Friday, December 12, 2014

New website, new adventures and the nine-dollar challenge!

FrassatiUSA began under the patronage of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12, 2006.  Today we celebrate the eighth anniversary of promoting the spirituality of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati with a new and improved website!  Check it out!

The coming year is an exciting one!  We have two miracles from the U.S. currently being advanced for the canonization of Blessed Frassati.  It just takes one so pray, pray, pray!

Frassati friends from the 2009 Pilgrimage!
In the Spring of 2015, two spiritual adventures in the footsteps of Blessed Frassati are being offered.  These are timed to coincide with the opportunity to view the Holy Shroud of Turin which will be on display for six weeks.  All of the info is on the website.  Turin, Pollone, Florence, Siena, Pisa, Rome, Castel Gandolfo and more!  What a great idea for a Christmas gift to yourself.  Make plans to come!  

Finally, as we being year nine of this ministry, please consider a tax-deductible donation of $9 (or more!).  Yours is the only support we have to keep spreading the devotion and working toward the canonization of Blessed Pier Giorgio.  Click here to donate online now!

May the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe inspire you today:
"Do not let your heart be troubled, and let nothing upset you. Is it not I, your Mother, who is here? Are you not under my protection? Are you not, fortunately, in my care?"
 And may Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati intercede for you always.  Verso l'alto!   ///cmw

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Commander's Cross Awarded to Wanda Gawronska

You may know Wanda Gawronska because she is one of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati's nieces -- in particular, the one who has worked tirelessly for decades to promote his cause.  But did you know she also worked tirelessly for the rebirth of Poland?

Yesterday, she was honored by Bronislaw Komorowski, the President of Poland, in Warsaw.  Wanda was awarded one of Poland's highest honors -- the Commander's Cross of the Order of the Rebirth of Poland --  in recognition for her contribution to the struggle of the democratic opposition in Poland during the years of dictatorship and the restoration of its independence.  "I'm happy to be able to thank in this way the people to whom we owe our freedom," Komorowski said in his greeting addressed to all of the recipients.

Wanda is the daughter of the Polish diplomat Jan Gawroński and Luciana Frassati.  In Rome, Wanda founded the Center for European Studies and, with other members of her family, she supported through scholarships and various other European initiatives the reinstatement of Poland after the post-war division. The ceremony was held on the occasion of Poland's National Independence Day commemorating the return of Jozef Pilsudski in Warsaw on November 11, 1918, which marked the re-establishment of Poland after 150 years of partitions between Prussia, Austria and Russia. The award recipients were greeted by President Komorowski in the hall of the Presidential Palace, the same place that 25 years ago was home to the "round table" negotiations between the communist government and the Solidarity leaders.  These negotiations in 1989 opened the door to democratic change in Poland. (News Source: ANSA) 
Congratulations to Wanda on this wonderful honor!  Verso l'alto!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Time for a Miracle -- Novena Day Nine


As a grand finale to this year's Frassati novena, I hope you will enjoy reading the story of Kevin Becker's miracle.  Kevin courageously and, at times, humorously, shared his story last month in front of a large crowd at Curé of Ars Church in Merrick, NY.  It was a powerful and moving testimony which this blog post won't come close to capturing.  But the short version goes like this...

On August 26, 2011, Kevin fell 13 feet off of the roof of his college apartment.  He had been socializing with friends but was not inebriated.  By the sheer grace of God, a friend found him on the ground within about 15 minutes of the fall.  The timing of that and the ability of a surgeon to quickly address the swelling of his brain are two big reasons why Kevin even survived the night.  

Kevin's fall left him in a coma with multiple fractures to his skull -- in fact, every lobe of his brain sustained injuries.  Miraculously, as you can see for yourself in the above video, he was discharged to his home a mere 18 days later.  

While he was in a coma, Kevin's large and loving family rallied to his side both physically and spiritually.  Some began a novena to Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati.  One of his cousins had recently been introduced to Pier Giorgio and told a family member, "He needs a miracle to be a saint and so do we!"  A picture of Frassati was brought to Kevin's room.  The next day he awoke and gave the thumbs up signal.  

