was 24, Pier became very ill with polio. Some people said he got this disease from caring for people in the slums of Turin, but Pier saw Jesus in the people he served. In his last days, he whispered the names of people who still needed assistance to his family and friends who gathered at his bedside. He died on July 4, 1925.

Peter was declared “Blessed” in 1990 by Pope John Paul II, who called him a “man of the Beatitudes” and a “joyful apostle of Christ.” Many people were surprised that the Vatican created an official portrait of him for his beatification that showed him outdoors, leaning on an ice axe, with one foot on a rock, in honor of his youthful vitality and his love of the mountains.

Connecting to Blest Are We® Parish and School
Grade 5, chapter 3