When does life begin? The Church teaches that life begins at the moment of conception, and St. Gianna understood the responsibility she had for caring for her unborn children, recognizing the holy nature of that God-given duty. "At the moment of conception there is eternal life in the womb."(Adrienne Koegler) In that simple statement is a powerful thought - imagine, God has given us the ability to carry eternity within us! Each conception brings forth life, and another unique soul can leave its mark upon the world.

In the story of Christ's birth in the gospel of Matthew, the angel of the Lord instructs: "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 1:20)The angel doesn't speak of a fetus or group of cells, he speaks of a child - a life. Mary said "yes" to this new life within her, in spite of her fears. She trusted God in this as well as every situation. St. Gianna did the same - she said "yes" to life for all her children, even tiny Gianna Emanuela, born on a Good Friday in 1962. She could make the choice to sacrifice her life for her child because she believed in eternal life and was willing to "lose her life for (Christ's) sake" and so to find it (Matthew 16:25).

There were those who thought St. Gianna's choice was wrong, and we, too, may face opposition from family or friends when we hold fast to Christian ideals, such as our stand on abortion or right-to-life. Jesus taught that we would, indeed, be persecuted, and we should follow St. Gianna's example and turn to Him in humility and prayer when we are. Staying firm in our beliefs will not only increase our own faith but will give a strong witness to those around us.

When does life begin? At conception. When does it end? If we trust in Jesus Christ - NEVER!

St. Gianna Beretta Molla, pray for us!