St. Gianna Beretta Molla
I had a miscarriage in March. My husband and I are trying again to conceive, but have not yet had success. I read an article about some women who either had high-risk pregnancies or trouble conceiving and were able to deliver healthy babies after praying for St. Gianna’s intercession. So husband and I have decided to pray her novena this month and to further this end, I’ve recently acquired a medal of St. Gianna that has touched a pair of her gloves, via the St. Gianna shrine outside Philadelphia.
I’ve known about St. Gianna for quite some time, and really found her story so beautiful and inspiring, but I think at this point in life, I feel a strong affection for her and desire to pray for her intercession.
I don’t know if any of you ladies have any St. Gianna stories, or have prayed for her intercession in the past, but if you have, I’d love to hear your story! I believe it’s so important that a woman like her was canonized, as it shows that the ‘universal call to holiness’ is so REAL, and her witness to the world shows that a woman can be successful, smart, faithful, a good mother, and selfless.
St. Gianna worked successfully as a doctor for many years before she married Pietro Molla and started a family with him. She worked as a mentor with young girls, helping them to live lives of holiness and grace. She counseled women in unplanned pregnancies to trust God and choose life. She gave birth to four beautiful children, and she died from an infection caused by a torn uterus several days after her fourth child, Gianna Emanuela, was born.
Gianna was diagnosed with a dangerous tumor on her uterus during her fourth pregnancy. Rather than destroying the pregnancy in order to insure her future health, she chose to undergo a dangerous surgery that would provide a temporary solution to the problem, but which could cause her death upon her child’s birth. No one would have judged her for removing the pregnancy, knowing it was to save her life, but she was not concerned with what this world would think. She was the very essence of a mother, choosing to lay down her life for the child growing inside her. Indeed, when her daughter was born, the site of the surgery on her uterus was torn open from the stress of labor, and she died from a resulting infection in 1962.
She loved her life, but she did not hesitate to lay it down for the greater good of her daughter’s safe birth into the world.
Her husband wrote, in a letter to her after her death:
“At the same time, if the Lord’s will were different, if it was not possible to save both lives, you explicitly asked me to make sure that the child’s life was saved.
With your decision, you offered the holocaust of your life. And you offered it with the anguish of a wife and mother who must leave behind her children and family and everything dear that God had given you. You offered your life asking, in your humility and faith, and with the fullness of your trust in God, that you be spared the fear that your sacrifice might be an act of injustice toward our children and me…But in your humility, you trusted that the Lord would make up for the absence of your visible presence.”
Pietro Molla, taken from St. Gianna Beretta Molla: A Woman’s Life by Giuliana Pelucci
Prayer to St. Gianna
God our Father, we praise You and we bless You because in St. Gianna Beretta Molla You have given us one who witnessed to the gospel as a young woman, as a wife, as a mother, and as a doctor. We thank You because through the gift of her life we can learn to welcome and honor every human person.
You, Lord Jesus, were for Gianna a splendid example. She learned to recognize You in the beauty of nature. As she was questioning her choice of vocation she went in search of You and the best way to serve You. Through her married love she became a sign of Your love for the Church and humanity. Like You, she cared for everyone who was sick, small, or weak. Following your example, out of love she gave herself entirely, generating new life.
Holy Spirit, source of every perfection, give us wisdom, intelligence and courage so that, following the example of St. Gianna and through her intercession, we may know how to place ourselves at the service of each person we meet in our personal, family, and professional lives, and thus grow in love and holiness. Amen.
Her feast day is April 28.