Philadelphia – United States (Friday, 01/16/2015, Gaudium Press) The 8th World Meeting of Families has a new patron saint: St. Gianna Beretta Molla, an Italian pediatrician, wife and mother canonized in 2004 by Pope John Paul II.
The event will take place from the 22 to the 25 of September 2015, in Philadelphia, United States, bringing together families from all parts of the world, having as its theme “Love is our mission: the family fully alive.”
Families and groups who wish to participate can already register at the official site which is (www.worldmeeting2015.org). (LMI)
Who was St. Gianna Beretta Molla?
Saint Gianna Beretta Molla (October 4, 1922 – April 28, 1962) was an Italian pediatrician, wife and mother who is best known for refusing both an abortion and a hysterectomy when she was pregnant with her fourth child, despite knowing that continuing with the pregnancy could result in her death. She was canonized as a Saint of the Catholic Church in 2004.
Gianna Beretta Molla was born in Magenta, Italy as the tenth of thirteen children in her family, only nine of whom reached adulthood. When she was three, her family moved to Bergamo, and she grew up in the Lombardy region of Italy. In 1942, Gianna began her study of medicine in Milan. She received a medical diploma in 1949, and opened an office in Mesero, where she specialized in pediatrics.
In December 1954, Gianna met Pietro Molla, an engineer who worked in her office. They were officially engaged the following April, and they married in September 1955. They welcomed the births of their children Pierluigi, in 1956, Mariolina, in 1957, and Laura in 1959.
In 1961, Gianna was pregnant again. During the second month, Gianna developed a fibroma on her uterus. After examination, the doctors gave her three choices: an abortion, a complete hysterectomy, or removal of only the fibroma. Gianna opted for the removal of the fibroma, wanting to preserve her child’s life.
Gianna clearly expressed her wishes to her family saying, “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, Holy Saturday of that year, Gianna went to the hospital, where her fourth child, Gianna Emanuela, was successfully delivered by Caesarean section. However, Gianna continued to have severe pain, and died of septic peritonitis 7 days after the birth.
Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1994, and canonized on May 16, 2004. Gianna’s husband Pietro, and their children Laura, Pierluigi & Gianna, were present at the canonization ceremony, the first time in the history of the Church that a husband witnessed his wife’s canonization. In his homily at her canonization Mass, Pope John Paul II called Gianna “a simple, but more than ever, significant messenger of divine love.”