The Tradition of the Santo Bambino di Lama dei Peligni
Our story begins in 1759, when a holy Franciscan friar, Fra Pietro Silvestri, who had spent much of his religious life in the Holy Land, was preparing to return to his beloved Lama dei Peligni Italy for retirement.
He felt inspired to bring back to his hometown a statue of the Baby Jesus made of wax. Adoring the Child Jesus had been a Franciscan tradition for centuries; but sadly, when the world came crashing in, during the Renaissance, the tradition was stopped in favor of more humanistic practices.
By bringing back a statue of the Child Jesus our Friar hoped to renew devotion to the Baby Jesus in Lama dei Peligni.
Coincidentally, or by Holy Coincidence, as we like to say, there was a statue maker in Jerusalem who was working on a wax statue of the Baby Jesus at the very same time that Fra Pietro needed it.
Fra Pietro asked if he could have the statue, and the statue maker agreed to finish it and give it to him in time for his trip back to Lama dei Peligni.
However, the time for Fra Pietro to depart was soon upon him, and the statue had not yet been finished. He was told by the artist who was making the statue that he was missing some parts to complete the head, but that it should be completed on the morning of Fra Pietro's departure from Jerusalem back to Lama dei Peligni.
However, the artist was concerned that it might not get done on time, and so, early on the morning of the departure, he rushed to his studio, with a plan to work at breakneck speed to finish the head of the statue in time to give it to Fra Pietro.
To his great shock, amazement, and relief, when he opened the door to the studio, he saw the statue, completely finished, and though we're not positive, we have a strong feeling he thought it was probably more beautiful than he could ever have made it, considering how sure he was that it was finished by the Angels.
The face was so breathtakingly beautiful, it had to be done by someone who knew Jesus personally. That would have to be the Angels. That's Miracle #1!