First: happy Mother’s Day to all mothers! It is right that we should remember our mothers and grandmothers on this special day for them! This week I share with you a summary of one of the patron saints for mothers, St. Gianna Beretta Molla. She was canonized in 2004 by St. John Paul II.
Life of St. Gianna
“Gianna Beretta was born in Magenta (near Milan) in Italy, on October 4, 1922, the 10th of 13 children born to Alberto and Maria Beretta. Her parents instilled in their children a deep faith. In fact, two of Gianna’s brothers became priests and one of her sisters became a nun. And while Gianna was a very pious child and considered a religious vocation, her holiness would be found as a working mom.
Gianna found her life’s calling in medicine. She earned degrees in medicine and surgery from the University of Pavia in 1949, and opened a medical clinic in Mesero a year later.
In 1955, Gianna married Peter Molla. They subsequently had three children, Pierluigi, Maria Zita and Laura.
During her pregnancy with her fourth child, however, Gianna’s doctors discovered she had a tumor in her uterus. They encouraged her to terminate the pregnancy and undergo a complete hysterectomy. Gianna refused, but did allow surgery to remove the growth—fully aware of the danger that continuing the pregnancy presented.
Prior to the surgery, Gianna told a priest, “I have entrusted myself to the Lord in faith and hope, against the terrible advice of medical science, ‘Either mother or child.’ I trust in God, yes, but now I must fulfill my duty as a mother. I renew the offer of my life to the Lord. I am ready for everything, provided the life of my child is saved.”
In the final weeks of her pregnancy, she reiterated that if a decision had to be made between her and her child’s life, they should save the child. On April 21, Gianna gave birth to her fourth child—daughter Gianna Emanuela. Seven days later the mother died of complications from the birth.”
Messenger of Divine Love
“Gianna Beretta Molla was a simple, but more than ever, significant messenger of divine love....Following the example of Christ, who ‘having loved his own...loved them to the end’ (John 13:1), this holy mother of a family remained heroically faithful to the commitment she made on the day of her marriage. The extreme sacrifice she sealed with her life testifies that only those who have the courage to give of themselves totally to God and to others are able to fulfill themselves.” (from the homily given by St. John Paul II during the Holy Mass of Canonization for St. Gianna, May 16, 2004) (information taken from americancatholic.org)
Important dates in the life of St. Gianna:
October 4, 1922 - Born in Magenta, Italy; 1952 - Became a pediatric specialist; December 8, 1954 - Met Peter Molla at a priest-friend’s first Holy Mass; September 24, 1955 Peter and Gianna were married; April 28, 1962 - Died at the age of 39; May 16, 2004 - Canonized by St. John Paul II
Through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of the children of God, St. Joseph, St. Paul, St. Michael and St. Gianna, may God bless our mothers and all the members of the Church with peace and joy!
In Christ through Mary,
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