Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Night I Met Gianna Emanuela Molla

Last night was like a dream. I can still hardly believe I experienced what I did.

Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla is the youngest daughter of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla - the Saint who gave her life in order that her daughter (named after her) could live, when she was given the choice between dying herself from the tumor in her pelvis or having an abortion. Gianna Emanuela has never been to the United States before this visit, and generally does not do speaking engagements.

But here she was, in PA last night for a Mass celebrated by Father Frank Pavone from Priests for Life. We had been eagerly awaiting this evening since we first heard about it at Saint Gianna's Feast Day Mass in April.

After Mass, Dr Gianna Molla gave a beautiful testimony, in her wonderful thick Italian accented high-pitched voice, about her mother and father. (Perhaps my favorite part of which was her constant reference to her mother as "Saint Mami Gianna.") Before the recessional hymn, Father reminded us that Gianna would be meeting and greeting us in the cafeteria, and that relics of Saint Gianna would be available for veneration at the front of the church, including a 1st class relic (her hair). DH leaned over to me during the recessional to say, "Something tells me we should go straight to the cafeteria." And so, edging our way through the truckloads of people already in line to venerate the relics, we went straight to the cafeteria. After all... Gianna Emanuela is the flesh of Saint Gianna's flesh - isn't speaking with her more exciting than touching her mother's hair??

Moments later, Gianna Emanuela came through with her escorts (the Presidents of the Saint Gianna Society and the Gianna Physicians Guild). We were inches from her, and just as we turned to go get on line to meet her and speak with her, a beeline came buzzing by us, cutting right ahead of us. There must have been 25-30 people who just zoomed right in front of us. But we were still pretty close, and I thanked DH for suggesting we go meet her first, because soon the line was triple the size, and it kept on growing.

As the first 25-30 people all introduced themselves to Gianna Emanuela, I practiced what I planned to say (in Italian). I wanted very much to speak to Gianna in her native language, which is how I often pray for her mother's intercession, too. But I haven't spoken in Italian in a long time, so I was practicing my grammar in my head. The first few people were STILL speaking to her, and posing for pictures with her, after about 10 minutes on line. It was at this point that the President of the Society made an announcement that we would have to cut the meet and greet short, and that he would lead Gianna Emanuela down the line to shake our hands briefly and say hello, but that we were to please not engage her in conversation or pose for pictures. She had had a long day of traveling, after all, and it was already after 10:00pm (4:00am Italy time).

I was seriously bummed. I had wanted to primarily ask her to please pray for us, and ask for her mother's intercession on our behalf. I also planned to tell her that I was so proud to work for the Gianna Center for Women's Health, and how important her mother had been in my own life. Now, I would have to settle for a handshake.

As she came down the line, suddenly the line sort of mashed into a huddle of people, and her escort was really moving her... so much so, that she passed right over me and instead shook DH's hand who was standing right behind me. I heard him say, in his practiced Italian, "Molto piacere," and then something inside of me nudged me to speak up. Wait, let me re-phrase. My stubborn Italian grandmother nudged me to speak up :) And so, I did:

"Dottore! Le possiamo chiedere per i preghieri, per un bambino?"
(Doctor! May we ask you for your prayers, for a baby?)

At this I saw Gianna Emanuela's eyes widen as she recognized her native language, and she turned to me and reached out her hands to hold mine. She looked directly into my eyes and said, in the most beautiful voice I've ever heard, in a slow, deliberate way:

"By dee greiss ov mai motter, I weel pray for yu."
(By the grace of my mother, I will pray for you.)

Immediately there were tears in my eyes, and I must have said "Mille grazie" about 5 times as her escort had to gently lead her back down the line and get her away from the crazy blonde American girl speaking Italian.

DH turned to me as we left the line and said, "I don't think I've ever heard you speak faster than that!" Clearly the Holy Spirit (and my grandmother, who didn't speak Italian herself on earth but understood it) was working through me to get that message across, and to get Gianna's attention. Normally, I would not be one to speak up in that situation, but I am so so glad that I did, because that is a moment I will never, ever forget.

