Saints, Feast, Family
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Saint of the day:
Saint Gianna Beretta Molla
Saint Peter Chanel
Saint Louis Mary de Montfort
St. Gianna Beretta Molla
Patron Saint of mothers, physicians, and unborn children
was an Italian pediatrician born in Magenta in the Kingdom of Italy on October 4, 1922. She was the tenth of thirteen children in her family.
At three-years-old, Gianna and her family moved to Bergamo, and she grew up in the Lombardy region of Italy.
As a young girl, Gianna openly accepted her faith and the Catholic-Christian education provided to her from her loving parents. She grew up viewing life as God's beautiful gift and found the greatest necessity and effectiveness in prayer.
In 1942, Gianna began her study of medicine in Milan. She was a diligent and hardworking student, both at the university and in her faith.
As a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Gianna applied her faith in an apostolic service for the elderly and needy.
She received degrees in both medicine and surgery from the University of Pavia in 1949, and in 1950 she opened a medical office in Mesero, near her hometown of Magenta.
In 1952, Gianna specialized in pediatrics at the University of Milan and from there on, she was especially drawn toward mothers, babies, the elderly and the poor.
Gianna considered the field of medicine to be her mission, and treated it as such. She increased her generous service to Catholic Action, a movement of lay Catholics dedicated to living and spreading the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church in the broader culture. The Catholic Action movement is still at work today, throughout the world.
Gianna hoped to join her brother, a missionary priest in Brazil, where she intended to offer her medical expertise in gynecology to poor women.
However, her chronic ill health made this impractical, and she continued her practice in Italy.
She chose the vocation of marriage and considered this to be a gift from God. Gianna embraced this gift with all her being and completely dedicated herself to "forming a truly Christian family."
In December 1954, Gianna met Pietro Molla, an engineer who worked in her office. They were officially engaged the following April, and married in September 1955, making Gianna a happy wife.
Gianna wrote to Pietro, "Love is the most beautiful sentiment that the Lord has put into the soul of men and women."
In November 1956, Gianna became a mother to her first child, Pierluigi. Their second child, Maria Zita, in December 1957, and their third, Laura, in July 1959.
Gianna handled motherhood with grace and was able to harmonize all aspects of her demanding life.
In 1961, Gianna became pregnant with her fourth child. Toward the end of her second month of pregnancy, Gianna was struck with an unimaginable pain.
Her doctors discovered she had developed a fibroma in her uterus, meaning she was carrying both a baby and a tumor.
After examination, the doctors gave her three choices: an abortion, which would save her life and allow her to continue to have children, but take the life of the child she carried; a complete hysterectomy, which would preserve her life, but take the unborn child's life, and prevent further pregnancy; or removal of only the fibroma, with the potential of further complications, which could save the life of her baby.
Catholic teaching affirms what medical science, the Natural Law, the Bible and unbroken Christian tradition affirm, the child in the womb has a fundamental Human Right to Life. Wanting to preserve her child's life, Gianna opted for the removal of only the fibroma.
In fact, she was willing to give her own life to save the life of her child.
Gianna pleaded with the surgeons to save her child's life over her own. She sought comfort in her prayers and her living faith.
The child's life was saved, for which Gianna graciously thanked the Lord.
After the operation, complications continued throughout her pregnancy, but Gianna spent the remainder of her pregnancy with an unparalleled strength and insistent dedication for her tasks as a mother and a doctor.
A few days before the baby was to be born, Gianna prayed the Lord take any pain away from the child. She recognized she may lose her life during delivery, but she was ready.
Gianna was quite clear about her wishes, expressing to her family, "If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child?I insist on it. Save the baby."
On April 21, 1962, Gianna Emanuela Molla successfully delivered by Caesarean section.
The doctors tried many different treatments and procedures to ensure both lives would be saved. However, on April 28, 1962, a week after the baby was born, Gianna passed away from septic peritonitis. She is buried in Mesero.
Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1994, and officially canonized as a saint on May 16, 2004. Her husband and their children, including Gianna Emanuela, attended her canonization ceremony, making this the first time a husband witnessed his wife's canonization.
In 2003, mother-to-be Elizabeth Comparini experienced a tear in her placenta when she was 16-weeks pregnant. Her womb was drained of all amniotic fluid. She was told the chances of her baby's survival was little to none. Elizabeth is said to have prayed to Gianna Molla and asked for her intercession. Elizabeth was able to give birth to a healthy baby.
During Gianna's canonization ceremony, John Paul II described her as, "a simple, but more than ever, significant messenger of divine love."
St. Gianna is the inspiration behind the first pro-life Catholic healthcare center for women in New York, the Gianna Center.
St. Gianna Beretta Molla is the patron saint of mothers, physicians, and unborn children. Her feast day is celebrated on April 28.
St. Peter Chanel
Patron Saint of of Oceania
In St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr (Feast day - April 28) The protomartyr of the South Seas, St. Peter Chanel was born in 1803 at Clet in the diocese of Belley, France. His intelligence and simple piety brought him to the attention of the local priest, Father Trompier, who saw to his elementary education. Entering the diocesan Seminary, Peter won the affection and the esteem of both students and professors. After his ordination he found himself in a rundown country parish and completely revitalized it in the three year span that he remained there. However, his mind was set on missionary work; so, in 1831, he joined the newly formed Society of Mary (Marists) which concentrated on missionary work at home and abroad. To his dismay, he was appointed to teach at the seminary at Belley and remained there for the next five years, diligently performing his duties.
In 1836, the Society was given the New Hebrides in the Pacific as a field for evangelization, and the jubilant St. Peterwas appointed Superior of a little band of missionaries sent to proclaim the Faith to its inhabitants. On reaching their destination after an arduous ten month journey, the band split up and St. Peter went to the Island of Futuna accompanied by a lay brother and an English layman, Thomas Boog. They were at first well received by the pagans and their king Niuliki who had only recently forbidden canabalism. However, the kings jealousy and fear were aroused when the missionaries learned the language and gained the people's confidence; he realized the adoption of the Christian Faith would lead to the abolition of some of the prerogatives he enjoyed as both highpriest and sovereign.
Finally, when his own son expressed a desire to be baptized, the king's hatred erupted and he dispatched a group of his warriors to set upon the saintly head of the missionaries. Thus, on April 28, 1841, three years after his arrival, St. Peter was seized and clubbed to death by those he had come to save. And his death brought his work to completion - within five months the entire island was converted to Christianity.
St. Louis Mary de Montfort
Confessor, Marian devotee, and founder of the Sisters of Divine Wisdom He was born Louis Maie Grignon in Montfort, France, in 1673. Educated at Rennes, he was ordained there in 1700, becoming a chaplain in a hospital in Poitiers. His congregation, also called the Daughters of Divine Wisdom, started there. As his missions and sermons raised complaints, Louis went to Rome, where Pope Clement XI appointed him as a missionary apostolic. Louis is famous for fostering devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary. In 1715, he also founded the Missionaries of the Company of Mary. His True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin remains popular. Louis died at Saint-Laurent-sur-Sevre. He was canonized in 1947.