The Holy Child
La milagrosa imagen del
Santo Nino de
19th century painting on tin in handmade tin
At the end of the Moorish occupation of Spain,
in the city of Atocha, Spain, many Christians
were imprisoned. The Moorish conquerors forbade
all persons from entering the prison on errands
of mercy with the exception of small children.
The Mothers and wives of the prisoners prayed
for divine aid in bringing solace to the captives.
One day a child dressed like a pilgrim of that
time came to the prison carrying in one hand
a basket of bread and in the other a staff with
a gourd full of water suspended at its tip.
To the astonishment of the moors, the gourd
and the basket of bread were still full after
all the prisoners had received a blessing and
their portion of food and water.
According to the legend, Christ had returned
in the form of a child to answer the prayers
of the women of Atocha.
Since this time, the image of the infant Christ
carrying food and water has been known as the
Santo Niño de Atocha (Holy Child of Atocha).
The image is very popular in Mexico and throughout
The Holy Child of Atocha is the patron saint
of those unjustly imprisoned.