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Miracles in Spain - 10

Our Lady Saves a Pregnant Woman

Gonzalo de Berceo
This is another miracle this 12th century priest records that took place at Mont St. Michel in Paris. He gives a report of what happened in his own times, a great service Our Lady performed for a pregnant lady who turned to her and asked her help.

We wish to tell you of another miracle that happened in another time in a sea pot. When you hear it, you will be able to affirm the virtue of Mary that is in every place. You will hear what the Glorious Lady is like on sea and on land, powerful everywhere, how She quickly defends her own, for She is not lazy and never did anyone find such a merciful Mother.

mont st michel

During the Middle Ages high tide was dangerous on Mont St. Michel

Near a salt marsh called Tumba (1), there was an island close to the shore. The sea would ebb and flow over it, two times a day or sometimes three. Well, on the island, very near the waves, there was a chapel that was St. Michael's.

Great miracles always occurred there in that monastery, but the entrance was somewhat difficult. When the sea wished to flow out, it would do so in a great rush; it could not restrain itself. No one, no matter how nimble, could escape it; and if he did not get out before, he would have to perish there.

Often, the people went there to hear Mass, and not unhurriedly; for they wanted to made haste to reach safety. One day by chance, with the rest of the congregation, a frail pregnant woman set out. She could not protect herself as well on the return and regretted having entered there.

The waves were coming close, the people were far ahead of her. In her panic her legs became paralyzed; her companions dared not help her. When they saw they could do nothing else, the people fervently said: "Holy Mary, help!" The helpless pregnant woman, full-fraught with fright, remained in great trouble among the waves.

The lady and her child emerge unharmed from the waters

Those who had escaped the waves, since they did not see her, believed surely without a doubt that she had drowned. They said: "This poor woman was unfortunate; the ocean laid a cruel ambush for her."

When they said this the sea withdrew; in a short time it returned to its place. Then Our Lord Christ wished to show them a great miracle, whence they might have something to tell about His Mother. They, wishing to be on their way, gave one last look toward the sand. They saw that a lone woman was coming, with her child in her arms, toward the shore.

The people were all amazed, they thought that fantasy had deceived them. But in a short time they saw it was really that woman, and they gave thanks to Christ with all hands uplifted.

Then they asked her: "For God's sake we beseech you, tell us the truth! Tell us all the facts of the matter and how you were freed from your pregnancy. This thing happened through God, we do not doubt it, and through Holy Mary to Whom we pray, and through St. Michael in whose honor we walk. This miracle is such that we must indeed write it down!"

"Listen," said the woman, "my good company, I believe that you never heard of a greater deed; it will be reported throughout foreign lands – in Greece and in Africa and in all of Spain.

Mount Saint Michael Abbey

The canticle composed by the people was sung in the abbey church

"When I saw that I could not wrest myself from death, since I was surrounded by the fierce waves, I commended myself to Christ and to Holy Mary, for I knew of no other help for me. While I was in this situation, Holy Mary came. She covered me with the sleeve of Her cloak. I felt no more danger than when I slept. If I lay in a bath I would not be happier!

"Without care and without affliction, without any pain, I bore this little son –thanks be to the Creator! I had a good midwife, there could be none better. She had mercy on me, a sinner! She granted me a great boon, not single but double: were it not for Her, I would be drowned. She aided me in the birth. Had she not, I would be dead. Never did a woman have such an honored midwife.

"My situation was just as I tell you Holy Mary had great mercy on me. Whence we should all learn a lesson and beseech Her to free us from the mortal enemy."

Everyone received great joy from the miracle. They gave thanks to God and to Holy Mary. All the group composed a good canticle to commemorate this miracle, which the clergy sang in the church, giving praise to the Glorious Virgin and Her great mercy.
  1. San Miguel de la Tumba refers to Mont-Saint-Michel, an island monastery in France located between Normandy and Brittany. The name was changed to Mont-Saint-Michel in the 8th century


Adapted from Gonzalo de Berceo, Miracles of Our Lady,
trans. by T. Mount and A. Cash, Un of Lexington Press, 1997, pp. 89-92

Posted February 15, 2020

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