April 28: Feast of St. Gianna Beretta Molla

by | Apr 24, 2016 | Formation

st-gianna-beretta-molla-featured-facebookThere are 10 Saints of the Vincentian Family: four men (St. Vincent de Paul, St. Francis Regis Clet, St. Justin de Jacobis, and St. John Gabriel Perboyre) and six women (St. Louise de Marillac, St. Joan Antida Thouret, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Catherine Labouré, St. Agostina Pietrantoni, and St. Gianna Beretta Molla).

April 28 is the feast day of St. Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-1962), a modern-day Saint, a doctor, wife, and mother who chose to continue with her fourth pregnancy, despite knowing that having this child could result in her own death, which it did. She is part of the Vincentian Family because in her younger years she served among the elderly and needy as a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. I would like to think that this experience influenced her, after she earned her degrees in medicine and surgery in 1949, to open the medical clinic where she would give special attention to mothers, babies, the elderly and the poor. Recently she was named Patron Saint of the World Meeting of Families.

12-minute video:

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In closing, a quote from Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini’s meditation at the time of her beatification, which he called “a powerful invitation to widespread sanctity”:

“In Gianna, in the heroism of her final moments, we acknowledge and celebrate the witness of so many other fathers and so many other mothers: fathers and mothers who have not had occasion to demonstrate their heroism, but who live their existence in silence and fidelity and form the solid fabric of our Church and of our nation. I also think of those humble, hidden persons, whose daily fidelity is truly heroic. By beatifying Gianna, the Church recognizes that in her it sets forth for the faithful to admire, venerate, and imitate the heroism of many parents, many mothers, many persons who honor Christ, the Church, and society in their dedicated, evangelical service. Though the conditions do not permit us to cast a light on the daily activity of these persons, their heroism exists and is great. We do not elevate Gianna to the altars as if to excuse ourselves our own mediocrity, but rather to affirm that each of us can live a fidelity that the Lord raises to sanctity.”