Skip to content
Home » News » Strength and a Smile

Strength and a Smile

By Maryrose Therese Campbell

The car came to a stop in the middle of the street. The horn blared, long and loud. I gripped my sign tightly. I was pretty sure the people in the car did not support our pro-life witness outside Planned Parenthood.

Two young women poked their heads out and started hollering insults at my homeschool friends and me. After a few minutes, they sped off, screaming that God hated us.

Tears came into my eyes, and I closed them so nobody would see. I’d never been yelled at like that before.

Just because God wants you to do something doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. St. Gianna Beretta Molla knew that. Her example inspires me to help the vulnerable because she shows me that doing God’s will, hard as it may be, brings joy.

If you looked in the window of the Molla house in early 1962, you might see Gianna. She might be cooking a meal or wrapping her toddlers in coats before they played outside. You could recognize her by her dark hair, her broad forehead, and her smile. Gianna loved life; she loved music, hiking, her family, and her career.

If you knew more about Gianna, you might wonder why she smiled. She was pregnant with her fourth child, and a tumor was situated near the baby. It would have been all right to have the tumor removed before the birth, but the baby would have died as a secondary effect. Gianna believed the baby’s life was equal to her own, so she sacrificed her life for her child. She died shortly after the birth and was canonized in 2004.

Back to that smile. Why was Gianna cheerful when she thought she might die? It was because God was with her. She knew saving the baby was the best thing, and she had unconquerable trust in God, which gave her joy. In her “Hymn to the Smile,” she wrote, “We, full of the joy that comes from Jesus, carry joy in our hearts with Jesus. He will be the strength that helps us” (Molla, 80).

During Gianna’s career as a doctor, she sometimes encountered women considering abortion. She pleaded with them to realize their baby’s worth, but she never abandoned them when they needed help. If a patient had an abortion, Gianna would urge her to realize her sin and accept God’s forgiveness.

I want to follow Gianna’s example and stand up for life. I live in California, where a lot of people support abortion. That day at Planned Parenthood, I felt upset when I was being yelled at, but I felt peaceful afterward because I did what was right.

Gianna inspires me to help the vulnerable because she was a holy, strong woman who rejoiced in doing God’s will, helping the preborn, even when it was challenging. I want to stand up for the vulnerable like she did, with courage and hope and a smile on my face.

Maryrose Therese Campbell is in the 8th grade and won first place in the middle school category of CLSP’s 2022 Pro-Life Essay Contest.