St. Gianna Beretta Molla

Feast day:

April 28

Patron Saint of

mothers, physicians, and unborn children


Place of Birth: Magenta, Italy

Date of Birth: October 4, 1922

Death: April 28, 1962


St. Gianna Beretta Molla was an Italian paediatrician.  In 1961, she became pregnant with her fourth child – toward the end of her second month of pregnancy, doctors discovered she had developed a fibroma in her uterus (she was carrying both a baby and a tumor).

The doctors gave her three choices: an abortion, a hysterectomy, or removal of only the fibroma, with the potential of further complications, which could save the life of her baby.  Wanting to save her child’s life, she opted for the removal of only the fibroma – she was willing to give up her own life to save the life of her child.

St. Gianna pleaded with the surgeons to save her child’s life over her own. She sought comfort in her prayers and her living faith.  Her child’s life was saved, for which St. Gianna graciously thanked the Lord.

After the operation, however complications continued throughout her pregnancy, and she acknowledged she may lose her life during delivery, but she was ready.

St. Gianna was quite clear about her wishes, expressing to her family, “If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child? I insist on it. Save the baby.”  On April 21, 1962, her baby was successfully delivered by Caesarean section.

On April 28, 1962, a week after her baby was born, St. Gianna passed away from septic peritonitis.


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