Via Santa Sofia 13
MASS ON WEEK-DAYS
5 p.m. (except saturday)
Nb. Prima della Messa viene recitato
ON SUNDAYS AND FEAST-DAYS
10.30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
In the apse, is the imposing niche with the little temple that holds the image of Maria Bambina. On the background, bunches of flowers, rays and angels hastening from on High to announce the rejoicing in Heaven and on hearth over the dawn of salvation.
The image of Maria Bambina
It was moulded by a Franciscan nun from Todi, Sr Isabella Chiara Fornari, and was brought to Milan in 1738 by Mgr Alberico Simonetta. It stayed for a while with various religious institutes till it was finally given into the keeping of Fr Luigi Bosisio, Parish Priest of "San Marco". In 1842 the latter handed it to the community of the Sisters of Charity, who rendered service at Ciceri Hospital.
In 1876 Maria Bambina followed the sisters from Ciceri Hospital to the new generalate in Via Santa Sofia. There, in 1884, the young postulant Giulia Macario, who was seriously ill, was miraculously cured on kissing it. It was then decided to expose the image in a provisional chapel until in 1888 it was installed in its place of honour in a true and proper santuario, inside the convent. These events were hailed by an increasingly devoted public, and numerous pilgrims flowed to the small santuario.
In the air raid of August 1943 the santuario was destroyed, but Maria Bambina had been safely taken away to Maggianico di Lecco. The new santuario, designed by the architect Giovanni Muzio, rose on the adjoining plot, and was consecrated by Cardinal Ildefonso Schuster on 20-21 November 1953.
Fitted into the layout of the santuario are some works of art, originally in the old chapel, saved from war damage and therefore bearing memories of the past.
The apse fillet-in-mosaic, above the niche, represent the universal mediation and regality of the Mother of God.
The stained-glass windows depict the Blessed Virgin's life along the theme: Mary temple of Jesus.
Inside, the pervading whiteness of stucco-work and marble suggests the idea of a cradle-shrine with its insights into Mary's grace in the mystery of her birth.
Giving access to the santuario from a small cloister is a portal with figures and symbols representing the prefiguration of Mary in the Old Testament.
The altar-pieces of the side chapel portray Mary's participation in the sacrifice of her Son, and her Assumption into Heaven.