More than 50,000 people packed into St. Peter’s Square yesterday to witness the canonization of a mother who sacrificed her life for the sake of her unborn child.
Early in her pregnancy, Gianna Beretta Molla discovered she had a tumor in her womb. She rejected cancer treatment because it would have required an abortion. She died in 1962, one week after giving birth to a healthy baby girl, at the age of 39.
The Italian doctor was the first married woman to become a saint in modern times, Vatican officials said.
"The extreme sacrifice that took away her life is evidence that only those who have the courage to give themselves totally to God and his brethren can fulfill themselves," said the Pope, referring to the new saint as a “significant messenger of divine love."
The miracle attributed to Molla, which enabled her to become a saint, involved a Brazilian woman, who lost all of her amniotic fluid in the third month of her pregnancy. She prayed to Molla and the child was born healthy. The new saint has also become an important role model for the pro-life movement.
Molla's husband, now 91, and her four children attended the canonization. The last born, Gianna Emanuela, is now a doctor.