(Jan) 27. Our Lady of Life, at Venasque, in Provence. Chronicles say that this image frequently restored life to unbaptized children, in order that they might receive baptism.
(Trip. Cour., nomb. 89.)
Image (click it to enlarge): Interior of the Chapel of Our Lady of Life (Chapelle Notre-Dame de Vie) in Venasque, France.
Source: "Historical Calendar of the Feasts of the Blessed Virgin, With the Foundations and Churches Dedicated to Her", from
Abbé Orsini's work, "Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God", Imprimatur 1858 A.D.
CATHOLIC TEACHING ON:
INFANT BAPTISM IN EMERGENCY
It is commonly taught that an infant who dies without Baptism will not be unhappy. Moreover we have every reason to believe that an infant who dies thus will at least share an eternity of complete natural happiness. Such
thoughts should be a genuine consolation to the mother of an infant who dies without Baptism if there is no fault or blameworthy neglect on her part.
However since Baptism is the only certain assurance we have for the possession of heaven, the importance of exerting every effort to see that a child is properly and duly baptized cannot be too strongly stressed. Nothing should be left undone
to secure it.
METHOD OF BAPTISM
As long as the proper intention is had, when there is danger of the child's dying without Baptism, ANYONE having the use of reason, whether Catholic or non-Catholic, can and should baptize.
Baptism is conferred by pouring water on the head of the one to be baptized and pronouncing at the same time the words:
THEE IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY GHOST."
In the case of premature delivery the fetus, no matter at what stage of pregnancy, should be baptized unconditionally if life is certain; it should be baptized conditionally if life is doubtful. Any motion on the
part of the premature fetus may be taken as a sign of certain life. Lack of motion however (as shall be seen) is not a sure sign of death. The formula for conditional Baptism is:
"If You Can Be Baptized, I BAPTIZE THEE IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY GHOST."
If the fetus when it
is delivered is enclosed in membranes, THESE MEMBRANES SHOULD ALWAYS BE BROKEN by holding them between
the thumb and forefinger of each hand and tearing them open so that Baptism may be conferred directly on the premature child.
For the fetus delivered in the early stages of pregnancy, Baptism by immersion is a surer and better method.
The manner of administration
by immersion is as follows: When the membrane has been broken, the fetus is completely immersed in water and withdrawn while the person who is baptizing pronounces the words of Baptism.
If immersion in such cases is not immediately
possible, rather than permit a dangerous delay, the water may be poured directly over the whole fetus that has
been exposed by the tearing of the membranes.
Mothers cannot be too well instructed in this matter of
Baptism. In the case of a miscarriage or in any danger of death for an unbaptized child, they should either endeavor to have the Baptism performed by others or should perform it themselves. Those who attend a pregnant woman at the time of a miscarriage
or a hemorrhage should be on the alert to detect a fetus in any discharge that takes place and to perform the necessary Baptism. An actually decaying condition of the fetus is the only certain sign of its death. In all other cases therefore at least conditional Baptism should be given, even though there is no evidence of life whatsoever.
"Mothers' Manual, A Manual of Devotion for Mothers and Expectant Mothers",
By A. Francis
Imprimi potest: Joseph P. Zuercher, S.J. Praep. Prov. Missourianae
Nihil obstat: William M. Drumm Censor Librorum
Imprimatur: +Joannes J. Glennon Archiepiscopus Sti. Ludovici - 1945 A.D.