'Gucio', as he was called by his family, suffered from poor health from his childhood, and contracted TB from his mother, who died when he was six years old. Despite his fragility, as the only son, the family's hopes of restoration and unity for their land were focused on him.
Spending his youth travelling Europe with his father in search of a cure, he increasingly felt a call to the priesthood, and valued the guidance of his tutor, Joseph Kalinowski (who was canonised by St John Paul II as St Raphael Kalinowski in 1991). When he met Don Bosco at his family's home in Paris when he was 25, Augustus realised his vocation was to the Salesians.
As often as he could, he would travel to Turin on retreat, adjusting to the austere way of life and maintaining his commitment despite his poor health and the objections of his father. He was sure God would show him the way: 'If God wants this, all will be well, since he can remove every obstacle. If he does not want this, then neither do I.'
After his father had made great efforts to dissuade him from his calling, arguing that he was not strong enough for the life, he wrote: 'In full liberty I made my vows and I did this with great joy of heart. From that day I continue to live in the Congregation with an immense peace of spirit, and I thank the Lord for allowing me to know the Salesian Family and for having called me to become a Salesian'. Although his father did not attend the ordination, he and the family reconciled themselves to Augusto's decision shortly afterwards.
Augustus died of tuberculosis in the Salesian house in Alassio on 8th April 1893, a year after he was ordained a priest.
At his beatification in 2004, St John Paul II held him up as an example of discernment for young people: 'My dear young friends, learn from Blessed Augusto to ask ardently in prayer for the light of the Holy Spirit and wise guides, so that you may understand the divine plan in your lives'.