Today is the feast day of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, a saint, very near and dear to my heart.
I am assuming that you know who Saint Gianna is. In case you have never heard of her, I will tell you that this wonderful woman was a mother, wife and doctor who was very devoted to Jesus. At the age of 15, made a resolution and wrote in her journal saying, "I make note of doing all for Jesus. I offer him all my work, all my disappointments and sufferings. I promise You, Jesus to submit myself to all that You permit to happen to me. Let me only know Your will."
She later asked and prayed for direction in her studies. She asked Jesus how she should best serve Him. She studied very hard and became a doctor. She also prayed to Jesus for a good husband, if that is His will. He sent her Pietro Molla and they were married on September 24, 1955. They had three children and two others were miscarried. In September of 1961, while two months pregnant, a benign uterine tumor was found. She had the option of aborting the child. For her, this was not an option. If there was a chance that her child could be saved, she would do what it takes to save the child.
The doctors removed the tumor and she gave birth to Gianna Emanuella on Holy Saturday, April 21, 1961. Days before the child was due, Gianna told her husband, "If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child. I insist on it. Save the baby." Saint Gianna died on the morning of April 28th at the age of 39 years. While laying dying, Gianna repeatedly said, "Jesus, I love You! Jesus, I love You!"
In November of last year, I had an opportuntiy to hear a talk on Saint Gianna and touch her relics. At the time, I blogged about whether or not I should go. The presentation took place during bedtime and we ususally don't interrupt bedtime, if we can help it. If you have little ones, you know why. By the grace of God, we found a solution, I would attend with the two oldest and my husband would take the two little fidgety,
At the time, we were still mourning the loss of our last miscarriage. We miscarried in September, at home. I went to the hospital on the advice of our midwives hours later because the bleeding was still very heavy and showed no signs of stopping. The OB/GYN at the hospital told me very frankly that if we were to conceive again, there would be a 50/50 chance of us miscarrying again. My husband and I dreamt of a large family and felt a very heavy burden. Our of the seven times we conceived, we had four children on earth and three in heaven. We wondered how we could be open to life. We were afraid to conceive again. Honestly, scared.
On November 30th, we went to the presentation at our parish. We held Saint Gianna's relics in our hands. We received prayer cards and I personally prayed for her intercession. I prayed that I would be open to life. I also prayed for strength and courage. I prayed to conceive again. Little did I know, that I was already carrying a little one under my heart.
When Sascha came to pick Noah, Maria and I up, he was frustrated and overwhelmed by the two little ones. The line up to touch Saint Gianna's relics (gloves) was very long, but on the side of altar, by the ambo was a chasuble. This chasuble was made out of Saint Gianna's wedding gown, in the hopes that she would have a son who would become a priest. It too was a relic. There was no line up to touch this particular relic, so I insisted that the little boys and Sascha come and touch it and that we would pray together there. So we all did.
During the car ride home, I asked Sascha if he had experienced anything out of the ordinary while touching the chasuble. I was curious because of the stories we had heard during the presentation. There were stories of healing and extraordinary experiences while touching Saint Gianna's relics. We hadn't told him any stories yet, when he told me that his whole body became very hot. Saint Gianna had touched him, oh my goodness! I was freaking out inside. Really?!? I never felt anything. It was just like one of the stories we had just heard.
That night something in us changed. Peace came. I believe it is through the intercession of Saint Gianna, as well as Saint Gerard of Majella that we are now with child. I know that Saint Gianna interceded for me that night and continues to intercede for me throughout this pregancy.
Early in the pregnancy, I began spotting and bleeding. An ultrasound revealed that I had an ovarian cyst. It burst, thus causing pain and bleeding. Again I asked our Blessed Mother, Saint Gerard and Saint Gianna for their intercession.
Last evening, I watched "Love is a Choice" on EWTN, a film on the life of Saint Gianna. I balled. Hormones or not, the movie really touched me. Every mother should watch the documentary. I wanted to share with you the movie, but this is the best I could do. The documentary by Salt & Light Productions is longer than this, but the following excerpt was part of it. Please watch it and see why I love Saint Gianna so much.
While looking for the above mentioned video, I stumbled upon the following video. In it, Saint Gianna's daughter, Gianna Emanuela speaks about her parents, especially her Saint mommy. It moved me to tears. I just wanted to reach out and hug her and tell her how much her mom has done for me.
Happy Feast Day, my friends! The post is already quite long, but I wanted to also share that we are celebrating with a homemade pizza dinner, since pasta doesn't exist on a grain-free diet. I am curious to hear how you celebrate the feast of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla.
Saint Gianna, pray for us.