Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (1901-1925) was born in Turin, Italy, to a wealthy and prominent family. He was a vibrant, joyful, and athletic youth with an adventurous spirit and a strong zest for life. He loved mountain climbing, the theater, opera, and literature. He also had a deep spiritual life and a strong devotion to the Holy Eucharist and the Virgin Mary, even while his piety provoked criticism from his parents. He challenged his friends to a life of virtue, leading them in spiritual exercises such as daily Mass and the rosary. He joined the St. Vincent de Paul Society in 1918 and became a Lay Dominican in 1922. He was also politically active in resisting fascism and communism; he took part in public demonstrations and joined religious-political organizations such as the Catholic Students Federation and Catholic Action. He also spent much time caring for the sick and poor to a heroic degree, yet his parents punished him when they caught him giving away his money and possessions. While ministering to the sick he contracted polio and died just six days later at the age of 24. His family, thinking he suffered from a mild sickness, did not realize the seriousness of his condition until it was too late. At his funeral his parents were shocked to find thousands of the city's poor, whom their son had helped in some way, arrive to pay their respects. Pope St. John Paul II called Pier Giorgio Frassati a "man of the beatitudes" at his beatification in 1990. His feast day is July 4th.
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