10th December : Our Lady Of Loreto

Our Lady Of Loreto

Country : Italy

Year : 1291

Tradition has it that the house where Mary was born, where the angel appeared to her and where Jesus spent His Childhood, was spirited away through the air to Italy on May 10, 1291, eight days before the Saracen massacre of the Christians in their last Palestine stronghold at Acre.  The foundations of the house were left intact and may be seen in Nazareth today.

While belief in the removal of the house from Nazareth is not a matter of faith, many cures have been attributed to the Holy House at Loreto, Italy, including miraculous recoveries from illnesses by three Popes, Pius II, Paul II and Pius IX.  More than 50 popes have honored the shrine and many Papal Bulls have proclaimed that the House of Loreto is indeed the same that stood in Nazareth for 12 centuries.  Loreto is near Ancona on the Adriatic coast.

Andrew Yelaney, a TWA pilot, who was miraculously saved from death in a raging forest fire, designed a medal, “Our Lady of Loreto for Air Travelers”, which was officially dedicated April 11, 1959 by the Most Rev. Walter P. Kellenberg, Bishop of Rockville Center, L. I.  The Bishop composed a prayer for the occasion which has been the accepted prayer for air travelers:  “Dear Lady of Loreto, Patroness of all airmen and air travelers, I earnestly pray that through thy all-powerful intercession, I may be guarded and safely guided to my destination, through Christ, our Lord.  Amen.”

One side of the medal bears an engraving of Our Lady with the prayer, “Our Lady of Loreto, protect my flight.”  Seven stars in the form of a halo represent the Blessed Mother’s Seven Sorrows.  The reverse side bears the inscription, “Patroness of Aviators and Air Travelers,” and shows a passenger jet in flight above the Mediterranean, superimposed upon the course taken by the House of Nazareth.  Our Lady’s protective mantle, in the form of a heavenly light, bathes the flying jet.  The locations of Nazareth and the Shrine of Loreto are marked by tiny stars.  It is believed that the Our Lady of Loreto Medal will become to air travelers what the St. Christopher Medal has been to land and sea travelers for many years.

The old joke used as a warning to motorists that St. Christopher steps out when the speedometer hits 60, is modified by airmen into the slogan that Our Lady holds on for dear life even when the pilot is “cracking the sound barrier”.