The Holy Witness of St. Thérèse and St. Gianna
Lasting lessons from two of my favorite saints.
Our friends the saints are wonderful companions, for, as fellow writer Emily Stimpson Chapman beautifully put it, “the light of Jesus Christ, blazing in his saints, scatters the darkness and keeps us in the way of truth.”
In honor of All Saints, I offer a reflection on two favorite saints. The following short excerpt is taken from my book, The Plans God Has for You: Hopeful Lessons for Young Women (Emmaus Road Publishing, 2020):
Thérèse Martin was born in nineteenth-century France. She entered the Carmelites when she was just fifteen and spent the rest of her short life there serving God in her “little way,” doing ordinary things with extraordinary love. Her theology was simple, her wisdom profound. After all, she is a doctor of the Church!
St. Gianna Molla — Dr. Gianna would also apply, because she was a pediatrician — lived not too long ago in Italy. She faithfully attended Mass, loved her husband and children, cared for her patients, and taught others the faith. She also took time to have fun. She especially loved to ski and spend time outdoors. This description could fit many Catholic women today.
And that’s the beauty of the witness of St. Gianna, whose feast day is April 28. Because she lived in the world as a wife, mother, and physician, she shows us how we too can achieve holiness in our daily lives. [...]
Before the World Meeting of Families in 2015, I had the privilege of interviewing St. Gianna’s daughter, the one St. Gianna gave her own life for and who is also named Gianna, for the National Catholic Register. What a blessing it was to hear Gianna’s loving words about the holy witness of her saint-mother! Assignments like this are why I enjoy journalism: I love highlighting lives of heroic virtue for readers, especially when they relate to one of my favorite saints.
Gianna said of her mother, “Many married women and mothers write that my mom is like a friend, a sister, a mother for them; that mom is able to understand them because she lived their same problems, their same worries and difficulties. They tell me they feel my mom so very close in every circumstance; they turn to her for every problem, feeling helped and fulfilled. Some people pray to my mother to intercede for them so God will grant them the grace to have her same great faith and her same unlimited trust in divine Providence.”
St. Gianna is a good example for us, showing us how we should trust God completely!