Today is All Saints Day in the Catholic Church. Iowans for LIFE embraces St. Gianna Beretta Molla as our patron saint. A patron saint is a heavenly advocate, and Iowans for LIFE asks St. Gianna to pray for the health of pre-born babies and their mothers.
St. Gianna is a contemporary saint who understands the health of pre-born mothers and babies. She was born in 1922 in Italy. She became a doctor specializing in surgery and pediatrics at the University of Milan, with a special affinity for mothers, babies, the elderly, and the poor.
The pursuit of God
Her life was defined by a pursuit of God, medicine, and family.
Poor health prevented her from pursuing missionary work abroad, but when God closes a door, he always opens a window. God led her to her future husband, Pietro Molla, with whom she found fulfillment. Gianna wrote:
“Love is the most beautiful sentiment that the Lord has put into the soul of men and women.”
God quickly blessed the couple with three children in three years. But complications arose when Gianna became pregnant with their fourth child in 1961. She was diagnosed with a fibroma in her uterus. Doctors pretty much told her that an abortion was the only way to save her life.
Gianna said no. She directed doctors to remove the tumor without harming the child she carried. She was firm that her baby’s life came first.
Doctors successfully removed the tumor without harming the child. Gianna Emanuela Molla was delivered on April 21, 1962 by Caesarean section. But true to the doctors’ predictions, the mother didn’t survive, succumbing to septic peritonitis one week later.
Fast forward 42 years
Another mother-to-be found herself in dire straits. Elizabeth Comparini was sixteen weeks pregnant when she experienced a tear in her placenta. All amniotic fluid drained from her womb.
Doctors said the situation was hopeless, that the baby would die.
Ms. Comparini prayed to Gianna Molla to intercede on her behalf. Her prayers were answered, as she gave birth to a healthy child.
Pope John Paul II (IFL’s other Patron Saint!) canonized Gianna Molla a saint on May 16, 2004.
Saints are a big deal!
All Saints Day is a big deal, because saints are a big deal. Catholic philosopher, Dr. Peter Kreeft, captures the unique characteristics of saints in a beautiful essay. An excerpt:
“A saint’s heart is broken by every little sorrow and sin. A saint’s heart is also so strong that not even death can break it. It is indestructible because it’s so breakable.”
Saint Gianna exemplified the heart of a saint with her tender, but ferocious love for society’s most vulnerable: the unborn. She gave her life so her child could live.
Her prayer was that of a saint:
“0 Jesus, I promise You to submit myself to all that You permit to happen to me, make me only know Your Will”.
That’s a scary prayer, isn’t it? Dr. Kreeft paraphrases the prayer this way:
“A saint takes his hands off the steering wheel of his life and lets God steer. That’s scary, for God is invisible. A saint also has hands that move the world. He has feet that move through the world with a sure step.”
On this All Saints Day, we can call on beautiful saints like St. Gianna Beretta Molla, who live in the presence of Almighty God, to pray for us.
St. Gianna lives among the “cloud of witnesses” to whom St. Paul referred in his letter to the Hebrews (12:1):
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
We’re not alone.
We are surrounded by a cloud of saints eager to pray on our behalf if we only ask, and their prayers are powerful.
So on this All Saints Day, November 1st, 2018, Iowans for LIFE asks St. Gianna Beretta Molla to pray for us:
St. Gianna, pray for the men, the fathers of the unborn, that the Holy Spirit cultivate a spirit of responsibility and pride of fatherhood in their hearts.
St. Gianna, pray for the legislators responsible for writing our laws, that they always keep in mind that laws, to be just, must protect each member of society from fertilization to natural death.
St. Gianna, pray that our politicians and national commentators understand that peace begins in the womb.
St. Gianna, pray that Christ’s Church be an instrument of peace in ending the scourge of human abortion that has so corrupted the United States of America.
St. Gianna, pray for us.
Pray for us.
Pray. For. Us.