|The Most Politically Incorrect Saint Ever.
The Fifth Thursday of Easter; the Memorial of Saint Peter Chanel, Priest & Martyr; or, the Memorial of Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort, Priest.
Lessons from the feria, according to the ordinary form of the Roman Rite:
• Acts 15: 7-21.
• Psalm 96: 1-3, 10.
• John 15: 9-11.
The Third Class Feast of Saint Paul of the Cross, Confessor.
Lessons from the proper, according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite:
• I Corinthians 1: 17-25.
• [The Gradual is omitted.]
• Luke 10: 1-9.
The Thursday of the Samaritan Woman; the Feast of the Holy Apostles Jason & Sosipater; the Feast of the Holy Martyrs Dadas, Maximus & Quintillian; and, the Feast of Our Holy Father Cyril, Bishop of Turov.
Lessons from the pentecostarion, according to the Ruthenian recension of the Byzantine Rite:
• Acts 15: 5-34.
• John 10: 27-38.
1:43 PM 4/28/2016 — The Roman Missal presents to us two saints today from which to choose:
Saint Peter Mary Chanel was a French missionary from the Marist Fathers who labored on the Pacific islands of Wallis and Futuna where he successfully fought against the pagan cult of evil spirits, and where he gave his life in martyrdom in 1841. He's regarded today as the patron saint of Oceania.
Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort should need no introduction to those who frequent our Shrine; in fact, we have his relic on display in the Holy House Chapel. He was a secular priest, but founded the Daughters of Wisdom, established numerous confraternities for the recitation of the Most Holy Rosary, founded the Missionary Fathers of the Company of Mary in 1705, which today number around 930 members worldwide. We remember him principally as the author of the book True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He died in 1716. His is the memorial I've chosen to celebrate today.
But the saint I would like to speak about is neither of them, but rather a saint who is not on the Roman Calendar, except in Italy. Saint Gianna Beretta Molla was born in Magenta in the Kingdom of Italy in 1922. She was the tenth of thirteen children in her family, only eight of whom survived to adulthood. When she was three, her family moved to Bergamo, and she grew up in the Lombardy region of Italy.
In 1942 Beretta began her study of medicine in Milan. Outside of her schooling, she was active in Catholic Action. She received a medical diploma in 1949, and opened an office in Mesero, near her hometown of Magenta, where she specialized in pediatrics. She had hoped to join her brother, a missionary priest in Brazil, where she intended to offer gynecological services to poor women; however, her own chronic ill health made this impractical, and so she resolved to continue her medical practice in Italy.
In December, 1954, she met Pietro Molla, an medical technician who worked in her office, ten years older than she. They became engaged the following April, and married in September, 1955. Molla gave birth to three children before her final pregnancy: Pierluigi in 1956, Mariolina in 1957 and Laura in 1959.
In 1961 she became pregnant with her fourth child, but during the second month she developed a cancer in her uterus. After examining her, the doctors gave her three choices: an abortion, a complete hysterectomy, or removal of only the fibroma. Now, the Church forbids all direct abortion, as you know; but, Catholic teaching on the principle of double effect would have allowed her to undergo a hysterectomy, which might have caused her unborn child's death as an unintended consequence. She opted for the removal of the fibroma, wanting to preserve her child's life, telling the doctors that her baby's life was more important than her own.
On April 21st, 1962, which was Holy Saturday, Molla went to the hospital, where her fourth child, Gianna Emanuela, was successfully delivered by Caesarean section. However, Molla continued to have severe pain, and died of septic peritonitis seven days after giving birth. Her daughter, Gianna Emanuela, lives today and is a doctor of geriatrics. Her mother, Saint Gianna Molla, was canonized in 2004, and is the perfect patron saint not only for those facing difficult pregnancies and difficult human life decisions, but also a good intercessor for those involved in the struggle to end the holocaust of abortion.