On October 19th, a group of Sisters and girls from Lumezzane went on pilgrimage to Biella, an Italian province about two hours from our starting point in Bergamo. Our first goal was Pollone, to visit a house in the mountain where Pier Giorgio Frassati went on vacation with his family. As soon as we arrived we unloaded our bags in the basement of the house, where we stayed the night. Then a man named Francesco gave us a tour of the house. He showed us some of Pier Giorgio's clothes and belongings. We also saw his room. Francesco explained that he was in that room, because, although it was the smallest of the house, from his window he could see the mountains and the Shrine of the Virgin of Oropa, which he loved. Francesco told us that Pier Giorgio had made a deal with the gardener of the house: before going to bed, Pier Giorgio tied a rope to his wrist and then let it hang by the window, and very early in the morning the gardener would pull on the rope to wake him up. Pier Giorgio got up and, without making a noise, left the house for the Shrine of Oropa on foot. There he went to pray or to Mass and then he had to be back at eight in the morning. He could not be late for breakfast with the family, because his parents were very strict. They told us that to get to the shrine from Pollone it takes an hour and a half. That means that, although Pier Giorgio was on vacation, he got up extremely early to pray. What an example! In the house, in a room next to Pier Giorgio's, they have put the furniture from his bedroom in Turin where he died.
While the sisters prepared dinner, the girls had the chance to see the house and play some games. After dinner we returned to the room that had his furniture from Turin and we prayed the rosary with songs. It was very special. Then we saw part of the film about Pier Giorgio Frassati, but, as most of the girls had already begun to close their eyes, we went to bed.
The next day, after breakfast, the girls were able to explore the garden of the house that they had not been able to see the day before because of the rain. Next, we to the Oropa Shrine. When we arrived there was so much fog we couldn’t even see the shrine! But little by little the sky cleared up and we could see the shrine and the mountains that surround it. Before the 10:30 Mass, the girls had the possibility to go to confession and time for prayer with a brief meditation given by Sr. Sara based on the life of Pier Giorgio, who lived out the Beatitudes. After Mass, although the original idea was to make an excursion in the mountains like Pier Giorgio since it was raining, we decided to go to Turin. There we ate in Valdocco, where Don Bosco founded his first Oratory. After lunch, we visited the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians and the Church of San Francis de Sales. We were not able to see the Cappella Pinardi because it was under construction. Then we went to see Cottolengo where Pier Giorgio often went to help the sick. We also went to the Consolata shrine and the Cathedral where Pier Giorgio is buried and where the Holy Shroud is, although not exposed.
Sadly, the time came to go home. The girls were very happy with the pilgrimage. They really liked Pier Giorgio's house in Pollone and learned a lot from his life. We ask the Lord and Our Mother that we and these girls follow the example of surrender and courage of Pier Giorgio Frassati, who was not afraid to defend his faith and put it into action.