It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and thoughts turn easily to romantic love. But what if you could read something thoroughly romantic… and thoroughly spiritual and thoughtful as well?
The love letters exchanged between Saint Gianna Beretta and her husband, Pietro Molla, might provide just what you’re looking for. Better than a theological treatise, these letters are a convincing proof that the way of holiness does not necessarily pass through religious life or the priestly ministry, but can unfold in the midst of the world, living one’s own vocation as a Christian called to holiness with Christ in married life.
Their marriage was not easy. Gianna was a medical doctor; Pietro held a responsible position within a manufacturing company that required constant travel. None of their three children was robust in terms of health, and the parents were constantly worrying about them. Gianna was pregnant with their fourth child when she had to be operated on for a tumor of the uterus, and labor proved too much: she died soon after the baby was born.
Both Gianna and Pietro were involved with the Catholic Action movement, which emphasized prayer, action, and sacrifice. It seems clear that both of them took these directives to heart. Through their professional lives, their volunteer work, their marriage and their lives as parents and spouses, they showed the world the possibility of a life that mirrors the mystical union between God and humanity. Their letters serve to remind us that we, too, are called to sanctity, no matter what path in life we have chosen.
The Journey of Our Love is a collection of the letters exchanged between Gianna and Pietro, letters that reflect the holiness of everyday lives and the concern that they had for each other, their children, their extended families, and the world. It is an inspiring look at the holiness of life lived to the fullest and a testament to love within the partnership of marriage.
Not a bad Lenten read at all!