Born: Oct. 4th, 1922
Died: Apr. 28th, 1962
FEast: Apr. 28th
Unborn children, doctors, mothers, families
Gianna was born in Italy in 1922, the tenth child of 13. From even a very young age, it was apparent that she cared greatly about serving others. She also loved skiing, fashion, opera, painting, rock climbing, and participating in retreats.
She went to study medicine in Milan and graduated in 1949. She originally wanted to go to Brazil and assist women as a gynecologist, but she was often ill and was unable to make the trip. She instead began to focus on Pediatrics at a University.
Soon, she met Pietro Molla, who was an engineer, and they were married in 1955. They were deeply in love, and some letters Gianna wrote to him during their engagement are beautiful testaments to it.
The two had three children and, sadly, two miscarriages. Gianna was able to balance her work with her family with much skill, love, and strength. But when Gianna became pregnant again, doctors discovered that she had a tumor, and would have two options - to survive but end the life of the baby, or to simply remove the tumor to give the child a chance at life - and lessen her own chance of survival.
Gianna's daughter was born successfully, but Gianna was in much pain and had many procedures done in the following week until she passed away.
Gianna's daughter became a doctor herself.
She was canonized in 2004, and it was the first time a husband was able to be present for the canonization of a partner.
Jesus showed us no sacrifice is greater than trading our life for another. Only the strongest love allows one the bravery and peace to do so. May all Families have a love like this for each other, and friends for each other as well. May doctors like you treat all their patients (born or unborn) with the same love, care, and dignity.
As with all of my icons of people who lived recently and have photographs, I used an image of the real St. Gianna as only one of my references. I gave her overalls as a designation as a hard-working mother, and yet a dainty palette to show both sides of strong motherhood. This was a commission, and the man asked specifically she be wearing a headband like his wife - a new mother herself - often does, and I love this detail - making universal mothers relevant and personal.