In Mexico city, in the convent of St. Joseph of Grace, there was a community of Conceptionist nuns, and among them one without ecclesiastical orders called Sister Magdalena of St. Joseph, she had been a distinguished young person, illustrious and wealthy who by humility donated her dowry to another young person so that she could be of the group.
On the day of the Epiphany of the year 1840 while Mother Magdalena was in prayer in front of the manger of the Child Jesus, and while she adored the sacred mystery, she had the following inspiration:
Why is it that the birth of the Most Holy Virgin is not honored on her birth and it is not celebrated with joyous songs, as it is with the child Jesus?
And while she was pondering on this, the new born most holy Virgin appeared to her on the clouds, laying down, and dressed like a queen, and heard her say:
"I WILL GRANT ALL GRACES THAT PEOPLE REQUEST FROM ME WHO HONOR ME IN MY INFANCY, BECAUSE IT IS A LONG FORGOTTEN DEVOTION".
Deeply moved, Mother Magdalena felt a great desire to make this devotion known; she communicated everything to the abbess mother Guadalupe of St. Lawrence. Thereafter, she requested permission to make an image like the one she had seen and she expressed her vehement desire to her about what the Virgin had communicated to her.
But the abbess, with the intent to test whether this was real or not, did not act on it immediately; since if was truly God’s will, she would return to insist on the case.
Thus it was, on a day that Mother Magdalena was cleaning the sacristy and found a small head of a broken angel who had been collateral of the Blessed Sacrament. Very happy, Mother Magdalena took the small head to the abbess to obtain permission to do the image of the Divine Girl using the broken angel’s head. After much prodding, Mother Magdalena received permission to use the broken angel’s head and the sculptor was summoned. Mother Magdalena explained to the sculptor the image that she had seen so that he made the image of the little virgin girl as close as possible. And for a very reasonable price the sculptor made it. The image came out gorgeous, the size of a new born baby girl.
They took it to be blessed, and immediately Mother Magdalena, full of fervor and joy began to promote the cult of the Divine Little Infant, relating her experiences while in prayer.
This devotion of the Virgin in the mystery of her Nativity was well received by the townspeople, by those who came to know it, and this caused a tremendous rebirth of affection and special tenderness towards the infant Mother of Jesus. This devotion spread and gained acceptance and extraordinary graces and favors were obtained from God through the intercession of Infant Mary.
Here our Lord showed his approval of this devotion, since it was approved and overwhelmed it with indulgences.
Immediately upon the
return of Mother Magdalena with this present from his Holiness, they began to
print tridia, novenas, and prayers in honor of the Divine Infant
Our Lord made true miracles through His Little Queen. Amongst them, a girl that had been declared incurably blind regained her vision. Sinners would convert; sick children would miraculously recover after being placed under the protection of the Divine Infant Girl, adults, elders, all those that asked the Lord for graces by the intercession of His Divine Infant would receive them. Also peculiar events took place.
Mother Magdalena was a very simple person and constantly showed signs of deep love to the Virgin to show her love, and named her the Divine Little Infant, since this little girl belonged to God. She placed the image of the Divine Little Infant in a room next to hers, with a plaque reading “Bedroom of the Divine Little Infant”. This bedroom was always adorned with flowers, and appropriate gifts for a little girl, with candles, and presents sent by her devotees for graces received.
During the celebration of the 8th of September, the Bishops celebrated the Pontifical Eucharist. The devotees would give donations; in other occasions, mother Magdalena would elaborate gifts which would be raffled amongst the devotees, who would in turn make more donations. And thus this cult gained popularity so pleasing to the eyes of God.
Once this devotion had been established, in 1859, at the age of 69, the Lord called mother Magdalena to eternal life after having fulfilled her mission.
During her last years of life, mother Magdalena asked the abbess to continue fomenting this cult. And this was the desire of mother Magdalena, but times was going by, and since the cult was not being followed, she thought about making one more smaller image to be place in an urn to be sent to the houses of the devotees, since at the monastery it was increasingly difficult to continue with the cults, and nobody was in charge to continue fomenting the devotion amongst the town people.
