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Excerpt from Saint Gianna Beretta Molla - A Woman’s Life by Giuliana Pelucchi
The Final Step
After the pope signed the decree confirming the heroic virtues of Gianna Beretta Molla, one final step remained before the Church could officially proclaim her a bless; the validation of the miracle attributed to her, which occurred in Grajau, Brazil. In 1977, in the hospital Father Alberto [Gianna’s brother] had helped to build in Grajau, a young woman lay dying. She had given birth to her fourth child, a stillborn, by caesarean section. A very serious complication caused a rectal-vaginal fistula that was inoperable in that facility. The nearest hospital with the means necessary to attempt to save her life was in Sao Luis, a city more than 600 kilometers away. To transport the young women there was nearly impossible, and her condition was worsening. A nurse in the ward, Sister Bernardina of Manaus, was very worred about her patient, and she turned in prayer to Gianna Beretta Molla to ask, through her intercession, that the dying mother be healed of her illness and thus avoid the dangerous journey to Sao Luis. Gazing on a small picture of the Servant of God, she prayed: You who are Father Alberto’s sister, make this fistula heal and keep this woman from having to travel to Sao Luis….” Sister Bernardina invited two other nurses to join her in this supplication. According to the sick woman’s testimony, not only did her pain subside immediately, it also completely disappeared. When the nurses notified the hospital physician, he was surprised to find that the woman’s condition was no longer urgent; it was no longer even necessary to transport the young mother to Sao Luis. The fistula had completely healed….
The compilation of the proofs for this miraculous event was very laborious. Three processes had to be held in Grajau between November 1981 and October 1987 before the depositions of all persons knowledgeable in the matter were finally gathered. On May 22, 1992, the Special Congress of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints met in Rome. It consisted of the Promoter General of the Faith, functioning as president, along with six theological consultants. They discussed and evaluated the miracle attributed to Gianna Beretta Molla’s intercession. The case under review required the approving votes of all seven participants of the Special Congress. Each one of the participants in the commission submitted their first vote in writing. After a brief discussion, during which they took into account the unanimous evaluations and conclusions of the Medical Consulting Board, they expressed their approval of the preternatural quality of the healing. All acknowledged the sufficiency and validity of the juridical and theological proofs, and recognized as a strict nexus of cause and effect, the concomitance between the invocations addressed to the Venerable Servant of God Gianna Beretta Molla – and only to her – the prodigious event of the healing. Regarding the category of the phenomenon, all considered it a third-degree miracles, that is, an instantaneous, complete, and lasting cure unexplained by medical science.