Some Awesome People

Saturday, June 2, 2012

In praise of Maria Cristina Cella Mocellin

05/26/2012

Maria Cristina and Carlo in August 1986

At the International Meeting of Families in Milan we will hear the story of a young woman who stopped treatment to save the child she was carrying in her belly and whose cause for beatification is in progress

Giorgio Bernardelli
Milan

Who was Maria Cristina Cella Mocellin? A mum who gave up treatment because it could have endangered the life of the child she was carrying. A 90’s mum, who grew up in a parish a few hundred metres away from Milan’s great Parco Nord (North Park), where Benedict XVI will meet families from across the world on 2 and 3 June. A “lay woman and mother” whose cause for beatification completed its diocesan stage a few days ago and is about to be examined by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome.

Maria Cristina Cella Mocellin’s friends will also be among the crowd, at the VII International Meeting of Families. Friends who grew up with her in Vinsello Balsamo and attended the parish church of the Sacra Famiglia (Holy Family). The church is just past the motorway leading to Bresso Airport. Here, Benedict XVI will hold the vigil of testimonies and the Holy Mass. The church treasures the story of  this young woman - who could be beatified in a few years, just like Gianna Beretta Molla, from Mesero, who was proclaimed saint by John Paul II - like a precious pearl.

Born in 1969, Maria Cristina attended the oratory at the Sacra Famiglia. She grew up next to the Sisters of Charity of Saint Joan Antida Thouret and she herself volunteered as a catechist and youth leader. Then, one year, during the holidays, in the family home in Veneto, she met Carlo Mocellin and fell in love. The relationship led to their marriage on 2 February 1991, after which she moved to Carpané, in Italy’s Vicenza province. There she gave birth first to Francesco and then to Lucia. But in 1994, while expecting Riccardo, her third child, a cancer that she had already been ill with when she was 18 came back. At that point she made the difficult choice of putting the baby’s life first. The meaning of that act is revealed in a letter she herself wrote on the 25 September 1995 in the Marostica hospital as she sensed what was about to happen (she died a month later). She wrote to her son who was only a few months old and is now a teenager. That letter is worth a thousand words.  

Maria Cristina wrote: “Dear Riccardo, you need to know that you are not in the world by chance. The Lord wanted your birth despite all the problems there were… when we found out about  you, we loved you and wanted you with all our heart. I remember the day when the doctor told me that I was diagnosed with cancer in my groin again. My reaction was to say over and over: “I am pregnant! I am pregnant! But doctor I am pregnant.” To face the fear of that time we were gifted with a limitless will power and desire to have you. I fought will all my power and did not give up on the idea of giving birth to you, so much so that the doctor understood everything and said no more.”

The letter carries on: “ Now, Riccardo, you are a gift to us. That evening in the car, coming back from the hospital, when you moved for the first time it seemed as if you were saying: ‘Thank you mum, for loving me.” How could we not love you? You are precious and when I look at you and I see you so lively, beautiful and good, I think that you can suffer anything in the world for the sake of your children.” “The Lord wanted to fill us with joy.” These are the last words she wrote to Riccardo: “We have three wonderful children who with God’s grace will grow up according to His will. I cannot but thank the Lord for this great gift, our children. Only He knows how we would like more, but for now it is truly impossible.” 

Maria Cristina died on 22 October 1995, aged 26, in a hospital in Bassano del Grappa. The parishes of Carpané and Valstagna, where the Mocellin family still lives today, are under the jurisdiction of the diocese of Padua, which began Cristina’s cause for beatification. The bond with Cinisello Balsamo is still strong. Those who knew her, formed the Associazione Amici di Cristiana (Friends of Cristina Association) in her memory. Among various initiatives, the association supported the publication of the book “Cara Cristina... la vita di Maria Cristina Cella Mocellin” (Dear Cristina, the life of Cristina Cella Mocellin) written by Alberto Zaniboni and published in 2009 by Edizioni San Paolo. On Friday 18 May in Valstagna church when Archbishop Antonio Mattiazzo officially concluded the diocesan phase of Cristina’s  beatification process and sent all documentation to Rome, many of her friends from the Sacra Famiglia attended the ceremony. And with them, there were also the town parishioners and some volunteers and guests of the Maria Cristina Cella welcome centre, opened in Saccolongo by the Help Centre of Padua. This care centre is a way to make sure that the loving welcome act of Cella Mocellin will live on and be perpetuated with many other mothers with children who experience other problems.

The Associazione Amici di Cristina will attend the VII International World Meeting of Families. It will have a stand inside the family-fair at the Fieramilanocity trade fair centre, which will take place alongside a theological pastoral conference before the Pope’s speech. The association will distribute free fliers in both Italian and English to talk about their friend, because her story can also be of great help to many families today.

http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/homepage/news/detail/articolo/family2012-15331/

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