St. Gianna Beretta Molla
St. Gianna Beretta Molla was an Italian pediatrician born in Magenta in the Kingdom of Italy on October 4, 1922. She was the tenth of thirteen children in her family.
At three-years-old, Gianna and her family moved to Bergamo, and she grew up in the Lombardy region of Italy.
As a young girl, Gianna openly accepted her faith and the Catholic-Christian education provided to her from her loving parents. She grew up viewing life as God's beautiful gift and found the greatest necessity and effectiveness in prayer.
In 1942, Gianna began her study of medicine in Milan. She was a diligent and hardworking student, both at the university and in her faith.
As a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Gianna applied her faith in an apostolic service for the elderly and needy.
She received degrees in both medicine and surgery from the University of Pavia in 1949, and in 1950 she opened a medical office in Mesero, near her hometown of Magenta.
In 1952, Gianna specialized in pediatrics at the University of Milan and from there on, she was especially drawn toward mothers, babies, the elderly and the poor.
Gianna considered the field of medicine to be her mission, and treated it as such. She increased her generous service to Catholic Action, a movement of lay Catholics dedicated to living and spreading the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church in the broader culture. The Catholic Action movement is still at work today, throughout the world.
Gianna hoped to join her brother, a missionary priest in Brazil, where she intended to offer her medical expertise in gynecology to poor women.
However, her chronic ill health made this impractical, and she continued her practice in Italy.
She chose the vocation of marriage and considered this to be a gift from God. Gianna embraced this gift with all her being and completely dedicated herself to "forming a truly Christian family."
In December 1954, Gianna met Pietro Molla, an engineer who worked in her office. They were officially engaged the following April, and married in September 1955, making Gianna a happy wife.
Gianna wrote to Pietro, "Love is the most beautiful sentiment that the Lord has put into the soul of men and women."
In November 1956, Gianna became a mother to her first child, Pierluigi. Their second child, Maria Zita, in December 1957, and their third, Laura, in July 1959.
Gianna handled motherhood with grace and was able to harmonize all aspects of her demanding life.
In 1961, Gianna became pregnant with her fourth child. Toward the end of her second month of pregnancy, Gianna was struck with an unimaginable pain.
Her doctors discovered she had developed a fibroma in her uterus, meaning she was carrying both a baby and a tumor.
After examination, the doctors gave her three choices: an abortion, which would save her life and allow her to continue to have children, but take the life of the child she carried; 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, which could save the life of her baby.
Catholic teaching affirms what medical science, the Natural Law, the Bible and unbroken Christian tradition affirm, the child in the womb has a fundamental Human Right to Life. Wanting to preserve her child's life, Gianna opted for the removal of only the fibroma.
In fact, she was willing to give her own life to save the life of her child.
Gianna pleaded with the surgeons to save her child's life over her own. She sought comfort in her prayers and her living faith.
The child's life was saved, for which Gianna graciously thanked the Lord.
After the operation, complications continued throughout her pregnancy, but Gianna spent the remainder of her pregnancy with an unparalleled strength and insistent dedication for her tasks as a mother and a doctor.
A few days before the baby was to be born, Gianna prayed the Lord take any pain away from the child. She recognized she may lose her life during delivery, but she was ready.
Gianna was quite clear about her wishes, expressing to her family, "If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child?I insist on it. Save the baby."
On April 21, 1962, Gianna Emanuela Molla successfully delivered by Caesarean section.
The doctors tried many different treatments and procedures to ensure both lives would be saved. However, on April 28, 1962, a week after the baby was born, Gianna passed away from septic peritonitis. She is buried in Mesero.
Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1994, and officially canonized as a saint on May 16, 2004. Her husband and their children, including Gianna Emanuela, attended her canonization ceremony, making this the first time a husband witnessed his wife's canonization.
In 2003, mother-to-be Elizabeth Comparini experienced a tear in her placenta when she was 16-weeks pregnant. Her womb was drained of all amniotic fluid. She was told the chances of her baby's survival was little to none. Elizabeth is said to have prayed to Gianna Molla and asked for her intercession. Elizabeth was able to give birth to a healthy baby.
During Gianna's canonization ceremony, John Paul II described her as, "a simple, but more than ever, significant messenger of divine love."
St. Gianna is the inspiration behind the first pro-life Catholic healthcare center for women in New York, the Gianna Center.
St. Gianna Beretta Molla is the patron saint of mothers, physicians, and unborn children. Her feast day is celebrated on April 28.
St. Gabriel, the Archangel
Find SaintsPopular Saints
Saints by Alphabet
Saint Feast Days by Month
Patron Saints by Alphabet
Saint Feast Days by Month
FREE Catholic Classes Pick a class, you can learn anything
In the year 1400, a young man came to the door of the largest hospital in Siena. A plague was raging through the city so horrible that as many as twenty people died each day just in the hospital ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
St. Clare of Assisi was born in Assisi on July 16, 1194, as Chiara Offreduccio, the beautiful eldest daughter of Favorino Sciffi, Count of Sasso-Rosso and his wife Ortolana. Tradition says her father was a wealthy representative of an ancient Roman family and her ... continue readingMore Female Saints
Saint Michael the Archangel isn't a saint, but rather he is an angel, and the leader of all angels and of the army of God. This is what the title "Archangel" means, that he is above all the others in rank. St. Michael has four main responsibilities or offices, as we ... continue reading
St. Gabriel is an angel who serves as a messenger for God to certain people. He is one of the three archangels. Gabriel is mentioned in both the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible. First, in the Old Testament, Gabriel appears to the prophet Daniel to explain his ... continue reading
Francis was born at Paola, Italy and was educated at the Franciscan friary of San Marco there, and when fifteen became a hermit near Paola. In 1436, he and two companions began a community that is considered the foundation of the Minim Friars. He built a monastery ... continue reading
St. Francis Xavier was a Navarrese-Basque Roman Catholic missionary born in the Kingdom of Navarre on April 7, 1506. His father was a privy counselor and finance minister to King John III of Navarre. He was the youngest in his family and resided in a castle which still ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
Vincent was a man like us who encountered the same Risen Lord Jesus whom we have encountered. He struggled with the choices which always accompany living the Christian life in the midst of a culture which has squeezed God and His truth out of the center of its ... continue readingMore Christian Saints & Heroes
by Catholic Online
- Pope Francis tells medical professionals to defend life
- 'Stand firm for life against the evil opposing it' Kentucky governor ...
- St. Bernardine of Siena: Saint of the Day for Monday, May 20, 2019
- Pro-life activists call for acquittal of doctor who refused to ...
- Daily Readings for Monday, May 20, 2019
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, May 21st, 2019 HD Video
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 HD Video
- Daily Reading for Monday, May 20th, 2019 HD
- Prayer Requests Live for Friday, May 17th, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, May 19th, 2019 HD
- Prayer Requests Live for Thursday, May 16th, 2019 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org
Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel
Learn the Catholic way
Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all
K-12 & Adult Education Classes
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education
Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.