The Holy House of Loreto is traditionally believed to be the house that Our Lady was born and raised, and the same home where the Annunciation took place. It is in this house located in Nazareth where Our Lady said, “Yes” and consented to be the Mother of God when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her. It is also believed that this is the home that Our Lord lived with his holy parents.
The question that always comes up with the House of Loreto is – how did the house in Nazareth end up in Loreto, Italy? Traditionally, it is said to have been carried by angels from Nazareth to Italy during the early years of the Crusades. It was removed from the Holy Land because Christians feared that the Muslim invaders would destroy the home like they did the Basilica in Nazareth. The basilica was built on top of the home by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century.
Before it came to its final resting place in Loreto, it was first brought to Tersatto, a hill located in Dalmatia, now present-day Croatia. It remained here for three years, however, when the Muslims invaders ran over and took control of Albania, the Holy House fled again to avoid the same fate many feared would happen in the Holy Land – destruction by the Islamic conquerors. It arrived in Loreto, Italy on December 10, 1294.
Although the carrying of the home by angels is a nice spiritual notion, the reality is that a noble and holy family by the name of “Angeli” assisted in the transportation of the Holy House by boat from its original location to Italy. This family is believed to have been part of the Christian Crusaders who went to defend the Holy Land. They also brought back with them many relics and sacramentals to be kept out of harms ways.
Because the Holy House of Loreto traveled across great lengths from Nazareth to Loreto, Our Lady of Loreto has been marked as the Universal Patroness of Aviators. The feast of Our Lady of Loreto celebrated on December 10, is now part of the General Roman Calendar as an optional memorial. It was designated as such through a proclamation by the Holy Father on October 7, 2019. This feast, mostly known in Europe, now has a worldwide audience.
It is said that countless saints have visited the Holy House of Loreto over the years, including St. Francis of Assisi, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and St. Maximillian Kolbe as well as many popes. After visiting Loreto, St. Therese of Lisieux said (in her autobiography) – “I am not at all surprised the Blessed Virgin chose this spot to transport her blessed house, for here peace, poverty, and joy reign supreme; everything is primitive and simple. […] Loreto really charmed me!”
Our Lady of Loreto…Pray for Us
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