A Man of the Beatitudes: Pier Giorgio Frassati by Luciana Frassati

God gave Pier Giorgio all the external attributes that could have led him to make the wrong choices: a wealthy family, very good looks, manhood, health, being the only heir of a powerful family. But Pier Giorgio listened to the invitation of Christ: ‘Come, follow me.’ He anticipated by at least fifty years the Church’s understanding and direction on the role of the laity.

color on Mt. Viso 1923

Choosing the poor life

Pier Giorgio was spiritually remote from all luxury and wealth. He had the great merit of having chosen the most difficult life when the easiest of lives was available to him. “Remember always that it is Jesus that you go: I see a special light we do not have around the sick, the poor, the unfortunate.”

Accusations against Pier

Pier Giorgio would never try to defend himself from the accusations that were in the air. He was accused of wasting time, even of lying, without taking into account the wealth he was accumulating. But Pier Giorgio was accumulating treasures for the day on which the final account is rendered.

Bicycle story

The bicycle was his delight, but on the day it was stolen he did not show any resentment. Our father’s friend remembers that he merely looked at the chain torn from the stair banister in the house and murmured, “Perhaps it was someone who needed it more than I do.”

On the Fucini Shout

Pier Giorgio would get his friends to applaud by saying, “for the Turin Catholic ladies a canon shot; and another and a third and last!” Each time, the mass of Fucini boys replied with a resounding “Boom!”

Where he sat in the cafeteria

Pie Giorgio would always chose to be with the poorest, most out of place person in any group. He was the support of so many discouraged people and the prop of weak consciences.

On sadness

“Sadness should be banned from Catholic souls”



Since Pier Giorgio had a burning desire to help his Italian people in every way, he knew he could do this much better as a layman than as a priest, because Italian priests do not have as much contact with the people at that time. In civilian clothes, Pier was a priest at heart, his role as a layman brought him even closer to the poor.


Pier Giorgio said in a speech, “Feed on this Bread of Angels and from it you will gain the strength to fight your inner battle, the battle against passion and all adversities, because Jesus Christ has promised to those who feed on the Holy Eucharist eternal life and the graces necessary to obtain it. And when you are totally consumed by this eucharistic fire, then you will be able more consciously to thank God who has called you to become part of that multitude, and you will enjoy the peace that those who are happy in accordance with this world have never experienced, because true happiness does not consist in the pleasures of the world or in earthly things, but in peace of conscience, which we only have if we are pure in heart and mind.”

After Communion, people often tiptoed past him because he was often gazing upward, sometimes in tears, kneeling on the ground.


Characteristics of his faith were certainty and absolute trust in prayer. In many of his letter he asked for prayers for himself and promised his to others.

“I beg you to pray for me a little, so that God may give me an iron will that does not bend and does not fail in his projects.”

“In prayer, the soul rises above life’s sadnesses.”


Faith enables us to bear the thorns with which our life is woven.”

Honour father and mother

When Pier Giorgio was told his father would not allow him to work in the coal mines after he finished his engineering degree – that he took solely for the purpose of going to the coal mines, asked, “Do you think all this will please papa?” Cassone nodded, and Pier replied, “Well, tell him I accept.”



He considered himself to be the administrator of a treasure that did not belong to him, of which he would have to give an account one day. That is why he could not bear avarice or waste. He saved ruthlessly, but only and always for the benefit of others.




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