Our Lady of Loreto

Friends in Christ, although it is not on the Liturgical Calendar today, December 10th is observed as Our Lady of Loreto, Loreto being the place in Italy where is Mary’s little house from Nazareth.
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According to legend, the house where Mary was born and where the Annunciation happened – this little house – when under the threat of war, was moved from the Holy Land to Croatia, to Italy, to Loreto – they say, by angels. Shepherds there discovered the sudden appearance of a little house in one of their fields. They went to the priest who himself was crippled; visiting the house, he had a vision and was suddenly cured.
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It seems that indeed, the house of Mary in the Holy Land had disappeared, leaving only a foundation that measured the exact size of the house. There are others that say a family of workmen disassembled the house and moved it. In any case, this shrine is a revered and holy place, and the source of many miracles.
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One miracle involved a young boy named Giovanni who had been sickly for many years. He wanted to be a priest, but was subject to seizures and other maladies. The Pope, who knew him, advised him to place himself in the hands of Mary. He therefore made a pilgrimage to Loreto and calling out to his heavenly Mother, was cured. Ultimately, he became not only a priest, but the Pope: Pope Pius IX, who would proclaim the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. As Pope he visited Loreto seven times, and this Holy house of Loreto is a favorite place for Popes to go and pray.
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Also originating at that Shrine, was the Litany of Loreto, which we usually call the Litany of the Blessed Virgin. When I was a young man, I was once speaking to an old priest. He showed me in his church, the verses of the Litany of Loreto inscribed around the walls of the Church. He then sat down, and as I looked at those verses, he recited all 51 of them by heart. He knew them all. His love for Mary made a big impression on me.
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It is a beautiful practice to add the Litany of Loreto to the end of Our Rosary each day.

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