Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pierluigi Molla, son of St. Gianna Beretta Molla to visit the Cathedral/Shrine of St. Paul on Aug. 3.

The public is invited to a presentation next month at the Cathedral of St. Paul by Pierluigi Molla, son of St. Gianna
Beretta Molla, who was canonized in 2004.

Afterward, attendees will have an opportunity to venerate a third-class relic of the saint. Pierluigi Molla’s presentation is set for 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 3. The St. Paul and Minneapolis Guild of the Catholic Medical Association, the cathedral and the archdiocesan Office for Marriage, Family and Life are sponsoring the event.

St. Gianna Beretta Molla is pictured with son Pierluigi and daughter Mariolina in this undated photo. – CNS photo from Salt and Light TV

St. Gianna was born in 1922 near Milan, Italy, and married Pietro Molla in 1955. A wife and mother who also worked as a pediatrician and general practitioner, St. Gianna was pregnant with the couple’s fourth child when doctors discovered an ovarian tumor that required surgery. She instructed surgeons to remove only what was necessary so her baby could live. She died in 1962 seven days after giving birth.

Anne Marie Hansen, a member of the cathedral who attended the canonization ceremony in Rome, said she admires St. Gianna’s “truly feminine spirit.”

“Her joy, love and witness to the Gospel in her daily life are what gave her the courage to say ‘yes’ when God called her to give her life for her child,” she said. “She understood that love truly means an outpouring of oneself for another.”

Hansen is president and founder of Gianna Homes, a senior memory care community in Minnetonka named after the saint.

“Women are called more today than ever to protect life,” Hansen said. “Where St. Gianna worked at the inception of life and with children, I care for those on the journey of dementia. Dr. Gianna Emmanuela, the daughter she died for, is now a physician and has devoted her career to working with Alzheimer’s patients.”

Hansen said women, couples who are struggling with fertility or have a high-risk pregnancy, doctors and health care workers might want to give special consideration to attending Molla’s presentation.

Hansen met Molla at the canonization ceremony and said he struck her as a “very gentle and loving man.” She said she is not sure what third-class relics will be at the cathedral for veneration, but “typically, it is a pair of her gloves or a piece of her wedding dress.” Catholic Spirit

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