St. Gianna Molla Shrine
C/O St. Patrick Parish
406 Walnut Street
Yorkville, IL 60560
The statue of St. Gianna was installed in the church on May 4th, 2014. Click below to hear Fr. Matt Lamoureux and Artist Achim Klaas discuss the life of the saint and the inspiration for the sculpture.
Father Matt and Achim Klaas
St. Gianna’s Life- who is she?
* Born in Italy in 1922 and studied medicine - became a pediatrician and surgeon and started her own practice
* Married and had four children and 2 miscarriages – continued to practice medicine after marriage
* Served the poor through St. Vincent DePaul Society and often cared for elderly and the poor in her practice without charging them for her services
* A modern day saint who loved fashion and mountain climbing, her career and her family.
* She grew up in a time of fascism during World War II, but stood up for life and defended the poor in many ways. She is a great example of how we can live out our faith in the modern world.
* When she was expecting her fourth child, doctors discovered a life-threatening tumor and recommended either a hysterectomy or an abortion and removal of the tumor. She refused to do anything that would harm the child and instead had just the tumor removed which was very risky for her, but the only chance to save the baby. She returned to her practice after having the surgery and seven months later delivered a healthy baby. Gianna, however, developed septic peritonitis and died a week later.
She was able to make the hard decision because her whole life was about caring for others. She did not hesitate to instruct doctors to save the baby first if they had the choice. She had a tremendous faith in God to take care of her husband and children if she passed away.
We can relate to her because unlike Saints who lived hundreds of years ago, we have home movies of her, photographs, she drove a car, she was a working woman, a doctor, a wife and a mother. Her husband and children attended her canonization – the first time in church history.
Why is the Shrine needed?
We wanted a pro-life and pro-family shrine that celebrated every aspect of life. Today, abortion is the worst violation of human rights we face and a great tragedy. In order to turn the tide, we need a positive prolife witness that will attract people to the truth about the sanctity of family life.
There is hope after an abortion for healing and peace. Many mothers and fathers suffer in the wake of an abortion. There is opportunity for healing.
For those who have suffered a miscarriage or loss of a child by any other means, this will be a place of healing and comfort for them as well.
As a prayerful place of memorial to honor a loved one or to ask for the intersession of the saints to help someone who is suffering or is sick.
Testimonials of healing:
One of the miracles that led to the canonization of St. Gianna was the story of a woman in Brazil in 1999 whose water broke in the fourth month of pregnancy and all the amniotic fluid was lost. She was advised to abort the child to save her own life, but she refused. The family prayed for St. Gianna’s intercession and the child was born in perfect health 3 ½ months later. The mother survived and is in good health as well.
Father Matt recently brought a holy card that was touched to the driving gloves of St. Gianna with him when he went to the hospital to anoint a woman who was unconscious. Her condition was serious and she going to be transported to a larger hospital in Chicago later that day because the small hospital she was in could no longer help her. He laid the holy card on her and prayed for her. When she was transported to the bigger hospital for treatment, the doctors asked, “Why is she here?” She was healed and her family believes that St. Gianna interceded for them.
Since the beginning of this project there have been other testimonials of healings after prayers to St. Gianna.
St. Gianna’s daughter, Gianna Emanuela, has spoken in support of the shrine saying…
“I am very much encouraged by the plans for this shrine in Yorkville, Illinois, dedicated to my saint mother, recalling her heroic life. I hope and pray this shrine will bring many graces to all pilgrims who visit.”
How can people help?
The planning and development of the shrine is ongoing, but it isn’t just a parish shrine. It is intended to reach pilgrims all over the Midwest. So far we have received donations from 12 different states, including Knights of Columbus councils, prolife groups and individuals who want to see the culture of family and life built up in Illinois.
Please pray for the continued success of the shrine project and that our efforts to promote life at all its stages will be fruitful. You can also donate or purchase an etched brick for the walkways of the shrine.
When completed the shrine will include a life-sized statue of St. Gianna with three of her children picnicking beneath a gazebo. There are brick pathways with a rosary walk and will soon be a water feature in a park-like setting. A footbridge will take pilgrims from the church parking lot to the shrine site.