In one of Rome’s many Renaissance churches stands this lovely sculpture of the Madonna and Child. There’s no sign or label anywhere to explain, but it has an unusual story behind it!
This statue was carved by the great sculptor Jacopo Sansovino in about 1520, and it has been in this church ever since. But in the 19th century it acquired tremendous local importance, when a Roman workman with a pregnant wife came calling. The woman was for some reason having a difficult pregnancy; and her husband asked the church sacristan to burn an oil lamp day and night before this Madonna, asking her to intercede and ensure that his wife had a successful delivery.
The sacristan did just that … and the baby was born without incident. Praise God! Word of this travelled fast, among average Romans; and before you know it, they began descending on the church en masse, besieging Our Lady with similar petitions. Women dealing with health-problems during pregnancy, would-be parents hoping for a baby–you name it, they’ve been coming to light candles before this statue of the Madonna ever since.
And wow, do they get results! As you can see, the side wall next to the statue is positively bedecked with pink and blue tokens of thanks from grateful parents. And the collection is regularly updated with new additions, while the older ones are then moved to various glass cases in the vicinity–the contents of which are constantly growing.
But Mary’s intercession isn’t reserved to Romans; visitors from other countries stop to pray here too. We’ve frequently taken young, newly married couples to see this church, and once they’ve heard the story, they too decide to pause to light a candle and say a prayer. Looking forward to becoming parents in the future, they know that entrusting their hopes to the Mother of God is always a smart move.