Tuesday, April 22, 2014

St. Gianna Novena {Day 3}
& the Vocation of Marriage

On Sunday we started a novena to ask St. Gianna Beretta Molla, patron saint of mothers, unborn children, and physicians, to pray for us. We will finish the novena on St. Gianna's feast day, Monday, April 28th. If you missed any of the other days of prayer, no worries! I'd love for you to join us in prayer today. {For a little history behind the novena prayer see Sunday's post.} 

In 1942, Gianna began her medical studies, specializing in pediatrics. Upon completing her studies, Gianna considered moving to Brazil to be with her brother who was there serving as a missionary priest. She soon discerned, however, to stay in Italy and open her own medical clinic. 

At a Catholic Action Mass in December 1954, Gianna met a man named Pietro Molla. They quickly became close friends, and just over four months later they were engaged. Gianna Beretta and Pietro Molla were married in September 1955 by Gianna's brother, Fr. Giuseppe. In reading about Gianna's life, I found the following story about their wedding ceremony: 
Gianna was dressed in a white satin gown with a tulle veil pinned at the nape of her neck. As Gianna began to walk down the aisle on the arm of her brother Ferdinando, everyone in the church was struck by her beauty and expressed their admiration with an applause that broke out through the quiet of the church. Gianna walking down the aisle tuned with her big wide-open eyes surprised at the response from her friends and family. 
Gianna and Pietro knelt together and promised to remain united to each other forever with the words of the vows of the Sacrament of Matrimony. They would soon show that the oath of love they made on that day would be stronger than any adversary, stronger even than death. 
Pietro later wrote Gianna:
“The memory returns of that sudden outburst of applause that began upon your entrance to the church that lasted until you reached the altar. Your brother, Giuseppe, who Saint [sic] our union, exhorted us to give witness to the Gospel and to holiness.” 
The happy couple took an extended honeymoon to Rome and all over Italy and Europe. Pietro wrote in a letter a few weeks after the wedding: 
“Her holy virtue, the gentle goodness and affection of Gianna, all her cares, give me the full joy and serenity which I asked of Jesus on my wedding day. With Gianna I am sure of forming a truly Christian family on which she will know how to draw the most beautiful heavenly graces… 
Pietro & Gianna Molla on their wedding day
What a beautiful witness to the true vocation of marriage. A Catholic marriage is more than just a social or legal union; Catholic marriage is a response to a call from God. And those of us who have answered that call have a great responsibility: to love our spouse as the Lord first loved us, and to grow in holiness by God's grace in this often challenging and ultimately rewarding sacrament.

For our intention today, let's pray for all those who are still discerning their vocations, that they might be open to wherever God is leading them. I pray for all women & men who are called to the vocation of marriage, and for married couples, that like Gianna & Pietro we might "give witness to the Gospel and to holiness" in the way we live and love. And as always, we lift up each other's personal intentions for this novena (feel free to share yours in the comments).
Please pray with me:

God, our Father, You have granted to Your church the gift of Gianna Beretta Molla. In her youth she lovingly sought You and drew other young people to You, involving them, through apostolic witness and Catholic Action, in the care of the sick and aged, to help and comfort them.

We thank You for the gift of this young woman, so deeply committed to You. Through her example grant us the grace to consecrate our lives to Your service, for the joy of our brothers and sisters. 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. 

Jesus, Redeemer of mankind, You called Saint Gianna to exercise the medical profession as a mission for the comfort of bodies and souls. In her suffering fellow men and in the little ones, deprived of all support, she saw You. 

We thank You for having revealed Yourself to this servant as “one who serves” and who soothes the sufferings of men. Treasuring her example may we become generous Christians at the service of our brothers and sisters, especially those with whom You deign to share Your Cross.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. 

God, Sanctifying Spirit, who love the Church as Your Bride, You poured into the heart of Saint Gianna a share of Your Love so that she could radiate it in her family, and thus cooperate with You in the wonderful plan of creation, and give life to new children who could know and love You.
We thank You for this model wife and, through her encouraging witness, we beg You to grant to our families the serene and Christian presence of mothers committed to transform their homes into cenacles of faith and love, rich with generous activity and sanctifying service.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. 

O God, Creator and lover of mankind, You were close to Saint Gianna when, affected by illness, she was in the painful dilemma of choosing between her own life and the life of the child whom she was carrying in herself, a gift long-awaited. Trusting You alone, and aware of Your Commandment to respect human life, Gianna found the courage to do her duty as a mother and to say “yes” to the new life of her baby, generously sacrificing her own. Through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Jesus, and after the example of Gianna, inspire all mothers to welcome with love the sparkle of new life. Grant us the grace we are praying for {say your intentions} and the joy to find an inspiration in Saint Gianna who, as a model spouse and mother, after the example of Christ, gave up her life for the life of others. 

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

{novena source}
•     •     •
I'm so glad you stopped by to pray with me. I hope you'll come back tomorrow for day four of the novena, and five of my favorite St. Gianna quotations!

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