This evening was one of those perfect New York City nights, a cool breeze in the air, the smell of rain coming and definitely an evening that made you want to walk for a while. I decided to attend a Mass and event tonight where I was able to listen to Pierluigi Molla, the son of Saint Gianna Molla, speak about his mother. We were able to then be blessed by the relics of St. Molla and pray in the church after the Mass, followed by a lovely reception.
I remember my mom reading this book about St. Gianna a few years ago, and she told me her story. St. Gianna was a medical doctor and had been working and providing Catholic health care, meaning health care with a respect for life. She had three children and by the time she became pregnant with her fourth, she found out she had cancer. Doctors told her to abort the child, but she refused and told them when it came time to give birth, to save the baby and not her. Of course, they tried to save both the baby and St. Gianna, but she died that day on April 21, 1962, at 39 years of age.
Because of the life she lived and the way she handled her death, she became canonized by Pope John Paul II on May 16, 2004. Pope John Paul II stressed the importance of her life, she was the first working mother who was canonized, a mother and physician.
She is also well known for helping couples who have trouble conceiving or recurrent miscarriages, so I prayed hard for some of my friends who are having those difficulties and others who are pregnant. I love this modern day saint!
Later, I saw a priest whom I had met when I was volunteering in Calcutta, India a year ago. I ran after him and said, “Were you in India a year ago?” After he confirmed, I said, “Are you Fr. Boniface?” It was so great to see him randomly, a year later! The interesting thing was that we both remembered each other, after only having a brief discussion. Although we didn’t talk a lot while in India, he had a huge impact on me – perhaps it was seeing a young monk, with bright blue eyes and a long beard who clearly loved and revered Christ.
Tonight was no different. We had a wonderful discussion and I truly felt enlightened after talking with him. He is a very brilliant priest and I feel so blessed to have run into him again. At one point, there were tears (on my end) as he taught me an important new way to pray. What a phenomenal sign to be given again, right at the time I needed it. A perfect New York moment.
(For more info about the Gianna Center or to schedule a visit, visit www.giannahealth.org or call (212) 481-1219.)