I have a confession to make: Prior to becoming a homeschooling mom, I had no idea who Saint Gianna Beretta Molla was. I only “discovered” her when I was looking through other Catholic homeschool moms’ blogs, while searching for alternatives to celebrating Halloween.
Saint Gianna was included in a list of saint costume ideas on well-known Catholic blogger Lacy Rabideau’s site, and I ended up dressing my daughter as Saint Gianna in our Catholic homeschool group’s first All Saints’ Day party (I also hosted the party dressed up as her — see image below of us with two other “saints” as “proof” — it’s not that clear but she’s carrying her baby doll as her “child,” while I am carrying her as my child, of course! 😉 ).
According to CatholicCulture.org, the feast of St. Gianna Beretta Molla is celebrated on April 28, especially in Italy. St. Gianna was “a pro-life doctor and mother who gave her life for her unborn child.” You can read more about Saint Gianna (and the other saints with whom she shares her feast day) on the Catholic Culture website.
For this post, though, I’d like to share three main reasons for honoring (and imitating!) Saint Gianna, not just today but always — especially if you’re a Catholic mom.
1. She was a dedicated wife who was happily in love with her spouse.
Saint Gianna knew the importance of living out her vocation, and really prayed about it. Despite being a successful pediatrician, she considered building a strong Christian marriage (and family) as her main vocation.
Having chosen the vocation of marriage, she embraced it with complete enthusiasm and wholly dedicated herself “to forming a truly Christian family.” — CatholicCulture.org
Her engagement and marriage to Pietro Molla filled her with much joy, and she was happy to be living out her vocation as his wife (and later on, the mother of their children).
She became engaged to Pietro Molla and was radiant with joy and happiness during the time of their engagement, for which she thanked and praised the Lord. They were married on September 24, 1955, in the Basilica of St. Martin in Magenta, and she became a happy wife. — CatholicCulture.org
How many of us can truly say that we are happy, joy-filled wives who are 100% committed to our husbands and to living out our vocations? Saint Gianna invites us to be so today. She invites us to thank and praise the Lord, and to form truly Christian families with His grace.
2. She was a loving mother who knew her priorities.
Saint Gianna must have been a busy woman, being a pediatrician and all. I’m sure many of us can relate — we all seem so busy with everything we need to do, and sometimes find it challenging to balance our priorities. Let’s learn from Saint Gianna’s example, and “harmonize” the demands of our everyday lives (with God’s help and Our Blessed Mother’s intercession, of course):
In November 1956, to her great joy, she became the mother of Pierluigi, in December 1957 of Mariolina; in July 1959 of Laura. With simplicity and equilibrium she harmonized the demands of mother, wife, doctor and her passion for life. — CatholicCulture.org
3. She was a true saint, who, like Jesus, laid down her life for others.
Of course, Saint Gianna is most known for sacrificing her life so that her and Pietro’s fourth child might live. A fibroma developed in her uterus towards the second month of her pregnancy, and a surgical operation was needed to remove it.
She and the baby survived the operation, by God’s grace, and she was able to carry her to term. A few days before the baby’s birth, Saint Gianna proclaimed that she was ready to offer her life so that their baby could live, saying:
“If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child – I insist on it. Save him”. — CatholicCulture.org
Sadly, Saint Gianna died a week after Gianna Emanuela was born. Despite the great pain she was in, she still found the strength to proclaim, “Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you” before she passed on.
May we, especially the mothers among us, be inspired by Saint Gianna’s example of selfless, unconditional, sacrificial love. I only hope and pray that I may be as brave and loving and committed as her, especially when it comes to caring for and protecting human life, especially the little human lives that God has entrusted to me (and my husband).
So, as we remember Saint Gianna today, let us ask for her intercession, and pray that God may help us become more like her every day. Here is a prayer we can use from SaintGianna.org:
God our Father, we praise You and we bless You because in Saint 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 for humanity.
Like You, the Good Samaritan, 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 Saint 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.
Do you have a devotion to Saint Gianna? How do you honor her and ask for her intercession in your own life? Share about it with us in the comments!
Copyright 2015 Tina Santiago Rodriguez
Title image copyright 2015 Tina Santiago Rodriguez
Photo of St. Gianna via Wikipedia.