St. Gianna Beretta Molla
She diligently dedicated herself to studies during the years of her secondary and university education, while, at the same time, applying her faith through generous apostolic service among the youth of Catholic Action and charitable work among the elderly and needy as a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. After earning degrees in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Pavia in 1949, she opened a medical clinic in Mesero (near Magenta) in 1950. She specialized in Pediatrics at the University of Milan in 1952 and there after gave special attention to mothers, babies, the elderly and poor.
While working in the field of medicine-which she considered a “mission” and practiced as such-she increased her generous service to Catholic Action, especially among the “very young” and, at the same time, expressed her joie de vivre and love of creation through skiing and mountaineering. Through her prayers and those of others, she reflected upon her vocation, which she also considered a gift from God. Having chosen the vocation of marriage, she embraced it with complete enthusiasm and wholly dedicated herself “to forming a truly Christian family”.
She became engaged to Pietro Molla and was radiant with joy and happiness during the time of their engagement, for which she thanked and praised the Lord. They were married on September 24, 1955, in the Basilica of St. Martin in Magenta, and she became a happy wife. In November 1956, to her great joy, she became the mother of Pierluigi, in December 1957 of Mariolina; in July 1959 of Laura. With simplicity and equilibrium she harmonized the demands of mother, wife, doctor and her passion for life.
In September 1961 towards the end of the second month of pregnancy, she was touched by suffering and the mystery of pain; she had developed a fibroma in her uterus. Before the required surgical operation, and conscious of the risk that her continued pregnancy brought, she pleaded with the surgeon to save the life of the child she was carrying, and entrusted herself to prayer and Providence. The life was saved, for which she thanked the Lord. She spent the seven months remaining until the birth of the child in incomparable strength of spirit and unrelenting dedication to her tasks as mother and doctor. She worried that the baby in her womb might be born in pain, and she asked God to prevent that.
A few days before the child was due, although trusting as always in Providence, she was ready to give her life in order to save that of her child: “If you must decided between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child – I insist on it. Save him”. On the morning of April 21, 1962, Gianna Emanuela was born. Despite all efforts and treatments to save both of them, on the morning of April 28, amid unspeakable pain and after repeated exclamations of “Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you», the mother died. She was 39 years old. Her funeral was an occasion of profound grief, faith and prayer. The Servant of God lies in the cemetery of Mesero (4 km from Magenta).
“Conscious immolation” was the phrase used by Pope Paul VI to define the act of Blessed Gianna, remembering her at the Sunday Angelus of September 23, 1973, as: “A young mother from the diocese of Milan, who, to give life to her daughter, sacrificed her own, with conscious immolation”. The Holy Father in these words clearly refers to Christ on Calvary and in the Eucharist.
Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1994, during the international Year of the Family, and canonized by him on May 16, 2004.
In the Papal Artifacts’ Collection there have been many unique and varied items, and this rare, hand-written Geometry Assignment of St. Gianna Beretta Molla is one of the most unique.
Written as a school assignment in great detail, it was a gift from Dr. Gianna Molla to Father Richard Kunst during her October 29 to 31, 2017 visit to his home parish in Duluth, Minnesota.
Saint Gianna would have been approximately 14 years old at the time this assignment was recorded. She signed on the cover, Beretta G.
Dr. Molla wrote the explanation of this relic, which also authenticates the relic, on her mom’s letterhead paper from the time the saint was a practicing doctor. (Both women practiced as physicians.)
The assignment ranks as one of the most unique treasures of this Collection, coming from a beloved 20th century saint via her gracious and beloved child.
Father Kunst is grateful for this gift, and for the gift of herself, which she left with the audiences who attended her many presentations.
Saint Gianna, pray for us!
It is impossible to overestimate the gift to Duluth, Minnesota, Dr. Molla was. Her indescribable joy and heartfelt presentation about her Saint Mom and Holy Dad reached into the hearts and minds of those who were fortunate to hear her presentations. We are so grateful for her presence.
St. Gianna, pray for us!