Lady of Loreto
Born: date unknown, celebrated September 8
Died: assumed, celebrated August 15
Canonized: the day she was assumed
Feast Day: December 12
Patron Saint of: aviators
She is the patron saint of pilots, airmen and flight attendants
as per the declaration of Pope Benedict XV on March 24, 1920.
The pontiff approved a special blessing: "O merciful God,
You have consecrated the house of the Blessed Virgin Mary with
the mystery of the Word Incarnate and placed it in the midst
of your children. Pour forth your blessing on this vehicle so
that those who take an aerial trip in it may happily reach their
destination and return safely home under Mary's protection".
|The reference to the Holy House is what constitutes
the reason and fame of Our Lady of Loreto. According to ancient
tradition, the Holy House--that of Mary and Jesus, where the Word
of God became flesh--arrived by sky or sea, we don't know, on
the hill of Loreto at the end of the 13th century. It reached
Loreto, Italy after a brief stay at Tersato, Dalmatia, 1291, and
landed 1294 at a location called Recanati (today's Loreto) in
a wooded area belonging to a nobleman named Loreta.
It was this flight that led to her patronage of people involved
in aviation, and the long life of the house that has led to the
patronage of builders, construction workers, etc. The dimensions
of the House of Loreto are identical to those of the House of
the Holy Family that is missing from its enshrinement place at
the Nazareth Basilica. Bas-reliefs of the 16th c suggest
Our Lady's House
transport of the
Holy House by sea.
The Church of St. Mary of Loreto was first mentioned in 1315.
Construction of a large church is cited in 1468. In 1586, Loreto
was granted city status and the church was raised to a cathedral,
only to become a basilica in 1728. It has been an episcopal
cathedral since 1965.
The interior of Our Lady's House
|Popes have always held the Shrine of Loreto
in special esteem, and it is under their direct authority
Loreto is one of the most famous Marian shrines in Italy
and was the first shrine of international renown dedicated
to the Blessed Virgin. It has been known as a Marian center
for centuries and is a worldwide center of Marian prayer
(Litany of Loreto), celebrating the "ineffable mystery
of the Incarnation of the Word" (John Paul II) and
inviting all Christian families to take as their model the
Family of Nazareth.
The Involvement of the Angeli Family (from KIRCHE heute--Aufbruch
der Kirche in eine neue Zeit. Monatszeitschrift fur die katholische
Kirche im deutschen Sprachraum. May 19th 2004)
Allegedly, in 1294, Niceforo Angeli sent the bricks to Italy as
a wedding gift for his daughter Ithamar (or Margherita). Ithamar's
wedding to Philip of Angio son of Charles II, King of Naples,
took place in October, 1294. The arrival of the Holy House dates
to December10, 1294. During recent excavations beneath the House
of Loreto, several hundred coins have been found two, of which
are connected to the Angeli family, referring to the transfer
of the House of Loreto.
|Contrary to the legend that angels brought
the Holy House to Loreto there exists another more scientific
theory. According to Papal archivist Guiseppe Lapponi, a
family by the name of Angeli might have been instrumental
in the transfer of the house. Lapponi related this confidential
information on May 17, 1900 to Bishop Landrieux of Dijon.
His findings reveal that the Angeli family is a descendent
of the Emperor of Constantinople. Chronologically the facts
comply with the possibility that in 1291 this family saved
the bricks of the Holy House from the Muslim invasion. This
information can be found on page 181 of the collection Chartularium
The Altar in Our Lady's