The Miracle of the Boy in Clement's Temple

9th century
Wall painting
Basilica of San Clemente, Rome

This tells one of the miracles of St. Clement recounted in the Golden Legend. Only once a year, the sea receded to reveal the temple where angels had placed Clement's body, and people would walk out to the temple to pray. Once a woman took her son with her, but in the rush to escape the returning sea she forgot the boy and left him behind. The following year she went back to the temple, knelt down, and prayed to St. Clement. "When she rose from prayer she saw the child asleep where she had left him. Thinking that he must be dead she moved closer, ready to gather up the lifeless body; but when she saw that he was sleeping, she quickly awakened him and, in full sight of the crowd, lifted him in her arms" (Ryan II, 332).

The painting shows the woman twice. In the lower center she has half-risen from her knees and reaches for the body. To the left of that, she stands up straight and holds the living boy in her arms.

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Source: Leonardo Boyle, O.P., via Wikimedia Commons