On the day of his discharge, Kevin began to share with his family about an "angel" who had been with him the whole time he was in the coma.   When Kevin's mother heard the description of the "angel" and what he had done with Kevin during the coma, she found the picture of Pier Giorgio that had been placed in Kevin's room and showed it to him for the first time.  Kevin immediately exclaimed, "That's him!"  

During his public remarks last month, Kevin shared in greater detail the experience he had with the  "angel" -- a handsome, athletic, young man who allowed him to play FIFA and gently encouraged him to be patient until he was well enough to leave.  Kevin explained that he and this angel were in a "man-cave" sort of room throughout the coma period.  When Kevin asked for a name, the angel said, "Giorgio."

On November 11, 2011, a few months after the injury, Kevin had an appointment to review his neuropsychological exam.  Using the MRI and CAT scan of his injuries, the doctor is able to explain brain deficiencies revealed by the exam.  In Kevin's case, there were none to explain. "You are amazing," the doctor told him. "It's unbelievable you suffered this level of injury." She assured him that he was who he was before the accident and that he would never feel the effects of it.  He was restored to 100% functioning and completed his college degree.  According to Kevin's mother, his recovery has been described by doctors as "unique, unheard of, rare, not seen, amazing." 

I prefer to use the word "miracle."  I think Giorgio would, too.  :)

Verso l'alto!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Time for a Miracle -- Novena Day Eight


"This letter is to testify that Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati cured me completely overnite of a very bad case of shingles.  

It all started about a week before Easter 2013.  Several spots appeared near my right eye and in the inside of my mouth and instead of disappearing, it kept getting worse.  So on the 17th of April 2013, I went to the doctor.  She confirmed that I had the shingles and that it was too late to give me any medication except to take ibuprofen for the pain.  But the pain kept getting worse so I went back to the doctor again.  He saw them inside my mouth and under my skin up to my eyes, in my ears and 1/2 of my lips, upper and lower, were swollen. He gave me a pain medication ...  The pain was horrible, I couldn't sleep, could only drink with a straw and for 3 1/2 weeks I was in misery. 

On May 10, 2013, after a very painful night, pacing the floor and trying to find or do anything to stop the pain, nothing helped.  I finally went to Mass at 5:30 P.M. still in a lot of pain, the medication wasn't helping.  As I was leaving, Msgr. Michael asked me how I was feeling because I hadn't been out for 3 1/2 weeks.  I told him about the pain, the sleepless nights and could he pray for me.  He said he could do more than that.  He put his hands on my head and said some prayers and he prayed to Pier Giorgio Frassati to heal me and take away my pain.  I thanked him and went home.  I went to bed and fell off to sleep and slept the whole night for the first time in weeks.

I got up at my usual time around 7:30, had my breakfast and was cleaning up when I suddenly realized that I had no pain, that I ate normally that morning.  I couldn't believe that the pain and soreness had all gone.  I could touch the right side of my face again.  I had not been able to do that for over 4 weeks.  If visitors came to see me, I would tell them not to come near my right side.  No hugs or kisses.  

I've waited this long to write about this "miracle" that happened to me because friends of mine that had the same as I had said the pain never really left them completely and that the shingles would come back again.  But I have had no pain since then and no signs of the shingles thanks to Pier Giorgio Frassati and Msgr. Mike.  When I saw him a week later, he asked me how I felt.  When I told him that I had no pain and all soreness and signs of the shingles were gone, he said, "Pier Giorgio has worked his miracles again."  ...

Since then I have bought the prayer cards and given them out to everyone that needs them. I bless and pray to Pier Giorgio morning and night and lots of times in between.  I bless the Lord for being with me thru all of this and for the miracle that Pier Giorgio has worked in my life.  I thank Him morning and nite and I pray that He and the Holy Church and all the angels and saints will pray for him to be glorified and elevated into Heaven where he belongs. 

