When I first entered my community, the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, MI, one of our schools boasted a giant picture of Pier Giorgio. Never having come to know him previously, I was curious about the handsome face on the wall. When someone told me his name, however, I knew there was no way I would remember it. The Lord has a sense of humor. When, months later, I had a strong feeling that I was supposed to take a Dominican as a patron for my new life as a Sister, I was flipping through a book and saw the identical picture of Pier Giorgio staring back at me and I noticed it called him a Dominican layman. I started reading and thereafter quickly devoured everything our library had to offer regarding Pier Giorgio which, in 2001, wasn't much. But I knew that I had found my patron saint - I went from not remembering his name to having his name in the course of the same year!
I was 19 when I received the habit and took Pier Giorgio's name. Now that I am 35 and high school teacher, I feel like I've grow up with Pier Giorgio beside me. Though I've never been to Italy since I had his name, I was able to pray with him in both Sydney and Krakow at World Youth Day, and I even finally got to meet Wanda, his niece, in Australia!
I am constantly inspired by Pier Giorgio. His love of the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Mother initially drew me to him but, as the years pass, I am struck more and more by the miracle of his normality. He had every excuse to turn out badly: wealth, prestige, athleticism, good looks, charm.... all mixed with a most difficult family life and the pressures of modern living. I see these forces working to disastrous effect every day in the lives of the children I teach. Considering all of this, Pier Giorgio's joyful acceptance of the transforming grace of Jesus strikes me as remarkable. And his ability to live in this grace with simplicity, bringing Jesus into his daily routine in perfectly unobtrusive ways continues to remind me that holiness is not something reserved to plaster statues, but something very much alive, breathing, vital, gregarious.
Pier Giorgio is not just my namesake, he is my friend and continues to be an inspiration to me. I am so delighted with this petition and will pray very much that our good Holy Father accepts the idea, and that I'll be able to be there (at least in spirit) when he does!!!!! Verso l'alto!!!!