Arrival of St. Gianna Molla Relic Contributes to WCC’s Celebration of “Respect Life Month”
Since Wyoming Catholic College’s earliest years, its students have been passionately devoted to the pro-life cause. Our curriculum is not designed to promote a level of political activism, yet we recognize that it is important for our students “to engage with the public and political spheres on this issue of abortion, since it is an issue that fundamentally affects the moral health of our society. We cannot sit idly by while such grave injustice is done; all life is sacred, from conception to natural death.”
Our students’ desire to defend life manifests itself in numerous ways: from traveling to pro-life events around the country (such as the Walk for Life in San Francisco and the March for Life in Washington DC) to helping to organize the first-ever Lander Walk-for-Life, from founding our own Students for Life chapter (known as “Cowboys for Life”) to participating in the peaceful 40 Days protests held at the corner of Main Street and Second each year for Respect Life Month, from raising funds in support of Abba’s House (our local crisis pregnancy center) to spreading the length of Main Street with posters (and smiles) as part of the annual Life Chain event.
This October’s “Respect Life” events received a welcome boost when the College was honored to receive a second-class relic of St. Gianna Beretta Molla. St. Gianna was an Italian wife, mother, and pediatrician who developed a life-threatening complication while pregnant with her fourth child. St. Gianna refused the abortion recommended by her doctors, insisting that doctors save the baby’s life instead, and died seven days after giving birth to a healthy daughter, Gianna Emmanuela Molla. She was canonized in 2004, and is now recognized as the patron saint of mothers, physicians, and unborn children.
A bit more on the story behind the relic, as told by Lucas Preble, our Director of Student Life:
When I worked as the Assistant Principal at Saint John Paul II Academy in South Florida, I became close friends with Mr. Joseph Cunningham, its Italian and Latin teacher. We shared a passion for the respect for all life, especially the unborn, so we soon found ourselves coordinating on our right-to-life club, including organizing an annual trip to the march in DC, successfully taking 30 students there each year. At each march, Mr. C. would hold up a large poster of Saint Gianna Molla. One year, he explained to me that he had served as President of the Society of Saint Gianna—He is still listed as “Founder and President Emeritus” on the Society’s website—and he’d long hoped that she could be named patron saint for the march. (On one of the marches, Dr. Gianna Emmanuela Molla, St. Gianna’s daughter, walked up to Mr. C. and greeted him, and I was fortunate enough to be there to take their picture.)
Unfortunately, I have moved far away from my close friend in accepting my new role as Director of Student Life here at Wyoming Catholic College, but when I arrived in Lander, I was pleased to find a small reminder of his devotion to St. Gianna here at Wyoming Catholic. We have eleven residence halls, each named after a generous soul and saint; our hope is that with this small attachment to each saint, our students will be encouraged to model the lives of these individuals. One hall is named St. Gianna Molla and given my (and my friend’s) unique tie to her, I decided to inquire about obtaining a relic of St. Gianna for the College and particularly for the students of this hall. I reached out to Mr. C. to see how we might go about the inquiry, and was pleasantly surprised to see a letter and relic arrive in my mailbox a short month later.
Given that October is a particularly busy month for our students’ pro-life activities, I could not help but think that Providence was sending us St. Gianna’s relic to encourage us in our efforts on behalf of the unborn. St. Gianna Molla, pray for us!