'Life is always beautiful': What 81 years and 6,000 babies have taught Flora Gualdani

Catholic News Agency | 8/25/2019 | Staff
Click For Photo: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/images/Flora_Gualdani_2_Credit_Hannah_Brockhaus.jpg

Rome, Italy, Aug 25, 2019 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- “Life is always beautiful,” Flora Gualdani said, sitting at a table in the space she calls “the school,” a wood-paneled room in a small house she built in the early ‘80s on her property in rural Tuscany.

Of course, life has its difficulties too, she added, but “the struggle passes, and beauty endures.”

Flora - Life - Beauty - Challenges - Years

Flora seems particularly qualified to speak about life’s beauty and challenges. Now 81 years old, she spent over half that time welcoming new life into the world as a midwife. In more than 40 years she delivered an estimated 6,000 babies, sometimes in the most difficult circumstances life can offer – illness, death, war, poverty, and despair.

According to Davide Zanelli, Flora’s close collaborator and friend, who was once one of these newborn babies, the dark-haired, charismatic woman helped him “be born twice.”

Time - Mother - Birth - Zanelli - Second

The first time was when she helped his mother give birth to him in 1968, Zanelli said, and the second was when she opened his eyes as a young adult to the beauty of the Church’s teachings on human sexuality and the family.

An encounter with a pregnant woman with cancer was a pivotal episode in the first part of Flora’s career as a trained midwife, when she was in her early 20s. The sick woman was being pressured by doctors to abort, against her wishes.

Abortion - Italy - Women - London - Procedure

Abortion was then illegal in Italy, and it was not uncommon for Italian women to travel to London to procure the procedure, which Flora was shocked to learn on a visit to England as a young adult. Abortion was legalized in Italy in 1978.

With Flora’s support, the woman carried to term and gave birth to a healthy little girl. Afterward, however, the mother was in the hospital and too ill to care for her, so...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Catholic News Agency
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