Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Saint Gianna Beretta Molla

Gianna Francesca Beretta was born on 4 Oct 1922 in Magenta in Italy. She was the tenth of thirteen children in her family. In 1942, Gianna began her study of medicine in Milan. She received a medical diploma in 1949, and opened an office in Mesero, near her hometown of Magenta, where she specialized in pediatrics.
In December 1954, Gianna met Pietro Molla, an engineer who worked in her office, ten years older than she. They were officially engaged the following April, and they married in September 1955. They welcomed Pierluigi, in 1956, Maria Zita, in 1957 and Laura, was born in 1959. Gianna suffered two miscarriages after this.

In 1961, Gianna was once again expecting. During the second month, Gianna developed a fibroma on her uterus. After examination, the doctors gave her three choices: an abortion, a complete hysterectomy, or removal of only the fibroma. Church forbids all direct abortion even when the woman's life is in danger, Catholic teaching would have allowed her to undergo a hysterectomy, which would have resulted in her unborn child's death as an unintended side-effect.
Gianna opted for the removal of the fibroma, wanting to preserve her child's life. After the operation, complications continued throughout her pregnancy. Gianna was quite clear about her wishes, expressing to 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 April 21, 1962, Good Friday of that year, Gianna went to the hospital, where her fourth child, Gianna Emanuela, was successfully delivered via Caesarean section.[1] However, Gianna continued to have severe pain, and died of septic peritonitis 7 days after the birth.
Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1994, and officially canonized a saint on May 16, 2004. Gianna's husband Pietro and their last child, Gianna, were present at the canonization ceremony.
The miracle recognized by the Catholic Church to canonize Gianna Molla involved a mother, Elizabeth Comparini, who was 16 weeks pregnant in 2003 and sustained a tear in her placenta that drained her womb of all amniotic fluid. Because a normal term of pregnancy is 40 weeks, Comparini was told by her doctors the baby's chance of survival was "nil." Through praying to Gianna Molla and asking for her intercession, Comparini delivered by Caesarean a healthy baby despite the lack of amniotic fluid for the remainder of her pregnancy.
St. Gianna is the inspiration behind the Gianna Center in New York City. It is the first pro-life, Catholic healthcare center for women. The Gianna Center provides comprehensive primary care with specialized gynecologic care.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Woman OF Valour

Mother Teresa stands tall as one of the best examples of a woman of great courage and compassion in a world riddled with the scars of war, corruption and eroding human values. Her stance for life in a world that is dying slowly is commendable and to be imitated by all who wish to uphold the dignity of every living creature on the face of this earth.
I quote here an extract from her appeal to President Clinton which she made at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5th, 1994: “America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has aggravated the derogation of the father's role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts--a child--as a competitor, an intrusion and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the dependent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters. And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners. Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being's entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or sovereign. The Constitutional Court of the Federal Republic of Germany recently ruled: 'The unborn child is entitled to its right to life independently of its acceptance by its mother; this is an elementary and inalienable right which emanates from the dignity of the human being.' Americans may feel justly proud that Germany in 1993 was able to recognize the sanctity of human life. You must weep that your own government, at present, seems blind to this truth."
Mother Teresa’s mission was to give sanctity to life from the womb to the tomb. That is why she strove relentlessly to fight against abortion and euthanasia. Although a Roman Catholic by faith, she is quoted as saying, “Enough converting! Let's help a Buddhist become a better Buddhist, a Jew become a better Jew, a Christian become a better Christian.” She just wanted everyone to receive the powerful, all- transforming love of God and to be recreated by that immense love.
Mother Teresa came to give light to the world, to educate people and awaken their consciences. There is a story told that when she visited an aborigine’s home in Australia once, she came upon an elderly man who lived in the worst of conditions. Mother said to him, “Please let me clean your house and make up your bed.” “I am fine like this, he replied. Mother Teresa said, “You will be better off with a clean house.” Finally he agreed. When she entered his house, which bore little remembrance to a home, she noticed a lamp. It was a beautiful lamp, but it was covered with filth and dust. She asked him, “Do you ever light that lamp?” He asked, “For whom? No one ever comes to my house. I spend days without ever seeing a human face. I have no need to light the lamp.” Then Mother asked him if he would be willing to light the lamp if the sisters came to see him regularly. He answered, “Of course!” The sisters made it their habit to visit him every evening. The old man began to light the lamp for them and to keep it clean. He began to keep his house clean, too. Once he gave the sisters a message for Mother Teresa: “Tell my friend that the light that she lit in my life is still shining.”
Not given to much talking, Mother Teresa spoke only when necessary. Therefore, her words were convincing when she did speak, each thought as precious as a priceless pearl. She said once on prayer: “I believe that politicians spend too little time on their knees. I am convinced that they would be better politicians if they were to do so.”
Another time she narrated a story: “One night, a man came to our house saying that a Hindu family had not eaten anything for days. The family had eight children who had nothing to eat. I took enough rice for a meal and went to that house. The mother took the rice from my hands, divided it in half and went out. When I asked her where she had gone, she replied that her neighbors, who were Muslims and had the same number of children to feed, had not had any food either. In order not to take away her happiness, I did not take her anymore rice that night. I took her some more the following day.”
Mother Teresa’s deeds were simple, her thoughts and words profound and, in her death, she has revealed to us that no one really dies in spirit. The mortal body withers but spiritual life marches on.