The Sculpture of Saint Gianna
The bronze sculpture of Saint Gianna was designed and created by Mr. John Collier, a well-known American Catholic artist who lives in Plano, Texas. He has worked as an artist since the age of nineteen, and was the chief sculptor for the Catholic Memorial at Ground Zero in New York City.
When interviewed about his work on this particular statue, John described his effort to create a life-like example of St. Gianna. In his opinion, saints are often depicted in ways that make it challenging for the average person to connect with the saint as an ordinary human being. John studied photos of Gianna and read stories about her to understand the person she was and the manner in which she responded to the situations in her life.
The sculpture of Gianna captures a moment of consternation and reflection in Gianna’s life… Pregnant with her fourth child, Gianna has just learned of the fibroid that threatens the life of her unborn child. As she walks home from the grocery store, she ponders the decision she must make. One of Gianna’s shoes is slipping off as a result of her swollen feet.
The presence of apples symbolizes the various temptations that Gianna had to overcome in order to choose life for her child. Apples, a perennial symbol of temptation, harkens back to the story of Adam and Eve, for it is the apple that has come to be synonymous with temptation. Here, as Gianna is called by God to choose life for her child, the presence of temptation and every good reason not to choose the way of God, appears. However, Gianna in choosing the way of God, conquers temptation and the apples begin to fall abundantly from his grocery bags, as the bag itself begins to tear apart.
The overall sentiment captured in the statue is not one of a sinless, perfect individual, but rather that of an ‘ordinary’ person immersed in all the daily challenges that we encounter in our own lives. The statue depicts Gianna as a contemporary example of Christian discipleship and reminds us that we too, are called to a life of holiness in our response as disciples.
click: Saint Gianna, Our Patroness
Saint Gianna is one of the Patron Saints of the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015.
Below is a video biography by Salt&LightTV of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla.