Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1994, and officially canonized a saint on May 16, 2004. St. Gianna's husband Pietro, and their child Laura, were present at the canonization ceremony, the first time in the history of the Church that a husband witnessed his wife's canonization. Today that child is a physician herself, and involved in the pro-life movement.
St. Gianna is a patron saint for mothers, physicians
In the USA
RUTH PAKALUK was born in 1957 into a Presbyterian family, Ruth studied literature at Harvard where she met her future husband. The Pakaluks made a deliberate decision to search for God and to see if Christianity was true. Their search led them finally into the Catholic Church and they had seven children. After the sixth baby, Sarah, was born Ruth discovered too late that she had breast cancer. Treatment followed and thinking she was in the clear, they had another baby, Sophie. But the cancer returned and Ruth died, aged 41, in 1998.
What was extraordinary was the amount that Ruth managed to pack into her abridged life, especially in pro-life activity. As a young student she had had no religious beliefs, saw herself as a feminist and believed in “a woman’s right to choose”. Becoming a Christian opened her eyes to truth at every level and the experience of having her first child taught her that fighting for the lives of unborn children was the most fundamental and urgent cause of all.
The core of her pro-life argument centered on the question of abortion and human rights: human rights pertain to us because we are human; the basic human right is the right to life and so, if that right is denied, then all human rights are denied. What is growing in the womb is alive and it is human; thus, to deny that it has the right to life is to deny that anyone has any rights whatsoever.
As well as raising her children and supporting her husband during his own academic career, Ruth threw all her formidable energy and intelligence into pro-life work in the Massachusetts area. She showed, with her own commitment to life, what one person can do for a cause when they focus their energies.
The first major blow to strike the Pakaluk family fell on November 13, 1989. Checking on 6-week-old Thomas, who had been napping, Ruth found that the baby had turned blue. Little Thomas had stopped breathing. He was a victim of the mysterious "crib death" syndrome.
|Ruth & Michael & Family|
The grieving had barely ended when the second blow fell: Ruth was diagnosed with breast cancer. She would endure a major operation, and weeks of intensive chemotherapy. Then there were several months of anxious prayer as the doctors waited to see whether the cancer has been eliminated. Finally, after a year, the Pakaluks received the good news that Ruth's cancer was in remission.
Life returned to normal, or as close to normal as an overcrowded family schedule would allow. A seventh child, Sophie, was born. Then, after four happy years, the third blow fell. Suffering from a persistent pain in her leg, Ruth visited the doctor, and was told that the cancer had returned. This time the disease had invaded her bones; she would need another operation, and spend her last months with a metal rod in her leg to bolster the limb. Worse, the doctor announced that the cancer was spreading; Ruth had only about one year to live.
As it happens, that prognosis was inaccurate; Ruth would keep up her normal schedule for another three years. But while she enjoyed months of apparently normal health, free of symptoms, Ruth and Michael knew that the superficial appearances were deceiving, and the cancer was eating its way through her body.
In a network of friends that now stretched across at least three continents, hundreds of people were now praying for a miracle cure. But Ruth, who had packed so much activity into her 41 years, had a different perspective. "Why would I want a cure? Why would I trade the face of God for life on this earth?"
CHIARA CORBELLA d. June 13, 2012
At 28 years of age, Chiara was happily married to Enrico Petrillo. They had already suffered the loss of two children who died from birth defects. The couple became popular speakers at pro-life events.
In 2010, Chiara became pregnant for the third time, and according to doctors the child was developing normally. However, Chiara was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and was advised to begin receiving treatment that would have posed a risk to her pregnancy.
Chiara decided to protect the baby, Francisco, and opted to forgo treatment until after his birth, which took place on May 30, 2011.
“I am going to heaven to take care of Maria and David, you stay here with Dad. I will pray for you,” Chiara said in a letter for Francisco that she wrote one week before her death.
The funeral Mass was celebrated by the Vicar General of Rome, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, who recalled Chiara as “the second Gianna Beretta,” the 20th century saint who sacrificed her life in similar circumstances to save her unborn baby.
SPAIN- July 13 2012
BARBARA CASTRO GARCIA, a Catholic journalist whose story of heroism closely parallels that of Chiara Corbella. Four months into the pregnancy, Barbara took a trip to the dentist complaining of a sore in her mouth. The dentist sent her on to a specialist, who diagnosed her with mouth cancer.
The couple was presented with a dilemma: Barbara urgently needed life-saving treatment, but the treatment had the potential to harm their unborn child. Bolstered by her Catholic faith Barbara, who worked as a journalist in the communications office of the Catholic diocese of Cordoba, made the difficult decision to forgo all treatments except for a surgical procedure that left her in immense pain. She died a year after Barbarita was born.
|Barbara with daught|
Out of ENGLAND comes a miraculous story of a courageous mother, 41-year-old JO POWELL, who discovered a lump on her breast days after finding out she was pregnant with first child. Jo and her husband Richard were thrilled when they discovered Jo was pregnant, after years of trying for a baby. But their joy turned to devastation when days later, doctors revealed she had breast cancer. She was
advised to terminate the pregnancy but refused.
|Jo & Richard with Jake|
She insisted she would not start life-saving treatment until she was nearly full-term and baby Jake was big enough to survive.
Amazingly, her gamble paid off. Now, two years after first being first diagnosed, she has a healthy little boy and has been told the cancer will not return.
|Icon- St. Gianna, T. Harasti (Canada)|