We often hear about how our mothers have sacrificed so much for us. They carried us for nine months, bore us, loved us, raised us, prayed for us. All this is true. However, today’s saint sacrificed her life for her child. St. Gianna Beretta Molla was a wife, a mother, a pediatrician, and above all, a saint. She had four children, but it was while she was pregnant with her youngest child that she offered her life. She had a uterine tumor, which was removed during the second month of her pregnancy. For the next seven months she prayed for the life of her child. Her plea was: “If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child – I insist on it. Save him.” Her daughter, Gianna Emanuela, was born safely, but one week later, the mother, St. Gianna, died after much pain and exclamations of “Jesus I love you. Jesus, I love you.” She was 39 years old.
Heroic virtue is what the saints live and offer to us as a witness of their love for God. But their love never ends there. St. Gianna shows us how much true love is given by mothers to their children, even to the point of dying. St. Gianna is not the only one who has consciously chosen to sacrifice her life for her child. It happens every day when a mother with cancer or some other illness heroically chooses to bear her child, knowing that her own life might be at risk. But that is what love is about, giving ourselves completely for others. Bl. Pope Paul VI remembered St. Gianna as: “A young mother from the diocese of Milan, who, to give life to her daughter, sacrificed her own, with conscious immolation.” St. Gianna, pray for us.