When a pregnant mother found out her baby's life was in danger, she asked prayers from a saint known for helping mothers.
The May issue of the Italian bimonthly magazine Miracoli e misteri (“Miracles and Mysteries”) includes the beautiful testimony of Antonella, a mother from the southern Italian town of Gioia Tauro, whose family story is closely intertwined with the recent arrival of the Salesians in the city of Calabria.
Thanks to these priests, the Gioia parish of San Francesco da Paola has regained momentum and vitality through the spiritual and educational initiatives undertaken according to the teachings of St. John Bosco.
A first pregnancy ends in miscarriage
Antonella recounts that after five years of engagement she and her boyfriend moved to Milan, where he had found work. Shortly after, to the great joy of both, she discovered that she was pregnant.
Sadly, an ultrasound revealed that the fetus had multiple malformations. After a diagnostic amniocentesis, she lost the baby.
A new pregnancy, entrusted to St. Dominic Savio
Six months later she became pregnant again, but she wasn’t feeling well. She returned to Gioia Tauro where, hearing such good things about the Salesian priests, she went to the parish to meet Fr. Pasquale Cristiani.
She entrusted to him her great anxiety regarding this new pregnancy. He comforted her and blessed her, and gave her a scapular of St. Dominic Savio—Don Bosco’s favorite pupil, known as the “saint of cradles” and often invoked in cases of infertility—and a novena to the young saint.
The scapular of St. Dominic Savio
This scapular is a devotion fashioned after the scapular that the young saint had put around his own mother’s neck when she became seriously ill during a pregnancy. Through the Virgin’s intercession, the pregnant woman was miraculously healed and gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
Before dying, Domenico, who died when he was not yet 15 years old, recommended to his mother that she lend the scapular to other women with difficulties during pregnancy or childbirth. (More information about this and other details of St. Dominic’s short but remarkable and holy life can be found here.)
Upon receiving the scapular from the Salesians at her parish, Antonella kept it with her constantly and began to pray regularly, which was new for her.
The risk of serious malformations
Back in Milan, Antonella discovered to her great sorrow that the baby’s ultrasound showed a nuchal translucency of about 0.4 inches—an accumulation of fluid behind the neck of this kind in the first trimester of pregnancy in some cases indicates the presence of serious chromosomal abnormalities (trisomy 13, known as Platau syndrome; trisomy 18, or Edwards syndrome; and trisomy 21, Down syndrome).
Antonella entrusts her son to St. Dominic Savio
In the greatest distress, the young mother decided to entrust her baby to St. Dominic Savio, after whom she had already decided to name the child. When she arrived at the hospital to have the amniocentesis, she discovered that she was asymptomatically positive for COVID-19, and was advised by all to have an abortion, a suggestion she categorically rejected.
After two days, she had another mishap: a domestic accident that made another ultrasound necessary. Fortunately, it showed that the baby hadn’t suffered any consequences from the incident. However, the nuchal translucency was still present. Antonella intensified her prayer to the child saint, certain that he would take care of the child she was carrying.
She found it a reassuring sign when her partner, to whom she had not yet revealed her intentions, told her—to her amazement—that he wanted to name the child Dominic. At that point she decided to return to Calabria, where the pregnancy ended happily with the birth of a perfectly healthy child, against all medical expectations.
St. Dominic Savio’s intercession saves the day
Antonella’s testimony in Miracoli e misteri concludes as follows:
In my arms I hold Dominic Damiano who is healthy and beautiful. My partner and I talked with Fr. Pasquale Cristiani, because we decided to get married and baptize Dominic on the same day. We thank God for what He has accomplished in our lives through the intercession of our beloved St. Dominic Savio and we thank God for giving Gioia Tauro the Salesians.