Saints John Paul II and Gianna Beretta Molla are the official patron saints of the World Meeting of Families—two defenders of the family par excellence.
Both Saints John Paul II and Gianna Beretta Molla defended the dignity of the family and each presented in a unique way an image of total, self-giving love.
Like a good father, John Paul II approached his pastoral duties with a “big picture” mentality. In the myriad cultural and social issues he addressed, whether they be political, economic, or religious, the institution of the family inevitably factored into his teachings.The good of the family, in the most universal sense, was a consistent objective of St. John Paul’s mission.
While John Paul II’s concern for the family was played out in the global sphere, Gianna Beretta Molla’s great sacrifice demonstrated total dedication at the most personal level. Suffering from a large tumor during her fourth and final pregnancy, Gianna morally could have had her uterus removed, thus sparing her life but terminating that of her unborn child. As a mother, she believed her greatest obligation was to her child and sacrificed her personal comfort—and ultimately, her life—for the life of her daughter.
Today, both Saints represent heroic charity and firm commitment to the protection of the family. Both believed that the eternal good of individuals is safeguarded by the family and, in ways simple and profound, evidenced this truth to the world.
As the World Meeting of Families continues in Philadelphia, let’s pray that we too may work within both our families and wider communities to defend and support the family.
Saints John Paul II and Gianna Beretta Molla, pray for us!