23 May 2018

The Milk Grotto, where families ask for the intercession of the Virgin Mary

The Milk Grotto, in Bethlehem, is known for the witness of couples that entrust themselves to Our Lady to receive the grace of a child.

Actuality and events

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Around 200 metres south of the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem is the small chapel of the “Milk Grotto”. This place is highly symbolic, as is the white stone within it. According to a tradition of the sixth century, the Virgin Mary hid here with the Infant Jesus before the flight into Egypt. Mary was breastfeeding and some drops of her milk fell onto the stone, which became completely white.

For many centuries this place was one of great veneration on the part of families coming from the Holy Land and all over the world, especially those wishing to have children.

Milk Grotto - Bethlehem
“Both Muslims and Christians come to the Milk Grotto and show their great love for the Virgin Mary. They kneel in front of the icon and ask for the dust of the Milk Grotto. God has blessed also many Muslims for their sincere faith, so that they may conceive”.

Inside the Milk Grotto is a special place collecting letters arriving from many countries by couples who received this grace. There are hundreds of stories each year.

Milk Grotto - Bethlehem
"Twenty one years ago Fr Lòrence archived more than five hundred witnesses of miracles found in the archives of the Grotto. The task began two years ago. In 2017, 450 miracles were catalogued, and this year so far 63.

This is the place telling the story of the early days of the Infant Jesus and the maternity of Mary. It is a place which collects witnesses arriving even from overseas by some who have not even visited the Holy Land but have entrusted friends with prayers.

“I became pregnant for the first time and reached my fifth week. The second time I lost my child after eight weeks. Our tests were normal and doctors said the two incidents were just down to chance. We never stopped praying. It was then that a good friend went to the Holy Land and prayed for us in the Milk Grotto and sent us an image of the Virgin Mary. At the same time we asked for the intercession of Our Lady for the gift of maternity and paternity. A few months later I got pregnant again and this time was able to give birth. And here is our gift of God, Mateus, two and a half months old.”

Some stories even surprised medical doctors.

Milk Grotto - Bethlehem
"Here are some pilgrims who came to the Milk grotto from Poland and asked the Virgin Mary to bestow on them the grace of a pregnancy. This is a certificate issued in 2013 by a Polish hospital stating the sterile state of this woman. What happened is a grace of God Who gave her a child though the intercession of the Virgin Mary. This is a miracle”.