Friday, August 23, 2013

Quilt Block in Honor of St. Gianna

St. Gianna is one of my favorite modern saints. The following is her entry in Wikipedia.

Gianna Francesca Beretta was born in Magenta in Italy. She was the tenth of thirteen children in her family, only nine of whom survived to adulthood. When she was three, her family moved to Bergamo, and she grew up in the Lombardy region of Italy.
In 1942, Gianna began her study of medicine in Milan. Outside of her schooling, she was active in Azione Cattolica. She received a medical diploma in 1949, and opened an office in Mesero, near her hometown of Magenta, where she specialized in pediatrics.
Gianna hoped to join her brother, a missionary priest in Brazil, where she intended to offer her medical expertise in gynecology to poor women. However, her chronic ill health made this impractical, and she continued her practice in Italy.

In December 1954, Gianna met Pietro Molla, an engineer who worked in her office, ten years older than she. They were officially engaged the following April, and they married in September 1955.
They welcomed Pierluigi, in 1956, Mariolina, in 1957 and Laura, was born in 1959. Gianna suffered two miscarriages after this.

In 1961, Gianna was pregnant once again. During the second month, Gianna developed a fibroma on her uterus. After examination, the doctors gave her three choices: an abortion, a complete hysterectomy, or removal of only the fibroma. The Catholic Church forbids all direct abortion even when the woman's life is in danger, but Catholic teaching would have allowed her to undergo a hysterectomy, which would have resulted in her unborn child's death as an unintended consequence.
"Abortion – that is, the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability or the directly intended destruction of a viable fetus – is never permitted...Operations, treatments, and medications that have as their direct purpose the cure of a proportionately serious pathological condition of a pregnant woman are permitted when they cannot be safely postponed until the unborn child is viable, even if they will result in the death of the unborn child." – The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERD) Directive 45
Gianna opted for the removal of the fibroma, wanting to preserve her child's life.
After the operation, complications continued throughout her pregnancy. Gianna was quite clear about her wishes, expressing to her family, "This time it will be a difficult delivery, and they may have to save one or the other -- I want them to save my baby."

On April 21, 1962, Good Friday of that year, Gianna went to the hospital, where her fourth child, Gianna Emanuela, was successfully delivered via Caesarean section However, Gianna continued to have severe pain, and died of septic peritonitis 7 days after the birth.

Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1994, and officially canonized a saint on May 16, 2004. Gianna's husband Pietro, and their child Laura, were present at the canonization ceremony, the first time in the history of the Church that a husband witnessed his wife's canonization.

 In this 12" x 12" quilt block, I've tried to represent St. Gianna's dedication to both her children and her work as a doctor. Download the free pattern here: Quilt Block in Honor of St. Gianna

Quilt Block in Honor of St. Cecilia

St Cecilia (2nd - 3rd century) is the patroness of musicians. She married a man named Valerian but told him that an angel guarded her and her virginity and that he could only see the angel if he were baptized. He converted and did see the angel. He then devoted his life to helping to bury Christian martyrs. He was then martyred himself.

As for Cecilia, she was sentenced to be beheaded for having preached and converted 400 people. The executioner was unable to sever her head and she was left bleeding for three days until she died. She was buried by Pope Urban.

Since St. Cecilia is the patroness of musicians, I created this block to resemble a piano or organ keyboard. The pattern shows it in black and white, but as you can see from the block I created, you can create it in any two contrasting colors.

The free pattern is available here: Quilt Block in Honor of St. Cecilia

Monday, August 19, 2013

Quilt Block in Honor of St. Gertrude of Nivelles

St. Gertrude of Nivelles (626 - 659) is a patron saints of Cats, the Recently Diseased, Gardeners, Travelers, Those with Mental Illness, and Those with a Morbid Fear of Mice and Rats.  

Both her parents, Pepin of Landen and Itta were held to be holy by those who knew them; her sister Begga is numbered among the Saints. On her husband's death in 640, Itta founded a Benedictine monastery at Nivelles, which is near Brussels, and appointed Gertrude its abbess when she reached twenty, tending to her responsibilities well, with her mother's assistance, and following her in giving encouragement and help to monks, particularly Irish ones, to do missionary work in the locale.

Saint Gertrude's piety was evident even when she was as young as ten, when she turned down the offer of a noble marriage, declaring that she would not marry him or any other suitor: Christ alone would be her bridegroom.

She was known for her hospitality to pilgrims and her aid to missionary monks from Ireland as we indicated above: She gave land to one monk so that he could build a monastery at Fosse. By her early thirties Gertrude had become so weakened by the austerity of abstaining from food and sleep that she had to resign her office, and spent the rest of her days studying Scripture and doing penance. It is said that on the day before her death she sent a messenger to Fosse, asking the superior if he knew when she would die.

His reply indicated that death would come the next day during holy Mass----the prophecy was fulfilled. Her feast day of March 17 is observed by gardeners, who regard fine weather on that day as a sign to begin spring planting. 


One of St. Gertrude's symbols is mice running up her staff, representing souls in purgatory. I've tried to represent this in this 12" x 12" quilt block. 

The free pattern can be found here: Quilt Block in Honor of St. Gertrude of Nivelles.