Loreto, Italy (1291)

In Loreto, Italy, a small house enclosed in a grand basilica is believed to be the house where the Virgin Mary lived and raised Jesus.  On May 12th of 1291, the angels moved the house to a small town named Tersatto in Croatia.  Very early in the morning the neighbors discovered it, and they were astonished to see this house without a foundation.  They could not explain how it arrived there.  Some days later, the Virgin Mary appeared to a priest of that place and explained to him where the house came from.  She said,

picture #1: Angels lift Mary's childhood home high into the air
picture #1: Angels lift Mary’s childhood home high into the air

“You should know that the house that was recently brought to your land is the same house in which I was born and grew up.  Here, in the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel, I conceived the Creator of all things.  Here, the Word became flesh.  The altar that was moved with the house was consecrated by Peter, the Prince of the Apostles.  This house has come from Nazareth to your land by the power of God for whom nothing is impossible.  Now, so that you can give a testimony of this, be healed.  Your unexpected and sudden healing will confirm the truth that I have declared to you today.”

picture #2: There were witnesses to the home's flight overhead
picture #2: There were witnesses to the home’s flight overhead

The priest who had been sick for a long time was healed immediately and announced to the people about the miracle that had occurred.  Pilgrimages to the Holy House began. The residents of this small town built a simple building over the Holy House to protect it from the elements of nature.

picture #3: Mary and Jesus sit on top of the flying house
picture #3: Mary and Jesus sit on top of the flying house

After the three years and seven months, the house disappeared from Tersatto on the night of December 10, 1294 — never to return again.  On that same day of December 10, some shepherds in the region of Loreto, Italy reported to have seen a house flying over the ocean, held by angels.  There was an angel dressed with a red cape (St. Michael) who directed the others; the Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus were seated on the house.  The angels lowered the house on the place named Banderuola.  Many arrived to visit this holy house, but there were also some who went to mug the pilgrims.  For this reason, people stopped going there, and the house was again moved by the angels to a hill in the middle of a farm.  The Holy House would not remain there for much longer either.  The farm belonged to two brothers who began to argue over who was the owner of the house.

picture #5: Our Lady of Flight
picture #5: Our Lady of Flight

For a third time the house was moved to another hill, placing it in the middle of the path.  This is the place that it has occupied for 700 years.  The residents of Recanati and Loreto truly did not know the story of the Holy House; they only knew of the miracles that took place there. Two years later, the Virgin Mary appeared to a hermit named Paul, and she told him the origin and the history of the Holy House:

picture #6: Inside the Virgin's home where an altar was placed
picture #6: Inside the Virgin’s home where an altar was placed

“It was kept in the city of Nazareth until — with the permission of God — those who honored this house were thrown out by the enemies.  Since it was no longer honored and it was in danger of being profaned, my Son wanted to transfer it from Nazareth to Yugoslavia and from there to your land.”

picture #7: Inside Mary's house, looking at the back half
picture #7: Inside Mary’s house, looking at the back half

Paul then told this story to the townspeople and they began a process to verify the authenticity of the house.  They first went to Tersatto and later to Nazareth.  All of the descriptions of the interior elements and other details correlated.  In Nazareth they discovered that it truly was the house of the Virgin Mary.  The measurements of its foundation (left behind) were exactly the same as those of the little house in Loreto.

picture #8: Mary's home interior, showing a protective ceiling added
picture #8: Mary’s home interior, showing a protective ceiling added

A story recounts that the Bishop of Portugal visited the Holy House and wanted to take a stone to build a church in honor of the Virgin of Loreto.  The Pope gave him permission, so the Bishop sent his secretary to remove the stone and take it back with him.  The Bishop suddenly became sick — and when his secretary arrived, the Bishop was almost dead.  The Bishop asked a few religious sisters to pray for him and, some days later, he received this message, “Our Lady says: ‘If the Bishop wants to recover, he should return to the Virgin Mary what he has taken from her’.”  The secretary and Bishop were astonished about this since no one had known about the stone being taken from the Holy House.  The secretary departed immediately to Loreto with the stone.  When the secretary returned, the Bishop had been completely healed.  For this reason, over the centuries, the Popes have prohibited the removal of any part of the Holy House under threat of ex-communication. (127)(128)

picture #9: Protective outer structure that houses the little home
picture #9: Protective outer structure that houses the little home

In 1920, Pope Benedict XV declared Our Lady of Loreto as patroness of pilots.  Seven years later, her medal hung on board Charles Lindbergh’s plane on his famous flight across the Atlantic Ocean.  He stated that the medal’s rapping against the control panel woke him when he fell asleep at the controls – thus saving his life. (67:20)