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Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati Day

Photo by Marco Sermarini [1]

Photo by Marco Sermarini

While we Americans have been celebrating our Independence Day, our friends the Tipi Loschi, in San Benedetto del Tronto, have been observing the anniversary of the passing of the Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati [2], who died on this date in 1925. It’s also an occasion for them to celebrate G.K. Chesterton, their other unofficial patron saint. I asked Marco Sermarini to explain the concept of “Eternal Revolution” that they mark above. He responded:

“If you leave a white post alone it will soon be a black post. If you particularly want it to be white you must be always painting it again; that is, you must be always having a revolution.” — G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy. [3]

Another shot of the group. A priest celebrated mass today from that stage:

IMG_6697 [4]

They brought in their friend John Kanu, a Distributist and Chesterton enthusiast, from Sierra Leone. Here is John teaching a class to the Tipi Loschi:

IMG_6698-1 [5]
From a story about John and Chesterton: [6]

Among the Oxford professors, Kanu found Stratford Caldecott, director of the Chesterton Institute for Faith and Culture. They became friends, and the Englishman introduced Kanu to Chesterton’s thought. “Three themes struck me in particular: the need for, as much as possible, the wider distribution of property among all members of society; the importance of the local economy and the artisans who live by the work of their hands; and the vision of the family as the main unit of society and consequently the base of a more extended multi-generational family. I told myself, ‘This is the best of the traditional African culture, reflected in the economic philosophy of a Catholic writer born at the end of the 19th century. And we are about to lose him.’ I started to think that, when I returned to my homeland, I would found a Chesterton Society in Sierra Leone”.

And that is exactly what happened.

I continue to be amazed and delighted by this Benedict Option community in Italy.  [7]They celebrate the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. Emphasis on celebrate. 

3 Comments (Open | Close)

3 Comments To "Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati Day"

#1 Comment By Bernie On July 4, 2016 @ 7:24 pm

Blessed Pier Giorgio had a vision that fueled his work for the poor. Dorothy Day said: “And if we lose the vision, we become merely philanthropists doling out palliatives.” He didn’t simply dole out charitable works; they flowed from his holiness, which came from his prayer life.

“Pier Giorgio prayed daily, offering, among other prayers, a daily rosary on his knees by his bedside. Often his agnostic father would find him asleep in this position. ‘He gave his whole self, both in prayer and in action, in service to Christ,’ [his father wrote] … Sometimes he passed whole nights in Eucharistic adoration.”

“Although Pier Giorgio grew up in a privileged environment, he never lorded over anyone the wealth and prestige of his family. Instead, he lived simply and gave away food, money, or anything that anyone asked of him. It is suspected that he contracted from the very people to whom he was ministering in the slums the polio that would kill him.”


He is known for his joy and enthusiasm for life, and is yet another example of the vast net of influence that can be thrown out in this world by one holy person. Father Matthew of the Orthodox mission in St. Francisville also comes to mind.

#2 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 4, 2016 @ 8:27 pm

It would be unkind to refer to them as devout Roman Catholic Trotskyites. But eternal revolution… well its an interesting talking point.

But I don’t think that dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing porcelain surfaces (none of which I do enough of) qualifies as a revolution. Revolution is to turn everything upside down, as the defeated British recognized when they surrendered at Yorktown.

Perhaps that has to be done, continually, but in my old age, I’ve concluded that it should not be done too often, and it ought to be reasonably well planned.

The wider distribution of property among all members of society… indeed, we do need a year of jubilee now and then. Anything that revolves gets wobbly if the weight is improperly distributed… consider the automatic washing machine.

Something to mull over here.

#3 Comment By DFB On July 5, 2016 @ 11:11 am

The sentences imediately preceding the Chesterton quote above from “The Eternal Revolution”:

“We have remarked that one reason offered for being a progressive is that things naturally tend to grow better. But the only real reason for being a progressive is that things naturally tend to grow worse. The corruption in things is not only the best argument for being progressive; it is also the only argument against being conservative. The conservative theory would really be quite sweeping and unanswerable if it were not for this one fact. But all conservatism is based upon the idea that if you leave things alone you leave them as they are. But you do not. If you leave a thing alone you leave it to a torrent of change.”


And from today’s Wall Street Journal:

“English writer G.K. Chesterton in Illustrated London News, 1924:

‘The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types—the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution.'”


Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose?