Summary of Pier Giorgio Frassati by Robert Claude

His personality

  • Pier-Giorgio was both a very joyful, boisterous and exuberant temperament yet also very sensitive to others and capable of profound recollection in prayer (68). Running up mountain-tops and kneeling in front of the tabernacle were common events in his daily life.

Mountain climbing

  • Pier-Giorgio’s first and best love was for the splendid, healthy and formative pastime of mountaineering. A soul like his could not help but respond with vibrant enthusiasm to this inspiring exercise which so liberates the body and exalts the spirit. How could a man like Pier-Giorgio resist the call of the peaks? As the current unwholesome fever for sophisticated and artificial amusements repelled him, to the same extent was he possessed by an overwhelming passion for the clean air of the mountains.
  • “What he especially loved about the mountains,” says his sister, ” was the rugged life – the preparation of knapsacks, the efforts of the climb, the bringing along of his own food, the snacks taken in the snow, the ice in the basins in the morning, the absence of all comfort, the communal life, the reconnoitring of the mountain… Translated into spiritual terms these things corresponded to the asceticism, the purification, the silence, the nearness to God beloved by the truly Christian soul. The mountain was for him more like a spiritual recreation than an interruption in his interior life” (95).
  • “If my studies allowed of it,” Pier-Giorgio said, “I would spend whole days on the mountain, admiring there, in that pure atmosphere, the magnificence of God.”

Charity

  • “From his warm and and joyous radiance emanated the secret charm which won him souls” (17). Others often remarked that his face shone with a mystical joy. 
  • “Between himself and his friends he always placed Our Lord, the source of all Christian love. This was the secret of his fruitful friendships and the reason why his intimate friendships could be but few, for he had too high a concept – a divine concept – of affection” (24). For Pier-Giorgio, friendship was meaningless without mutual care for spiritual growth.
  • More than what he gave to others, it was his way of speaking to others which was the finest part of his charity.
  • On receiving his diploma, his father gave him the choice between a car and its equivalent in money. Pier-Giorgio took the money and gave it all to the poor (37).

The Poor

  • When asked: “How do you overcome the revulsion in these hovels with their foul smells?” he replied: “The house may be sordid, but it is to Christ we are going. Didn’t He say ‘The good you do the poor you do to Me?’ All around the sick and all around the poor I see a special light which has nothing to do with either riches or health” (32).
  • His last act before his death at the age of 24 was to write a letter for medication for the poor man, Converso.

The Eucharist

  • “In his spiritual ascent Pier-Giorgio never relied upon himself but upon God. Above all, he lived a Eucharistic life because he realized that all heroic souls, whether of bygone days, of the present times or of the future, must be nourished by this Bread if they are to reach heaven. Devotion, and above all devotion to the Eucharist, is the secret of his heroism. “Jesus is with me,” he loved to say, “I have nothing to fear.”
  • To be spiritually ready for Communion, he always made sure to go to Confession if need be. He pursued extreme purity of soul, often going to Confession 2 or 3 times in a week. And he clung tenaciously to his quarter of an hour for thanksgiving after Mass.
  • The Mass was the centre of his devotion and of his life. He attended daily Mass from the age of 17 til his death at 24. His reverent behaviour and manner of saying responses astounded others. He never went hiking if that meant missing Mass.
  • Jesus comes to me every morning in Holy Communion: I repay Him in my very small way by visiting the poor” (32).

The Rosary

  • The Rosary was his favourite prayer. Prayed it daily out of a deep love for Mary. Often feel asleep kneeling at his bedside praying the Rosary. A simple piety towards the Blessed Virgin. Many remark how fervent and recollected he recited the Rosary.

His death

  • Pier-Giorgio often spoke of the necessity of preparing daily for death.
  • “I think that the day of my death will be the most beautiful day of my life.”

Comments

  1. Wendy Ong says:

    Thanks Fr Conlin for your very informative notes on Blessed Pier-Giorgio.

  2. Thank you Father for sharing !!! Love to memorize this quote: “Jesus is with me, I have nothing to fear.”

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