On December 10, 1294, the Holy House of Nazareth was 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 Translation of the Holy House.
How this Shrine came to be is a fascinating story. This is the House of Nazareth, the home of the Holy Family, which had been brought by angels from Nazareth to the Dalmatian coast, and later, by the same angels, transported to Loreto where it stands today enclosed in the huge Basilica just described. The history of Loreto is based upon a wealth of sound tradition and reliably recorded historical facts. We know from the visits of reliable witnesses to the Holy Land, whose journeys were carefully recorded in documents, that the Holy House of Nazareth was intact in Palestine at a relatively late date. St. Louis, King of France, heard Mass in Nazareth in 1253 in the same chamber where the Angel announced the coming of Christ to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Holy Land had seen its last and unsuccessful Crusade in 1291. The last of the Christian soldiers withdrew from Nazareth the same year, leaving behind the holiest of houses unprotected. It was to be dealt with according to the Muslim tradition of pillaging and destruction. It may seem far fetched to think that a tiny clay house venerated by a handful of Christians could merit such vindictive rage. But this was a unique house -- visibly an edifice of mud and straw, but preserving within its framework living memories of its Royal Household -- Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
The first assault was that of the Seljukian Turks in 1090. They rampaged through the Holy Land, looting the treasures left in the churches of the Holy Places by devout Christian pilgrims. They turned basilicas and churches into mosques, and destroyed what was deemed useless for their unholy purposes. Among the last class fell the fate of Santa Casa, home of the Holy Family. Fortunately, when Constantine had the first Basilica built over the holy spot in 312, the house, along with the grotto that was attached, was interred within a subterranean crypt. And so it survived the initial desecration of Islam. - Finish reading here.
I suspect few Catholics know the story, and fewer would believe it any longer - but I do. The Holy House is my favorite shrine of Our Lady.