Gianna’s Hope is named after Gianna Beretta Molla – an Italian wife, mother, and physician. She was trained in both medicine and surgery; and, in 1952, Gianna specialized in pediatrics at the University of Milan. She was especially drawn toward mothers, babies, the elderly, and the poor. As a mother Gianna suffered heartbreaking trials. After having three children, her following two pregnancies ended in miscarriage. Early in her sixth and final pregnancy, doctors discovered that Gianna had both a child and a tumor in her uterus.
After examination, the doctors gave her three choices: an abortion, a complete hysterectomy, or removal of only the fibroma with the potential of further complications, which could save the life of her baby.
Gianna was 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, her daughter, Gianna Emanuela Molla, was successfully delivered via cesarean section. The doctors tried many different treatments and procedures to ensure both lives would be saved. However, on April 28, 1962, a week after the baby was born, Gianna passed away from septic peritonitis.
Gianna Molla made a heroic choice but was able to do so because of her heroic virtue, genuine holiness of life, and selflessness. This, combined with her unshakeable hope, is why this ministry bears her name.