A new exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge has opened against the odds.
Researchers from Cambridge University spent four years and an EU grant of more than £2 million searching for religious relics in Italy.
Many of the artefacts had been forgotten for 600 years but just as they were about to go on show disaster struck.
- Watch a video report by ITV News Anglia's Claire McGlasson
It is an irony that isn't lost on the curators; an exhibition about religious devotion that was very nearly wrecked by an act of God.
Researchers at Cambridge University were preparing to receive Renaissance treasures they'd discovered in churches and convents across Italy.
Instead they received news there had been an earthquake.
It was an agonising wait but proof finally came through from the wreckage of the Camerino Convent that its most precious relic had survived and was on its way to England.
It was a Jesus doll, made of wood which is now the centre-piece of the exhibition.
These kind of figures were not just for decoration; they were there to be adored, dressed, cradled and treated like a real baby.
A substitute for nuns who would never have children of their own.
The exhibition is open from 7 March - 4 June.
Its name? Madonnas and Miracles.
The team who spent four years putting it together say it's a miracle they managed it.