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Human Saints, Happiness, and Ways to Grow the Church

October 6, 2022 3 min read
St. Gianna Molla

This past week, the School of Health Sciences at the University of Mary was placed under the patronage of St. Gianna Molla. Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla, the daughter for whom St. Gianna gave her life, was in attendance. Such living connections to the saints serve as profound reminders of the reality of the faith and the humanity of the great heroes who have gone before us.

St. Gianna was born in Magenta, in northern Italy, and lived an active life of mountain climbing, skiing, and involvement in the Church. After attending medical school, Gianna opened a clinic in Mesero, where she met her future husband, Pietro Molla. Gianna and Pietro had four children together: Pierluigi, Mariolina, Laura, and Gianna Emanuela.

In the midst of her final pregnancy, doctors discovered a tumor in her uterus. Rather than allowing doctors to perform a complete hysterectomy, which would have resulted in the death of her child, Gianna opted merely to have the tumor removed. After giving birth to her daughter through a Caesarean section, Gianna began to experience complications relating to infection. She died at home a week later. St. Gianna was canonized in 2004, and Gianna Emanuela grew up to become a doctor. (Click here for more on the life of St. Gianna.)

St. Gianna serves as an impressive model of sanctity and a life well lived: she developed an impressive career, lived an active and full life, and was a dedicated life and mother, all within the context of her love of Christ. (Pope Francis recently remarked on the humanity of the saints, reminding us that “Saints do not come from a ‘parallel universe.’”) In a more particular way, she serves as a guiding light in the midst of an age often grappling with questions of human life and bioethics, showing how profound moral courage and the life-changing joy of the Gospel go hand-in-hand.

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