By Father Christopher Kubat
Many are familiar with the story of St. Gianna Beretta Molla. She was born in Magenta, Italy in 1922. As a young woman she considered entering religious life but, with the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes, discerned that God was calling her to the married life. She asked our Lady of Lourdes to send her a holy man, and that prayer was answered.
In 1955 she was married to Pietro Molla. It is clear from reading her letters that the Catholic faith was front and center in their courtship and married life.
It was during her fourth pregnancy that Gianna developed a tumor in her uterus which threatened her life, and her baby’s life. She was given a choice by her doctors—her life or the baby’s. As a doctor herself she knew the risk she was taking when she chose to have the tumor removed while the baby was in utero. Because of the weakness of her womb, she developed sepsis and died one week after the delivery. She and Pietro named their new daughter Gianna Emanuela.
As she was dying, St. Gianna said that she had a mixture of joy and sadness as she held her little infant girl: joy that she was alive and sorrow that she would not be there to raise her. “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13).
During a meeting with Pierluigi, the eldest child of St. Gianna, he told me that the most painful thing he ever did was to touch the dead body of his mother. But he went on to say that the many miracles that have happened because of the intercession of his mother greatly outweigh that pain.
On a recent pilgrimage with Gianna Emanuela, while speaking to us in the small chapel where her mother’s funeral Mass was offered, she said it was very difficult for her father who lost his wife and shortly afterward, his daughter Maria. She told us, “The only way in life is the way of the cross, even if you do not understand it. But it always leads to joy.”
I am happy to announce that Dr. Gianna Emanuela is set for her third trip to Lincoln. She has special devotion to St. Gianna’s Women’s Homes and loves the gelato and coffee shop named after her mother. She says the gelato tastes just like it does back home in Italy. She wants to increase the awareness of the Gianna’s Java & Gelato and its mission to raise money for the ladies living at St. Gianna’s.
Gianna will be greeting anyone who wishes to meet her at Gianna’s Java & Gelato on Thursday, April 12, from 4 to 7 p.m.
Not only is the intercession of her mother powerful, so are the prayers of her daughter Gianna Emanuela. I know personally of multiple couples suffering from infertility who have conceived after invoking St. Gianna’s intercession. St. Gianna, pray for us!