A Great Treasure Comes from the Sea: Loreto
It is said that Saint Nicholas of Tolentino was kneeling in prayer before the window of his cell when he saw the Holy House approaching. It was three in the morning of December 10th, 1294, and Nicholas was not yet a saint but only a brother so his whoops did not go unheard.
“Brother Nicholas! Now is the time for silence!” griped
a voice from the darkness.
But Nicholas only whooped the louder. “A great treasure comes from the sea!” he cried. “A great treasure comes from the sea!”
The monk who had chastised Nicholas shuffled to the window to see what he was raving about. He ground the heels of his palms into his puffy eyes and peered out over the still, moonlit Adriatic. “I see nothing,” he grumbled.
“Put your foot upon mine,” said Nicholas. The brother did so and at once he could see it too. A squadron of angels was flying high above the sea. Some blew trumpets, others sang hosannas, but most of them had their shoulders set squarely beneath a small brick house. Up on the roof-beam of the house sat the Blessed Virgin with the infant Jesus in her arms.
“Now do you see the treasure that comes from the sea?” cried Nicholas. “It is the house of the Virgin Mary!”
Within moments, the rest of the monks were tumbling over each other to step on Nicholas’ foot and see the miracle. The church bells started ringing all on their own as the brothers piled into the chapel to thank the Lord and the Holy Mother for the inestimable grace that had been visited upon them and upon Italy.
It was three in the morning of the 10th of December, 1294, as the angels lowered their sacred cargo gently, gently to the shore near Loreto. This was the night of the venuta - the arrival of the Holy House.
See also: All the Good Pilgrims