December 10 is the feast of Our Lady of Loreto. Our Lady of Loreto is a title of Mary associated with the house where the Holy Family lived. Several years ago, as a college student studying abroad, I was blessed to visit this beautiful shrine in the southern coastal town of Loreto, Italy. I vividly remember arriving late at night and walking the quaint cobblestone road from the train station to the church, lit by the light of the moon.
It was here that I distinctly remember praying that God would bless me some day with my own “holy family.” Twenty-plus years later I reflect on this moment and thank God for the life He has blessed me with, the family he has given me and the opportunity for us all to grow together in holiness!
Our Lady of Loreto (Loretto) is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary associated with the house where Mary was born, the dwelling of the Holy Family, and the site of the Annunciation. The tradition and history of the Holy House traces back to Apostolic times. A miracle to which the Church attests, the house was mysteriously moved in one piece from Nazareth in the Holy Land to a final resting place in Loreto, Italy, carried by angels, during the 13th century. It was transported to prevent destruction by the Muslims who destroyed the original basilica which housed it. A new basilica was built around the Holy House in Italy, the Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto, and has become one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in the world.
A few years ago, at the suggestion of a friend and in honor of this Holy Day, our family started the tradition of building a gingerbread house. We have found it to be a fun and creative way to learn about the Holy House of Loreto as we tap into an already popular tradition during this season. It is also an opportune time to pray for the grace to model our family after the Holy Family and discuss the virtues we all need to work on to make our prayer a reality.
Happy Feast of Our Lady of Loreto!
Copyright 2018 Kathleen M. Billings