The St. Mary's Health Ministry is dedicated to Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, a Saint of the Catholic Church

Saint Gianna Beretta Molla (October 4, 1922 – April 28, 1962) was an Italian pediatrician, wife and mother who is best known for refusing both an abortion and a hysterectomy when she was pregnant with her fourth child, despite knowing that continuing with the pregnancy could result in her death. She was canonized as a saint of the Catholic Church in 2004.

Note: St. Gianna was the last Saint canonized by Pope John Paul 2 before his death.

Biographical details

Early life

Gianna Francesca Beretta was born in Magenta in Italy. She was the tenth of thirteen children in her family, only nine of whom survived to adulthood. When she was three, her family moved to Bergamo, and she grew up in the Lombardy region of Italy.
In 1942, Gianna began her study of medicine in Milan. Outside of her schooling, she was active in Azione Cattolica. She received a medical diploma in 1949, and opened an office in Mesero, near her hometown of Magenta, where she specialized in pediatrics.
Gianna hoped to join her brother, a missionary priest in Brazil, where she intended to offer her medical expertise in gynecology to poor women. However, her chronic ill health made this impractical, and she continued her practice in Italy.

Engagement and marriage

In December 1954, Gianna met Pietro Molla, an engineer who worked in her office, ten years older than she. They were officially engaged the following April, and they married in September 1955.
The couple had Pierluigi, born in 1956, Maria Zita, in 1957 and Laura, was born in 1959. Gianna suffered two miscarriages after this.

Final pregnancy

In 1961, Gianna was once again expecting. During the second month, Gianna developed a fibroma on her uterus. After examination, the doctors gave her three choices: an abortion, a complete hysterectomy, or removal of only the fibroma. Catholic teaching would have allowed her to obtain a hysterectomy, but the Catholic Church forbids all abortion, even when the woman's life is at risk. Gianna opted for the removal of the fibroma, wanting to preserve her child's life.
After the operation, complications continued throughout her pregnancy. Gianna was quite clear about her wishes, expressing to her family, "This time it will be a difficult delivery, and they may have to save one or the other -- I want them to save my baby."
On April 21, 1962, Good Friday of that year, Gianna went to the hospital, where her fourth child, Gianna Emanuela, was successfully delivered via Caesarean section.[1] However, Gianna continued to have severe pain, and died of septic peritonitis 7 days after the birth.


Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1994, and officially canonized a saint on May 16, 2004. Gianna's husband Pietro and their last child, Gianna, were present at the canonization ceremony.
The miracle recognized by the Catholic Church to canonize Gianna Molla involved a mother, Elizabeth Comparini, who was 16 weeks pregnant in 2003 and sustained a tear in her placenta that drained her womb of all amniotic fluid. Because a normal term of pregnancy is 40 weeks, Comparini was told by her doctors the baby's chance of survival was "nil."
Through praying to Gianna Molla and asking for her intercession, Comparini delivered by Caesarean a healthy baby despite the lack of amniotic fluid for the remainder of her pregnancy.
In his homily at her canonization Mass, Pope John Paul II called Gianna "a simple, but more than ever, significant messenger of divine love."[2]
Pietro Molla, died at 97 in 2010 nearly 50 years after Saint Gianna died.


St. Gianna is the inspiration behind the Gianna Center in New York City. It is the first pro-life, Catholic healthcare center for women. The Gianna Center provides comprehensive primary care with specialized gynecologic care and serves women with a deep commitment to honoring their dignity and the sanctity of human life.


Feast Day -- April 28

Prayer of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla
God our Father we praise You and we bless you because in St Gianna Beretta Molla you have given us one who witnessed to the Gospel as a young women, as a wife, as a mother, and as a doctor. We thank you because through the gift of her life we can learn to welcome and honor every human person. You, Lord Jesus, were for Gianna a splendid example.
She learned to recognize you in the beauty of nature.As she was questioning her choice of vocation she went in search of you and the best way to serve you. Through her married love she became a sign of your love for the Church and for humanity. Like you, the Good Samaritan, she cared for everyone who was sick, small or weak. Following your example,
out of love she gave herself entirely, generating new life. Holy Spirit, Source of every perfection, give us wisdom, intelligence, and courage so that, following the example of Saint Gianna and through her intercession, we may know how to place ourselves at the service of each person we meet in our personal, family and professional lives, and thus grow in love and holiness.




St. Gianna is a patron saint for mothers, physicians, and unborn children.


A litany to St. Gianna Molla has also been written, and may be found here.

St. Gianna - Wikipedia
St. Gianna Physician's Guild
St. GIanna - Priests for Life
St. Gianna Society
St. Gianna - Catholic Insight
St. Gianna - Life Site News
St. Gianna - Mary Pages
St. Gianna - Women for Faith & Family
St. Gianna - Zenit
St. Gianna - Vatican News Service
Homily given by Pope John Paul II - May 16, 2004 at the Cannonization of St. Gianna - Vatican News Service
St. Gianna -

St. Gianna Items for Sale - The Catholic Company.
St. Gianna DVD - Amazon
St. Gianna Gold Filled Medal - The Catholic Faith Company
St. Gianna Gold Filled Medal - The Catholic Gift Company
St. Gianna Gold Filled Medal - Patron Saint Medal Company

Source: Much of the content of this web page is from the Wikipedia article of St. Gianna's life.