Throughout history there have been many instances where saints rose up from within the same family. Siblings can inspire each other in the path of holiness, and such was the case in the Beretta family.
St. Gianna Beretta Molla was the first of this family to be recognized a saint. She is most well known for her courage to bear a pregnancy to term when a tumor threatened her own life. She was given the option to have an abortion to save her life, but she refused, desiring to preserve the life of her baby instead.
Now her brother, Alberto Beretta, is on the path of being declared a saint. He was recently recognized as “venerable” by the Vatican, which found that he lived heroic virtue. In order for him to canonized a saint, two miracles need to be attributed to his intercession.
Who was Alberto Beretta?
Born in 1916, Alberto followed a similar path as St. Gianna and graduated with a degree in medicine in Milan.
However, he did not feel a call to a medical career, but instead wanted to be a missionary in Brazil.
When World War II hit Italy, Alberto left Italy and stayed in Switzerland, beginning his theological studies at the University of Freiburg.
At the conclusion of the war Alberto returned to Italy and made a pilgrimage to San Giovanni Rotondo, serving Mass for St. Padre Pio.
The experienced confirmed his vocation as a priest and he joined the Capuchin friars in 1945, and was ordained a priest in 1948.
For the next 33 years he worked as a missionary priest and doctor in Brazil, frequently exchanging letters with his sister, St. Gianna.
He died in 2001 after more than 50 years as a priest, with most of those years spent in Brazil.
The Vatican biography exalts his many virtues, showcasing his unique priestly ministry.
He was patient towards the sick, sensitive to listening, trying to transmit the Christian value of suffering. He promoted many initiatives for the poor, sick, and lepers, for which he favored the construction of a hospital. He faced daily difficulties with fortitude and trust in God. He was constant in obedience to the will of the Lord in all circumstances, docile to the ecclesiastical Authority and the Superiors. He lived with passion the spirit of poverty of St. Francis.
Venerable Alberto was a holy man and may one day join his sisters as a canonized saint.