saint

Learning from the Saints

26/09/2013 12:00 pm

Pier Giorgio Frassati

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

Blessed Frassati was a young man who lived in the 20th century, who the Church holds up to young people as an example of how to live out Catholic faith today.

“During his era and life, Pier Giorgio overcame many challenges and contemporary problems. His love of God and his strong sense of solidarity brought him closer to the poor, those in need, the sick, the hungry and those without shelter. Pier Giorgio Frassati had a great respect for human life: for all of life, from the first to the final moments. He constantly defended life where it was diminished or in a state of siege.

At the age of 17, in 1918, he joined the St. Vincent de Paul Society and dedicated much of his spare time to serving the sick and the needy, caring for orphans, and assisting the demobilized servicemen returning from World War I. What little he did have, Pier Giorgio gave to help the poor, even using his bus fare for charity and then running home to be on time for meals. The poor and the suffering were his masters, and he was literally their servant, which he considered a privilege.

He often sacrificed vacations at the Frassati summer home in Pollone because, as he said, "If everybody leaves Turin, who will take care of the poor?"

Pier Giorgio loved the poor. It was not simply a matter of giving something to the lonely, the poor, the sick - but rather, giving his whole self. He saw Jesus in them and to a friend who asked him how he could bear to enter the dirty and smelly places where the poor lived, he answered: "Remember always that it is to Jesus that you go: I see a special light that we do not have around the sick, the poor, and the unfortunate."

A German news reporter who observed Frassati at the Italian Embassy wrote, "One night in Berlin, with the temperature at twelve degrees below zero, he gave his overcoat to a poor old man shivering in the cold. His father, the Ambassador scolded him, and he replied simply and matter-of-factly, ‘But you see, Papa, it was cold.’"

Extracts from a homily given by Fr. Thomas Rosica, Chief Executive of "Salt and Light" Television Network

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