Mesero, Italy Shrine of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla:
Mother, Physician, Saint
About Saint Gianna:
In an age when secular forces seem almost to worship the concept of abortion, Saint Gianna gives us an example of self-sacrifice for the unborn. Gianna was born in Magenta (near Milan) in 1922 into a family of seven children. Drawn to medicine as a career, she graduated medical school in 1949. Some six years later she married and settled in the village of Ponte Nuovo, close to the Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel where she and her husband attended Mass.
Gianna went on to have three children: Pierluigi (1956), Maria Zita (1957) and Laura (1959), but then had two miscarriages. In 1961 she again found herself pregnant; however, this time there were medical complications. The doctors discovered a large fibroid tumor in her uterus. The only sure option to save her life would involve taking the life of her unborn child. The most risky option to her was to have the tumor removed, but not harm the unborn child.
As a doctor herself, she knew the risks that were involved, but refused to consider any other option. She had the operation and went home to continue her medical practice and await the birth of her baby in about seven months. Despite efforts to give birth naturally, she delivered her baby by cesarean section on Holy Saturday, April 20, 1962.
After the birth of her healthy baby (Gianna Emanuela), she developed complications and passed away eight days later, on April 28, at the age of 39. She was canonized on May 16, 2004 by Pope John Paul II, and April 28th is her Feast Day. In attendance at the Canonization were her husband, children, granddaughter and countless friends and medical patients.
About the Shrine of Saint Gianna Molla:
Saint Gianna was originally buried in the church graveyard next to her husband. In 2007 her body was moved to an old church nearby that was renovated for that purpose and inaugurated by Cardinal Tettamanzi. It was in this church that her husband had been baptized and practiced his faith. And it was in the town of Mesero that Saint Gianna had her medical practice. Groups can celebrate Mass here.
Traveling to Mesero:
You can easily reach Mesero by train from Milan. Take the train to Magenta (about 30 minutes) and then a taxi to Mesero, which is just 3 miles north of Magenta. Get train & bus schedules, see fares & buy tickets here.
The official website of the Saint Gianna Shrine at Mesero Italy is currently not working, but you can try one of the ones listed below.
Click here for an interesting story about Saint Gianna (in Italian–use the Google Translate button)
Photo courtesy Saint Gianna Shrine.