SAINT GIANNA BERETTA MOLLA,
MOTHER, WIFE, PRO-LIFE PHYSICIAN AND
SAINT AND MODEL OF CATHOLIC ACTION
Next miracle required for canonization was officially declared on
4, 1922, Magenta, Lombardy, Italy
28, 1962, Monza, Lombardy, Italy
Saint Gianna has become one of my favorite Saints and patrons. She was
born into a devout Catholic family, the mother [Maria] of whom bore
thirteen children although she suffered from a weak heart condition and
would die at the age of 55. The family raised into adulthood a nun, two
priests and our Saint. Gianna was the tenth child. Five of her siblings
would die young.
Both Alberto and Maria were were Third Order Franciscans who
believed the education of their children almost a fulfillment of the
work of God through the creation and molding of these souls, a most important undertaking, from
which there was no slacking. Maria, while not well, kept us missionary
efforts on behalf of Christ including living in simplicity and with
frugality, even though the family had some means. Daily Mass and the
Rosary were hallmarks of family life, which Gianna maintained
throughout her life.
Already as a young girl she was
filled with the gift of faith that she
received from her saintly parents, the gift of faith centered in
complete trust and surrender to Divine Providence joined to the
conviction of the necessity and effectiveness of prayer.
"She diligently dedicated herself
studies during the years of her secondary and university education,
while, at the same time, applying her faith through generous apostolic
service among the youth of Catholic Action and charitable work among
the elderly and needy as a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
After earning degrees in Medicine and Surgery from the University of
Pavia in 1949, she opened a medical clinic in Mesero (near Magenta) in
1950. She specialized in Pediatrics at the University of Milan in 1952
and there after gave special attention to mothers, babies, the elderly
<>"While working in the field of
medicine-which she considered a “mission” and practiced as such-she
increased her generous service to Catholic Action, especially among the
“very young” and, at the same time, expressed her joie de vivre and
love of creation through skiing and mountaineering. Through her prayers
and those of others, she reflected upon her vocation, which she also
considered a gift from God. Having chosen the vocation of marriage, she
embraced it with complete enthusiasm and wholly dedicated herself 'to
forming a truly Christian family'." [Saint Gianna Molla.org]
A newly ordained priest had invited her and her future husband, Pietro
Molla, to his first Mass, where they met and struck a friendship that
blossomed an engagement and marriage on
September 24, 1955, in the Basilica of St. Martin in Magenta, and she
became a happy wife. In November 1956s he bore their first born, a son,
Pierluigi in December of 1957, then followed Maria
Zita (Mariolina) and Laura after which there wee a few miscarriages
before she conceived and gave birth to her last daughter, who bears her
mother's name, Gianna.
Meanwhile she continued to work as a pediatrician, vowing to remain
home after that in order to simplify and edify family life, although
the family was fortunate in having a good housekeeper to assist them.
In September 1961 towards the end
second month of gestation with Gianna, our Saint endured an agonizing
fibroma in her uterus. "Before the required
surgical operation, and conscious of the risk that her continued
pregnancy brought, she pleaded with the surgeon to save the life of the
child she was carrying, and entrusted herself to prayer and Providence.
The life was saved, for which she thanked the Lord. She spent the seven
months remaining until the birth of the child in incomparable strength
of spirit and unrelenting dedication to her tasks as mother and doctor.
She worried that the baby in her womb might be born in pain, and she
asked God to prevent that.
A few days before the child was
although trusting as always in Providence, she was ready to give her
life in order to save that of her child: 'If you must decided between
me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child - I insist on it.
Save him'. On the morning of April 21, 1962, Gianna Emanuela was born.
Despite all efforts and treatments to save both of them, on the morning
of April 28, amid unspeakable pain and after repeated exclamations of
'Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you', the the heroic Gianna died. She
39 years old. Her funeral was an occasion of profound grief, faith and
prayer." [Ibid.] She was
buried in Mesero near Magenta. Crowds turned out for the Requiem Mass
because she was so well known and loved.
