Gianna Beretta was born in 1922 to devoutly Catholic parents — both were members of the Third Order of Saint Francis. When she was 20, she began to study medicine in Milan and received her degree seven years later. She opened a practice in 1950, specializing in pediatrics. She dreamed of traveling to Brazil to provide gynecoligical services to poor women, but her chronic ill health prevented this from becoming a reality.
Gianna considered both her vocation as a doctor and being called to marriage to be gifts from God — even while she was single. In 1954, at the age of 32, she met Pietro Molla, and the two married within a year. Gianna continued to practice medicine and by the end of 1959, she and Pietro had three children.
In 1961, while Gianna was pregnant with their fourth child, she developed a fibroma in her uterus. Doctors gave her three options: an abortion, a complete hysterectomy (which would result in the unintended death of her child), or removal of the fibroma alone, which left her at high risk for complications during birth. Gianna told doctors that her child’s life was more important than her own, and she opted for removal of the fibroma. On April 21, 1962, Gianna’s fourth child — Gianna Emanuela — was delivered via c-section. Gianna Beretta Molla died one week later of septic peritonitis.
Gianna Emanuela is still alive today and is a geriatric doctor.
Gianna Beretta Molla was canonized in May 2004 by then Pope John Paul II. Gianna’s husband and their children were present at the canonization. It was the first time that a husband had ever witnessed his wife’s canonization. The miracles needed to canonize Gianna were healings of a mother who had recently given birth to a stillborn baby and suffered from a life-threatening complication that fully healed, and another woman who unexpectedly lost all amniotic fluid mid-pregnancy and still gave birth to a healthy baby.
St. Gianna Beretta Molla is the patron saint of mothers, physicians, wives, families, and unborn children. Get to know this inspiring and holy woman through this playlist inspired by her life — featuring artists Johnnyswim and Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors and themes of love and hope.