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From her childhood, she bore in her heart the admiration and love of missionary work. Her mother and Catholic Action instilled this love. Often her mother sewed clothes for her own children instead of buying them so she could send the money that she saved to the missions. Gianna’s first wish was to be a doctor but she never hid the wish of becoming a lay missionary.

She had hoped to join her brother Alberto, a missionary in Brazil and offer her medical services, which were badly needed. However, obstacle after obstacle prevented her from carrying out her wish. The necessary permissions were slow in coming, Gianna could not find anyone to replace her at the clinic, and her spiritual advisor advised her to wait. Gianna also came to a realization that her health was not sufficient for her to endure the rigors of the Brazilian climate.

Gianna spent many years in the uncertainty of the choice of her state of life. She interiorized her longing: she prayed often, asked others for prayers and repeatedly sought advice. She suffered much because she was really convinced of her vocation as a lay missionary.

Her disconcertment caused her a great deal of unrest; not on the faith level but in the planning of her life. She felt called by God for a particular vocation and then at the very moment of responding, it seemed that He prevented her from doing so. Was it perhaps a way of leading her to an even higher purpose…….?

Instead of losing heart, she intensified her prayer in order to know God’s will better. She went on a pilgrimage to Lourdes where she prayed at great length. Through spiritual direction, she finally understood that she was being called to God to form a family. At that point she directed her thoughts to the married state, secure in the knowledge that this was God’s will for her.

This decision corresponded perfectly with what she thought and was taught: life is a vocation to do well. A vocation, which from the beginning is open to every form of good, grows with the inspiration of the Lord and becomes a personal call and a particular good.

Gianna wrote:

“Everything has a particular end and obeys a law. Everything develops toward a predestined end. God has traced a way for each one of us, our vocation and a life of grace together with our physical life. The day will come when we will become aware of others around us, and when this happens we will become new persons. It is a sacred and also a tragic moment in the passage from childhood to adolescence. The problem of our future is posed at this moment… not that we must resolve this problem at fifteen years of age, but at least we are able to orient ourselves along the path to which the Lord is calling us. Both our earthly and eternal happiness depends on following our vocation very carefully.”

“What is a vocation? It is a gift from God and therefore comes from God. If then it is a gift from God, it is up to us to do all in our power to know God’s will. We must go along that way, if God wills it, not forcing the door; when God wills it, how God wills it.”

Every vocation is a “call” from God for a particular mission of good and for one’s own sanctification. To those who marvel at her having abandoned the thought of missionary life in Brazil, she replied:

“All the Lord’s ways are beautiful because their end is one and the same:to save our own soul and to succeed in leading many other souls to heaven, to give glory to God.”

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