April Europe Saints

Saint Gianna Molla

Feast Day: April 28

How To Make Lemon Biscotti

Today I’m feasting with… Saint Gianna Molla.

A portrait of Saint Gianna Molla
Saint Gianna Molla

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“A woman of exceptional love, an outstanding wife and mother, Gianna Molla gave witness in her daily life to the demanding values of the Gospel.”

-Pope Saint John Paul II

The Life of St. Gianna

Saint Gianna was born on October 4th, 1922 in Magenta, Italy. Gianna was an active member of her parish, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and the Azione Cattolica movement. On November 30th, 1949, Gianna earned her medical diploma from Pavia College and opened a pediatric office in the town of Mesero.

At the age of thirty-two, Gianna married Pietro Molla and they spent their honeymoon visiting Saint Peter’s Square. The two newlyweds would have four children together before Gianna passed away shortly after the birth of their fourth child.

Not An Option

Early in the pregnancy of her fourth child, Gianna developed a tumor on her uterus. Her doctors gave her options for treating the tumor. The first option was to abort Gianna’s child and give her a complete hysterectomy. The second option was to remove the tumor and preserve the life of her child. Given the two choices, Gianna chose the second option. She knew that her child’s life was just as important as her own. Terminating her child to save her own life was not an option.

Seven months after choosing life, little Gianna Emanuela Molla was born! Unfortunately, postoperative complications led to an infection for momma Gianna. She died on April 28th, 1962. One week after the birth of her daughter.

Saint Pope John Paul II canonized Saint Gianna on May 16th, in the year of our Lord, 2004. Her feast day is April 28th and she is the patron saint of doctors, mothers, and unborn children.

Saint Gianna, pray for us!

Download Lemon Biscotti Recipe

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  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 sticks butter (room temp)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons grated lemon zest (from about 3 to 4 lemons)

Chocolate Topping:

  • 18 ounces white chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. Lemon extract
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • Blue & Pink Sprinkles

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In another large bowl, cream butter until fluffy (about 2-3 minutes)
  4. Slowly add sugar and eggs while continuing to beat. (about 3-4 minutes)
  5. Mix in the lemon zest, then the flour mixture, and beat until just blended. (The dough will be sticky). 
  6. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Divide the dough evenly into 2 equal mounds and place on the prepared baking sheet. Let rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. 
  8. Once chilled, form each mound into logs about 4 inches wide and 8-10 inches long; then flatten the logs out into loaf shape, patting with fingers.
  9. Bake for 35 minutes until lightly browned.
  10. Cool for 5 minutes.
  11. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick diagonal slices. Arrange the biscotti cut side down on the same baking sheet.
  12. Bake until the cookies are pale golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely.

Chocolate Topping:

  1. Place the chocolate chips, lemon extract, and coconut oil in a medium bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of ¼ cup of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
  2. Dip the end of each biscotti in the chocolate. Transfer the dipped biscotti to a wire rack, and set over a baking sheet, until the chocolate has hardened.
  3. Store in an airtight container.