Gianna Beretta was born in 1922 in Milan, Italy. Gianna’s parents instilled in her a beautiful faith in God and a deep love and devotion to prayer. She was both a devoted student and a devoted Catholic, involved in Catholic Action and the St. Vincent de Paul Society. In 1949 she graduated from the University of Pavia with a degree in medicine and surgery and the next year she opened her own clinic in Mesero. In 1952 she specialized in pediatrics from the University of Milan and began to work with mothers, babies, the elderly, and the poor.
During this time she continued to deepen her faith and expressed her love for life in skiing and mountaineering. In 1955, she married Pietro Molla. In 1956, she gave birth to her first child, Pierluigi. 1957 brought Mariolina, and in 1959, Laura. She balanced her career and motherhood with ease and love.
In 1961, Gianna became pregnant again and during the second month of pregnancy began to experience pain, discovering that she had developed a fibroma in her uterus. During the required surgical operation, she prayed fervently for God to save the life of her child, which he did. In the remaining months of the pregnancyshe devoted herself to her tasks as doctor and mother. When it came time for the birth of her child, she prayed that the child not be born in pain. On April 21, 1962, Gianna Emmanuela was born. Despite the efforts of the doctors, Gianna Beretta Molla passed away on April 28 in extreme pain, uttering “Jesus I love you, Jesus I love you.”
Despite being a physician and knowing the risks to her own life, Gianna made a selfless decision to refuse an abortion. She put her child ahead of her career and her own life, that it might live. For these brave acts, Pope John Paul II beatified her in 1994, and canonized her on May 16, 2004.
St. Gianna, pray for us.