ST GIANNA’S CANONIZATION
Ten years later following her beatification, on May 16, 2004, the
same Holy Father canonized Gianna Beretta Molla, offering this new
lay saint to the Church as a model of virtue, holiness, motherhood,
professionalism, and devotion. In an age when marriage, family life,
virtue and holiness are under assault from many sides, the life of
Gianna Beretta Molla is a striking witness of hope and beauty.
The miracle needed for her canonization was recognized formally December
20. In 2003, Elisabeth Comparini Arcolino, a mother of three, was
16 weeks pregnant with her fourth child when she sustained a tear
in the placenta, resulting in the loss of her amniotic fluid. She
was told the baby’s chances of survival were nil.
By divine providence, Bishop Diogenes Silva Matthes of Franca, Brazil,
was visiting a friend at the hospital. After being summoned to Arcolino’s
room, Arcolino told him the doctor had advised her to have an abortion.
"You don’t kill life inside the mother," the bishop
told her. "This is the time for Saint Gianna Beretta Molla
to intercede for the life you are carrying." At home the bishop
began praying, "The time for your canonization has arrived.
Intercede to the Lord for the grace of a miracle and save the life
of this little baby."
Despite the lack of amniotic fluid, Elisabeth delivered a healthy
baby girl, Gianna Maria, by Caesarean section on May 31, 2000. The
entire Arcolino family was present for the canonization.
The evening before the canonization, pilgrims from all over the world
gathered in the Vatican Gardens to pray the rosary in thanksgiving
for Gianna Beretta Molla's canonization.
The following morning in St Peter's Square in front of over 100,000
of the faithful, Pope John Paul II canonized Gianna Beretta Molla
and 5 additional saints. In attendance was Gianna's 91 year old husband,
her 3 children, her granddaughter, her living siblings, medical patients
of Gianna, friends, etc. The Holy See paid particular attention to
the frail Pietro.
On Monday morning, the first mass of the new saint was celebrated
at the Basilica of St. Paul, outside the walls followed by an audience
with Pope John Paul II in St Peter's Square.
Pope John Paul II
Homily Canonization of Gianna Beretta Molla
May 15, 2004
Gianna Beretta Molla was a simple, but more than ever, significant
messenger of divine love. In a letter to her future husband a few
days before their marriage, she wrote: "Love is the most beautiful
sentiment the Lord has put into the soul of men and women".
Following the example of Christ, who "having loved his own...
loved them to the end" (Jn 13: 1), this holy mother of a family
remained heroically faithful to the commitment she made on the day
of her marriage. The extreme sacrifice she sealed with her life testifies
that only those who have the courage to give of themselves totally
to God and to others are able to fulfill themselves.
"The extreme sacrifice that sealed her life is a testimony as
only a person who has the courage to give themselves completely to
God and to their brothers and sisters can make. May our age discover
once again through the example of Gianna Beretta Molla, the pure,
chaste and fruitful beauty of conjugal love, lived as a response
to the divine call!".