Thursday, April 24, 2014

St. Gianna Novena {Day 5}
Her Children, Miscarriages & Final Sacrifice

Happy Thursday! Today is the fifth day of our 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. Whether you've been praying with us daily or you just stopped by today, I'd love for you to join us in prayer. {For a little history of novenas see Sunday's post.} 

On Tuesday I shared about the meeting and marriage of Gianna & her husband, Pietro Molla. Gianna and Pietro were open to life and excited to try to start a family. They were blessed with Pierluigi in 1956, Mariolina in 1957, and Laura in 1959. 
Gianna, Pietro & family {source}
After three healthy pregnancies, Gianna suffered two miscarriages. In 1961, Gianna was pregnant once again, yet there was a complication: she had developed a large fibroid (benign tumor in the uterus). It caused her great pain and may have ended the pregnancy by compressing the fetus. A physician herself, Gianna knew the various risks and complications of this. She had three choices: a complete hysterectomy, an abortion, or removal of only the fibroid. [It may be of interest that Catholic teaching would have allowed the hysterectomy in this case: 
"Abortion – that is, the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability or the directly intended destruction of a viable fetus – is never permitted...Operations, treatments, and medications that have as their direct purpose the cure of a proportionately serious pathological condition of a pregnant woman are permitted when they cannot be safely postponed until the unborn child is viable, even if they will result in the death of the unborn child." – The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, issued by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (5th ed., 2009), Directives 45 & 47]
In making her decision, Gianna said:
"Yes, I have prayed so much in these days. With faith and hope I have entrusted myself to the Lord... I trust in God, yes; but now it is up to me to fulfill my duty as a mother. I renew to the Lord the offer of my life. I am ready for everything, to save my baby." {source}
She chose the removal of only the fibroid. 

The operation was successful, though Gianna continued to experience complications for the remaining seven months of the pregnancy. On Good Friday, 1962, Gianna went into labor and her fourth child, Gianna Emanuela, was delivered via Caesarean section. After delivery, Gianna's health quickly declined and seven days later, on April 18, 1962, Gianna Beretta Molla died at the age of 39. 

What an amazing witness of Christ's love for the world. 

As always, please share any personal intentions you have for this novena in the comments. In addition to your intentions, today I would like to praise God for the blessing of a child. I pray that all parents would know and cherish the gift of every life. I pray for all couples who, like St. Gianna, and like my husband & me, have suffered miscarriage or pregnancy loss. Also, in this National Infertility Awareness Week, I pray for all couples experiencing infertility. Lord, bless your people according to your good and perfect will.

Novena prayer:

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}
•     •     •
Thanks so much for being here. Tomorrow I'll be sharing some personal updates in my 7 quick takes along with some information on the canonization of St. Gianna, and, of course - our novena prayers.

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