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EDITORIAL | Saints and mothers of saints are examples of strength, courage found in motherhood

St. Gianna is a perfect example of sacrificial love, strength and courage we find in motherhood

There’s nothing sweeter than a mother’s sacrificial love for her child. It’s natural, instinctual if you will, to nurture the lives of those entrusted to their care.

This Mother’s Day, we highlight the example of several women in Church history and the impact they’ve had in their children’s lives. Some were canonized as saints, while others raised children who became saints themselves.

St. Gianna Beretta Molla, an Italian physician who chose a medical procedure to treat a uterine tumor that would minimize risk to the life of her unborn child, Gianna Emanuela, is a perfect example of this sacrificial love.

“Look at the mothers who truly love their children: how many sacrifices they make for them. They are ready for everything, even to give their own blood so that their babies grow up good, healthy and strong,” said St. Gianna, who died in 1962, one week after giving birth to Gianna Emanuela, who now shares the story of her mother’s life with others.

St. Gianna’s choice was guided by her conscience, as a loving mother and a physician herself. At a visit to St. Gianna Parish in Wentzville in 2016, Gianna Emanuela addressed mothers who prayed for St. Gianna’s intercession for the gift of life. Many of the mothers there had previously experienced infertility or high-risk pregnancies.

Gianna Emanuela said it took her many years to understand God’s will for her mother. But now she recognizes that the Lord, in His infinite wisdom, “thought Mama could do a lot of good, not only for the family, but all around the world. I am a direct testimony of all the good that mom is doing in different parts of the world.”

St. Gianna’s example is one of strength, courage and perseverance. Much like our Blessed Mother, she aligned her will to that of the Father’s — perhaps not fully understanding His plan, but recognizing that there was something monumental in saying ‘yes’ to Him.

Our mothers are a gift to this world. To those who have given birth to a child, nurtured a child through fostering or adoption, served as a godmother or have had a significant role in the life of a child, we thank you for sharing your gifts and sacrificial love for others.

In his “Letter to Women,” St. John Paul II thanked mothers for their gift of womanhood. “Through the insight which is so much a part of your womanhood,” he wrote, “you enrich the world’s understanding and help to make human relations more honest and authentic.”

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