When I met the son of Saint Gianna Berretta Molla in May I thought, “Wow, this is amazing, I’ve made another connection with a saint!” Of course, in the back of my head I recalled that Saint Gianna’s husband died this past spring. We usually don’t think of saints and their families these days. In some ways, and perhaps in every way, abstracting a saint from his or her biological family (and friends) makes that saint too vague and plastic.
It wasn’t until recent times that technology opened a new facet of a holy person’s life by making it possible to have more accurate portraits and voice recognition. Video and audio files reveal the concrete person so as not to rely exclusively upon someone’s “recollections” or hagiography no matter how accurate these memories or details may be. How different are our spiritual relationships with the likes of Saints Padre Pio, Josemaria, Blesseds John XXIII, Mother Teresa, Marianne Cope, and the Servant of God John Paul II from the likes of Saints Benedict, Dominic, Francis and Agatha! Why mention this? I was reading the local newspaper’s obits today and stumbled upon the death notice of Dorothy Lorraine Bessette Gazzola, 89, the grand niece of Blessed Andre Bessette. The family published Bessette-Gazzola’s visiting her grand uncle in Montreal when she was a child. She knew a saint! She hugged and kissed a saint! She could relate personally with saint! How great is that!!!
Blessed Andre is due to be canonized a saint in October.