Monday, February 15, 2010
The Milk Grotto in Bethlehem is where the Holy Family took shelter during Herod's slaughter of the Innocents. According to tradition, it is believed that while Mary was nursing the infant Jesus, a drop of her milk fell to the floor of the cave, turning the rock white. Many pregnant and lactating women come to the Milk Grotto in the belief that the chalky white powder found in the grotto has healing properties that will help with fertility, childbirth and lactation.
A Milk Grotto Shrine can be found in St. Augustine, Florida in the United States. Our Lady of La Leche is venerated here and a statue of the Virgin nursing the infant Jesus is the centerpiece of the shrine. The Shrine was built by Spanish settlers who honored Our Lady of the Milk and Happy Delivery after a nobleman's wife and baby were spared from death during childbirth due to Our Lady's intercession.
This week I will be attending a Certified Lactation Consultant training session to improve my skills and obtain certification as a lactation consultant so that I may further assist the nursing mothers and babies in my care at the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) clinic where I work. I will be praying for the intercession of our Lady of La Leche so that my experience will be fruitful and will allow me to be of more assistance to those mothers who struggle to breastfeed their babies.
Oh Beautiful Mother of my Lord,
you fed the infant Jesus with the bounty
of your abundant milk,
providing both nourishment and love
to your sweet babe.
Please look after all mothers
who long to follow your natural example
by feeding their own little ones with
the gift of their sweet milk
so that their babies will grow
to be healthy and strong.
But most of all, through the bond of nursing,
bring both mother and child to know that they are deeply loved
by each other, by you, Blessed Mother, and by God. Amen.