Woman Saint of the Week: St. Gianna Beretta Molla

Of course, right after the big canonization over the weekend, I want to take a break. But, no, we have two amazing female saints just the following week. One I’m gonna talk about today, the next one will be next week’s saint of the week.


St. Gianna

St. Gianna Beretta Molla was born in Italy. She was a doctor and she worked as a pediatrician. When she was pregnant with her fourth child, complications occurred and she faced the decision of either getting an abortion or a hysterectomy or choose a more minor procedure and likely die in childbirth. She chose to give her life for her unborn child. She died 7 days after her child was born in 1962.

Not only was she a martyr for her child, but in life, she was known for her kindness and saintliness. Her funeral was packed. The cause for her canonization was opened only 10 years after her death.

She was canonized in 2004. Both miracles that are attributed to her intercession involve women in childbirth. One was a woman who almost died due to complications from a c-section. The other was a woman whose membranes broke, leaving her 16 week unborn child without any amniotic fluid. Through St. Gianna’s intercession, the mother and her child survived against all odds. She is, of course, the patron saint for mothers, physicians, and unborn children.

By the way, the child that she died for has grown up to become a geriatric doctor who frequently gives speeches about her mother’s legacy.

Another interesting side note: One of St. Gianna’s regrets was that she was unable to join her brother in missionary work in Brazil. She wanted to go, but it was decided that she couldn’t due to some chronic health problems. Both of her miracles occurred in Brazil. Apparently in death she has been doing the missionary work she couldn’t do in life.

St Gianna Beretta Molla

I LOVE this picture. Please, if you know who made it, let me know because I would love to properly cite it.

Our Gianna Centers are named after her. There is a home in North Dakota similar to our local Joseph’s House that is named after her. There’s a shrine for her in Pennsylvania. There’s a physician’s guild named after her. One of my closest friends in college chose her name for her religious name. She’s a pretty awesome saint and completely deserving of all of the attention and honors she has received.

I know some of you really liked our Litany to John Paul II. There is a really cool litany to St. Gianna as well. Let’s end with it:

Litany of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us
Response: Have mercy on us
God the Father in Heaven.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world.
God the Holy Spirit.
Holy Trinity, one God.Response: Pray for us
Holy Mary.
St. Michael the Archangel.
St. Joseph.
St. Gianna, filled with love for God.
St. Gianna, filled with love for children.
St. Gianna, filled with love for Our Lady and her Rosary.
St. Gianna, filled with love for the Most Blessed Sacrament.
St. Gianna, who sought the will of God in all things.
St. Gianna, generous with those in need.
St. Gianna, devoted to prayer.
St. Gianna, willing to lay down your life for the sake of the gospel.
St. Gianna, patient in suffering.
St. Gianna, united to Jesus on the Cross.
St. Gianna, called to the vocation of marriage.
St. Gianna, who welcomed children as a blessing.
St. Gianna, physician to the ill.
St. Gianna, faithful daughter of the church.
St. Gianna, witness to the sanctity of human life.Response: Deliver us Lord through the
intercession of St. Gianna

From neglecting God through prayer.
From refusing to se God in the sick and poor.
From callousness to the sufferings of others.
From selfishness.
From a lack of trust in God’s providence.
From blindness to the dignity of the human person.
From denial that human life begins at conception.

Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.Let us pray.

Lord of life, we thank You for the heroic witness of
Saint Gianna Beretta Molla. You have taught us that
there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life
for others. Saint Gianna did this, not only as she
gave birth to her last child, but also in her everyday
life as she died to herself so that she could live
wholly for You. What selflessness we see in her!
Help us, we pray, that through the intercession of
Saint Gianna, our society may regain a sense of the
sacredness of all human life. Fill us with her spirit
of courage to suffer any struggle rather than deny
You and the sanctity of human life. We ask You
this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your son, who
lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one
God, forever and ever. Amen

(Composed by a priest from Alabama and offered to
the Society of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla)

Nihil Obstat: Rev. Joseph G. Prior,
Censor Librorum

Imprimatur: Justin Cardinal Rigali
Archbishop of Philadelphia
Sept. 29, 2004



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