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 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.
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.