The Day the Pope Wept
BRAZIL, OCTOBER 1997. Maracana Stadium. Gianna
Emmanuela, a 35 year old woman from Italy,
is speaking about her mother. Suffering from
a uterine tumor, her mum refused surgery
that would have taken away the life of her
"Thank you, mother, thank you
given me life two times - in conception
when you permitted me to be born, deciding
for my life. Intercede and help always
mothers and all families that come
The Pope could not hold his tears.
"Sowing Our Little Seeds Unceasingly"
The story started in Magenta, a small
near Milan, Italy on October 4, 1922.
was the day Gianna Beretta Molla was
She was number ten out of a total of
children. A good tree gives good fruit.
A beautiful girl, Gianna was full of
She liked sports, especially mountain
and skiing. Having graduated in medicine,
when she was 28 she opened a medical
specializing in pediatrics.
More than a job, medicine was for her
Those were the times when medicine
the money-making machine it is now!
the patient was poor, Gianna not only
give him free medical examination,
free medicines or money."
Speaking about the characteristics
of a Christian
doctor, Gianna always reminded herself
"Never forget the patient's soul."
And once, speaking to her friend, she
"We have many opportunities which
do not have. Our mission does not end
medicine fails us; there is the soul
we must bring to God."
She was very active in the Catholic
a Church youth association. Speaking
she gave away her secret. "God
to see us near Him, to transmit to
the secret of our prayer, the conversion
of all the souls approaching us...
day of our life we should have a moment's
time to collect our thoughts in prayer
"Let us not stop too much considering
what will happen. Even if after having
our best we have a failure, let us
accept it. A well accepted failure
more benefit for the salvation of the
than a triumph."
She even considered seriously the possibility
of becoming a lay missionary in South
where her brother priest was working.
She realized however that God was calling
her to a different experience. In 1954,
went on a pilgrimage to Lourdes, helping
out as a doctor. ''I have been to Lourdes
to ask Our Lady what I shall do: to
the missions or to marry. I reached
Pietro came in!" They got married
she was 33.
"I want really a Christian family,"
she wrote to her husband, "where
is like one of the family; a little
where He can reign in our hearts, enlighten
our decisions and guide our programs."
Within four years she had three children,
one boy and two girls.
With uncanny simplicity she harmonized
demands of mother, wife, doctor and
for life. "I have always been
that the secret of happiness is living
by moment and to thank God for everything
that in His goodness He sends us, day
She was so normal that her husband
was to confess that "I never realized
that I had been living with a saint!"
This is the stuff saints are made of.
"One Cannot Love Without Suffering
Suffer Without Love"
In July 1961 she was again pregnant.
time she had many complications. She
developed a fibroma in her uterus.
All through her pregnancy, she constantly
repeated to her doctor: "If you
decide between me and the child, do
choose the child - I insist on it.
Being a doctor herself, she was fully
of what she had to face. However she
On the morning of April 21, 1962 Gianna
was born. It was Holy Saturday. Despite
efforts to save both of them, seven
later the mother died. The pain was
Her last phrase was "Jesus, I
Jesus, I love you." She was 39
In 1994 the Pope beatified her. "After
an exemplary existence as a student,
girl fully engaged in the ecclesiastical
community, as a wife and a happy mother,
she offered and sacrificed her life
that the creature she was carrying
live. Today she is here with us!"
For a Holy Card of Blessed Gianna,
P.O. Box 59557
Philadelphia, PA 19102-9557
See also: http://www.gianna.org/ for more details and information.
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
hereby granted for any non-commercial
provided that the content is unaltered
its original state, if this copyright