St. Gianna Molla is a favorite saint of mine. She was a working mother, a career woman, a woman who married a little later in life and a woman who seemed to be able to devote herself to whatever was being asked of her at any given point of her life whether it was her medical studies, her involvement in church groups or eventually her marriage and motherhood.
Anyone who knows a bit about her life knows that she is best known for giving her life to save that of her unborn daughter. After her death she was basically put on the fast track to be recognized a saint and since then has been known in Catholic circles for her intercession on behalf of women trying to conceive or faced with complicated pregnancies. She's definitely a woman to whom I feel I can relate.
Last year, at the suggestion of a woman I met a conference, I asked my husband to take me to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadeloupe (another Saint known for her intercession on behalf of mothers) in La Crosse, Wisconsin because they kept a relic of St. Gianna's there along with having a memorial space for babies lost in pregnancy. I needed a little spiritual healing and it was a lovely trip.
But, afterwards no miracles seemed to happen.
A few months later St. Gianna came into my life again when a friend visited some of her relics and gave me a rosary that was a third class relic of hers. It was a wonderful, thoughtful thing, but once again after a few months ... no miracles.
In October of last year we visited the Shrine in Wisconsin one more time as a more of a rest stop on our way up to Minnesota. Our third encounter with something of St. Gianna's that year, but by this point I had kind of stopped expecting anything miraculous. In fact, we had just had another early miscarriage a month earlier and I was still healing mentally and emotionally from that.
Now comes the crazy part.
Two weeks after we got home from that trip I woke straight up from a deep sleep. I usually don't have super vivid dreams, so this was strange. It was one of the clearest dreams I can remember having.
I dreamt that I was in a car, an older car - it had it's top down and couldn't have been made later than the 1950's (though I'm no car expert). I was in the backseat and in the front seat were two people - a man driving and a woman in the passenger seat. The wind was blowing in our hair and we were laughing and having a great time driving around the curvy hilly roads. We were all dressed in shades of white, and I remember thinking we must be dressed for some kind of festival or celebration.
This man and woman were some of the happiest people I've ever seen - joy just seemed to radiate from them and we continued to drive around. They seemed to know where we were going and we continued up a long winding road up the side of a hill. We were definitely on a mission on this drive, there was somewhere my driver knew we had to go.
When we got to the top of the hill there was one ragged, wind swept tree that capped it and next to the tree was a little table set with a plate and cup and behind the table was a man, also dressed in white. I remember getting out of the car with my fellow passengers and walking to this man. At some point I looked behind me and the couple from the car were behind me, still beaming those wonderful smiles, linked arm in arm and still motioning for me to go forward. I looked again at the man behind the table who reached out, took my hand, looked me square in the eyes and said just one thing, "It's time."
And that's when I woke up.
And I knew without a doubt who had been my companions in that car, it was as clear as day. I had gone on a car-ride through the Italian countryside to this hilltop alter with none other than Gianna and her husband Pietro. They took me to a man who was both familiar and vague at the same time who had a message for me, "It's time."
Less than two weeks later I was staring at a positive pregnancy test, the one that would turn out to be our Rainbow baby. Looking back at the calendar and my charts she most likely came into existence within 24 hours of that dream.
People have asked me over the last 9 months if I was nervous or scared; after all we had lost some many pregnancies how could I rest easy this time around. Sure, I had my moments of worry and doubt, but underneath it I just knew everything was going to be fine. That dream always popped into my head when I started to doubt or worry, and that man's voice would repeat "It's time." and I would remember those smiling faces and calm would wash over me.
Now perhaps it was all just a happy coincidence, but to me it will always be something a little bit more, a little bit mysterious and a little bit special. Thank you to that smiling couple for taking me on that journey and being so happy for us; that dream, whatever it was, brought me 9 months of peace and comfort.