St. Gianna Beretta Molla: Doctor, Wife, and Mother
October 4, 1922 – April 28, 1962
If you must choose between me and the baby, no hesitation; Choose—and I demand it—the baby, Save him!”
Gianna Beretta Molla was an Italian pediatrician, wife, and mother who refused to have either an abortion or hysterectomy when she was pregnant with her fourth child. Doctors had discovered in the second month of her pregnancy a fibroma tumor in her uterus. As a doctor, Gianna knew the consequences of not fully treating the fibroma. She chose the life of her child over her own.
On the morning of April 21, 1962, a healthy baby girl was born, Gianna Emanuela.
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 mother died of septic peritonitis. She was 39 years old.
Her funeral was an occasion of profound grief, faith and prayer.
Gianna was beatified by Pope St John Paul II on April 24, 1994, during the international year of the family and was canonized on May 16, 2004.
“Conscious immolation”, was the phrase used by Pope Paul VI to define the act of Blessed Gianna, remembering her at the Sunday Angelus of September 23, 1973, as: “A young mother from the diocese of Milan, who, to give life to her daughter, sacrificed her own, with conscious immolation”. The Holy Father in these words clearly refers to Christ on Calvary and in the Eucharist.
What is her special gift to the culture of life?
“The Church celebrates her new saint at a cultural moment when “choice” rarely means self-gift — making our lives the gift to others that our own lives are to us. “
“Saint Gianna Beretta Molla made a choice: a choice for love, even unto death, because she knew that “choice” in the truly human sense means freely choosing the good. May her prayers at the Throne of Grace strengthen us in living and defending the gospel of life.”
~ George Weigel
O 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.
– St. Gianna Beretta Molla