When we think of Catholic saints, we think of great men and women of the Faith who lived centuries before us, died for the Faith in some way, and lived the life of a celibate. This is generally a fair assessment. Most of our saints are religious in some form or another, be they popes, priests, monks, nuns, etc. There are very few married saints, and even then, most of the married saints chose to live celibate lives as brother and sister. What about saints for the rest of us? What about the married man or woman who aspires to sainthood? Where is he to look for inspiration and example? Allow me to introduce you to St. Gianna Beretta Molla.
The Journey of Our Love, I would like to share some background on St. Gianna Beretta Molla. She was born in Magenta, Italy in 1922 and was the 10th of 13 children. In 1942, she began to study medicine and received her diploma in 1949. In December of 1954, she met Pietro Molla. They became engaged in April 1955 and were married in September 1955 as well. They had three children Pierluigi born in 1956, Mariolina born in 1957, and Laura born in 1959. In 1961, St. Gianna became pregnant again but developed a fibroma on her uterus which left her with three options - abortion, hysterectomy (which would have terminated the pregnancy), and removal of the fibroma. She opted to remove only the fibroma, but still had complications throughout the pregnancy. On Holy Saturday of 1962, she gave birth to their fourth child Gianna Emanuela. Seven days later, St. Gianna Beretta died of septic peritonitis.
Now for the review. The Journey of Our Love is the personal correspondence of St. Gianna Beretta Molla and her husband Pietro Molla. The book is divided into five parts - Introduction (which includes information I covered above, the content of their letters, and their spirituality), Engagement Letters, Letters in the First Year of Marriage, Letters from Pietro's Trip to the United States, and Letters of Maturity. Some gems in this book are that Pietro Molla wrote a preface to his wife's letters, and their daughter, Gianna Emanuela, wrote a preface to Pietro's letters. The chronology of the husband and wife in the end is also extremely useful for putting the letters in the proper context of their lives.
There is no way to legitimately review this book. As these are personal letters between husband and wife, all you can do is read them and appreciate them. I would hate for someone to critique the life and/or love between my wife and I, so I will show St. Gianna Beretta and Pietro Molla the same respect. With that being said, the letters were beautiful to read. There was humor, joy, and most of all love. It was clear reading the letters that these two people loved each other and weren't afraid to show it. The letters also showed a growing maturity both individually and in their love.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. In a culture where the definition of marriage has been twisted, divorce rates are high, and people don't even know what love is anymore, this was a welcome and encouraging read. Saint Gianna Beretta Molla is a worthy saint, but in my opinion (and I'm sure many others), her husband Pietro Molla is also a worthy saint. Let us pray for his eventual sainthood. May we use them as a model for married love. Let us hold true to our beliefs like Saint Gianna. Let us fight for the unborn. And let us always say an emphatic YES to life.
This book was provided to me for free by Pauline Books and Media in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!