A sculptor was commissioned to make another Divine Infant Girl, but smaller than the one that they had. The sculptor, who was making a baby Jesus, tried to transform it to the Divine Infant Girl, but it came out so unbecoming, that Mother Guadalupe did not want anyone to see it, and kept it in a closet for the next 20 years.
SMALL ANECDOTE OF MARIA DEL ROSARIO ARREVILLAGA ESCALADA
AND HOW THE CULT OF THE DIVINE INFANT GIRL WAS REBORN IN MEXICO
A year after the death of Mother Magdalena of San Jose, on November 12, 1860, a girl was born that would be responsible to renew the devotion to the Little Infant Girl, not only in Mexico, but throughout the world.
A simple and pious family lived in Mexico headed by Marcos Arrevillaga and Guadalupe Escalada. They had had two boys and one girl whom they called Nicolasita. But the girl died leaving her parents heartbroken. The parents were so intent of having another girl that they started to get up every day to pray the Holy Rosary asking the Lord to bless them with another girl. They would get up at 4 am every morning praying to the Most Holy Mother of God to intervene with her son to bless them with another girl.
Thus it came to happen that Marcos and Guadalupe were blessed with a girl, a true blessing from Heaven, and when baptizing her they named her María del Rosario (Mary of the Rosary), because she had really been daughter of the Rosary. And the girl corresponded so well to this devotion of her parents, that at just five years of age already could perfectly recite the Rosary with the litanies and everything.
When María del Rosario was a small child, her father died, and her mother worked at home in order to keep the family afloat. From an early age, Maria del Rosario had an extraordinary gift of people, receiving affection and friendship from all. She was loving, friendly, well educated and very affectionate with all those that she came in contact with. Everyone who met her, loved her.
As years went by, her mother remarried an engineer, Francisco González Cosío. But he was appointed C.E.O. of the Oaxaca railroad, south of Mexico and he had himself to go to live far away from his wife. Every month he would send her money which was barely enough to sustain her and the children of her first marriage. But with his financial contribution and the income from Mrs. Guadalupe, they could get by.
María del Rosario was an accomplished singer, and sometimes a friend would take her to sing in the ceremonies of the nuns who she knew; thus when she was 19 years old her friend took her to the Conceptionist nuns who lived in San Jose de Gracia, in Mexico, because there were religious Professions, and thereupon young María del Rosario began make friends with the nuns and she visited them once in a while.
When the nuns discovered the great heart of María del Rosario and the devotion that she had to the Most Holy Virgin and to the Holy Rosary, one day the abbess decided to show the image to her of the Divine Infant Girl that mother Magdalena had commissioned the sculptor to make while she was still alive, that came out so beautifully of a life size infant girl at birth.
At that time, the nuns no longer lived in the convent, but in a small house located at El Reloj street, because there was religious persecution from the Government, and the religious had to abandon their residences, and had to live wherever and however they could . The first very miraculous image was in the hallway adorned with vases of very pretty flowers and a lamp which was always kept lit.
Upon seeing the so petite little Virgin child, María del Rosario was overcome with emotion dropping on her knees and saying to her: "my heart is overcome with joy”; and from that day on, she took it upon herself to care for her, to see that she was clean, to fix the vases, and to make sure that the lamp was always lit and clean. And she would spoil and speak to her with such affection that it seemed that she was looking at the new born virgin whenever she came near the image.
The nuns, upon seeing in Maria del Rosario such devotion and great ever increasing, thought to give her the other ugly image that was in the closet, because although it not as pretty and small really it represented also the Young Virgin, and thought that María del Rosario would like to have it for herself.
It was during the month of October, a few days after the day of the rosary, and María del Rosario went to visit the nuns; upon her arrival, the abbess said: "look Rosarito, go to my closet and see something there, that if you like it, you may keep it as a present for your birthday and your namesake day".
