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Husband of St. Gianna Molla Dies on Holy Saturday

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist The 97 year-old husband of St. Gianna Molla, Pietro Molla, died on Holy Saturday in his family home near Milan Italy. According to Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, writing for Zenit News, Pietro had been in failing health for several years. Fr. Rosica, who serves as chief executive officer of the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation in Canada and is a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, has been close friends with the family for many years.  He believes that it will not be long before the cause for canonization of St. Gianna’s saintly husband will be opened. “From my first meeting with Mr. Molla in 1999, I was convinced then and more so now after eleven years of friendship, that the story of holiness did not end with St. Gianna Beretta Molla,” Fr. Rosica writes. “Pietro Molla was a pillar and rock - a man of extraordinary faith, simplicity and holiness. He lived a remarkable, saintly life and like his beloved wife, Gianna, made holiness something attainable for all of us.” Pietro never remarried after St. Gianna’s death in 1962, which resulted from an infection after delivering her fourth child by Caesarean section.  The saint chose to have a uterine tumor removed early in the pregnancy even though doctors wanted her to have a complete hysterectomy at the time, a procedure that would have cost the life of her unborn child. She refused and gave birth to a healthy baby girl then died seven days later of septic peritonitis. Pietro was left alone to raise four young children and did so with great devotion, even when tragedy again struck the family when their second-born child, Mariolina, died of a particularly virulent form of a exanthematic disease at the age of seven. Through it all, the family remained devoted to God and the Church and relied upon one another for the strength and courage to accept God’s will. Fr. Rosica described the family as being “like us. Their love of God and neighbor, their simplicity, fire and dynamism will burn away the sadness and evil in the world today, not with harshness but with fiery love and ordinary kindness.” One of his fondest memories of Pietro was of the night before Gianna’s canonization in Rome on May 16, 2004. “ . . . Pietro called me to his room at the convent of the Sisters of Maria Bambina, and asked me to spend several hours with him as he prepared spiritually for the canonization ceremony the following morning. What an extraordinary privilege.  That night I said to Pietro, ‘You are from a family of Saints and Gianna will not be the only one raised to the glory of the altar.  You will follow.’  He held my hand firmly, smiled and wept.  The scenes of the canonization ceremony on May 16, 2004, remain engraved on my mind and heart, especially when Gianna Emanuela and her father Pietro were warmly embraced by Pope John Paul II during the moving liturgy, which would be Pope John Paul II’s last canonization ceremony.” Even the timing of Pietro’s death seems providential. On the morning of her father’s death, Laura Molla called Fr. Rosica to share how the Molla family is linked to the mystery of Holy Saturday. “It was on Holy Saturday 1962 that Gianna Beretta Molla gave birth to her daughter, Gianna Emanuela. One week later, on Easter Saturday, St. Gianna died from the serious medical condition that resulted from bringing her child to term.  St. Gianna gave her life so that the child in her womb would live.  And now Pietro returns to the house of the Father on Holy Saturday morning 2010.” Pietro Molla is survived by a son, Pierluigi, and daughters Laura and Gianna. His Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Easter Tuesday, April 6, 2010 in Mesero, Italy.  He will be buried in the town cemetery, next to the tomb of St. Gianna Beretta Molla. “May St. Gianna, Pietro and Mariolina intercede for us now from heaven, and watch over all married couples and families on earth.” © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®




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