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Lives of the Saints:

How They Changed the World

Saint Gianna Molla (1922–1962)

Saint Gianna Molla (1922–1962)

Patron saint against abortion and of pregnant women

Feast day: April 28




Saint Gianna Molla was born into a devout family. She became involved in the Saint Vincent de Paul Society and received degrees in medicine and surgery from the University of Pavia. Gianna opened a clinic where she specialized in pediatrics. She met Pietro Molla at her office, and the two were married in September 1955. The couple was blessed with three children. During Gianna's pregnancy with her fourth child, doctors discovered a fibroma on her uterus. She was given three choices: an abortion, a complete hysterectomy, or a removal of only the fibroma. Wanting to save her child's life, Gianna chose to remove the fibroma, even though there was the potential for future complications for her own life. After the surgery, Gianna continued to experience complications and pain throughout her pregnancy. However, she was very clear about her wishes, telling 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 Good Friday of 1962, Gianna successfully gave birth to her daughter. However, after delivery, Gianna continued to experience agonizing pain, and died of septic peritonitis just seven days after giving birth. Saint Gianna Molla is the patron saint against abortion, and of pregnant women. (Image by Nheyob, Wikimedia Commons)