It is always encouraging to hear stories of modern people who have managed to live their faith courageously. This week I read of one such woman – a mother who had followed in the steps of St Gianna Molla – postponing treatment for a tumor on her tongue in order that her pre-born child may have life.
Chiara Petrillo (28) and her husband Enrico are shining examples of what it means to be open to life. Their first child, Maria, was diagnosed in-utero with anencephaly – a condition which meant the baby would have little or no brain. Their cherished little girl was born full term (despite advise to the contrary) and Maria lived for 30 minutes after birth.
Their second child, David, was diagnosed in-utero with having no legs. Later in the pregnancy it was discovered that he had conditions that meant he would not live. Chiara and Enrico chose life once again for their little boy, baptising him immediately after birth. He died soon after.
Finally, Chiara and Enrico conceived Francesco, a healthy wee boy. But this pregnancy was to be marred by the discovery that Chiara had a lesion on her tongue. The couple decided that they would give life to their little boy and postpone treatment until after he was born. Francesco was born on May 30, 2011.
A year later, Chiara succumbed to the cancer that had ravaged her.
I was struck with awe reading this story. Not only did Chiara and Enrico have to suffer the loss of their first two precious children, they had to choose whether to postpone treatment which would have possibly saved Chiara’s life. This young courageous couple chose to choose life at every turn of their short married life.
They chose life even when it meant great suffering.
They chose to be courageous parents.
They understood that their parenthood began right at the first moment of conception, when their little ones were “being formed in secret”.
They understood that a parent loves, protects and nurtures their child right from the beginning.
Chiara and Enrico, courageous parents, faithful Christians, true witnesses to the Gospel of Life.
Let us see how we can be courageous too.