Is this... for real?

This seems absurd to me. St. Bernard supposedly had a vision where The Blessed Mother squirted milk into his mouth ???

Mary is Our Mother, is it absurd for a Mother to breast feed her Son?

You didn’t provide a link, so here’s one:

It appears that this is a legend that has been used as the basis of several works of art. Personally, I file this story in the “Yeah, right!” drawer of my mental filing cabinet.

(I suppose that last statement is going to get me into trouble :rolleyes: )

If he were an adult, yes.

The only thing that comes to mind is the ostensible permissibility in Sunni Islam for a woman to nurse a man so they can be in the same room together without also being accompanied by a relative-chaperone: see this and this.

This is merely an attempt at a “visual metaphor” expressing the spiritual reality involved in the vision - which, as with all visions, have to be interpreted. The artistic depiction of the vision shows us what lies at the heart of the vision: the spiritual nourishment and Divine enlightenment that came to St. Bernard through the motherly care of the Blessed Mother.

I haven’t breast fed my son since he was in diapers. And I have never seen an adult breast feed.

So, yes, it does sound a bit absurd to breastfeed a grown man.

Is it something that happens often where you live?

A couple of observations:

Unfortunately, in our day we have so sexualized women’s anatomies that we think of our motherly functions as secondary to that of sex. In reality, the female form may attract the male, but it’s main function, biologically speaking, is to propagate the species and nurture the young. We have put this so far back in our thinking that we are shocked at the idea of breast feeding, even of breast feeding infants, and worse in public places.

As FCEGM so aptly cited, this is an interpretation of a vision. Visions carry no doctrinal weight. We are not bound to believe that Mary feeds everyone in this way. Rather, it was his vision of the sustaining power of Mary’s prayers and heavenly aid to his soul. Again, we have been overly Puritanized about the human body to the point that porn has become almost the only expression left in popular culture for the average person to appreciate the human body’s functions. This is so sad. A woman’s breast is not a lethal weapon, after all. It’s mainly a source of nourishment for infants, but it is also a symbol of God’s grace because he feeds us like infants who are helpless to feed ourselves on his grace without him. We have hard time with this concept because of overly Puritanizing and overly sexualizing the female body. The proof is in the negative reactions to the artwork and the vision.

This was to symbolise that she is his Mother, Our Lady can work around age to show that

You all need to read the sermons on the Song of Songs by St. Bernard. Please understand that many of our beautiful doctrines about Mary come from the great superior of the Cistercians, St. Bernard, and that he is a doctor of the Church.

No one should ever be ashamed or scandalized about that picture. The nourishing milk represents the graces which Mary brings us from her Son. Our Lord and Savior nursed at those breasts.

Mary is the model of the Church and the milk from her breasts are the sacraments which nourish us and keep us healthy. No Christian should ever take offense at such a picture.


Indeed. We see the graces of Mary and the Church foreshadowed in Isaiah’s canticle in chapter 66:

[10] “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
all you who love her;
rejoice with her in joy,
all you who mourn over her;
[11] that you may suck and be satisfied
with her consoling breasts;
that you may drink deeply with delight
from the abundance of her glory.”
[12] For thus says the LORD:
"Behold, I will extend prosperity to her like a river,
and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall suck, you shall be carried upon her hip,
and dandled upon her knees.
[13] As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

We should remember that the people of Jesus’ time took offense when he told them his flesh was food indeed and his blood drink indeed. Ours is a very physical religion, unlike Puritanism which denies the flesh has any worth. Such images should comfort us for they tell us that all we believe is real–real body and blood, real milk of comfort, real resurrection of the body, real incarnation of the Son of God. It’s all of a piece, all are God’s way of giving us his saving graces.

I think people don’t realize that we really ARE God’s children. We are infants in our understanding. We need our loving mothers (the Church and Mary) to help us and sustain us as we grow up.

Other cultural stories in the same vein.

I think this is an amazing image and wonderful analogy. I will often mix my wife’s breast milk into sports shakes for health and immunity purposes (its one of the most incredibly nutrient rich substances in the world) so this speaks volumes to me. We really shouldn’t balk at our great saints. If having Our Blessed Mother squirt milk into his mouth is good enough for a beloved saint then it’s certainly good enough for me.

Be well and God bless

Della, isn’t this passage about consoling/abundant breasts read on one of the Marian feast days?


I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were. It may be a question for the L&S forum. :wink:

Umm…Is it bad my first thought when I saw this was “good aim”? :o


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