I wrote previously the vision for Antoinette Moms, the mother’s group I am beginning here in my home town, through the Young Ladies Institute. With the goals of prayer, fellowship and formation, it did not take long for me to consider who would be amazing patronesses for this ministry.
St. Gianna Molla (1922-1962) was an Italian wife, family doctor and mother of four children. Deeply in love with her husband, she loved fashion and traveling, particularly skiing. She died following the birth of her fourth child after opting to save her child’s life and risk her own with surgery, rather than end the life of her unborn child through an abortion and hysterectomy. Along with being a caring doctor, Gianna also served her community as a child and young adult through her participation in Catholic Action, a movement whose aim was to mobilize the Catholic laity to live a more intense spiritual life.
She is a model for those women who feel called or compelled to work, who have particular professional gifts, who must make particularly heroic choices to serve their families and who seek to inspire girls and other young women in the faith.
Blessed Zelie Martin (1831-1877), the wife of Louie Martin, and mother of nine children (five daughters survived childhood), including St. Therese of Liseiux, Doctor of the Church. Zelie lived an intensely devout Catholic life and raised her daughters to do the same. She operated a small business from her home, making lace. Zelie died of breast cancer at age 45. She and her husband will be the first married couple to be canonized as a couple this September.
She is a model for those faithful women who have suffered miscarriage and the death of their children, who themselves suffer from ongoing health issues, who teach their children at home, and who use their talents to earn extra income for their families.
There are more non-married (priests or consecrated life) saints recognized in the Church than married saints. For those heroic men and women who said little but did much, there is perhaps little record. This is not unlike Saint Joseph, one of our greatest saints. What we know of him is based on a few biblical passages of action without words, of total obedience to God, and tradition.
So we entrust this group to Zelie and Gianna, women who were exemplars of the dignity of their vocation, who fulfilled their vocation in different ways, whose legacy is a testament of the beauty of marriage and motherhood. Inspired by their example, we move forward with hope, asking God to bless this endeavor.
You can find us on facebook at Antoinette Moms, send a request to join the group and you’ll be able to see updates on the happenings of Antoinette Moms.