R.I.P. Pietro Molla

ChelseaDeath, Faith, Sacrifice, Suffering5 Comments

Pietro MollaPietro Molla, widower of Gianna Molla, a canonized saint, died on Holy Saturday last weekend at the age of 97. Coincidentally, it was on Holy Saturday that Gianna Emanuela, the child whom St. Gianna gave up her life for, was born in 1962.

Of course his wife is one of the greatest, modern-day witnesses of love and suffering, but for those who know the agony of losing a loved one way too early in life, Pietro himself is also an example of great faith in the midst of extreme sadness and suffering. In an interview for the book Saint Gianna Molla: Wife, Mother, Doctor, Pietro told Elio Guerriero:

When the mystery of pain came down on me and my children after Gianna’s death and I felt myself crumble, I clung to Jesus crucified, to the certainty that Gianna lived with God in paradise.

A passage from a Dominican Father’s sermon that I heard on Corpus Christi 1950 kept pounding at my mind: “The Eucharist is a great gift, a mystery, but the true mystery for man is pain.” Besides, the Eucharist also springs from pain and death.

Think of our hospitals, to which sometimes we give only a distracted glance. There, we have whole cities of men and women who suffer, of children who die. What a great mystery!

Then there is the insidious question: there are people who could be saved but still die. Gianna could have been saved; her illness was not incurable, but she died. I relived this mystery of pain in an equally dramatic way when my daughter Mariolina died. Why does it happen?

I confess that for a long time I looked for an explanation for why the Lord had not accepted my supplications and those of my family and so very many others that Gianna’s life be saved together with that of the baby she had borne…

I have been forced to conclude that pain remains a mystery even in the light of our faith, and I have experienced in myself that the only way to accept it is that of Jesus crucified…

Jesus is the one who has given security to me, and I have held on to him with all my strength. (pp. 88-90)

In many ways, the Church owes Pietro a debt of gratitude for allowing her to formally recognize the holiness of his wife – a decision that required him to make his pain public and then share the one and only love of his life with the rest of the world. Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, a friend of the Molla family, said on Sunday that Pietro, like his wife, was “a man of extraordinary faith, simplicity and holiness” who lived a “remarkable, saintly life.” May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Previous posts on St. Gianna:
No Greater Love
St. Gianna on Suffering
My Morning Meditation With St. Gianna

5 Comments on “R.I.P. Pietro Molla”

  1. I heard about the death of Pietro on the news but I’ll admit I had no idea who St. Gianna was! I guess I just missed this one and I’m so glad you put up this post so I could do a little research into her life. What a wonderful gift to the world she was and I’m so happy that Pietro is finally with her in eternity in heaven. When I think of all the babies who are lost through abortion, I wish that the respect for life was as great as St. Gianna’s was.

    Thank you again for the great post recognizing this wonderful Saint and her loving husband.

  2. I knew about Gianna since 2004 and her story has a tremendous impact in facing life. Jesus Crucified was their strength, what a great lesson to learn !!

  3. Jesus, We adore You, Jesus, help us, Mary, help us, We kiss Your Holy
    Cross. We Thank God Who can comfort us in difficult moments, We embrace
    the Cross You offer, We Trust in You, We surrender to You with Joy. May
    …Your Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. By the intercession of
    Pietro Molla, loving husband of our beloved Saint Gianna, may Liliana be
    healed of the complications that have arisen in this pregnancy with her
    seventh child. Protect her
    and her unborn son, guide and protect those who care for her.
    Grant us, by Pietro’s intercession and according to your will, the graces we implore hoping that he will soon by numbered officially among your saints. Amen.

  4. Dear friends in the Lord:

    I’ve known about St. Gianna for some 10 years now, and have just learned from your web-page of the death of her elderly husband earlier this year. I’m trying to prepare a course on married saints (not only canonized ones like Gianna, but also uncanonized but exemplary ones like Pietro). Would you have any information on the tenor of their conjugal life that you could share with me? I know there’s a volume published in English entitled “Love letters to my husband”, which I read years ago, but do not have access to at present. Any help would be much appreciated.
    Keep up the great work, Fr. Kevin Kraft OP (Nairobi, Kenya)

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