Born near Milan, Italy, Gianna was one of 13 children in a deeply Catholic family. She wed Pietro Molla in 1955; they had three children while she continued to work as a physician. When she was pregnant with their fourth child, doctors discovered a large uterine tumor. She insisted that surgeons not remove her entire uterus, which would have aborted the baby, but only what was necessary to allow the baby to reach term. She died seven days after giving birth in 1962. Her husband and three of her children were present in 2004 when the pope proclaimed her a saint.