St. Gianna and Pietro Molla International Center for Family Life to be built in the United States

by Kristina Lahr | New Earth


St. Gianna’s daughter, Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla, speaks at the La Bella Serata Gala at Delta Hotels by Marriot in Fargo on April 17. (Kristina Lahr | New Earth)

St. Gianna’s life and self-sacrifice to save her unborn child has influenced countless faithful. Those who attended the La Bella Serata Gala on April 17 gathered to support a project to further spread St. Gianna’s life and spiritually. The evening began with Mass celebrated by his Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke at Sts. Anne and Joachim Church in Fargo and continued with a social and dinner at Delta Hotels by Marriot, also in Fargo.

The evening featured Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla, the daughter that St. Gianna Beretta Molla gave her life to save. Gianna Emanuela currently works for the Saint Gianna Foundation, which aims to honor and spread St. Gianna’s example, life, and spirituality. One project of the foundation is to restore the marital home of St. Gianna and her husband Pietro Molla so that it can become a place of prayer and veneration.

Aware of the growing devotion to her saint mother in the United States, Gianna Emanuela introduced the project to his Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke who had been close to the Molla family for years. Cardinal Burke served for nine years as Bishop of La Crosse, Wis. where he built the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In 2006, he was named Archbishop of Saint Louis and was elevated to the College of Cardinals in 2010. His Eminence gave Gianna Emanuela his complete support and promised to work hard to restore her parents’ home.

Another part of the project is to build the St. Gianna and Pietro Molla International Center for Family Life. Monsignor James Shea, President of University of Mary and Master of Ceremonies for the evening, announced that not only was the project certain to affect countless faithful, the center itself would be built in the United States.


His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke proclaims his homily at Sts. Anne and Joachim Church in Fargo. (Kristina Lahr | New Earth)

Bishop Folda commended the announcement, saying, “Just as the St. Gianna Maternity Home [in Warsaw] has been a bright light in our midst, really in this whole region, I have no doubt that the St. Gianna and Pietro Molla International Center will be a bright light for our nation, for our entire culture. I can hardly wait to see it come to fruition.”

Cardinal Burke expressed his great love for St. Gianna and recounted several stories of couples struggling with miscarriages or infertility having children after praying for St. Gianna’s intercession.

“There’s no question that St. Gianna is the great patron saint for marriage and family and for that crown of married love which is children,” said Cardinal Burke. “We can’t thank God enough for giving us this very holy woman.”

Gianna Emanuela spoke of the many letters that her parents wrote to each other, since Pietro traveled frequently for his occupation. These letters not only express the holiness of St. Gianna but Pietro as well. When St. Gianna was pregnant with her fourth child, and developed a fibroma in her uterus, Pietro respected St. Gianna’s decision to risk her life for the sake of the unborn child. Instead of opting for an abortion or a hysterectomy, which would both take the life of the child, Gianna requested the removal of only the fibroma. Being a doctor herself, Gianna was fully aware of the potential complications of this decision.

“My mother was quite clear about her wishes,” said Emanuela Molla. “She expressed to her family, ‘If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child. I insist on it. Save the baby.’”

On April 21, 1962, Gianna Emanuela Molla was successfully delivered by caesarean section. Although doctors tried to save both lives, St. Gianna passed away a week later from septic peritonitis.

Gianna was beatified April 24, 1994 and officially canonized a saint on May 16, 2004. St. Gianna Beretta Molla is the patron saint of mothers, physicians, and unborn children.