The Featured image is from the newly restored altar at St. James the Less church in Duluth, MN, Fr. Kunst’s present parish. It is at the foot of the stain glass window of St. Gianna.
The video and photos are from his former parish, St. John the Evangelist.
Each day features a new prayer intention and short reflection.
Dr. Gianna Molla visited St. John’s church with a presentation about her “Saint Mom & Dad.” The pictures and video are from that special time. The Novena follows!
St. Gianna Beretta Molla is a powerful patron for pregnant and parenting mothers. As a physician, wife, and mother, she knew intimately what it was like to struggle with a challenging medical diagnosis during pregnancy.
NOTE: St. Gianna Molla’s daughter, Dr. Gianna Molla spoke at St. John’s church to a large group attending her presentation, to the students at St. John’s school and to a young woman dying at the time where she presented a relic of her sainted mother. Here is a video of her presentation.
The Novena follows.
Day 1: For all women facing difficult or challenging pregnancies. All pregnancies are cause for celebration, as we welcome the gift of new life. Yet pregnancy is also a physical, mental, and spiritual challenge for mothers, and can be made more challenging by health, money, or relationship concerns. The unprecedented COVID-19 crisis has compounded struggles for vulnerable pregnant women. St. Gianna Beretta Molla is a powerful patron for pregnant mothers. As a physician, wife, and mother, she knew intimately what it was like to struggle with a challenging medical diagnosis during pregnancy. (To learn more about St. Gianna’s life, click here). We ask St. Gianna’s prayers for all women who are pregnant during this time, especially those who are particularly vulnerable, that they be supported and strengthened by God and their loved ones.
Day 2: For all healthcare workers. St. Gianna became a physician in an era when this was an unusual path for women. She chose a career in medicine because of her deep desire to serve the most vulnerable—the poor, the elderly, mothers, and young children. Every day, healthcare workers like St. Gianna perform acts of heroism, risking their own health and well-being to care for those who are ill. Today, we pray for all healthcare workers, that they may be guided and protected by God as they skillfully care for the sick.
Day 3: For healthy, supportive marriages. A mutually supportive marriage is a priceless treasure. Like all treasures, a thriving marriage must be cared for and protected. St. Gianna did not meet her husband Pietro until she was 32 and he was 45, but they enjoyed a deeply loving marriage that they cherished as their highest priority after their faith. A truly loving, selfless, and Christ-centered marriage is God’s design, and is especially important to pregnant and vulnerable mothers in need. Today, we pray that all marriages may be healed, protected, and strengthened.
Day 4: For family life. Many families are doing their best to balance work, child-care, and other duties, often in an atmosphere of confusion and insecurity. Many families suffer great economic strain, and have trouble paying for food and shelter. God designed families to be our greatest sources of human love and support. We pray that all families may have their material needs met, and that they may receive spiritual graces to grow in love and support for each other.
Day 5: For service organizations. St. Gianna was a devoted member of The Society of St. Vincent de Paul and Catholic Action. Her husband, Pietro Molla, said that membership in these organizations was formative to Gianna, and encouraged her great generosity of spirit. Many service organizations struggle with uncertain income, as well as lack of staff and volunteers. Yet, the needs of the communities they serve do not disappear, but rather intensify during times of crisis. Today, we pray that service organizations providing life-giving support to families may be guided by the Holy Spirit in their work and sustained during this time.
Day 6: For the faithful to be inspired to service. The Christian ideal is not that the faithful live entirely independently, but that we help one another. Service can take the form of material gifts to food banks and pregnancy care centers (do we have more time to clean our pantries and closets?), or a phone call to a lonely friend or neighbor. Many women who are pregnant would appreciate help with running necessary errands. (Ideas for volunteering, even virtually from home, can be found through an online search.) Pray about how you may be an instrument of God’s peace and love. We are Jesus’s hands and feet!
Day 7: For Families Facing a Difficult or Challenging Diagnosis. St. Gianna was one of thirteen children. When she was a child, she lost three of her siblings during the Spanish influenza epidemic that raged worldwide in the years following World War I. St. Gianna and her family knew intimately what it was like to accompany loved ones through serious illness. We ask her prayers for all families whose members are ill, that may be filled with God’s peace and strength.
Day 8: For the Sick. As a physician, and as someone who, herself, faced a life-altering diagnosis, St Gianna is a powerful patron for the sick. Through her own illness, St Gianna held fast to her faith amidst her fears. We ask her prayers, that the sick may experience healing according to God’s will and be sustained by His peace.
Day 9: For all mothers. St. Gianna’s sacrifice of risking her life for the health of her unborn child has inspired, and, in some cases, confounded those who hear her story. Yet almost all can agree that it was an extraordinary act of love. St. Gianna’s husband, Pietro, maintains that Gianna did not sacrifice her life from a desire to attain heaven, but simply “because she was a mother.” All mothers are capable of extraordinary acts of self-giving love, although these acts may take different forms. Mothers deserve our gratitude for the sacrifices they make in order to give, and to sustain, life. Today, we pray with thankfulness for all mothers.
Prayers for Each Day
O Blessed Mother, you received the good news of the incarnation of
Christ, your Son, with faith and trust. Grant your protection to all pregnant mothers facing difficulties.
Guide us as we strive to make our parish communities places of welcome and assistance for mothers in need. Help us become instruments of God’s love and compassion.
Mary, Mother of the Church, graciously help us build a culture of life and a civilization of love, together with all people of good will, to the praise and glory of God, the Creator and lover of life. Amen.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be)