Most of the saints we learn about and love lived a long time ago. As much as we can study their lives and, when available, read their writings, it can be difficult to imagine them as living, breathing human beings who struggled with life. That is one reason why it is so amazing to watch “St. Gianna Beretta Molla: A Modern Day Hero of Divine Love,” a new DVD about a saint who lived in our own time. The DVD is a visual delight, featuring photos and home movies of St. Gianna, who lived from 1922 to 1962. One gets to see her getting married and playing with her children and living out her career as a doctor. Viewers see her laughing and smiling and loving life. This is a real woman. She is someone like us. Sadly, one also has the opportunity to get a glimpse of the outpouring of mourners at her funeral. She was truly loved in her community and admired for her sanctity.
Here we get to know a woman like so many of us who struggled to balance work and family. She was highly intelligent, excelling in her studies. She also loved music and art and being in the mountains. She loved her family above all else, but saw her career as a physician as a calling from God. Not only did she run her own practice, she was an active volunteer and sought to bring medical care to those who needed it, especially mothers and children. She would tell other doctors that “when you have finished your earthly profession, if you have done this well, you will enjoy divine life ‘because I was sick and you healed me.’”
St. Gianna was raised in a Christ-centered family and sought to raise her children the same way. Her life was one of service and was deeply rooted in prayer. She attended daily Mass as often as possible and prayed her rosary daily. She was always ready to encourage others in their relationship with God. She was a woman who viewed life as a gift from God and trusted in the power of prayer. Totally pro-life, her ultimate sacrifice was to give birth to her last child, even though she was advised against it and knew it might result in her own death. After giving birth, she bravely bore her final suffering with grace and prayer. She died on April 28, 1962 at the age of 39. Beatified in 1994 and canonized in 2004, Pope John Paul II held St. Gianna up as a role model for mothers, physicians, and the pro-life cause.
Watching “St. Gianna Beretta Molla: A Modern Day Hero of Divine Love” is an opportunity to discover a wonderful woman devoted to God who can serve as a model for all of us struggling with life as mothers.
To order this DVD produced by Catholic Action for Faith and Family, please visit www.stgiannaphysicians.org.