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Amelia's Death
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Gianna Emmanual Is Born
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The tenth of thirteen children born to Maria and Albert Beretta (five of whom died at an early age), Gianna was born on October 4, 1922. Her parents were Third Order Franciscans and they considered the education of their children almost a fulfillment of the work of God through the creation and molding of these souls; it was a divine undertaking for them.

Although Marie was responsible for rearing 13 little souls, she never neglected her missionary work and although they were not oppressed with poverty, the Beretta’s taught their children to live in great simplicity, frugality and joy. Both parents attended Mass with their children very early every morning and the Rosary was recited together in the home each evening. After the Rosary, the family repeated the consecration to the Sacred Heart along with other prayers. The family would then relax together sometimes playing the piano and singing or just conversing with each other about the days events. Gianna’s youngest sister Virginia recalls:

“Never did a strong or uncontrolled word disturb the serenity of the family, never was a reproof from the mother without the support of the father or vice versa; always in accord, they loved their children and desired to give them a sound and complete formation. The atmosphere of the home was permeated with serenity and peace, but necessary punishment and corrections were never neglected.”

Maria and Albert Beretta made sure that each of their children studied a profession so that he or she would be able to carry out Christian service to the community and permeate the professional world with the example of Christian life.

Amelia died in her 20’s
Ferdinando became a doctor
Francesco became a civil engineer
Enrico studied medicine and then became a Capuchin priest, dedicating himself to the missions in Brazil.
Zita studied pharmacology
Guiseppe studied engineering and then became a diocesan priest
Gianna became a doctor and then died in a heroic, self-sacrificing act
Virginia became a doctor and a Canossian Sister, working as a missionary in India.

The atmosphere of the Beretta house was that of a spirit of sacrifice, authentic daily prayer, close attention to others and a generous devotion with the complete giving of one’s life. The children learned to be content with little, to renounce all superfluity and to save in order to give to others.

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