The picture was taken by my husband Chris during a trip to Rome.
This statue dating back to the end of the 15th century is a wood carving made in Jerusalem from an olive tree from Gethsemane by a pious Franciscan Friar.
According to tradition, the friar did not have the necessary paints to complete his work so it was miraculously completed by an angel. During his return trip to Rome a severe storm on the sea forced him to throw overboard his small case containing the precious treasure, but the case arrived at the port of Livorno by itself in the wake of the ship.
Proceeded by the fame of unusual miracles the holy image was received with great joy in the Eternal City and was accorded special veneration. One day during the Christmas season, while the Bambino was lying in the crib, a noble Roman matron stole the statue and carefully hid it in her home. However becoming gravely ill she was obliged by her confessor to return the statue.
A popular tradition has it that it left her house by itself during the night and returned to its place on the Campidoglio as the bells of the Basilica rang joyously announcing the miracle.
Rich gifts of gold and precious stones give witness to the gratitude of the faithful for the innumerable graces received. These gifts were always furnished abundantly whenever the statue was sacrilegious despoiled. In 1798 a noble Roman citizen, Serafin Petrarca, saved the statue from being burned by the troops of Napoleon, by paying a huge ransom.
The chapel of the Holy Bambino is continually visited by pilgrims from all parts of the world. Mothers, before giving birth, visit Aracoeli to receive a special blessing and also bring their children to be consecrated to the Divine Child. From time immemorial, the Bambino has been carried to the sick-bed of the faithful and oftentimes one could see in the Campidoglio Square a long line of carriages awaiting their turn.
The ever-increasing fame of this miraculous image moved Pope Leo XIII and the Vatican to order its coronation which took place with solemn rites on May 2, 1897. This fame is attested to by the numerous letters of petition and thanksgiving which the Divine Infant receives daily from devout people from all corners of the globe; the little ones and the great of the world write to Him as to a dear friend. During Christmas time the children of Rome uninterruptedly come before the crib to sing jubilantly to the new-born Babe.
Learn about another devotion to the Child Jesus (The Infant of Prague)