And yet one more huge blessing to come from this cross of infertility Without this cross, I never would have been where I was last night, never would have had that amazing experience, never would have acquired the prayers of a SAINT'S DAUGHTER! I am so blessed.

54 comments:

Jenny said...

Wow! Wow! Wow!

God Alone Suffices said...

Holy. Crap. That's amazing! What a grace!

St. Rita's Roses said...

I'm crying! I'm. So happy you got to go! That's were our rachels vineyard team does our retreaats. Our lady of C. I was bummed I couldn't. Go. God bless your big italian mouth! What a special blrssed moment!

St. Rita's Roses said...

RSo for my horrible typos ;)

Katie said...

That is pretty incredible!

JellyBelly said...

What an incredible dream!!!!

CM said...

That's so awesome!!

(Also love the new background.)

Mary said...

SO amazing! She's going to be in Nebraska, but on the other side of the state (near where we USED to live)- and on a Wednesday! :( so we can't go!
But I am SO GLAD YOU GOT TO MEET HER!!!!!!! yayyyyyYYYY!!!

Kaitlin @ More Like Mary said...

Wow! Wow! Wow! I can't believe it. Wow!

Be Not Afraid said...

What a beautiful post. What a beautiful response to your question! Totally teary. LOve your house and love your new blogger header thingy.

Joy Beyond the Cross said...

I love hearing stories about the saints and especially people so closely connected to them. What an amazing opportunity and blessing, thank you for sharing!

Lauren @ Magnify the Lord with Me said...

That brings such tears to my eyes!!!! WHat an incredible story!!!! "By the grace of my mother..." Oh the joy that brings in my heart! I'm so so happy for you to have this experience!!!! Oh how I'm praying!

I'M SO STINKING HAPPY YOU SPEAK ITALIAN!!!!!

Hebrews 11:1 said...

Amazing!! What a wonderful experience. She is coming to Nebraska next week and I am going!!

Leila @ Little Catholic Bubble said...

Are you freaking kidding me???? Oh my gosh, I might have fainted!

Ahhhh!!!! She is the baby that the Saint gave her life for! And she is asking her mother to pray for you! Ahhh!

More Than Anything said...

Wow!!! Amazing! Love it@\!

BlessedBeLord said...

Wow! What a great blessing from our dear Lord! Praise be to God..

A Martha trying to be Mary said...

I had tears in my eyes reading this. I got married in St Gianna´s feast day and in the last years she has become a favourite saint of mine! I would have probably fainted. I am so happy for you

barbie said...

Beautiful!!! Sounds pretty amazing! Also love the new look!

the misfit said...

What a blessing! I'm so glad you asked for her prayers!

andnotbysight said...

That is so. awesome. Wow!!!

Amazing Life said...

I can only imagine how your heart must have rattling in your chest because reading this made my heart pound with excitement!!!!

So happy for you and don't you love the wisdom our Godly husbands!!

Monica said...

I can't really explain why, but I have tears streaming down my face after reading that. I am so glad you had such a close brush with heaven last night. :-)

Mrs. Mike said...

That is seriously some crazy awesome grace. I think I'd put some serious stock into the prayers of the daughter of a saint who died for her sake.

Beth Rutter said...

While I'm not Catholic and don't understand all the significance of everything you reference, I get this! I have tears in my eyes, what a blessing you have been given. This is will be an amazing story to tell your child one day!

Second Chances said...

Incredible! All teary eyed over here :)

Sew said...

I love this story..Love it! Even though I have heard it I still have tears reading it.....

Serious grace, serious. Concentrate on the graces...

Made For Another World said...

Only TCIE. You really are being made into a saint. Beautiful.

Little JoAnn said...

;;;;;

Crying. Crying.

Patiently Waiting...... said...

That is amazing! A perfect, perfect situation! Hold onto this experience, perfect!

Lisa said...

I was just sitting in a very public place reading this, and burst into tears when I read what you said, and then REALLY lost it at her response. Tcie- this is your year!!! Hold on to that hope!!!!

Sarah said...

