View of the basilica from our balcony at the Hotel Loreto
Moon over Hotel Loreto, from our balcony
Outside view of the marble chapel encasing the Santa Casa in LoretoFollowing in the footsteps of many holy men and women, (including our friend, Paul, from Sacred Heart who loaned us the book, "Catholic Shrines of Western Europe," which guided many of our stops along our Italian pilgrimage), we visited the Holy House in Loreto. St. Therese of Lisieux made a momentous pilgrimage to Loreto before entering the Carmelites (described at length in her autobiography); St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Frances Cabrini, Blessed John Henry Newman, St. John Neumann, and St. Francis de Sales also made pilgrimages to this holy site. Our friend from San Giovanni Rotondo, Father Michael Pio, having lived there as a Capuccin priest, sent detailed descriptions of some of the artwork in the basilica, the times of the friars' prayers in the Church, and notes about the Holy House:
"...there are inscriptions by the first Judeo-Christians who visited the Holy House when it was still a part of the original dwelling of the Holy Family in Nazareth. There is notably one which combines Greek and Hebrew signs and means "O Jesus Christ, Son of God". It is matched by an identical invocation which is still to be found in a grotto in Nazareth close to the Grotto of the Annunciation."Dozens of priests sat in the various side chapels and in the old fashioned wooden box confessionals offering the healing sacrament of reconciliation (confession). So many people were lined up, by languages (posted on each station) in order to be freed from sin in this special sacrament. The feeling of repentance and healing in this holy place was both overpowering and inspiring. Inside the Holy House, prayers, petitions, thanksgiving and praise were offered up to our Lord through our advocate and Blessed Mother, Mary. A hushed silence filled the Holy House even as it was completely packed with pilgrims of every age, from all over the world.
Peter and Joseph play competitive coin rolling games at the fountain in the square at the basilica in Loreto.
Angels and saints and unbelievable beauty on the ceiling at the basilica in Loreto
A patron saint looks down from above.
- I forgot to mention that Tim was able to repair the damaged camera (on day 2 or 3)!
- The AA battery camera, previously used by Peter (on the days he had finger injuries from all the shutter action) burns through batteries at a rate we could not have foreseen, and has thus been retired for the time being.
- We are continually entertained by the different methods used by the Italian police to keep order, including using little hand-held stop signs to pull over cars in traffic.