Saint Gianna was a mother as well as a medical doctor who lived in Italy from 1922-1962. As a young doctor, she once remarked, “The doctor should not meddle. The right of the child to live is equal to the right of the mother’s life. The doctor cannot decide; it is a sin to kill in the womb.” Years later when she became a mother herself, Gianna stayed true to her words, insisting that her child’s life be spared when complications arose in her pregnancy, even though it meant hers might end as a result; which it did just days after the birth of her youngest child, Gianna Emanuela.
On Wednesday, my son met Gianna’s son, Pierluigi.
November 1956: Pierluigi Molla is born to Pietro and Gianna Beretta Molla
(Pierluigi pictured here as a toddler with his mother)
November 2002: Adam Salonen is born to Troy and Roxane Salonen
April 21, 1962: Gianna gives birth to her fourth child, despite complications.
April 21, 1941: Adam’s maternal grandmother is born.
April 28, 1962: Gianna dies at age 39 after seven days of intense suffering.
May 16, 2004: Blessed Gianna becomes Saint Gianna during a canonization ceremony by Pope John Paul II.
May 12, 2010: Gianna’s oldest child and only son, Pierluigi, visits North Dakota from Italy as a special guest to honor his mother and the Saint Gianna Maternity Home in Warsaw, ND, which was named for her. Because of her affiliation with the home, Mrs. J. Eppler and her first-grade class leave their school grounds to take part in an invitation-only breakfast with Pierluigi at a Fargo hotel.
Adam, son of Roxane, meets Pierluigi, son of Gianna, the saint.
Wednesday was a high-energy day, with one of our family members anticipating his chance to hang out with the offspring of a saint. I’ll be writing more about this blessed crossing in the future. Until then, to find out more about Saint Gianna, why she’s so special, and her connection to North Dakota, go here.
Q4U: There are everyday saints all around us, as well as those canonized by the Church who serve as an inspiring example of what is possible when we live our lives for God. If you could dine with a saint, which one would you choose?