Gianna Beretta, Who Died for Her Unborn Child, to Be Canonized

She Refused Cancer Treatment

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 21, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II will canonize Gianna Beretta Molla, who accepted death at age 39 rather than submit to treatment that would result in the abortion of her unborn child.



The announcement was made Saturday in the presence of the Pope by the Congregation for Sainthood Causes, in the course of recognizing a miracle attributed to her intercession. Molla, an Italian pediatrician, was beatified in 1994.

Molla (1922-1962), of the Archdiocese of Milan, was a member of Catholic Action. She said of her work: "As the priest touches Jesus, so we doctors touch Jesus in the bodies of our patients."

She loved skiing, played the piano, and attended concerts at the Milan Conservatory with her husband. Pietro Molla, an engineer, described his wife a few years ago as a completely normal person.

"She lived her marriage and motherhood with joy, generosity and absolute fidelity to her mission," said Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Sainthood Causes, during the ceremony to promulgate the decree.

Gianna Molla decided not to have an operation for cancer, which led to her death when she was pregnant with her fourth daughter. The baby lived.

The miracle attributed to Gianna Molla's intercession was experienced by Elisabete Arcolino Comparini. At the start of 2000, the third child she had conceived began to have serious problems.

In the third month, Comparini lost all the amniotic fluid. Without the natural protection, the unborn child normally would have died, yet the girl was born in May 2000. The birth is scientifically inexplicable. Her parents, who prayed to Molla, called the baby Gianna Maria.