Click for live image
Gianna Beretta Molla was born in Magenta (Milan), Italy, on 4
October 1922, the 10th of 13 children. Already as a young girl
she willingly accepted the gift of faith and the clearly Christian
education that she received from her excellent parents. As a result,
she experienced life as a marvellous gift from God, had a strong
faith in Providence and was convinced of the necessity and effectiveness
She diligently dedicated herself to studies during the years of
her secondary and university education, while, at the same time,
applying her faith in generous apostolic service among the elderly
and needy as a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society. After
earning degrees in medicine and surgery, from the University of
Pavia in 1949, she opened a medical clinic in Mesero (near Magenta)
in 1950. She specialized in pediatrics at the University of Milan
in 1952 and thereafter gave special attention to mothers, babies,
the elderly and the poor.
While working in the field of medicine - which she considered
a "mission" and practised as such - she increased her
generous service to Catholic Action, especially among the "very
young" and, at the same time, expressed her joie de vivre
and love of creation through skiing and mountaineering. Through
her prayers and those of others, she reflected on her vocation,
which she also considered a gift from God. Having chosen the vocation
of marriage, she embraced it with complete enthusiasm and wholly
dedicated herself "to forming a truly Christian family".
She became engaged to Pietro Molla and was radiant with joy and
happiness during the time of their engagement, for which she thanked
and praised the Lord. They were married on 24 September 1955 in
St Martin's Basilica in Magenta, and she became a happy wife.
In November 1956, to her great joy, she became the mother of Pierluigi;
in December 1957 of Mariolina; in July 1959 of Laura. With simplicity
and equilibrium she harmonized the demands of mother, wife, doctor
and her passion for life.
In September 1961, towards the end of the second month of pregnancy,
she was touched by suffering and the mystery of pain; she had
developed a fibroma in her uterus. Before the required surgical
operation, and conscious of the risk that her continued pregnancy
brought, she pleaded with the surgeon to save the life of the
child she was carrying, and entrusted herself to prayer and Providence.
The life was saved, for which she thanked the Lord. She spent
the seven months remaining until the birth of the child in incomparable
strength of spirit and unrelenting dedication to her tasks as
mother and doctor. She worried that the baby in her womb might
be born in pain, and she asked God to prevent that.
A few days before the child was due, although trusting as always
in Providence, she was ready to give her life in order to save
that of her child: "if you must decide between me and the
child, do not hesitate: choose the child - I insist on it. Save
the baby". On the morning of 21 April 1962 Gianna Emanuela
was born. Despite all efforts and treatments to save both of them,
on the morning of 28 April, amid unspeakable pain and after repeated
exclamations of "Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you",
the mother died. She was 39 years old. Her funeral was an occasion
of profound grief, faith and prayer. The body of the newly blessed
lies in the cemetery of Mesero (4 km. from Magenta).