|St Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-1962)|
Born on October 4, 1922, Gianna Beretta was the 10th of 13 children, even though only 8 of the siblings survived infancy. She grew up in Bergamo, Italy where she was very active in the Catholic Action movement. In 1942, in the midst of the chaos of World War II she started her studies in Milan and graduated as a doctor in 1949, specializing in paediatrics. She actually wanted to go to Brazil to work as a paediatrician with her brother, a missionary priest, but her health prevented her from doing this. So she worked happily as a doctor, eventually meeting her future husband Pietro Molla, whom she married in 1955. They had 3 children within 5 years, and in 1961, she was pregnant with her 4th child. During the pregnancy, she developed a fibroma in her uterus, and the doctors suggested her to have an abortion to save her life. But she continued with her pregnancy and the baby was born on April 21 1962, Easter Saturday. Gianna made the ultimate sacrifice for her daughter, and she got weaker and weaker and died a week later, on April 28, 1962. Her daughter Gianna Emmanuela became a paediatrician herself, and was present with her father and two other siblings at her mother’s beatification in 1994. Another sister had died in 1964, 2 years after her mother.
The miracle that certified her canonization was done on a Brazilian woman Elizabetta Comparini, who in her 16th week of pregnancy, experienced a tear in her placenta, losing all the amniotic fluid. Praying to Gianna Beretta Molla, she continued with her pregnancy and gave birth to a healthy baby, defying all the negative prognosis the doctors had given her. Gianna was proclaimed a Saint by Pope St John Paul II on May 16, 2004, with her husband and three children present. She has since became the patron for pro-life and for pregnant women, and a great statement against abortion.