Eyes of the Heart Studio

Verso L'Alto

Tinted charcoal drawing of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati. In the background is a mountain with the Eucharist at its summit.

Medium: Pastel Pencil

“The higher we go, the better we shall hear the voice of Christ.” ~Bl. Pier Giorgio Frasatti

The life of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati has inspired countless young Catholics. I had a special devotion to Pier Giorgio in high school. His story made holiness seem so attainable within ordinary circumstances: his was the life of a student. In particular, I was impressed by the way that Pier Giorgio combined gregarious vitality with seriousness of purpose and spiritual depth. He was both a fun-loving rascal and a man of profound prayer and self-sacrifice.

One often encounters the Italian expression, “Verso l’alto”, in connection with Pier Giorgio. Translated, it means “toward the top” or “to the heights”. Pier Giorgio penned these words on the backside of his photograph (above), taken by a fellow mountain climber on June 7, 1925. This happened to be the final climb of Pier Giorgio’s twenty-four-year life, which came to an end unexpectedly a month later. His soul made its final ascent on July 24, after Polio ravaged his strong, athletic body in six days of terrible suffering. Pier Giorgio was believed to have contracted the virus when visiting the poor and sick of his native Turin, whom he devoted himself to serving from the age of seventeen.

Although never Pier Giorgio’s personal motto, “Verso l’alto” has become the motto of his devotees. These words assumed a life of their own after his death. They captured his life’s striving: an unrelenting aspiration to the summit of Eternal Life. This untiring effort was sustained through his devotion to the Eucharist, which is “the source of summit of the Christian life”. 


Pray for us Blessed Pier Giorgio, young athlete of the spiritual life, that like you, we might fix our gaze upon the one true goal of Heaven. Teach us your love for the Eucharist, that feeding our souls upon the Bread of Angels, we might possess the spiritual stamina to struggle against the resistance of our fallen nature and thereby ascend the rugged mountain of holiness. Help us to imitate your spirit of courage, charity and self-denial, that every thought, word and action of our lives may lead us to the heights. Amen.