Pray for us, St. Gianna Beretta Molla

By Tom Quiner

Today is All Saints Day in the Catholic Church. Iowans for LIFE embraces St. Gianna Beretta Molla as our patron saint.  A patron saint is a heavenly advocate, and Iowans for LIFE asks St. Gianna to pray for the health of pre-born babies and their mothers.

St. Gianna is a contemporary saint who understands the health of pre-born mothers and babies.  She was born in 1922 in Italy. She became a doctor specializing in surgery and pediatrics at the University of Milan, with a special affinity for mothers, babies, the elderly, and the poor.

The pursuit of God

Her life was defined by a pursuit of God, medicine, and family.

Poor health prevented her from pursuing missionary work abroad, but when God closes a door, he always opens a window.  God led her to her future husband, Pietro Molla, with whom she found fulfillment. Gianna wrote:

“Love is the most beautiful sentiment that the Lord has put into the soul of men and women.”


God quickly blessed the couple with three children in three years. But complications arose when Gianna became pregnant with their fourth child in 1961. She was diagnosed with a fibroma in her uterus.  Doctors pretty much told her that an abortion was the only way to save her life.

Gianna said no.  She directed doctors to remove the tumor without harming the child she carried. She was firm that her baby’s life came first.

Doctors successfully removed the tumor without harming the child.  Gianna Emanuela Molla was delivered on April 21, 1962 by Caesarean section.  But true to the doctors’ predictions, the mother didn’t survive, succumbing to septic peritonitis one week later.

Fast forward 42 years  

Elizabeth Comparini with her daughter, Gianna Maria, named after her heavenly intercessor

Another mother-to-be found herself in dire straits.  Elizabeth Comparini was sixteen weeks pregnant when she experienced a tear in her placenta.  All amniotic fluid drained from her womb.

Doctors said the situation was hopeless, that the baby would die.

Ms. Comparini prayed to Gianna Molla to intercede on her behalf. Her prayers were answered, as she gave birth to a healthy child.

Pope John Paul II (IFL’s other Patron Saint!) canonized Gianna Molla a saint on May 16, 2004.

[You can read the rest of this blogpost at Iowans for LIFE’S website.]