Tag Archives: patron of children

St. Gianna Beretta Molla (Oct. 4, 1922-April 28, 1962)

Patron of unborn, children, mothers, wives, physicians
Feast Day: April 28
Canonization: May 16, 2004

St. Gianna Beretta Molla was born in Magenta, Italy on Oct. 4, 1922, as the tenth of 13 children. Growing up, she was active in her parish and in organizations such as Catholic Action. After receiving her medical diploma in 1949, she opened a local pediatrics practice.

In 1954, she met Pietro Molla, an engineer. They married the following year, and Gianna gave birth to three children between 1956 and 1959.

In 1961, during the second month of her fourth pregnancy, Gianna developed a fibroma on her uterus. The doctors gave her three options: an abortion, a hysterectomy, or removing the fibroma. Gianna decided to remove the fibroma to save the child, and told the doctors that the baby’s life was to be considered more important than hers.

On April 21, 1962 — Holy Saturday — Gianna gave birth to her fourth child, Gianna Emanuela, via Caesarean section. Gianna’s condition worsened, however, and she died a week later of septic peritonitis.

Gianna’s selfless example has made her a global pro-life inspiration.

St. Nicholas (270-343)

Patron of Children, Brides, Sailors, Ships, the Wrongly Condemned
Feast Day: December 6
Canonization: Pre-Congregation

The inspiration for Santa Claus was St. Nicholas, known as Nikolaos of Myra, a 4th century saint and Greek bishop born to Christian parents in the Roman Empire (of modern-day Turkey). After his parents died in an epidemic, Nicholas was raised by his uncle, the Bishop of Patara, who mentored him and later ordained him to the priesthood. Nicholas was made bishop after returning to Asia Minor around 317 AD. He is patron of sailors, scholars, brides, and especially children. According to legend, he raised three young boys from the dead who were murdered by an innkeeper. Another story says he helped a poor man who couldn’t afford proper dowry for his three daughters, which put them at risk of becoming prostitutes. Nicholas threw bags of gold into the man’s house to cover the dowries. St. Nicholas is said to have attended the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, and slapped the heretic Arius for asserting that God the Son was inferior to God the Father. It is customary in several European countries to give small gifts and candy to children on the saint’s feast.