"I shall be a mining engineer to serve Christ better among the miners"
Instead of choosing to study subjects which would have won him an easy career on his father's newspaper, Pier Giorgio chose the more difficult course of engineering to enable him to share the hard life of the miners.
In 1918 he enrolled in the Royal Polytechnic of Turin with a specialisation in mineralogy. Young, rich, sporting and vigorous, on the way to a brilliant future, admired and sought after, sole heir of a well-known family which was held in high regard, he heard and paid attention to the voice of Christ calling him to a mission of charity.
From his earliest, study was the threatening cloud hanging over him. Yet up to the very day of his death it was also for him the "duty of his state", the first duty therefore and the one before which other activities had to give way.
"The battle is rugged. Pray that God may strengthen my will so that I shall not give way or default. Just now I'm going over the whole of my metallurgy and doing the best I can with the designs of the principal drawings".(to A.Severi, 6.1.1925)
"The mind filled with arid science sometimes finds peace and spiritual enjoyment in the reading of St.Paul. I would like you to try and read St.Paul. It is wonderful, and the spirit is cheered and ennobled by reading him. It spurs us on to follow the right way and return to it whenever we leave it through sin".(to I.Bonini, 29.IV.1925)
I beg you to pray for me a little, so that God may give me an iron will that does not bend and does not fail in His projects" (to A. Severi, 13.IV 1925)
EQUAL TO HIS PHYSICAL RESISTANCE WAS HIS WILL. PHYSICAL STRENGTH AND STRENGTH OF SPIRIT DESCRIBE THIS BIG BROTHER TO US.
HE REMAINS THE EXAMPLE OF VERY STRONG WILL-POWER, OF A GRANITE-LIKE NATURE.
GOD, THE SECRET OF HIS YOUTH ENDOWED WITH THESE FORCES PIER GIORGIO IS MODERN AND YOUNG.
Mons. Giovanni Battista Montini (Paul VI), 4.VII.1932.