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.