When Pope Paul VI defined the
action of Blessed Gianna,
remembering her at the Sunday Angelus of September 23, 1973, he said:
young mother from the diocese of Milan, who, to give life to her
daughter, sacrificed her own, with conscious immolation". These words
were clearly a reference to Christ on the Cross and in the Blessed
<>Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul
II on April 24, 1994, during the international Year of the Family. The
miracle required for this step in Sainthood is as follows:
In 1977 a young Protestant woman was in the hospital in
Grajau, in Brazil, dying shortly after giving birth to a still-born
baby. An unforeseeable yet very serious complication had caused a
vaginal abscess which was inoperable in that hospital requiring that
the patient be transported to a specialized hospital in San Luis
located more that 600 kilometers away. It was almost certain that she
would not survive the trip, so the nurse, Sister Bernardina di Manaus,
a Capuchin sister, prayed to Gianna
Beretta Molla in order that, through her intercession, the dying mother
be freed from her pain and the dramatic voyage to San Luis be avoided.
Looking at a small photo of the Servant of God, she prayed "you who are
the sister of Father Alberto (who founded the hospital), make this
fistula heal and keep this woman from having to travel to Sao Luis…".
The nursing nun asked to other nurses to join her in this request to
Gianna and immediately the young mother was healed.
On April 11, 1978, Cardinal Giovanni Colombo and sixteen bishops of the
Lombardy Episcopal Conference requested of Pope John Paul II the
introduction of the cause of beatification of the Servant of God Gianna
Beretta Molla. In their postulatory letter the bishops implored the
glorification of this spouse and mother, describing her as "a model of
a complete reality to this world prone to misconstrue and refute the
right of life".
The decree of heroicity of virtues was issued in July 1991 and in
December 1992, the proclamation of validity of the miracle was issued.
This is the account: in 2003, Elisabeth Comparini Arcolino, a mother of
was 16 weeks pregnant with her fourth child when she sustained a tear
in the placenta, resulting in the loss of her amniotic fluid. The
doctors were convinced that the baby would not survive to birth.
But by the providence and grace of God, Bishop Diogenes Silva Matthes
of Franca, Brazil,
was visiting a friend at the hospital. After being summoned to
Arcolino’s room, Arcolino told him the doctor had advised her to have
"You don't kill life inside the mother," the bishop told her. "This is
the time for Saint Gianna Beretta Molla to intercede for the life you
are carrying." At home the bishop began praying, "The time for your
canonization has arrived. Intercede to the Lord for the grace of a
miracle and save the life of this little baby."
And again the miracle!
Despite the lack of amniotic fluid, Elisabeth delivered a healthy baby
girl, whom she named after our Saint, Gianna Maria, by Caesarean
section on May 31, 2000. The entire
Arcolino family was present for the canonization, May 16, 2004.
Her Feast Day is April 28, the day of her blessed, holy death.
She is sometimes referred to as "The Smile of God" because of her
radiant glow of joy ever on her face, even in hardship.
Quotes from the Saint:
1. To do all things for the Lord… To serve God, I will not go
to the movies without being sure that the film is suitable and not
scandalous or immoral…
2. I prefer to die rather than commit a mortal sin…
3. To say the "Hail Mary" every day so that the Lord might give
me a holy death…
4. I wish to fear mortal sin as if it were a serpent and I
repeat I would die a thousand times rather than offend the Lord.
5. I wish to ask the Lord to help me not to go to Hell and
therefore to avoid all that would harm my soul.
6. I beg the Lord to help me understand His great mercy.
7. I propose to obey M.M. and to study even though I don’t feel
like it, for the love of Jesus.
8. From this day on, I wish to pray on my knees in the morning
in church just as I do in my room in the evening at the foot of my bed.
9. The way of humiliation is the shortest way to reach
holiness. To pray that the Lord lead me to Paradise.
Continued forward for the Litany of Saint Gianna Molla.
SAINT GIANNA BERETTA MOLLA.ORG
FULL IMAGE, PLAIN, UNTEXTURED