Thursday, May 3, 2012

Holy Smokes!

We have struggled to find a photograph of St. Pius X, our heavenly patron, smoking a cigar. It is reputed or rumored that he smoked sigari toscani, tuscan cigars, and had a humidor. I have not been able to prove this by contemporary evidence or by photographic evidence. 

 I do have another additional piece of evidence we may cite to in our constant effort at rationalization or justification of our little habit. In this instance, I would point to Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. Although I have not been able to find a photograph of Blessed Pier smoking a cigar, I have found one where he is clearly enjoying a pipe. However, in his biography by Luciana Frassati, we have quite convincing proof that our Blessed Pier smoked and enjoyed cigars, a habit he acquired--hard to believe--from his cigar-smoking mom!
[Pier] had also learned to appreciate the strong smell of tobacco.  Neither my father nor I [says his sister and biographer] was permitted to express annoyance at that cloud of smoke, and, if I complained, Mama retorted by calling me "delicate," a sure sign of contempt.  Proud of his smoking mother, a custom unusual among women, my brother [Pier] tried a cigar in the garden at Pollone with his inseparable friend Camillo Banzatti.  Banzatti felt ill after a few puffs, whereas Pier Giorgio stood the test brilliantly.  Much later he became a placid smoker of Tuscan cigars (the cheapest and smelliest Italian cigars).  If anyone asked him the reason for his bad taste, he replied: "Even my mother smokes Tuscans."  Or he proudly explained the origin of his innocent vice by saying: "My mother smoked over me when I was being fed at the breast."
(Luciana Frassati, A Man of the Beatitudes ( San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1990), 68 (Dinah Livingstone, trans.).

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