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10 Things to Know About Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, the Likely-to-Be Canonized Smiling Saint

According to the head of the Vatican’s office for saints’ causes, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati could be declared a saint during the Catholic Church’s 2025 Jubilee Year.

Cardinal Marcello Semeraro made the announcement during the 18th National Assembly of Italian Catholic Action in Sacrofano, Italy on April 26. 

Known for his dedication to serving the poor and marginalized, love for adoration, and advocacy for religious liberty, Blessed Frassati sought to defend causes important to his Catholic faith. 

As indicated by the USCCB and a website dedicated to teaching others about Frassati, Blessed Frassati remains a “Global Patron and Companion for Youth and Young Adults.”

Here are 10 facts to know about Pier Giorgio Frassati, the man on his way to sainthood:

1) Pier Giorgio Frassati was born on April 6, 1901, in Turin, Italy to a prominent family. 

2) At an early age, Pier Giorgio joined the Marian Sodality and the Apostleship of Prayer and obtained permission to receive daily Communion (which was rare at that time). (Frassati USA)

Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

3) Blessed Frassati was a political activist.  

In 1919, he joined the Catholic Student Foundation and the organization known as Catholic Action. He became a very active member of the People’s Party, which promoted the Catholic Church’s social teaching based on the principles of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical letter, Rerum Novarum. (Frassati USA)

4) After what became his final climb, he wrote a simple note on a photograph: “Verso L’Alto,” which means “to the heights.”

This phrase is a motto summarizing his philosophy of mountaineering and adventure. (Frassati USA)

5) Pope Saint John Paul II declared “Blessed” in 1990.

Saint John Paul II declared him a patron for World Youth Days and deemed him “the man of the beatitudes” as he exemplified those blessings in his everyday life. (USCCB)  

Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

6) Pope Francis listed Frassati among the twelve exemplary saints for all young people in his apostolic exhortation, Christus Vivit, “who devoted their lives to Christ…” (USCCB)

7) In 1921, Frassati was a central figure in Ravenna, enthusiastically helping organize the first convention of Pax Romana, an association that had as its purpose the unification of all Catholic students throughout the world for the purpose of working together for universal peace. (Frassati USA)    

Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

8) Blessed Frassati loved mountain climbing and connecting with God through nature. Being an avid fan of the arts, he also was a frequent visitor to the theater, opera, and museums. (Frassati USA)  

Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

9) Frassati died of polio on July 4, 1925, at 24 years old. His doctors later speculated that he caught the infectious disease while serving the sick. (Frassati USA)

10) His body was found intact and incorrupt upon the exhumation on March 31, 1981.

His body was then transferred from the family tomb in Pollone to the cathedral in Turin. Pilgrims, especially students and the young, visit his tomb to seek courage to follow his example. (Frassati USA)

Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

What’s next?

To be officially canonized as a saint in the Catholic Church after beatification, one more miracle attributed to Frassati’s intercession will need to be recognized in a decree signed by Pope Francis. 

“To live without faith, without a heritage to defend, without battling constantly for truth, is not to live but to ‘get along’; we must never just ‘get along’.” – Pier Giorgio Frassati

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