That is so amazing... wow. Teary-eyed over here too!

"His Perfect Timing" said...

So glad you spoke up - I am sure because of what you did/said, she will remember you especially in her prayers.
What an amazing opportunity you had ... thanks for sharing!!!
St. Gianna, pray for TCIE.

E said...

tears in my eyes for you!! You are amazing and such a witness to Faith. :)

Julie said...

Amazing how the grace of God shows up in our lives!
Pretty sure you will have to name your daughter Gianna!!

Shannon said...

OH MY GOSH!!! AMAZING!

Tridentine Wife said...

I just...wow...I almost have no words. Her words must have just gave you butterflies, how beautiful. St. Gianna, pray for us. And I agree with Julie, your daughter's name is set!

Clara said...

TCIE: That is truly amazing! I think this is your year too!!!

I am kicking myself for not sticking out the incredibly long line. I was not as smart as your DH. ;)

It was a pleasure seeing you and your DH there. :)

Rebecca @ The Road Home said...

Amazing! So happy for this experience for you.

And, I have to ask (and I don't know how I've missed it before) - you live in PA? Where? Eastern, I'm guessing as that seems to be where there are Fertility Care Centers/NaPro docs. Just wondering/being nosey - feel free to answer in an email (RebeccaWVU02 (at) gmail (dot) com) or not at all :).

LifeHopes said...

You will have your baby.

doctorgianna said...

I got chills reading this!

Megan said...

AMAZING! Tears in my eyes! AMAZING!

This_Cross_I_Embrace said...

Unfortunately, I cannot and will not name any daughter of mine Gianna, because one of my greatest pet peeves in the known world is the mispronunciation of that name!! :)

Repeat after me: Jonn-a

NOT Jee-ah-na!

Oooh, it drives me batty!! ;)


@ Rebecca, I'm in NJ, but very close to the PA border (near Easton). Are you in PA? Come visit!! I'll wand you!!

mrsblondies said...

Such a great blessing! It's really lucky you speak Italian. :)

My Heart Exults... said...

This is the most amazing story! What a wonderful night that you will never forget!!!

Hormone Queen said...

I bawled as I read your story.. beautiful.

Awaiting a Child of God:) said...

Holy Moly WOW!!!I don't think I would be able to sleep after that I would have been so excited! Don't you just know that you are going to be watched over so closely!!! What a beautiful story:):):)

Lavished with Lemons said...

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving such heart-felt comments. Please feel free to add me to your sidebar.

What an incredible experience to meet the daughter of a saint! Such an amazing blessing.

Also, thanks for all you with CrMS. For those of us who make NFP a way of life, it's a blessing to have practitioners such as yourself.

Anonymous said...

I met Dr. Gianna Molla this week on July 13 and she was so very gracious and kind toward so many people there at the church named after her mother,
I had the lucky chance of her hugging me plus the gift of her signature on her mother's holy card for the intention of my grandson to be born this September 2011 who will need future cleft surgery. I pray that all are answered their requests through the intercession of Saint Gianna Molla.

Grandma of grandson to be in September

Rebecca @ The Road Home said...

I am actually in WV - Morgantown (80 miles south of Pittsburgh, PA)...but seeing as how the closest NaPro doc to me is in Camp Hill, PA (about 4 hours away) I may end up with a fancy widget on my sidebar some day :).

Beth said...

A. This is absolutely incredible.

B. You speak Italian???

DANG THIS POST IS AWESOME!!!!

Aubrey said...

Wow! I was blessed to see her speak just tonight at our diocesan Cathedral (Nebraska). You described her very well, and her testimony was beautiful. I felt honored to be with such a wonderful woman, privileged to hear speak the daughter of a saint. St. Gianna, pray for us! I will also pray for a child for you. +God bless!

Brenda said...

I'm catching up on your blog! Wow! That is amazing! I hope they yield amazing fruits for you and DH!

stan said...

wonderful account and testimony. i have a great desire to meet personally Dottoressa Gianna Emanuela. can anyone tell me where she live and how can this come to happen. thanks

Anonymous said...

Beautiful!