On Thursday, Salt + Light was visited by the daughter and son-in-law of a saint.
Laura Molla and Giuseppe Pannuti were visiting from Milan for the dedication of a new St. Gianna Maternity Home located in Brampton, Ontario. On Friday they traveled to Washington, D.C. for a presentation at the U.S. National Eucharistic Congress
The two took time from their busy schedule to join Kris Dmytrenko on the Zoom set. View the Friday, September 11th edition of Zoom to hear what they had to say about having a saint in the family and their appearances in Brampton and Washington.
In addition to the interview, be sure to read below the address that Laura presented for those gathered at the dedication of the new maternity home to St. Gianna Molla in Brampton.
Text by Mrs. Laura Molla Pannuti
Daughter of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla
Ceremony of Dedication to St. Gianna of two Maternity Homes
Toronto, Thursday, September 10, 2009
I am very honored and moved to be here today with all of you, dear friends.
I thank Mr. and Mrs. Verducci with all my heart and with emotion for the homage paid to my mother, Saint Gianna, naming after her the very beautiful new welcoming homes for mothers and children, a homage which honors us in the extreme.
I am deeply grateful to Fr. Thomas Rosica too, for that all he does to spread the witness and message of my Mother, not only in your country, but also all around the world. The beautiful film Love is a Choice
, produced by Salt + Light Television in 2004, on the occasion of the canonization of my mother, is a very effective medium to this end. The Salt + Light Television Network in Canada has become a very important instrument in building the Culture of Life.
Accompanying my thanks is the gratitude of my father, Pietro, and that of my sister Gianna Emanuela and my brother Pierluigi; of my aunt and uncle - sister and brother of St. Gianna - Mother Virginia of the Canossian Sisters and Msgr. Giuseppe Beretta. You must also know of the gratitude of my husband Giuseppe who is here present with me.
This prestigious title is very suitable to my mother, who, as a pediatrician, was in charge of the childcare facility and clinic for the mothers of Pontenuovo di Magenta from 1956 to 1962.
On many occasions of her professional life she was able to help, in body and soul, a great number of women and children with the problems and needs that usually afflict the guests of those homes.
A True Hymn to Life
An extraordinarily normal person who loved life and all the beautiful things of life with extreme naturalness, coherence and perseverance, Mother was an authentic witness to Christian faith and love, lived concretely and joyfully in everyday life as a young girl, fiancée and wife and as a mother and doctor with a boundless confidence in Divine Providence that never left her even in moments of great suffering and through the most difficult trials. It has been said very fittingly that Mother loved everything that is beautiful, holy, and noble in life.
On April 25, 1994, the day after her beatification, His Holiness Pope John Paul II in his address to an audience of pilgrims who had come to the ceremony, defined my Mother’s life with these words: “What a heroic testimony her life was … a true hymn to life!”
Writing to her, my father recalls her joy of living:
You really knew how to enjoy in an upright and joyful way all the charms of the mountains and their snows, travel and concerts, the theater and party-going. You showed me that one can totally fulfill the will of the Lord and become a saint without renouncing the fullness of the purest and best joys that life and creation offer us.
The True Essence of Love
My mother knew that love is self-giving, devotion, sacrifice. When extremely young, she wrote:
Love is the most beautiful feeling that the Lord has placed in the minds of men. ... To love means to have a desire for perfecting oneself and the person one loves, to overcome one’s own egoism and to give oneself. Love must be total, full, and complete, governed by the law of God and must become eternal in heaven.
Maternal love the universal model of that self-giving love. Mother would always write:
Love and sacrifice are as intimately tied together as sun and light. One cannot love without suffering and suffer without loving. Look at mothers who really love their babies: how many sacrifices they do and how ready they are even to shed their own blood as long as their babies grow to be good, healthy and strong!
In his homily for her beatification, John Paul II got fully this aspect by saying:
…We wish to pay homage to all courageous mothers who dedicate themselves without reserve to their families, who suffer to deliver their babies and are ready to bear every fatigue and face any sacrifice to give them the very best of themselves.
And I also recall with great awe and emotion the moment in St. Peter’s Square on May 16, 2004 when John Paul II proclaimed my mother a Saint with the simple and beautiful Latin title, “Mater familias” -- “Mother of family”.
The Priceless Value of Motherhood
Mother, who came from a numerous family (she was the tenth of thirteen children), was animated with an extremely strong desire for motherhood. She taught the young men and women of Catholic Action that “Every vocation is a vocation to material, spiritual and moral motherhood. God has placed the instinct of life in us.” While exercising her profession as a physician, keenly aware of the sacredness of life she would dissuade, with firmness and charity, women tempted to have an abortion. She would also make those who had already had an abortion understand the evil they had done and invite them to repent and open up to God’s forgiveness.
Wishing to have many children, she prayed for it and also had people pray that her prayer would be heeded. And the Lord heeded her indeed: Pierluigi, Mariolina and I were born, all of us very much wanted, loved and happy. An extremely happy mother of three, she was faithful to her vocation all the way to the apex of the greatest love of all by offering her life so her fourth child would live; a child to whom, she was deeply aware, she represented the only instrument of Divine Providence.
A Boundless Love
By preferring the life of her fourth child to her own, she crowned her exemplary Christian existence in the name of a love that knows no bounds.
My mother Gianna’s life, lived entirely according to the highest teaching of the Holy Gospels, shows therefore how the sacredness of human life and respect for human life must be defended from the very beginning above all with one’s example in helping those who, for a variety of reasons, find themselves in difficulty or are disoriented about choosing to give birth to a new life.
Let us pray to my mother to always protect these new maternity homes and instill in all those who suffer her strength of soul, hope, boundless confidence in Divine Providence, courage and joy of living, and that she help all mothers, persons and families who confide in her and turn to her with their intentions, problems, choices and difficulties.
Many cordial and affectionate regards and wishes to everyone.