Maria del Rosario went and found the petite and ugly image that was without dressing but which represented the new born Virgin, and was so moved, that she carried her in her arms and began to speak to her with words of love and tenderness, and embraced it with the same devotion as if it was the prettiest image that she had known, and thus arrived where the nuns were full of joy and gratefulness, saying that she would present it to the entire world, that she build to her a temple in the most important place of Mexico, and that God by the intercession of the Divine Girl would make great miracles, that from the poorest to the noblest person, all would go to know her and would entrust themselves to Her, and they would venerate her like a Queen, as a Heavenly Princess..... she kept on ranting and raving that the nuns decided to send her home so that she would stop saying any more trivialities. And thus with her treasure in her arms she went to her house and from that moment on, the devotion that had been forgotten during 20 years, reappeared in the hearts of the Mexican people.
HOW IT HAPPENED THAT MARIA DEL ROSARIO GAVE CULT TO THE DIVINE INFANT GIRL
María del Rosario dressed the image of the Divine Infant Girl like a Queen, took it to be blessed, later placed it in a bedroom of the little house located at Green Street #7, in a district far from downtown.
She told her mother everything that she wanted to do, of all the miracles that the Divine Infant Girl would do, and the wishes to have a Temple built in the best place of Mexico so that they honored the Virgin in her Nativity. Her mother though was preoccupied hearing about all those things, realizing how poor they were that they could barely make ends meet, could not foresee how her daughter would be able to accomplish everything that she was planning to do; additionally, all the grief that this would cause to her daughter.
But Maria del Rosario had no money, not even to buy oil for the lamp of the Divine Infant Girl, and this saddened her very much.
She cried bitterly before the image of the Girl and one day overcome by the great love that she felt, she said to the Divine Infant Girl: "Look Divine Infant Girl, you already see that I do not have means to buy oil for the lamp, but I am going to say that your you are very miraculous, and that they can request any thing and that they bring oil for the lamp and you treasure of my heart, obtain for them whatever they ask from the Lord, please".
With this extraordinary simplicity and confidence in the Divine Infant Girl, and with the hope and faith that she would grant everything that they requested with faith, she went to visit the well-known neighbors, saying to them that she had an image of the new born Virgin that was very miraculous, that they should go and see it, and to entrust themselves to her with faith and to bring oil for her night light.
As we have already said, María del Rosario was very sociable, delicate, and kind with people, really had great charisma, an extraordinary affection, and a good way with people.
One of the first favors that the Lord granted in that district by intercession of the Divine Infant Girl was with a gentleman who lived in the corner of the house of Rosarito and that was a tinsmith. María del Rosario would greet him every day and one good day said to him: "Look, I have an image of the new born virgin that is very miraculous, if you ever have a great sorrow someday or want to obtain some grace, go to the house and ask whatever you wish with a lot of faith and by the way take a little bit of oil for the night light for her".
This man did not delay in going to ask the Divine Infant Girl what he wished and our Lord by intercession of the Virgin granted him his request and thus it began to reach some fame of miraculous, and people started to visit standing in line to enter the house and pray.
These people would bring presents to adorn the bedroom of the Divine Infant Girl, and thus with very simple things an altar was built for her. Rosarito with the donations bought cardboard boxes and covered them with shining paper, with empty bottles also covered with shining paper she made candelabra and vases, and with other papers she made flowers and other adornments.
Little by little not only the poor and simple people of the districts were going to see the Divine Infant Girl to entrust themselves to Her, but also the aristocracy of Mexico passed by that small house. Thus the prophecy that María del Rosario had made the day that she received the image as a birthday and namesake present.
The people who asked and received, in gratefulness to the Virgin gave things to adorn her bedroom, and little by little the bedroom was adorned with cardboard boxes was transformed into a small praying room, worthy of the Queen of heaven. They gave a red carpet to her, drapes around the altar, candles that always were lit by day and night, olive and sesame oil for the crystal lamps of colors, etc... this way everything had a singular subdued atmosphere, where deep mercy, joy, withdrawal, and an extraordinary devotion, was felt, which favored deep and quiet prayer.
