Meet Gianna Beretta Molla
Read time: 10 minutes
I learned of this woman’s story at church on Sunday and was completely moved! My husband, Eddie, and I couldn’t stop talking about it after mass.
She was recently canonized and recognized as an official Saint in 2004. Basically, to make a long story short, she was an Italian pediatrician who, when she received news of complications in her pregnancy with her 4th child, decided that she would go to NO lengths to sacrifice the life of her child (even if it meant death). The doctors gave her three choices: an abortion, which would save her life and allow her to continue to have children; a complete hysterectomy, which would preserve her life, but take the unborn child’s life, and prevent further pregnancy; or removal of only the fibroma, with the potential of further complications. * As a doctor with knowledge of the seriousness of having a fibroma tumor in her uterus, she knew it was a risky decision. Nevertheless, she told the doctors without hesitation,
“If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate. Choose the child – I insist on it. Save the baby.”
Miraculously, on April 21, 1962, her daughter Gianna Emanuela was born. She survived the surgery for one week, but later died despite constant efforts and treatments to save her life.
In 1994, Pope John Paul II beatified her in Rome and recognized her for her amazing witness and “hymn to life.”
The miracle recognized by the Roman Catholic Church to canonize Gianna Molla involved a mother, Elizabeth Comparini, who was 16 weeks pregnant in 2003 and sustained a tear in her placenta that drained her womb of all amniotic fluid. Because a normal term of pregnancy is 40 weeks, Comparini was told by her doctors the baby’s chance of survival was “nil.”
Through praying to Gianna Molla and asking for her intercession, Comparini delivered by Caesarean a healthy baby despite the lack of amniotic fluid for the remainder of her pregnancy. (catholic.org)
She is now considered the patron saint of preterm babies. If you’d like to read more about her, please do so here.
The reason this story moved me so much was because I had a sad moment this weekend when I found out that a friend from dance lost her baby. All these emotions came flooding back again causing me to run outside for a bit to gather myself. Luckily, my husband was there to comfort me and let me cry on him. You might remember when I posted about it awhile back ago, but it still comes back to me every now and then. I feel empowered now after reading of Saint Gianna’s strength and display of heroic virtue.
I know now who I’ll be asking for prayers from when I become pregnant again. 🙂
* In Catholic teaching, it is not advised to have an abortion at any cost.