Miraculous Picture of the Santissima Annunziata
When the Seven Holy Founders of the Order of the Servants of Mary were established in the Oratory of Santa Maria di Cafaggio, they decided to have painted a fresco of Our Lady representing her humbly proclaiming herself the handmaid of the Lord when greeted by the Angel. Being desirous that the painting should be worthy of the most holy Mother of God, they entrusted the work to an able and pious artist, named Bartholomew.
The saintly artist, relying on the aid of Heaven more than on his own skill, had recourse to Our Lady, fervently praying her that she would deign to direct his hand, that he might represent her in the most fitting manner. When he had completed the figure of the Angel and most of that of Our Lady, there yet remained to paint the features of the holy Mother of God. But how was he to depict the expression of this heavenly Mother in the act of pronouncing her admirable fiat, by which she became the Mother of God?
In this perplexity of mind the painter fell into a deep sleep. On awaking, how great was his astonishment to find the picture finished by an invisible hand! The faithful then flocked to witness this miracle and fixing their eyes on the Blessed Virgin, they repeatedly exclaimed: “What an angelical face, what heavenly features, what a celestial expression!” So beautiful indeed was the face of the Mother of God, that Michelangelo himself used to say this could not have been depicted by any human hand, but that it was truly a divine work.
‘Quivi non è arte di pennelli,onde sia stato fatto il volto della Vergine, ma è cosa divina veramente”. (Michelangelo)
‘There he is not art brushes,the face of the Virgin, but what is truly divine.’ ‘(Michelangelo)
Many were the graces bestowed by Our Lady on those who came to pray before this picture. Before long it was given the title of “Our Lady Saint Mary, full of grace.” This was the beginning of many further graces which the mercy of God granted, for more than six centuries, to those who came to invoke the Mother of God at this shrine.
Many people eminent for virtue came and knelt before this heavenly picture to implore Our Lady’s aid. It was before this wondrous picture that St. Aloysius Gonzaga made his vow of perpetual virginity. Here, also, both St. Charles Borromeo and in after years, Pope Pius IX, knelt in prayer and shed tears of tender devotion.
Very Rev. Alexis M. Lepicier, O.S.M. 1922.