Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Feast of Our Lady of Loreto and the Translation of the Holy House

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Loreto.

Commemorating the miraculous translation - by angels - of the Holy Family's house in Nazareth; this feast recalls its transfer from Croatia to the hilltop of what is now known as Loreto, Italy.

Since a little boy, I have never had the least problem with this story. In fact, when I lived as a pilgrim in Italy, in imitation of St. Benedict Joseph Labre, I spent some time at Loreto.

Every day I would stand praying within the Holy House, which is enclosed within an ornamented marble edifice, a sort of tabernacle or aedicule. I would stand in a back corner of the interior so as not to be in the way of the groups of pilgrims as they passed through. Occasionally I'd step out to pray Our Lady's office from time to time, seated on a bench outside the House, since the light was easier to read by. My experience there convinced me the Holy House is authentic.

It was there I prayed most especially for my family. Years later, my older brother died on this feast day.  It was the year when the feast of the Immaculate Conception was observed on the 9th of December because the 8th fell on Sunday.  I had an intuition Our Lady would come for him.  I stayed by his bedside praying, hoping Our Lady might be there on the 8th.   My brother hung on throughout the day and night.  I thought, 'Well then, maybe she will come on the day the Church transferred the solemnity.'  The next day, the observance of the solemnity, I asked my brother, who had been in and out of coma "When is Our Lady coming?"

He lifted his head from his pillow and opening his eyes, looking directly at me, responded clearly like a little boy, "I don't know?" Then he fell back into the coma.
The following day was Tuesday of course, and the feast of Our Lady of Loreto.  Before going to be with him I went to Mass.  After communion, I had a conviction he had just died. When I got to his house, his nurse told me he had died about 20 minutes earlier, and I said "I think I knew that." When I got to him he was still warm.
My brother had a vision of Our Lady a few years before his death. he told me she just suddenly appeared as Our Lady of Grace - for a few seconds - he described it as just a glimpse. He began to pray again, wondering what it meant. I always believed it was Our Lady, I think that accounts for my intuition that she would come for him, as well as why I asked him when she was coming for him as he lay in the coma.
So that's my Loreto story.  My brother's funeral Mass and burial took place on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
A brief history on the Holy House.

"According to Catholic tradition, the Holy House came under threat during the turmoil of the Crusades, so in 1291, angels miraculously translated the house from its original location to a site in modern-day Croatia. An empty space was left in Nazareth, while a small house suddenly appeared in a field. The bewildered parish priest, brought to the scene by shepherds who discovered it, had a vision in which the Virgin Mary revealed it was her former house.

On December 10, 1294, the house was again moved by angels because of the Muslim invasion of Albania. It landed first in Recanti, Italy, but was shortly thereafter moved for a third time to its present location in Loreto.

The Holy House of Loreto, or Santa Casa di Loreto in Italian, has been venerated by pilgrims great and small, including many popes and saints, and numerous miracles and healings have been reported. Scientists are said to have confirmed the materials to be the same as those found in Nazareth and the house lacks any foundations."


  1. Thank you for the reminder. I love Loreto.

  2. Thanks for the beautiful story about your brother.

  3. Happy feast, Terry! This day in honor of Our Lady is special for me as well.

  4. What a tremendous grace for your brother, and such a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. you must miss him, Terry. I am sure he prays for you steadily, now. thanks for the story about Loreto: how cool about those Angels, protecting their Queen's house !

  6. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful story about your brother and Our Lady of Loretto with us Terry. I hope one day you will write all your reminiscences about your pilgrim days in Europe and share them with us.

  7. When my husband and I undertook the task of finally having a kitchen-family room addition built, it occurred to me to seek a patron saint to overlook the process. After looking over the list of possibilities I decided on Our Lady of Loreto. I ordered a beautiful icon print, stuck it in a plastic sleeve, and hung it in the new room as it was being built. I had always heard of the nightmares of living with a major building project going in while you are still in your house and I wanted the addition to be a blessing. The contractor and his workers were not just dependable and excellent craftsmen- they were also men of faith and appreciated seeing Our Lady of Loreto holding the Child Jesus who was holding a small replica of the Holy House. Our finances held out to cover even the unexpected surprises that always come with such a project. Some of the subcontractors commented on the sense of peace they felt while working on our home. We were really blessed during a time that could have strained our last nerves and finances. I even used the beautiful shade of red that Our Lady wore in the icon to inspire that color for some of the walls. When all was done, I found a beautiful frame for her and hung the icon on the wall that connects the new build with original house. Much to my surprise, (maybe I shouldn't have been!) the size of this addition is only a few feet larger than the Holy House! Our kitchen/family room has been a huge blessing over the past nine years, enabling us to have more people gather round our table, have more cooks in the kitchen, and more easily extend hospitality.
    So of course, I was amazed at your post today. Thank you for sharing such a personal moment. May your brother rest in peace.

  8. That's a beautiful post about the history of Our Lady of Loreto and her little-house, thanks very much. I've seen it in videos and would love to visit there. I have a miniature statue of her, the kind with a magnet under the base that people place on the dash-board of their cars and many times when praying the Hail Mary prayer or the Rosary I mentally invoke her under this title. Your brother beginning to pray again after the vision he received of Our Lady of Grace is so wonderful, a real blessing for his salvation. It's very encouraging to hear these wonderful blessings of the Blessed Virgin Mary to us!! Thanks again Terry and God bless..


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