Our Lady of Loreto (1294)

Loreto 1294

Feastday: december 10

The now considered sacred city of Loreto owes not only the enormous visitor numbers to the Holy House (Santa Casa), but even the entire existence of the city. To be able to explain this, we go far back in history, to the time of the Crusades.

The little house

According to a chronicle of 1465, on the night of December 9 to 10, 1294, the Holy House was found on the same hill in Loreto, Italy, where it still stands today.


The house of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Promised Land would be threatened by the Turks. In 1291, angels carried the Holy House, where Jesus grew up, on a cloud to Dalmatia. According to sources, various miracles occurred there, and people came to pray piously to the Holy Mother of God. In 1294 the Holy Angels brought it to a forest near Recanati, this place is called Loreto. Since then, pilgrims have flocked to the Holy House to venerate Mary.

This is the origin of Marian devotion in memory of the mystery of the Incarnation and of the evangelical examples of the Holy Family of Nazareth. The worship of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Loreto urges us to agree with the Christian's calling. The litany of Loreto is spread throughout the Church.

Pope Francis decided on October 7, 2019 that the memorial of Our Lady of Loreto on December 10 should henceforth appear on the General Roman Calendar and in the liturgical books of the Roman Rite.

Miraculous healing

"Amazement was everywhere. People wondered what this unknown abode could mean, by what hand the wall decorations had been made, and who had been able to put this new sanctuary here from one moment to the next. All questions, but no answers. Until suddenly, in the midst of the crowd, the venerable shepherd of St. George's Church, Bishop Alexander, appeared; he was from Modruzia. His presence provoked a cry of surprise everywhere. Everyone knew the man was critically ill, with almost no hope of recovery. And look, there he stood, glowing with health! The disease was gone. No trace of a fever.

Loreto is a well-known pilgrimage site. The Casa Santa Church is the place for believers to end their pilgrimage. Miracles are said to have taken place in the church, as a result of which it was recognized as a place of pilgrimage by the Roman Catholic Church.

With four million Pilgrims per year, Loreto is one of the largest Marian Shrines in the world.

The Litany of Loreto

Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.
Christhear us.
Christ graciously hear us.

God, the Father of heaven,
have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the HolySpirit,
Holy Trinity, one God,

Holy Mary,
pray for us.
Holy Mother of God,
HolyVirgin of virgins,
Mother of Christ,
Mother of the Church,
Motherof divine grace,
Mother most pure,
Mother most chaste,
Mother undefiled,
Mother most amiable,
Mother of good counsel,
Mother of our Creator,
Motherof our Saviour,
Mother of mercy,
Virgin most prudent,
Virginmost venerable,
Virgin most renowned,
Virgin most powerful,
Virginmost merciful,
Virgin most faithful,
Mirror of justice,
Seatof wisdom,
Cause of our joy,
Spiritual vessel,
Vesselof honour,
Singular vessel of devotion,
Mystical rose,
Tower of David,
Tower if ivory,
Houseof gold,
Ark of the covenant,
Gate of heaven,
Health of the sick,
Refuge of sinners,
Comfortof the afflicted,
Help of Christians,
Queen of Angels,
Queenof Patriarchs,
Queen of Prophets,
Queen of Apostles,
Queenof Martyrs,
Queen of Confessors,
Queen of Virgins,
Queenof all Saints,
Queen conceived without original sin,
Queenassumed into heaven,
Queen of the most holy Rosary,
Queen offamilies,
Queen of peace.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
spareus, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
graciouslyhear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
havemercy on us.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
That we may bemade worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
Grant, we beseech thee,
O LordGod,
that we, your servants,
may enjoy perpetual health of mindand body;
and by the intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin,
maybe delivered from present sorrow,
and obtain eternal joy.
ThroughChrist our Lord.

The story about the Chapel in Loreto

Our Story begins in 1850 when the Vicariate of New Mexico was established under the first Bishop of the Territory, Bishop Jean Baptiste Lamy. Seeing a need to educate the girls of the Territory, Bishop Lamy sent a plea to Catholic teaching orders to open a school for girls. The Sisters of Loretto responded and sent six sisters to open the Loretto Academy. Having been recently under Mexican rule, the Territory of New Mexico was full of Spanish-speaking citizens, so the six had to learn the Spanish language and, after an arduous trip during which the Mother Superior died, finally arrived in Santa Fe and opened their school in 1853.

By 1873, the Sisters were able to start the construction of a Chapel. Using the same French architect and builders as Saint Francis Cathedral Basilica, the Chapel of Our Lady of Light (as it was then known) was patterned after Archbishop Lamy’s favorite Sainte Chapelle in Paris. With its gothic-style architecture, the Chapel certainly would have stood out among the small adobe homes surrounding it at the time.

Unfortunately, the architect died before access to the choir loft was built. Given the height of the loft and the small size of the Chapel, a staircase would have taken up too much floor space, thereby reducing the seating capacity to an unacceptably small level. Legend states that seeking guidance and help, the Sisters of Loretto prayed a nine day novena to St. Joseph, Patron Saint of Carpenters. A novena is a special prayer said for nine consecutive days. On the final day of the novena, a carpenter appeared with only a hammer and carpenter’s square. He built what is now known as the Miraculous Staircase with simple tools and wooden pegs. The rare wood is not native to the American Southwest. When the Staircase was complete, it is said that the carpenter disappeared without receiving thanks or payment. The Sisters tried all local lumber stores but could not find accounts open for supplies for their stairs. Some believe the carpenter was St. Joseph himself while others believe that is was someone sent by St. Joseph. What is known is that the Sisters of Loretto prayed, and their prayers were answered.

The Staircase has two complete 360 degree turns with no center pole for structural support. The entire weight of the staircase rests on the bottom stair. The banisters were added approximately ten years later due to the difficulty of climbing the tall, tapered stairs with no railing. The two small brackets that can be seen on the outside connecting the stairs to the wall and pillar were added in the mid 20th century in order to provide more support and protect the staircase from negative effects due to vibrations from passing cars and trucks. Unfortunately, rather than helping the structural integrity of the Staircase, the modern brackets damaged the sides of it by preventing the natural spring-like movement of the Staircase while in use. The underside of the stairs were originally open, but was filled in with a horse hair and lime mixture painted to look like wood.