The signature "Fra Girolamo Frassati" is found at the end of several letters written by Pier Giorgio Frassati. In the copy pictured here , the words "-in G.C." mean "-in Jesus Christ." (When written in Italian, the name of Jesus is "Gesu Cristo" and would be abbreviated with the initials "G.C.")
Fra Girolamo Frassati is actually the name taken by Pier Giorgio when he took the vows to become a member of the religious order established by Saint Dominic -- the Order of Preachers. The name would be translated in English, "Brother Jerome Frassati." This has sometimes led to confusion that Pier Giorgio became a priest or brother. But this was not the case. Pier Giorgio was a member of the Third Order (Secular); this type of person is often called a Tertiary. The Third Order Secular is comprised of men and women who live in the world but participate in the Dominican life through prayer, study and preaching according to the state of the laity. At the time vows are taken, the Tertiary may also take a religious name. Pier Giorgio explained his choice of name in a letter to his friend Antonio Villani written on August 31, 1923. At the time he wrote this letter, he was trying to persuade Antonio to join the Third Order.
"I would very much love it if you would take the name of Fra Girolamo, not because it is the name that I have as a son of St. Dominic, but because it recalls a figure who is dear to me and certainly to you as well, since you share my feelings against corrupt morals –
, whose name I most unworthily bear. I am a fervent admirer of this friar, who died at the stake as a saint, I wanted to take him as a model when I became a tertiary, but I am far from imitating him. Think about it and then write to me with your ideas regarding this."
Pier Giorgio made his initial vows in the Church of Saint Dominic in Turin on May 28, 1922. At least one other of his friends, Gian Maria Bertini, did join the Third Order and also took the name Fra Girolamo.