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Thursday, September 7, 2006
The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
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Feast (1969 Calendar): September 8
Double of the II Class (1955 Calendar): September 8

From a Sermon of St. Augustine of Hippo:

The hoped-for day of the blessed and venerable Mary ever a Virgin has now come; therefore let our earth rejoice with great gladness, illuminated by the birth of so great a Virgin. For she is the flower of the field from which came forth the priceless lily of the valley; by her child-bearing the nature inherited from our first parents is changed, their fault wiped out. In her that sentence passed on Eve was remitted which said, "In sorrow shall you bring forth children," for Mary brought forth the Lord in joy.

Eve sorrowed, but Mary exulted; Eve carried weeping in her womb, but Mary carried joy, for Eve brought forth a sinner, but Mary innocence itself. The mother of our race brought punishment into the world, but the Mother of our Lord brought salvation into the world. Eve was the source of sin, Mary the source of merit. Eve by killing was a hindrance, Mary by giving life was a help. Eve wounded, Mary healed. Obedience takes the place of disobedience, faith makes up for faithlessness.

Mary may now play on her instruments, the Mother strike the cymbals with swift fingers. The joyful choruses may sound out and songs alternate with sweet harmonies. Hear, then, how she sings, she who leads our chorus. For she say, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid; for, behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed; because He who is mighty has done great things for me." And so the miraculous new birth takes away the cause of our increasing burden of sin, and Mary's song puts an end to the weeping of Eve.


Prayer by St. Anselm:

Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O sacred Virgin; give me strength against thine enemies, and against the enemy of the whole human race. Give me strength humbly to pray to thee. Give me strength to praise thee in prayer with all my powers, through the merits of thy most sacred nativity, which for the entire Christian world was a birth of joy, the hope and solace of its life. When thou wast born, O most holy Virgin, then was the world made light. Happy is thy stock, holy thy root, and blessed thy fruit, for thou alone as a virgin, filled with the Holy Spirit, didst merit to conceive thy God, as a virgin to bear Thy God, as a virgin to bring Him forth, and after His birth to remain a virgin. Have mercy therefore upon me a sinner, and give me aid, O Lady, so that just as thy nativity, glorious from the seed of Abraham, sprung from the tribe of Juda, illustrious from the stock of David, didst announce joy to the entire world, so may it fill me with true joy and cleanse me from every sin. Pray for me, O Virgin most prudent, that the gladsome joys of thy most helpful nativity may put a cloak over all my sins. O holy Mother of God, flowering as the lily, pray to thy sweet Son for me, a wretched sinner. Amen.

Prayer:
Bestow upon Thy servants, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the gift of Thy heavenly grace: that as the childbearing of the Blessed Virgin was the beginning of our salvation, so the solemn feast of her Nativity may bring us an increase of peace. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

A Brief History of the Miraculous Image of Maria Santissima 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 Suore di Maria Bambina.

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