Maria Bambina

Friends in Christ, today is the Birthday of Mary.
There are many people who have become saints in history; Mary was born a saint. She was born for a great purpose, to bear the Savior of the world, we read about that today; she herself would become the Gate of Heaven, the way by which salvation comes to earth.
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Now the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin should be celebrated even more than normal birthdays, because at Mary’s birth, she was full of grace. She was full of grace, because she was destined to be the Mother of us, the Mother of All the Living.
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We celebrate many feasts through the year in honor of Mary, but rarely, except on today, do we consider Mary as an infant. In this regard I was reading about a beautiful devotion called Maria Bambina.[i] This devotion of Mary as a baby is centered on a miraculous image of the 18th century.[ii] It is a wax image of baby Mary, tightly snuggled in white swaddling clothes in a crib. There is a little crown on her head, or on top of her bonnet.
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Now during the course of the years, this image came under the care of the Sisters of Charity, who brought it to their mother house in Milan, Italy where it is to this day.
As the years past, the image of Maria Bambina became discolored, so it was normally kept out of sight, only brought out for veneration on September 8th , this feast of the birth of Mary.
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In 1884, a Sister Josephine sustained paralysis in her arms and feet. On the 8th of September, she asked the sisters to get Maria Bambina and leave the image near her overnight.
The following morning, the Mother General thought to take the image to other sick Sisters so they could kiss it. In the infirmary there was a novice named Giulia Macario who was unable to move because of a serious illness; overcome with faith, she took the image in her arms and kissing infant Mary, pleaded for her recovery. She was immediately cured, as was Sister Josephine and others.
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At the same time, the image itself, which was a worn, dull, gray color, suddenly became changed: it became bright and warm looking, tones which it has never lost to this day. Because of these events, the Sisters are often called the Sisters of Maria Bambina.
Couples began to venerate the image when they were trying to conceive a child, and it became a custom to give newlyweds a small wax image of Maria Bambina on their wedding day.
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Oh dear Infant Queen of heaven, Maria Bambina, pray for us.

 

[i] This devotion is described at: http://www.sacramentals.org/MariaBambina.htm

[ii] The image apparently was made by Sister Isabella Chiara Fornari, superior of the Poor Clares in Todi, Italy, in 1735.

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