Saturday, April 28, 2012

St. Gianna Molla, pray for us

Today is the liturgical memorial of one of my best heavenly friends, St. Gianna Molla. She became my friend five years ago today, as I was working on a homily for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, which was Year C of the Sunday lectionary. Ever since that day, she has been a wonderful friend and intercessor on my behalf, the one through whom the answer to so many prayers and petitions has been graciously granted by our loving and lovely God.

Gianna "got" what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ, which is why she said things, like - "Our body is a cenacle, a monstrance: through its crystal the world should see God." I keep her picture in my den, at my office both at work and the in the parish. This is what came to me five years ago through her unbidden intercession:


It is only by striving to be holy, by cooperating with God in bringing about His purposes for us and through us, that, like the white-robed multitude, like Sts. Paul and Barnabas, like St. Gianna Molla, that we become stable and fill our role in God’s great plan. St. Gianna Beretta Molla, an Italian physician, began experiencing pain during her fourth pregnancy. It turned that she had developed a fibroma in her uterus. It was removed during surgery and her unborn child was unharmed. After her surgery, for the last seven months of pregnancy, despite pains and continuing complications, Gianna resumed her duties as a devoted disciple of the Lord Jesus, as a wife, a mother, and a physician. A few days before the child was due, amid much concern, she told the attending doctor: “If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child - I insist on it. Save him.” On the morning of 21 April 1962, a healthy baby girl, Gianna Emanuela, was born. Despite every effort to save both of them, on 28 April, amid unspeakable pain and after repeated exclamations of "Jesus, I love you," Gianna Molla died. She was 39 years old. She was canonized on 16 May 2004 by Pope John Paul II, with her husband and four children, including Gianna Emanuela, herself a physician, present to witness her being raised to the altar. 28 April is her memorial... One may believe that the era of the saints is over, but it is always the era of saints until Christ returns in glory, when "the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and . . . will wipe away every tear" (Rev 7,17) as they, like St. Gianna Molla, having “survived the time of great distress,” join the white-robed multitude."
St. Gianna Molla, who showed that us that holiness is our baptismal vocation, on this, your glorious feast, pray for us!

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