Bless You All
A faithful servant and true believer,

(Dora's last name is being withheld for privacy.  She submitted this testimony via a handwritten letter on March 29, 2014.)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Time for a Miracle -- Novena Day Seven


It probably doesn't occur to many people in the United States, that the first of July is a pretty significant date for our neighbor to the north:  Canada Day!  Just three days separate the births of our two nations, but Independence Day definitely gets a lot more attention here -- and rightly so.  

The same three days separate the deaths of Pier Giorgio Frassati and his grandmother Linda Ametis.  If you haven't yet read the book, "My Brother Pier Giorgio: His Last Days" by Luciana Frassati, you may not be aware of the connection.  Because of his grandmother's illness and death, Pier Giorgio's illness didn't get much attention -- until it was too late.

On May 26, 1925,  Pier Giorgio wrote to his friend Marco Beltramo:  "Again I ask you to pray for my Grandmother, who unfortunately is not at all well, luckily it’s nothing serious right now but at 86 years of age her condition can change from one moment to the next."  Ten days later, he wrote again, "Please pray for my grandmother who is still not well."  For two months, the family dealt with her near-death crises and recoveries. It took a toll on the household, especially Pier Giorgio's mother.  

Pier Giorgio's fatal encounter with polio began about June 29th.  In addition to his illness, he was preoccupied with concern for his grandmother.  According to his sister Luciana, when Pier Giorgio learned his grandmother was about to die, he wrapped himself in a blanket, knelt by her bed and prayed the rosary. His grandmother recognized him and embraced him.  That evening, around 10 p.m., he was awakened and told her condition was worse.  He dragged himself to her bedroom and stayed on his knees until she passed away. It was the first of July. 

The funeral for his grandmother was held on July 3rd.  At the last minute, because of exhaustion, Mrs. Frassati decided to remain at home in Turin and not go to the cemetery in Pollone for her mother's burial.  Instead, she went to check on Pier Giorgio.  It was not until this point that the gravity of his condition was discovered.  The next evening, on the fourth of July, he went to his eternal reward.  

Two years earlier, Pier Giorgio had written to his friend Antonio Villani, 
"Since one does not know when Death will come to take him away, it is very prudent to prepare oneself every day as if one is going to die that same day; and so from now on I will try to make every day a little preparation for death, so that I shouldn’t find myself unprepared at the point of death and have to regret the beautiful years of youth, wasted from the spiritual side."  (July 19, 1923)
The rarely sung fourth verse of the Canadian National Anthem has a strikingly similar theme:  
"Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer /Hold our Dominion in thy loving care / Help us to find, O God, in thee / A lasting, rich reward / As waiting for the better Day / We ever stand on guard."
With people around the world now praying a novena in honor of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, we can safely say that he did not waste the years of his youth from the spiritual side.  He stood on guard and received his lasting, rich reward -- one that we will celebrate in three more days.  

Verso l'alto!


Monday, June 30, 2014

Time for a Miracle -- Novena Day Six


Pope Francis quoted Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati as he urged the young people of the Netherlands "not to waste their lives" but to "think big!"  "The Beatitudes are revolutionary," he told them.  His remarks come during our novena to the Man of the Eight Beatitudes and seem like the perfect reflection for Day Six.  Verso l'alto!

Message by Pope Francis to the National Catholic Youth Festival of the Netherlands

Dear Young Friends,

I send affectionate greetings to you on the occasion of the National Catholic Youth Festival which has brought so many of you together at the Abbey of Mariënkroon in Nieuwkuijk. I also greet and thank your Pastors, who have planned this meeting centred on the theme: New, Pure and Intense.

As you know, each year I write a Message to young people throughout the world for the next World Youth Day. As we look forward to WYD 2016 in Krakow, I have proposed a three-year journey of spiritual preparation based on the Beatitudes. In this outstanding text from Matthew's Gospel (Mt 5:3-12) you can find a concrete programme of life that can serve as a guide on the path to true happiness.

The three Beatitudes that I propose for your reflection are:

2014: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 5:3);

2015: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will. see God" (Mt 5:8);

2016: "Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy" (Mt 5:7).

