LOS ANGELES (EWTN News) — The daughter of Italian saint Gianna Beretta Molla traveled to Los Angeles last week to attend the dedication of a pro-life clinic built in honor of her mother.

Dr. Gianna Emmanuela Molla attended the opening of the Guadalupe Pro-Life Clinic in Los Angeles on July 18. 

In September of 1961, her mother, a doctor, was diagnosed with cancer.  She opted to forgo medical treatment in order to increase the chances her daughter would survive. She died a week after Gianna Emmanuela was born. Pope John Paul II beatified her in 1994 and canonized her on May 16, 2004.

The Los Angeles clinic was established by the organization Manto de Guadalupe, founded by Mexican actor Eduardo Verastegui. During the inaugural ceremony, Dr. Molla presented a plaque dedicating the facility to her late mother.

Jaime Hernandez, president of Manto de Guadalupe, told EWTN News that the participation of St. Gianna’s daughter in the inauguration was momentous. “It is something special to have the chance to be with the daughter of a saint; it is something that doesn’t happen often,” he said.

In recalling the pro-life testimony of her saintly mother, Gianna Emmanuela “underscored the importance of defending life and that people be committed to helping these women who are going through difficult situations,” Hernandez said.

“St. Gianna, despite knowing how much suffering her sacrifice would entail, decided to do it. She gave herself to God, and, for this reason, she is remembered,” he added.

St. Gianna Beretta Molla

St. Gianna was born in Italy near Milan in 1922 and was the 10th of 13 children. She studied medicine and combined her career as a pediatrician with her life as a mother and a wife. 

Her husband remembers her as a woman who lived her life seeking to do God’s will.

“When she realized what the terrible consequences of her pregnancy and the growth of her cancer would be, her first reaction was to ask that the child in her womb be saved,” he said.

Doctors advised her to undergo a surgical procedure that they said would save her life, but “Gianna chose the solution that posed the greatest risk to her,” her husband recalled. 

Days before giving birth, and trusting in divine Providence, she exclaimed, “If a choice has to be made between my life and the life the child, let there be no doubt; choose her life — I demand it. Save her.”

St. Gianna died on April 28, 1962, at the age of 39, one week after giving birth to Gianna Emmanuela. Amid her great suffering, she repeatedly prayed, “Jesus I love you. Jesus I love you.”

She is buried at the Mesero cemetery near her hometown of Magenta.  Her children were the first in history to live to see their own mother canonized.

St. Gianna is considered the patron saint of pregnant women, the unborn and pro-life movements.