Patron Saint of Work/Life Balance


Saint Gianna Beretta Molla dedicates her life to her children and helping every life around her as a doctor.

Life Week is a sacred week CCHS celebrates to reflect on our lives and human dignity of everyone around us. Saint Gianna is a model for what it means to protect other people’s lives besides our own and balancing our work within our lives. She is the patron Saint of mothers, physicians, unborn children, and work-life balance. Living from 1922-1962, she grew up in the Lombardy region of Italy as the 10th of 13 children in her family.

Growing up, she found the great necessity of prayer in her life everyday as she studied medicine in Milan where she soon became a pediatrician. She later opened a medical office in Mesero where she specialized in pediatrics as she was drawn to mothers, the elderly, and babies. These passions led Saint Gianna to increase her actions in The Catholic Action movement, which is still around today.

In 1955 she got married to an engineer in 1955 saying, “Love is the most beautiful sentiment that the Lord has put into the souls of men and women.” Her love for people never ceased as she saw the belief we were put in this world to love everyone in it. This began the journey of motherhood, having her first child (Pierluigi) in 1956, second (Maria Zita) in 1957, and third (Laura) in 1959. Unfortunately, she had problems with her fourth pregnancy when she discovered she was carrying a baby and a tumor. The solutions offered to her included abortion, hysterectomy, and removal of the fibroma.

Abortion would save her life and allow her to have more children, but take the chance of life away from her baby. Hysterectomy would save her life, kill the baby, and prevent future pregnancies. Removal would cause potential complications, but save her life and the baby. Her ceaseless faith in the Catholic Social Teaching of Life and Dignity of the Human Person called her to preserve her blessed child’s life making her choice easy, removal of the fibroma.

Willing to give her life up for her child, she took the chances of severe complications, preparing herself through prayer in case she did end up losing her life. Prayer prepares us for any challenging choices we anticipate or are facing head on, as Saint Molla praises, “If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child?I insist on it. Save the baby.”

Saint Gianna died a week after giving birth on Easter morning of 1962, as these complications led to septic peritonitis. In 1994, her husband was the first husband to be at a canonization. Her fourth child, Gianna, is still alive today.

Mothers pray to Gianna Molla for intercession and ability to birth a healthy baby bringing life into this world. She teaches us that God calls us to follow Him through prayer in every situation we encounter whether it is good or bad, or life or death. Her wisdom and courage inspire us to follow our dreams selflessly just as she did through her pediatrics, charity, and giving up her life. This week is a time we should all reflect on the selfless acts we can perform everyday to help the lives around us.