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Catholic Dictionary




A figure of the Infant Jesus, usually of wax, represented as in the Crib at Bethlehem. It is exposed in Catholic churches from Christmas to epiphany. This devotion owes its origin in the thirteenth century to St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226). A jeweled wooden figure of the Divine Infant, "Santissimo Bambino," is in the Franciscan Church of Ara Coeli in Rome. Brought from the Holy Land, it is carried in procession on Christmas and Epiphany and is reputed to have miraculous powers.