“O my dove, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.” (Ct 2:14)
An old devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary is that of honoring her in her babyhood. This devotion originated in Milan, Italy, where Our Lady is known as Maria Bambina, but it has spread throughout the world. We happily stumbled upon an altar devoted to her babyhood in Rome in the Church of San Rocco, and later found an antique version of this happy devotion in the museum under Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini on the Via Veneto in Rome, as well. Basically what you see at these places is a beautiful baby girl-doll dressed in gorgeous clothes resting on a pillow.
G.K. Chesterton in his poem, The Black Virgin, described Our Lady’s numerous images, and noted that she is:
“A great doll given when the child is good,
Save that She gave the Child who gave the doll,
In whom all dolls are dreams of motherhood.”
All dolls are babies to little girls who hold them tenderly as they would if it were a living child; a natural witness to that deep calling of motherhood which courses through the veins of women, and shows itself unblemished in the early throes of girlhood.
And, so, we, accompanied by the Church, honor the babyhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and hold her close to our hearts singing the greatest lullaby ever composed, the Hail Mary.
Link to Milan sanctuary: suoredimariabambina.org/luoghi/santuario_milano
Picture: Giotto di Bondone (b. 1267- d. 1337), The Birth of the Virgin