November 12, 2023 // Diocese

Honoring Health Care Heroes: St. Gianna Molla Statue Unveiled at St. Jude

In a heartwarming display of generosity and community spirit, St. Jude Parish in Fort Wayne in late October unveiled a statue of St. Gianna Beretta Molla, patron saint of mothers, physicians, and unborn children. Spearheaded by Monsignor Robert Schulte, Pastor of St. Jude, the statue carries a meaningful message of appreciation and compassion for those who dedicate their lives to health care. The statue is meant to serve as a reminder of their responsibility to protect the mothers in their care and their unborn children.

Provided by St. Jude Church
A statue of St. Gianna Beretta Molla stands at the entrance of St. Jude Parish in Fort Wayne, facing Parkview Randallia Hospital. The statue was donated by a generous parishioner who wished for it to serve as a reminder of the closeness the parish has with the hospital.

Months ago, a generous donor approached Monsignor Schulte with the heartfelt wish to donate a statue of St. Gianna to be displayed on the parish campus. This statue is intended to be a symbol of hope and gratitude, and stand as a visible reminder of the unwavering support the parish has for their neighbors at Parkview Randallia Hospital. With the blessings of the parish Pastoral Council, the decision to proceed with this noble endeavor was made.

The statue of St. Gianna, an extraordinary 20th-century figure known for her roles as a wife, mother, pediatrician, and right-to-life advocate, has been placed in a prominent position facing Parkview Hospital. This positioning is a poignant tribute to the dedication and hard work of the physicians, nurses, health care workers, and staff who tirelessly serve patients within the hospital’s walls.

“It also reminds patients and visitors of our prayers for them and our concern for our neighbors across the street,” Monsignor Schulte told Today’s Catholic.

The statue itself, made of fiberglass and hailing from Italy (the birthplace of St. Gianna), is a work of art that captures the essence of St. Gianna’s legacy. The Italian pediatrician was canonized by the Church in 2004, as she was recognized for heroic witness to the sacredness of life. Pregnant with her fourth child at the age of 38, doctors discovered St. Gianna had a tumor in her uterus. She was given the following choices: have an abortion, which would save her life and allow her the possibility of future children; undergo a hysterectomy, which also would save her life but end that of her child; or remove only the tumor. She chose the latter, sparing her baby’s life. Throughout the rest of her pregnancy, Gianna suffered from complications from the surgery and knew there would be great risks during delivery – to herself and her child. Days before she was to deliver, she said, clearly: “If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child. I insist on it. Save the baby.”

Her daughter, Gianna Emanuela Molla, was born by Cesarean section on April 21, 1962, but a week later, St. Gianna died from septic peritonitis.

In his homily during the Mass of her canonization, Pope St. John Paul II called St. Gianna, “a simple, but more than ever, significant messenger of divine love.” He continued: “Following the example of Christ, who ‘having loved his own … loved them to the end,’ (Jn 13:1), this holy mother of a family remained heroically faithful to the commitment she made on the day of her marriage. The extreme sacrifice she sealed with her life testifies that only those who have the courage to give of themselves totally to God and to others are able to fulfill themselves. Through the example of Gianna Beretta Molla, may our age rediscover the pure, chaste, and fruitful beauty of conjugal love, lived as a response to the divine call!”

As the St. Gianna Molla statue graces the entrance of St. Jude, it stands not only as a symbol of faith but also as a reminder of the enduring bonds of compassion for mothers and their unborn children, and it is a testament to the power of sacrificial love.

* * *

The best news. Delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe to our mailing list today.