July 4-Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati

Bl Pier Giorgio (2nd from right) with some friends.

A letter to his friend Antonio Villani on the joy he experienced on becoming a member of the Dominican Order

I am most content that you wish to take part in the great family of Saint Dominic, where, as Dante says, “One is richly provided for if one is humble.” The obligations are very small, otherwise, you must un­der­stand, I could not belong to an Order that required a lot.

When the Saint instituted the third order he instituted it as a militia to do battle against heretics; then they had very severe rules, as if it followed the ancient rule of the first order; but now it has been trans­formed, and not a trace of the severe duties remains any more. One needs to recite the Dominican Office of Our Lady or the Rosary every day, but even this can be consciously omitted for one or several days without committing any mortal sin.

I hope that you make vestition in the magnificent temple of Turin and then I will be near you to give you the fraternal embrace; since you, who already are bound to me in fraternal links by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, will be doubly so by having Father Saint Dominic in common with me.

It would please me so much for you to assume the name of Brother Jerome, not only because it is the name that I have as a son of Saint Dominic, but because it reminds me of a figure dear to me and cer­tainly also to you, for you have in common with me the same sentiments against depraved morals: the figure of Jerome Savonarola, whose name I unworthily carry. A fervent admirer of this friar, dead like a saint on the gallows, in making myself a tertiary I wanted to take him as a model, but unfortunately I am far away from imitating him. Think about it and then write me your ideas on the matter.

I thank you, also in the name of my family, for the good words which arrive so agreeably in these mo­ments, especially when they come not only thought but felt with the heart, as I feel yours near me in these hours. Respects to your family and all things in Christ Jesus to you—Brother Jerome.