Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (1901-1925)

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (1901-1925) July 4, 2009

Today in 1925 marks the death of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, and the following is taken from Wikipedia:

Pier Giorgio Frassati (April 6, 1901July 4, 1925) was an Italian Catholic activist. He has been beatified by the Roman Catholic Church.
He was born in Turin into a wealthy family, who owned a newspaper called La Stampa. Pier’s parents were named Alfredo and Adelaide. Though an average student, Frassati was known among his peers for his devotion and piety.
He was dedicated to works of social action, charity, prayer and community. He was involved with Catholic youth and student groups, the Apostleship of Prayer, Catholic Action, and was a third order Dominican. A line he would often say was “Charity is not enough: we need social reform” .[1] He helped establish a newspaper known as “Momento”, its principles were based on Pope Leo XIII‘s encyclical: Rerum Novarum.
Despite his family’s enormous wealth and power, Frassati’s father was austere and never gave his children too much spending money, Frassati however donated most or all of his money to people he saw as more “needy” than him, and as a result he became accustomed to giving his train-fare to the poor and running back home or riding in third class. When asked by friends why he often rode third class on the trains he would reply with a smile, “Because there is not a fourth class.”
At an Italian embassy in Berlin, he was admired by a German news reporter who wrote: “One night in Berlin, with the temperature at twelve degrees below zero, he gave his overcoat to a poor old man shivering with cold. His father scolded him, and he replied simply and matter-of-factly: ‘But you see, papa, it was cold.'”
Despite the many organizations to which Pier Giorgio belonged, he was not a passive “joiner”; records show that he was active and involved in each, fulfilling all the duties of membership. Pier Giorgio was strongly anti-fascist and did nothing to hide his political views.
Participating in a Church-organized demonstration in Rome, he withstood police violence and rallied the other young people by grabbing the banner which the police had knocked out of someone else’s hands. He held it even higher while using the pole to ward off their blows. When the demonstrators were arrested by the police, he refused special treatment that he might have received because of his father’s political position, preferring to stay with his friends. One night a group of fascists broke into his family’s home to attack him and his father. Pier Giorgio beat them off single-handedly chasing them down the street calling them, “Blackguards! Cowards!”
Frassati died in 1925 of polio. His family expected Turin’s elite and political figures to come to offer their condolences and attend the funeral; they naturally expected to find many of his friends there as well. They were surprised, however, to find the streets of the city lined with thousands of mourners as the cortege passed by. Those who mourned his death most were the poor and needy whom he had served so unselfishly for seven years; many of these, in turn, were surprised to learn that the saintly young man they knew only as “Fra Girolamo” came from such an influential family. It was these poor people who petitioned the Archbishop of Turin to begin the cause for canonization. The process was opened in 1932 and he was beatified on May 20, 1990. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati’s feast day is July 4.
It has become customary among many Catholic students to seek Pier Giorgio’s intercession for success in their studies since he was a student. Frassati was called Man of Eight Beatitudes by Pope John Paul II, who beatified him on May 20, 1990.

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