As you can see, the message of Jesus' Beatitudes is new. In fact, the Beatitudes are revolutionary. They present a model of happiness contrary to the logic of this world. Those whom Jesus proclaims "blessed" are regarded by the world as useless, "losers". What the world glorifies is success at any cost, wealth, power for its own sake and self¬-affirmation at the expense of others. Jesus offers a very different definition of what it means to be blessed; he shows us the way to authentic life and happiness, the way that he himself has taken. In fact, Jesus himself is the way! Throughout his life he showed us concretely how to live each of the Beatitudes.

Jesus loves each one of you, each one of us, with an infinite love! By his death on the cross and his resurrection, he proved his boundless mercy, offered us salvation and opened the way to a new life. Once we accept his love and salvation, once we contemplate Jesus in his poverty, his purity of heart, and his mercy, we will realize the beauty of our Christian vocation and we will not hesitate to set out on the way that leads to true happiness. I invite you, then, to set out on the exciting journey of true discipleship. "Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything" (Benedict XVI).

Dear brothers and sisters, when Saint John wrote to young people, he told them: "You are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one" (1 Jn 2:14). Young people want to live intense experiences! I challenge you to take God at his word. Say no to an ephemeral, superficial and throwaway culture, a culture that assumes that you are not strong, that you are not capable of facing great challenges in your life. Think big! As Blessed Piergiorgio Frassati once said: "To live without faith, to have no heritage to uphold, to fail to struggle constantly to defend the truth: this is not living. It is scraping by. We should never just scrape by, but really live".

May the Virgin Mary, whom all generations call "blessed" (cf. Lk 1:48), intercede for you, so that you can experience a joy which is new, pure and intense, a joy you can find only in Jesus. To each of you and your families, and to all the young people of the Netherlands, I gladly impart my blessing as a pledge of joy and peace.

From the Vatican, 25 June 2014


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Time for a Miracle -- Novena Day Five


Five days before his death, Pier Giorgio celebrated his last feast of Saints Peter and Paul. And he really did celebrate -- joking with the maid saying, “Two cigars. Today you have to give me two cigars: one for St. Peter and one for St. Paul; it’s a double feast day today!”

Sometimes it makes people uncomfortable to see a picture of Pier Giorgio with a pipe in his mouth or a cigar in his hand. He certainly wasn't what we think of as the typical saint. But what kind of men were Peter and Paul? A fisherman who denied Christ three times; a Pharisee who persecuted the Jews! Certainly, these two personify the famous quote, "Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future." (Oscar Wilde)

Sainthood, after all, is not about being perfect, but striving for perfection. This is what Pier Giorgio best represents, I think. Saint John Paul II said it best during the beatification homily: "He testifies that holiness is possible for everyone, and that only the revolution of charity can enkindle the hope of a better future in the hearts of people."

Holiness IS possible for everyone. Like Pier Giorgio, you can come from a home where your parents don't attend church and still end up a saint. You can get average grades, even fail a class (twice!) and be a saint. You can have a girlfriend and be a practical joker and be a saint. Your parents can have a very troubled marriage and fight a lot; you can still be a saint. You can love sports and music and be a saint. And yes, you can smoke a pipe or a cigar and be a saint. Saints are not perfect people with perfect families and perfect lives. They are people who love God and strive to be perfect as He is perfect. (See Matthew 5:48)

As we celebrate two of the greatest saints of the Church, it is comforting to be able to turn to someone like Pier Giorgio and ask him to help us in our spiritual journey. Whether you are praying the international novena prayers or the traditional ones, or both, you've already made it more than half way. If you need a little boost to keep going, here's the prayer for the Courage to be Great:

"Heavenly Father, Give me the courage to strive for the highest goals, to flee every temptation to be mediocre. Enable me to aspire to greatness, as Pier Giorgio did,and to open my heart with joy to Your call to holiness. Free me from the fear of failure. I want to be, Lord, firmly and forever united to You. Grant me the graces I ask You through Pier Giorgio's intercession, by the merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ.Amen."

Saint Peter, Saint Paul and Blessed Pier Giorgio, pray for us.

Verso l'alto!