Gianna Baretta Molla was born on October 4th, 1922 near Milan, Italy. St. Gianna was a physician, loving wife and working mother.
Married in 1955, she found herself expecting their fourth child in 1961. During this pregnancy, doctors discovered a large fibroma on her uterus and recommended a hysterectomy.
Knowing that a hysterectomy would result in the death of her unborn child, Gianna chose to just have the growth removed, preserving her child’s life. After surgery, complications followed throughout the pregnancy. Knowing that this delivery would be difficult, Gianna pleaded with her family and doctors, “If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate, choose the child.”
The baby, Gianna Emanuela was successfully delivered and Gianna died of septic peritonitis seven days later.
When Gianna’s family is questioned about their mother’s choice, her daughter, Laura Molla answers, “My mother did not choose death”, but “at that moment she chose life for her child.”
Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul ll in 1994 and canonized a Saint on May 16, 2004.