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MOTHERS/ The “heroic folly” of Chiara and Gloria

June Tue 19, 2012

(Infophoto)  (Infophoto)

I have the faces of Chiara and Gloria present in my mind, so beautiful, intensely radiant, yet so different. Chiara’s face is thin, with perfect features, framed by long brown hair, while Gloria’s is chubbier under her jaunty brown bob. Two 28 year old girls, two mothers. Their stories come like a cool breeze in these hot June days, heavy with crises, tragedies, and small daily struggles because a year is over, and who knows if the holidays are possible, with the children. It is a time to draw conclusions on life. Instead, the conclusions on the lives of Gloria and Chiara were drawn for them.

Since her birth, Gloria has been affected by spastic quadriplegia, a condition that followed a troubled birth. To have become a mother now is a miracle, as well as a rare success of science, the fruit of a deep love between her and her husband, a team of excellence, the hospital of Abano Terme (Padua), especially good in humanity. It is also the result of the infinite will of this little woman who calmly accepts her condition, and because of this goes beyond, and wins, because, she explains, she is not alone. She has a strong family that supports her, and now she has her baby, who will know how many limits his mother has (who among us has such consciousness?), and will certainly do what he can to help her. Think of the normal reactions, the talk in the streets: what senseless people, those two, giving birth to a son who will always and only see his mother in a wheelchair, was it right to have him, will she be able to take care of him? While Gloria and the father are thinking about giving the baby a little brother or sister. It is a matter of perspective, of having a human position, either a narrow, reductive, asphyxiated one, or one that is wide open to life, with its infinite possibilities.

Chiara, however, is no longer with us. She died last Wednesday, and her parish of Santa Francesca Romana was filled with many, many people, and everyone went home with moved hearts and a seedling to be grown at home, like the hope that sustained and took to heaven this small woman, tough like a centuries-old oak. Chiara was a mother three times: Mary, the eldest, lived only three hours and David, the second, only a little more, the time to be embraced, baptized, and accompanied to enter among the angels. Thus, when she got pregnant with Francesco, and learned that a malignant tumor was gnawing at her body, Chiara did the same as before, as she had always done. She said yes to life, and refused ??to be cured until she had completed the pregnancy. Like Gianna Beretta Molla, an Italian pediatrician who refused both an abortion and a hysterectomy when she had a tumor while pregnant, died after giving birth, and was canonized in 2004.



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