Last month BOMA-TT could not host our annual Mass for Hope and Healing due to the lockdown. Many women at this unprecedented time feel the burden of taking care of their homes, their families and themselves. It is in times like these that some women who are pregnant feel an encumbrance in their nine-ten-month journey and the ‘glow’ of pregnancy may be diminished in the current circumstances.
The annual Hope and Healing event usually incorporates those who are having difficult pregnancies; if we could hold your hands right now and implore you to carry on and encourage you to be brave and be strong…we would.
What we do have to give is the reminder of the admirable and remarkable example of St Gianna Beretta Molla who carried an exceedingly difficult pregnancy to its very end. The life of this wife, mother and physician is usually highlighted at our event because of her brave, sacrificial love for her child.
According to Catholic Online, Gianna was pregnant in her first trimester with her fourth child when she suddenly had “unimaginable pain” because a fibroma (tumour) developed in her womb.
“Catholic teaching affirms what medical science, the Natural Law, the Bible and unbroken Christian tradition affirm, the child in the womb has a fundamental Human Right to Life.” Gianna realised this thus she had opted for the fibroma to be removed. The life of her child was spared for which she was graciously grateful to God for.
However, complications persisted, and she knew her own life was in danger. “Gianna was quite clear about her wishes, expressing to her family, ‘If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child? I insist on it. Save the baby.’”
On April 21, 1962, Gianna Emanuela Molla was successfully delivered by Caesarean section. The doctors tried many different treatments and procedures to ensure both lives would be saved. However, on April 28, a week after the baby was born, Gianna passed away from septic peritonitis. Such a shining example of virtue was she that Gianna has been raised to the level of a Saint.
St Gianna could have had her condition treated by an abortion or a complete hysterectomy, both of which however, would have entailed the end of the life of her baby in the womb.
From Catholic Health Care Ethics (3rd Edition): “One may licitly perform an action that one foresees will produce good and bad effects provided these four conditions hold: (1) the action in itself, and considered in its object, is good or at least indifferent (that is, neither good nor bad); (2) the good effect and not the bad effect is intended; (3) the good effect is not produced by means of the bad effect; and (4) there is a proportionately grave reason for permitting the bad effect.” Saving the life of St Gianna was that “proportionately grave reason” for permitting the death of her child. Yet St Gianna, knowing that her very own life was endangered, desired the start of her daughter’s life so greatly that she relied on her faith in God to take her through to the end of her complicated pregnancy.
Faith in God is no small thing. When it comes to one’s sexuality and fertility, faith is ever more vital.
On the second Sunday of Easter we celebrated the Divine Mercy of God. Can we trust God with our fertility? Can we truly depend on Him, even through a difficult pregnancy? Lord, increase our faith!
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