Loreto, Italy: Sanctuary of The Holy House……Home of Jesus, Mary & Joseph
The Story of the Holy House of Loreto
One of the holiest and most popular pilgrimage destinations in Italy is Loreto, here on the East Coast of Italy. Tradition tells us that this is the house where our Blessed Mother was conceived and born, grew up, and where the angel Gabriel asked her to become the Mother of God. This is also believed to be the house where the Holy Family lived; where Jesus grew up and worked until he left to reveal Himself to mankind.
The story of how the Holy House ended up here is an interesting one and not well documented. The Empress Helena made a pilgrimage to the site in 336 A.D. and had a basilica built over the site in Nazareth.
With the imminent fall of Jerusalem to the Turks, tradition tells us that the angels transported the home from Nazareth to Dlamatia (modern-day Croatia) in 1291 and the Blessed Virgin Mary actually appeared here and many miracles were reported. The house was again transported to the hilltop town of Loreto, Italy in December of 1294.
Today’s technology confirms that cuts found in the stones resemble those found in Nazareth and that the building materials correspond to those used in the home still in place at the Basilica of the Annunciation there. In addition, the house has no foundation.
Among the many miracles reported here is one concerning the future Pope Pius IX. For an interesting account of the miracle, we recommend this article from the Women of Grace blog.
About the Sanctuary of the Holy House:
When you visit, you will see a large Basilica as shown in the photo here. The church was erected under Pope Sixtus V, and subsequent additions are the results of countless architects. I contains many great works of art and is worthy of a visit itself; however, the main attraction, naturally is the Holy House.
The actual Holy House is encased in marble in the center of the basilica. It is 31 feet long and 13 feet wide.
Standing in the place where Mary’s fiat actually occurred is an experience beyond words. There are regular processions of the Blessed Sacrament in the square outside the basilica. The sick and handicapped are brought to receive the blessings and graces bestowed on them by this beautiful devotion to the Real Presence of our Lord.
The Holy House of Loreto, unlike many other shrines, is under the direct authority and protection of the Pope. We celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Loreto on December 10.
Masses for groups can be arranged in advance and if you are an independent traveler you may happen to be there at a time when Mass is being offered. Masses are in the Basilica facing the Holy House.
Traveling to Loreto & the Sanctuary of the Holy House:
For independent travelers if traveling by train it is about two hours from Bologna. You change trains in the ferry port of Ancona and from there it takes about 20 minutes. The station is about one mile from the shrine, so you can walk or take a taxi from there. Get train & bus schedules, see fares & buy tickets here.
And, of course, Ancona is a place of arrival and departure for many ferries going to such destinations as Split, Croatia, Albania, and even Greece. Some of these overnight ferries are great for independent travelers…..much cheaper than flying, and your cabin means you don’t have to pay for a hotel.
Click here for the official website for the Sanctuary of the Holy House in Loreto.
Enrollment to the Universal Congregation of the Holy House of Loreto
It is extended to all the devotees of Our Lady of Loreto, who wish to spread the venerated title and to share in the spiritual benefits granted to those enrolled.
1. A plenary indulgence on the day of enrollment and on December 10th.
2. Participation in the merits of the Mass wich is celebrated daily in the Holy House for the members living and decease.
3. Participating in the prayers said in the Holy House and in the Order of the Friars Minor Capuchin.