Our Patroness: Saint Gianna Beretta Molla
LIFE & LEGACY OF ST. GIANNA
Saint Gianna Beretta Molla (1922 – 62) is the radiant face of our mission and a beautiful witness to the Culture of Life.
Born in Magenta, Italy, Gianna was a wife, mother, and pediatrician. She had three children with her husband, Pietro Molla, but when expecting her fourth child she developed a fibroma on her uterus.
Faced with this crisis, Gianna was given three options by her doctor: she could have an abortion, which would save her life but end that of her unborn child; she could undergo a hysterectomy, which would preserve her life but take the unborn child’s life and make any future pregnancy impossible; or she could have the fibroma removed, though removing it might incur further complications. To preserve her child’s life, she chose to remove the fibroma. After the operation, complications arose. Yet Gianna was crystal clear about her wishes, telling her family: “This time it will be a difficult delivery, and they may have to save one or the other — I want them to save my baby.” On April 21, 1962, Good Friday of that year, Gianna went to the hospital where her fourth child, Gianna Emanuela, was successfully delivered via Caesarean section. Gianna, however, continued to suffer severe pain, and seven days after the birth of her daughter she died of septic peritonitis, an infection of the peritoneal cavity.
Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1994, and officially canonized on May 16, 2004. Gianna’s husband Pietro and daughter Gianna Emanuela were present at the canonization ceremony, the first time a husband witnessed his wife’s canonization.
“Gianna Beretta Molla was a simple, but more than ever, significant messenger of divine love. In a letter to her future husband a few days before their marriage, she wrote: ‘Love is the most beautiful sentiment the Lord has put into the soul of men and women.’ Following the example of Christ, who ‘having loved his own… loved them to the end’ (Jn 13: 1), this holy mother of a family remained heroically faithful to the commitment she made on the day of her marriage. The extreme sacrifice she sealed with her life testifies that only those who have the courage to give of themselves totally to God and to others are able to fulfill themselves. Through the example of Gianna Beretta Molla, may our age rediscover the pure, chaste and fruitful beauty of conjugal love, lived as a response to the divine call!”
Pope John Paul II
Homily, Canonization of Gianna Beretta Molla
May 15, 2004
The National Gianna Center chose Saint Gianna Beretta Molla as our patroness because she personifies the essence of our mission, which is to provide pro-life, authentically Catholic health care to women and families. We accomplish our mission by providing our patients with access to NaProTechnology and the Creighton Model System, both of which help women to monitor their gynecological and reproductive health in ways that are natural, restorative and in complete accord with the Church’s Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. At The National Gianna Center, we are blessed to have as our patroness such an admirable witness to the beauty and sanctity of human life. Having been such a faithful physician, wife, and mother, Saint Gianna inspires us every day to serve women and families with the same care and reverence for life that she embodied and they deserve.
“As to the past, let us entrust it to God’s mercy, the future to Divine Providence. Our task is to live holy the present moment.”
-Pietro Molla and Elio Guerriero, Saint Gianna Molla: Wife, Mother, Doctor (2004)
Liturgical Feast Day: April 28