Sunday, December 05, 2010

Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto

Our Lady of the Milk and Good Delivery. This image is venerated in Las Pinas, in southern Metro Manila, Philippines. I also found this on a Facebook fan page dedicated to Our Lady under this title:

The image of the Blessed Virgin Mary breastfeeding the infant Jesus dates back to the 16th century in the Spanish city of Madrid where she is called Nuestra Señora de la Leche y Buen Parto (Our Lady of the Milk and Happy Delivery). In 1598, the image was rescued from irreverent hands and enthroned in the home of a married couple. The woman and her unborn child was bound to die and her husband prayed intently to our Lady of La Leche to grant his wife a safe delivery. Our Lady heard his prayer and thereupon, his dying pregnant wife and child were saved. Together, the couple spread the news to other families about our Lady’s power with God. Soon after, the devotion became famous throughout Spain. Becoming aware of our Lady’s intercession, King Philip III, who was the ruler during that time, personally undertook the erection of a shrine in honor of our Lady of La Leche.

More than twenty years later, the early Spanish settlers brought a replica to the United States and enshrined it at the Mission of Nombre de Dios in St. Augustine, Florida. It was the first shrine ever to be dedicated to the Blessed Mother in the United States and was established on the very spot where the first parish Mass was offered 55 years earlier. The original chapel, built around 1615, was destroyed by gunfire during the colonial days and later, by a hurricane. The present chapel now houses a replica of the original statue that was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War of March 13, 1936.

Incidentally, I also found this image of the miraculous lactation of St. Bernard of Clairvaux on the same fan page. Here is the story.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux was the son of Burgundy nobles who after joining the church became an auster cleric and author who forswear wealth and images, is closely associated with the Knights Templar regarded as the author of the Templars rules and was one of the principal forces instigating the Second Crusade.

St. Bernard is also curiously connected to the Madonna or Vierge . There are two existing legends concerning lactation of St. Bernard. The first version describes how Mary appeared in a prayer to St. Bernard, and sprinkled milk from her breast on Bernard's lips. With this gesture she showed him that she is his "mother" and that she is prepared to mediate for him with her son. The second version describes how Bernard falls asleep between a prayer. Mary appeared and put her breast into his mouth in order to receive the wisdom of God.


The picture is founded in Bernard’s love for and devotion to the Blessed Virgin. It expresses the idea that Mary filled him with graces.

Bernard’s experience is supposed to have taken place while at prayer before a statue of the Madonna the Infant Jesus.

As Bernard prayed, “Monstra te esse Matrem” (“Show yourself a mother”), the statue came to life and Mary pressed her breast to nourish and wet the lips of Bernard, dry from singing her praises. The picture also illustrates the idea that Bernard’s preaching and eloquence were “sweet as milk.”


Marco Frederico Dalma said...

Thank you for featuring our image of the Virgen de la Leche. Viva la Virgen!

Marco Frederico Dalma said...
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