St. Gianna Molla

Friends in Christ, yesterday we saw the canonization of two great saints; today on the liturgical calendar there no less than 3 saints! We consider then today, a fairly recent saint, St. Gianna Molla.
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Gianna was a wife and mother, and – she was a medical doctor. Gianna was a doctor who cared especially for the poor and those in need. She had a profound reverence for the gift of life, and she even urged priests to preach and teach about the respect for innocent life in the womb, and on the important duty of people to care for the elderly. As a single person, she was very active in Catholic Action, and used her role as a physician to do much good. Gianna had a profound respect for the vocation of married life; regarding a person’s vocation, she once wrote: ‘we should enter onto the path that God wills for us, not by forcing the door, but when God wills and as God wills.’
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In 1955, she was married to Pietro Molla, who worked as an engineer. In a love letter she wrote to her future husband: ‘My dear Pietro, our wedding is just a few days away; soon we will be working with God in his creation, so to give Him children, who will love Him and serve Him.’ Gianna was so loved as a doctor and a Catholic woman, that the people applauded as she walked down the aisle at her wedding.
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Gianna and Pietro’s love for each other grew in marriage as they had children. Three lovely children came along which gave them great joy; but early in her pregnancy of their 4th child, it was discovered that Gianna had a developed a tumor on the wall of her uterus. The doctors recommended abortion or hysterectomy,[i] but Gianna, a doctor who knew well what she was asking, had them remove the tumor as best they could, but preserve the baby.
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She made her wishes quite clear: ‘If you must decided between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child – I insist on it.’ Despite all efforts and treatments to save both of them, on April 28 she died while repeating over and over: “Jesus, I love you;’ this 39 year-old mother died, but her baby lived.
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Upon her death, a devotion to her soon developed, because many knew of her heroic, Christian life. Graces came, miracles came. She was beatified during the year of the family, and was canonized a saint in 2004. She is the patron saint of doctors, mothers, and unborn children.

 

[i] The Catholic Church teaches that she could have had a hysterectomy by the moral principle of double-effect, but Gianna chose the highest virtue: risking her life to save her child.

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