How could it ever be God’s plan to leave four young children without a mother? What good could ever come of such a situation? Why would God, if he is so loving and merciful, allow this to happen to anyone, let alone a husband and wife who had always trusted and relied on him?
These are the sorts of questions many of us inevitably ask when we learn the story of St. Gianna Beretta Molla. But I suppose that God, exactly because he is so loving and merciful, allows us to ask those questions without retribution when they become part of our own faith walk. They are, after all, fairly legitimate questions—even to the most faith-filled among us.
The answers to all these questions were clearly revealed while watching the 30-minute DVD St Gianna Beretta Molla: A Modern Day Hero of Divine Love, which is a Catholic Action for Faith and Family Production.
Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more. Luke 12:48b
One of the things that struck me while watching this wonderful DVD was the way in which God’s hand seemed visibly evident in Gianna’s entire life. First, Gianna was born to deeply faith-filled parents whose own love of Christ seemed to permeate every aspect of their lives and home. Second, Gianna herself seemed to have been blessed with a countenance that literally showed through in her ever-present, contagious smile. Finally, even when health issues continued to play a role in Gianna’s life, the turns in the road led her closer to Christ; to know and love him more intimately.
For instance, when at 15 years old Gianna’s poor health required that she withdraw from a year of school, she was introduced to the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius which undoubtedly became a cornerstone in her lifelong quest to serve God and know his will.
In watching Gianna’s life unfold, it became increasingly clear how each person, each experience, was simply preparation for the way in which God would ultimately call her to her heavenly home—causing her to witness to the world a very heart-wrenching, pro-life message long before “pro-life” became part of our vernacular.
Beyond the pro-life message of Gianna’s life and death, though, I was impressed by her profession as a doctor. Not only was her philosophy of healing the “whole person” compelling but the way it drove her to serve God was inspiring. She used her position as a health-care provider to honor God through works of love, kindness, compassion and intellect. I couldn’t help but think as I watched this wonderful DVD how fortunate were the people to whom Gianna ministered. She tended to their bodies and loved their souls.
This is a woman who suffered from different health issues from a very young age and yet jam-packed a lot of life into her life! Gianna painted, skied, hiked and cherished each day as a gift from God. Gianna spoke to a number of different women’s groups and was an integral part of the group called Catholic Action.
The Catholic Church often gets a bad rap in regards to women’s issues but anyone who spends time truly understanding the teachings of the Church—especially any of John Paul II’s writings—knows that the Church has a high regard for women and knows full well the unique and necessary gifts they have been given that can benefit the Catholic Church. It is for this reason that the Church encourages women to become all God has called them to be; not to simply chase after men’s roles for the sake of the chase. Gianna’s life is a crystal clear example of a woman living for God and fulfilling her unique vocation with happiness and commitment and no doubt John Paul II was cognizant of this fact when he was able to declare her a saint in 2004.
Gianna shows that when we discern God’s call, we live most fully, most joyfully.
I felt that this was the message of Gianna’s life to me. It was a confirmation to all women that they are gifted and uniquely called. Gianna’s life shows that God has given women a number of different vocations and each is intended to bring growth and happiness.
If you are a stay-at-home mom you will see the motherhood aspect of Gianna’s life in an anointed way. If you are a working mother, you will see Gianna’s position as a doctor in an anointed way. If you suffer from health-related issues you will see Gianna’s perseverance in an anointed way. If you’ve ever had your heart set on one thing but God had other plans, you will see Gianna’s whole life in an anointed way.
No matter what, watching St Gianna Beretta Molla: A Modern Day Hero of Divine Love, will inspire you to know and serve God more fully and with more awareness while living with more passion and faith.
As I watched this DVD I thought of a few friends that I wanted to share it with and realized that now was a good time to begin my Christmas shopping!
To get more information on the DVD and the organization that produced it, visit www.stgiannaphysicians.org.