Sunday, July 02, 2006

Save the baby! (Gianna Beretta Molla)

In September, 1961, during the second month of her fourth maternity, Gianna Beretta Molla noticed a swelling in her abdomen, which is unnatural in its existence. She had a check-up and discovered that a tumor was growing in her uterus. She was told that the tumor will endanger both her and the baby. She was given the choice between killing the baby and removing the tumor, or saving the baby and remove the tumor, which would cost her life. She chose the second choice and saved the life of the baby. She spent the next seven months attending to her family and practicing her job as a doctor.
Gianna surrendered herself to the will of God and prayed for the baby’s health. She knew she was about to die. She told her sister once, “Sister, I have come here, this time, to die.” A few days before giving birth to her child, she told Pietro, her husband, “If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child—I insist on it. Save the baby.”
Gianna started delivering her child on the afternoon of April 20, 1962. But hours passed by until 11 in the morning, on April 21, when a caesarian cut was made. A beautiful healthy girl was born. Pietro named the girl Gianna Emmanuela: Gianna in remembrance of her mother and Emmanuela, which reminds them of “God with us.”
The people in the hospital testified to Gianna’s calm attitude, her serenity and her joy. In her last days, the only thing that bothered Gianna was the thought of leaving her children. She surrenders herself to suffering. However, she refused to be treated with narcotics, since she wanted to be conscious all the way to death. Every possible attempt to save her was made, but to no avail.
She begged to receive the Holy Communion, but she vomits each time she receive it. According to Pietro, he would hear his wife murmuring the name of Jesus in moments of pain. But Gianna never complained. If she is in pain, she would just bite a handkerchief. The nurse attending to her said, “She was aware of everything, when the effect of the anesthesia would come to an end she would remain quiet, aware, silent, in an attitude of listening, of prayer. . . When we used the thermometer or listened to her pulse, and doing any other service, she would let us do it, but with her look would make us understand that it was all of no avail.”
On the morning of April 26, she was brought home by an ambulance. But her relatives decided to take her to other relatives, since they do not have the courage to let the children see their dying mother. At eight o’clock in the morning, he closed her eyes as an act of saying “It is finished” to God. Her last words were the names of Jesus. She was only 39 years old.
In her funeral, Pierluigi, Gianna’s oldest son who was eight, asked his father, “Why is mother there? Is she mother? Does mother see me, touch me, think on me?” Pietro, moved by sadness, could not reply. In his innocence, Pierluigi consoled his father, “For mother there should be a golden little house!”
People in the world saw Gianna as an example for Christian motherhood. Those who petitioned for her sainthood said, “Such a mother and martyr who, out of love for God and in obedience to His commandment 'Thou shall not kill,' bears witness and exalts the heroism of a Christian wife and mother, sacrifices her life to say 'yes' to the Christian duty of love, and out of her respect for life, God's gift to men. This example of wife and mother is what we would like to propose today to the whole Church, at a time when egoism and violence are rampant. It has become very easy to kill, in both hidden and blatant ways. In this our world prone to introduce the legalization of abortion, the Servant of God, Gianna Beretta Molla has become a courageous example of Christian behavior.”
Gianna Beretta Molla was canonized on May 16, 2004, in the Vatican. Her daughter Gianna Emmanuela, her husband Pietro and other members of the family were in the canonization ceremony.


Post a Comment

<< Home