Today we celebrate the feast day of one of CCL’s beloved patron saints, St. Gianna Beretta Molla. We honor her for her respect and esteem for marriage and motherhood, and her ultimate sacrifice of choosing her baby’s life over her own.
St. Gianna’s story is quite an inspiring, yet heartbreaking one. A devout Catholic, she studied medicine and became a doctor specializing in pediatrics. After marrying Pietro Molla, they began to start a family and had Pierluigi, Maria Zita and Laura but also suffered two miscarriages. Gianna became pregnant again but developed a fibroma on her uterus. Doctors gave her three choices: 1) to abort the pregnancy—allowing her to have children in the future, 2) a hysterectomy which would kill her child and prevent further pregnancy, or 3) remove the fibroma, risking further complications to her and the baby. She opted for the only choice that brought a chance to save her baby’s life and told the doctors to remove the fibroma. There were complications, but she had made her wishes known: “This time it will be a difficult delivery, and they may have to save one or the other — I want them to save my baby.” On April 21, 1962 the baby she fought so hard to save was born, Gianna Emmanuela, however St. Gianna lost her life a week later from septic peritonitis.
St. Gianna Beretta Molla’s ultimate sacrifice embodies the respect for life we are all called to, and in having her as a patron saint we rely on her intercession for our work as we teach NFP to young couples. St. Gianna saw her role as a wife and mother as her primary means to live out the life God called her to. As we celebrate her feast day, reflect on a couple of her quotes, as well as the prayer of St. Gianna.
“Love and sacrifice are closely linked, like the sun and the light.
We cannot love without suffering and we cannot suffer without love.”
“Love is the most beautiful sentiment the Lord has put into the souls of men and women.”
Prayer of St. Gianna:
Jesus, I promise You to submit myself to all that You permit to befall me,
make me only know Your will.
My most sweet Jesus, infinitely merciful God, most tender Father of souls,
and in a particular way of the most weak, most miserable, most infirm
which You carry with special tenderness between Your divine arms,
I come to You to ask You, through the love and merits of Your Sacred Heart,
the grace to comprehend and to do always Your holy will,
the grace to confide in You,
the grace to rest securely through time and eternity in Your loving divine arms.
To learn more about St. Gianna’s life, sainthood, and reflections click here.
— Megan Imwalle