Wednesday, June 6, 2012

St. Gianna Berretta Molla: The Gift of Life.

The Catholic Company is offering St. Gianna Berretta Molla: The Gift of Life, by Sr. Susan Helen Wallace, FSP. For this book, I'm going to let my eldest, almost-7-year-old Philosophical Winky, write the review. It's her first blog post ever, so give her a round of applause!

St. Gianna loved Jesus very much. She had her First Holy Communion when she was 5 years old, and when she was 7, she received her Confirmation. Sadly, her sister, Aemilia, died of a coughing sickness. Her mother died from a heart attack on April 29th, and four months later her father died on September 10th. Gianna was living far away at her university. Gianna was very sad to have lost her parents, but she studied hard, and her little sister, Virginia, entered a convent.

Gianna wanted to study medicine and she helped the people who needed a doctor's care very kindly with all her attention, thinking to herself that she wanted to treat every one of them the way she wanted to treat Jesus. If someone couldn't afford to go into the hospital, they sometimes gave her a chicken or some eggs and sometimes a bouquet of flowers. Very often she gave them money.

Gianna met this man named Pietro and she was very kind to him, so they got engaged and they got married. Then they settled to live. Now, once at the breakfast table, Gianna thought it was time for a surprise for Pietro. So, she said, "Pietro, we are going to have a baby!" He said, "When?" She said, "In November!" St. Gianna had her first baby, and they named him Pierluigi. She had another baby named Mariolina. She cared very well for them. Then she had another baby named Laura.

When she had Laura in her tummy, she felt a little more painful than when she had had the other two children. But she didn't complain and was very sweet. She worked very hard. She still wanted to practice medicine, and she asked Pietro if she could do children's care. Pietro said, "Yes." And so, she was a pediatrician.

She had her fourth child, but for this child, she suffered a lot of pain. A tumor was growing near to where the baby was. So, the doctor said that they had to do this kind of operation. It would probably kill the baby. There were different parts of the operation: one part would kill the baby, another part meant she would not be able to have children anymore, and the last part was that she would be in danger if she didn't do it, but the baby would be fine. So, when Pietro was driving her to the hospital, St. Gianna told Pietro that if he had to choose between  them, then she told him to choose the baby.

The baby was born, but Gianna was very sick. Her little sister, Virginia, came to see her. No one was allowed in the room except for Virginia. Gianna asked Pietro to get permission so that she could go home to see her house, and so later on Pietro got the doctor's permission. She went home.

She died and was put in a coffin. She was carried behind four priests, and behind her was Pietro and the other children. But her fourth baby, Gianna Emanuela, was too little and had to stay in the hospital. Later on, Gianna was put in a gold house with a mosaic inside it. Her oldest son, Pierluigi, had wanted this. He wanted his mother to be in the gold house. While his mother was still in her coffin and had not yet been put into the gold house, he asked his father Pietro if she could see him or if she could touch him.

This book was very wonderful. I thought it was very sweet and it taught me a lot about St. Gianna. Later on, I thought she was the perfect saint for me! I never want to change her from my patron saint. She taught me a lesson: I can work hard to help my family and I can work very hard on my schoolwork and try to do as my mom and dad ask me to. It's a really good book, and I love the pictures. I think that ages 6 to 12 would enjoy it. (PhilosopherMom's Note: I loved it, too!)

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from TheCatholic Company, and the reviewer received a free copy of the text in exchange for her opinion. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on St. Gianna Beretta Molla


LP said...

um, YES! I definitely found my new fave Catholic blogger - no offense Philosopher Mom. Please continue allowing periodic guest posts!

And I love St. Gianna too - but perhaps never so much as when reflected through a child's eyes :)

too sweet. Thanks for sharing!

Tracy Morkin said...

Dear Gues Blogger,

What a wonderful post! Very well written - it made me want to read the book and pray even more to St. Gianna. I hope the Philosopher Mom will let you write again soon. And I'm not just saying this because I am your godmother.

Congratulations Miriam! Can't wait to read more of your writings!

Melanie B said...

Well done, Miriam!

Bella and I just finished reading this book last week and Bella loved it as well. I overheard a bit of her telling her daddy about St Gianna. She had a lot to say about the story too.

I will add that we haven't yet talked about what abortion is and so there were two passages in the book that I skipped as I read aloud to Bella. I think the underlying message about the sanctity of life comes through very well but there are some conversations you have to gauge the readiness of your own child and we're not quite there yet.

Erika Ahern said...


Yes, the abortion discussion is very hard to time well. We ended up discussing it (in Very Simple Terms) quite early because of some external influences in her life. For Miriam, abortion is when a mother has a baby growing inside her and someone decides to kill the baby (we haven't named WHO that is--mother, father, parents...) before he/she is born.

With this book, she learned that sometimes a doctor will tell a mommy that the only way she can save her own life is to kill the baby. She learned, too, that Gianna decided to die so that her baby could live. A hard story for a 6-year-old to absorb, and I still wonder what she thinks...

She instinctively admires Gianna, though. Gianna's sacrifice HAPPENED. It was real, concrete, and now we can see her grown daughter enjoying the gift of life. Powerful JOY in the face of sorrow.