Friday, October 7, 2016

Pier Giorgio Frassati: A Hero for our Times (Ignatius Press)

Pier Giorgio Frassati is only considered Blessed in the eyes of the Church, but he is one of the modern days saints whose appeal, particularly young men, nearly 100 years after his death. Today, I would like to share with you one of the many biographies written about him. This one is entitled Pier Giorgio Frassati: A Hero for our Times, and it is published by Ignatius Press.

The book begins where most stories do, with Pier Giorgio's birth. He was born in Turin to prominent parents - Alfredo and Adelaide Frassati. Their first child was a little girl, who had died two years prior to his birth at the age of eight months. His father was agnostic, and his mother was Catholic. Due to this unequally yoked marriage, his mother was nervous about having a boy and wanted another girl. This was because she felt she would have a better chance of keeping a daughter Catholic than a son (with an agnostic father).

The second chapter tells us more of his sister, who it is said did not really understand and appreciate him until after his death. It also tells us of their childhood, which was described by his sister as without flowers and without fire. That means there was no life, and there was no warmth. The rest of the book tells us further of his life, his family struggles, the difficulties he had with school. We also get to see his heavy involvement various Catholic movements and associations. This level of involvement was not mere zeal that quickly faded, but it showed a great and enduring love for Christ and also laid the groundwork for his future involvement in various social action. Most importantly in this book, we can see the impact he had on everyone he encountered, particularly the poor and overlooked.

I have read one other biography on Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, so I was familiar with his story. What made this book stand out from the one I read was the heavy use of primary sources that Cristina Siccardi relied on and quoted in the book. This not only gives the book more credibility, but demonstrates it to be a more scholarly biography. The author also mixes in Italian history (focusing on Turin) which helps provide the backdrop for the world which Frassati grew up in. This may seem like an obvious thing to include in a biography, but it is often overlooked. After reading through this book, I would argue that Pier Giorgio Frassati: A Hero for our Times is the definitive biography for this Blessed man. Continue to seek his intercession, and this saintly man will be canonized.

This book was provided to me for free by Ignatius Press in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!