As a young girl, Gianna openly accepted her faith and the Catholic-Christian education her loving parents provided.
In 1942, Gianna began to study medicine in Milan. She was a diligent and hardworking student, both at the university and in her faith.
She earned degrees in medicine and surgery from the University of Pavia in 1949, and in 1950 opened a medical office.
In 1952, Gianna specialized in pediatrics at the University of Milan and was soon drawn toward mothers, babies, the elderly and the poor.
She chose the vocation of marriage and dedicated herself toward “forming a truly Christian family.”
In December 1954, Gianna met Pietro Molla and the couple was married in September 1955. Gianna had three children by 1959.
When Gianna became pregnant with her fourth child in 1961, doctors discovered a tumor in her uterus. She was given three choices: an abortion, a complete hysterectomy, or the removal of the tumor.
For her child, Gianna opted to remove only the tumor.
Her child’s life was saved, for which Gianna graciously thanked the Lord. However, after the operation, complications continued throughout her pregnancy.
A few days before the baby was to be born, Gianna clearly expressed 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 was delivered by Caesarean section. The doctors tried to ensure both lives would be saved, but a week after the baby was born, Gianna passed away from an infection.
Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1994 and canonized in 2004. Her husband and their children attended her canonization ceremony, making this the first time a husband witnessed his wife’s canonization.
St. Gianna Beretta Molla is the patron saint of mothers, physicians, and unborn children. Her feast day is celebrated on April 28.
To learn more about St. Gianna Beretta Molla: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=6985