A Brief History of the Miraculous Image of Maria Bambina
The Miraculous Image of Maria Bambina was made before 1730 by a Franciscan nun, who afterwards entrusted the image to others, so that during the ensuing years she eventually came into the care of the Sisters of Charity at Lovere, Italy. In 1866 these Sisters of Charity were requested to take over the management of the Hospital of Ciceri in Milan. In 1876 the waxen image was carried to their Mother House at Via Santa Sofia 13, where the Bambina has remained ever since. Throughout this period, the statue was exposed for veneration only on the 8th of September, the Feast of Mary’s Nativity, but in 1884 Maria Bambina manifested her desire to reward those who honored her by their devotion to her Holy Infancy. One of the Sisters, Sr. Josephine Woinovich, due to paralysis in her arms and feet, was bedridden and in unbearable pain. On the 8th of September, Our Lady’s Nativity, she begged Mother Superior to bring Maria Bambina and to leave the image near her overnight. The following morning the Mother Superior was inspired to take the image, so old, worn, and grayish colored, to the other sick Sisters in the infirmary so that they could venerate and kiss her. In the infirmary was a fervent Novice, Guila Macario, who was unable to move because of her serious illness, but who, overcome by her ardent faith, took the Maria Bambina into her arms and pleaded with her in tender and loving words for the grace of her recovery, if such was according to God’s Holy Will. She was instantaneously cured, for such faith and confidence moves mountains! And at the very same time, the miraculous image itself underwent an amazing transformation from its former dull gray color to the warm flesh hues it has today, as can be seen, where she is enshrined in the Sanctuary of the Mother House in Milan. Many graces and miracles are attributed to the beautiful devotion to Maria Bambina, among them the recovery of Sister Josephine Woinovich herself. For this reason, the Sisters of Charity became commonly known as the Sisters of Maria Bambina.