Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008

Pier Giorgio Frassati

Dates: 1901-1925
Status of Cause: Beatified
Prognosis: Good

A "blessed" who could have fit right into People's "most beautiful" issue, Frassati was the handsome son of one of Italy's foremost publishers. An avid skier and mountaineer, (the motto of a U.S. Website in his honor is "To the top with Blessed Pier Giorgio"), he was both extremely pious and an active anti-fascist devoted to Catholicism's then-new championing of the working class. Since his death by polio at 24, the church has held him up as a model to the young. A spokesman for its World Youth Day in Sydney in July was quoted as saying "His youthful good looks, charm, fun-loving nature and dedication to God and humanity make him the perfect inspiration for young people." So much so that last July his body was flown to Sydney for the duration of the event. Notes Fr. James Martin, author of My Life With the Saints, "He's still pretty active!"

David Van Biema