The altar reached to have 50 lamps, in candelabra of crystal and nickel. Also the Divine Infant Girl had her own robes worthy of a little princess, some embroidered in silk, gold and silver or hand painted, gave her a silver basinet and a chest to keep everything that she had. The grateful devotees did not know what to take to the Divine Infant Girl as tokens of the love that they felt for her and in gratitude by the obtained graces ... everything seemed insufficient but most importantly not only was she receiving material things, but she gained the hearts and the love of those who visited her.
Such was the love of María del Rosario for the little Queen of heaven that she obtained that the month of May be celebrated with solemnity and devotion, and although in Mexico it rains a lot this month, the small living room was always full of people. Even the
students were going to request favors from the Divine Infant Girl, and sometimes people arrived on their knees from the stairs or from the corridor...
The Novena that precedes the main celebration, the one of September 8, was celebrated in some churches with great fervor, between which all the devotee ones were distributed since in the small house it was not possible to meet all. In the altar of the Divine Infant Girl never was there lack of roses, that were the preferred flower of María del Rosario, because it represented the Hail Mary’s of the Holy Rosary, which as we know is the preferred prayer of Rosarito.
One of the prayers that the devotees would recite to thank the Divine Infant Girl for all graces, or to conquer its small heart, was the Rosary of 15 mysteries, meditating just a little bit in each one and the meaning that each mystery represents. They would gain daily education from those mysteries. But if we counted all the miracles that the people received from the Lord by the intercession of the Divine Girl and by the prayer of the Rosary several books in addition to the miracles, wonderful anecdotes could be filled and countless number of events...
We are going to refer here an event that demonstrates the great love and simplicity that María del Rosario had for its Divine Infant Girl, and where it shows how pleasing it was to the Lord everything that the people did for the Divine Infant Girl:
When our young person still did not have economic means to offer to the Divine Girl everything to her that her heart wished and a day that wanted to adorn the altar with the best flowers, went crying before the little virgin and said to her: "look my little girl, since I cannot buy you a flower, I am going to go to the flower shop and will inhale the perfume of the best branches than it has, from the roses, the azaleas, carnations, the gardenias, and from everything that is there and later I will come running and I will bring all the perfume to you so that you can also inhale it. Thus she did. She went to the flower shop that was quite distant from the house and she had to walk because she did not have bus fare. When arriving at the flower shop, she took a walk amongst the flowers and took the stems as if to buy, inhaled with affection and care filling herself with the most wonderful scents with the purpose of bringing them to her little Queen. Immediately she returned to the house to spill all that perfume mystically kept in her enamored heart.
She arrived before the altar of the Divine Infant Girl and in the middle of tears of joy, she would pretend to offer everything to the Virgin. After awhile of prayer before Mary, she went for lunch and someone was at the door of the house, immediately she went over to open, and found the maid of a very devoted and rich lady, who had received a gift of two baskets of gardenias and that remembered its Virgencita immediately and thought to send them to the Divine Infant Girl so that they adorned and perfumed that altar.
Thus they saw as our Lord and as our celestial Queen declared that they had been pleased with such simple gesture to them of María del Rosario, to inhale the perfume of the flowers to later spill it on the feet of the Virgin.
Oh! Most Holy Virgin Young, that with your coming to the world consoled the Earth that in You greeted the aurora of the redemption by the grace prodigies which you spilled amongst us, listen piously my pleas.
In the sorrows that afflict me and especially in the necessity that at this moment confronts me, all my hope is in You, oh sweet Little Virgin! Show me that since your treasure trove of graces, that you dispense, is inexhaustible, because your power on the paternal Heart of God has no limits.
Listen oh Virgin Girl! my ardent plea and I will eternally praise the kindness of your Heart.
Pray three Hail Maries and one Hail Holy Queen.
Also it is very pleasing to the Young Virgin the prayer of the Holy Rosary.