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Gianna Emanuela Molla with girl at the chapel of the Saint Gianna & Pietro Molla Maternity Home in Warsaw, North DakotaSaint Gianna & Pietro Molla Maternity Home/Facebook

WARSAW, North Dakota (LifeSiteNews) — Young women experiencing unexpected pregnancies have access to far more than ultrasounds, diapers, and counseling when they check in at one North Dakota maternity home.

Saint Gianna & Pietro Molla Maternity Home in Warsaw, North Dakota, is furnishing young mothers with spiritual, as well as physical and emotional, resources. The maternity home is named after St. Gianna Molla, the Italian Catholic physician who sacrificed her own life for that of her unborn child by refusing an abortion and hysterectomy recommended to save her life. The home is also named for St. Gianna’s husband, Pietro. St. Gianna died in 1962, was canonized in 2004, and is now recognized as the patron saint of mothers and unborn babies. Pietro died in 2010.

READ: Cause for canonization underway for devout young Catholic woman Michelle Duppong

Today, much work is being carried out under the Mollas’ names to help hundreds of young mothers in need.

Saint Gianna & Pietro Molla Maternity Home was established in 2004 (the same year St. Gianna was canonized) by North Dakota teacher Mary Pat Jahner.

Jahner was inspired to start the home through her experience as a second-grade teacher on a North Dakota Indian reservation, as well as her time working at a maternity home in California run by the Missionaries of Charity, National Catholic Register reported. In 2001, she purchased a building that formerly housed a convent and a boarding school for a single dollar. The building would officially become a maternity home under Jahner’s leadership three years later.

Jahner now runs the center alongside maternity home chaplain Father Joseph Christensen.

“Each day, [Father Christensen] offers Mass, has Holy Hours and hears confessions,” Jahner told National Catholic Register. She described the priest as “a true father to all of us… especially those without a father.”

And Jahner’s connection to St. Gianna Molla goes much deeper than naming the maternity home after the saint.

She told National Catholic Register that she met St. Gianna Molla’s husband and the family’s fourth child, Gianna Emmanuela Molla (the daughter for whom St. Gianna gave her life) in Italy in 2002. A spark of friendship ignited, and Jahner ultimately developed a tight, sister-like friendship with the saint’s daughter.

Gianna Emmanuela visited the North Dakota maternity home for the first time in 2015. At the home’s 20th anniversary gala last month, she recalled seeing the “love and dedication” evident in the creation of the refuge, National Catholic Register noted. Gianna especially highlighted the fact that Jesus is present in the tabernacle in the home every day, a “privilege” that she said “reminds me that the greatest help we can give to our neighbor… is to help him save his soul.”

READ: Pregnancy resource centers: the hands and feet of the pro-life movement

Women who have helped out at the center – as well as young moms who have gone to the maternity home for help – have described the institution as being like a real home. The warmth, sense of family ties, and the combination of “tough love and gentle love,” as one young mom put it, have helped make the residents feel cared for and nourished, according to the report.

And it’s not just the moms who feel they’ve received significant blessings from their time at the home – or even the couples struggling with infertility who have come to pray at the shrine.

Jahner herself described feeling “privileged to see so many little miracles and God working in the hearts of the people who have been in the home.” She told National Catholic Register that she has been able to witness high school graduations, successful careers, conversions, reception of the sacraments, as well as the courageous decisions to keep newborn babies or offer them up for adoption rather than choosing abortion.

The outlet reported that, per Jahner, “not one mom has regretted her decision to choose life.”

“This is a huge testament in a world that promotes abortion,” Jahner told National Catholic Register. “These little ones always bring joy, but equally profound are the miracles and growth with our moms, which is most of our work.”

And Saint Gianna & Pietro Molla Maternity Home isn’t the only home to offer pregnant moms a full range of physical and spiritual resources, from food and shelter to daily Mass.

Another example is the New York City home run by the Sisters of Life, an active and contemplative religious order founded in 1991 to “protect and enhance the sacredness of human life.” In addition to serving women in states across the country, the order operates a sanctuary called Holy Respite in New York that welcomes young women experiencing unexpected pregnancies. The sisters offer support and resources for both the mothers and their children, even encouraging the mothers to remain there until their child’s first birthday.

Global Sisters Report noted that the young women who seek help at Holy Respite “are invited, but not required, to join the sisters in communal prayer, which include Mass, Holy Hour, rosary and vespers.” One young mother, Claudia Gutierrez, described Holy Respite as “a blessing from God.”

“I asked for a place to live for my baby and me. God knew I would need help,” she said, the outlet reported. “The Sisters of Life is the best thing that happened to me. I’m more secure and have more peace in my heart.”