Saint Pier Giorgio
Pier Giorgio was born in Turin, Italy in 1901, the son of prominent and talented parents: his father was the owner of the the newspaper La Stampa, his mother was a noted painter. Pier himself was talented and popular: a good student, an accomplished athlete, and deeply involved in religious and social causes.
He was an opponent of Mussolini’s growing fascist movement, working instead with the Young Catholic Workers Congress and Catholic Action. In 1922 he became a Third Order Dominican. He studied Thomas Aquinas and Catherine of Sienna, but also went to university to become a Mining Engineer, with the goal not only of making a living but of improving the conditions of miners. He was also an accomplished swimmer and a mountaineer who found peace and challenge in rock climbing.
However, he was also known for his work with the poorest people of his city of Turin. He worked with the St. Vincent de Paul organization, but also worked to help and befriend all those he met in his everyday life.
Though it seemed that he was destined for a long and accomplished life, at the age of twenty-four he was stricken suddenly with polio. He died on July 4, 1925 after receiving the Last Rites. His last words were to his mother, “May I breathe forth my soul in peace with you.”
The poor of Turin, who attended Pier’s funeral en masse and astonished friends with the number of people he had helped, petitioned the Archbishop of Turin to begin a cause for his canonization. He was beatified in 1990 by Pope Saint John Paul II, who described him as the “Man of the eight Beatitudes”. When his remains were moved to the cathedral in Turin in 1981, they were found to be incorrupt.
In this image, Blessed Pier Giorgio is shown with the motto Verso L’Alto: To the top! In the background is the silhouette of him climbing a rock face as he so often did in his mountaineering. AMDG!
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