In the name of God we shall narrate a few of the many, or a small number of the multitude, of the miracles of Loreto, according as we found them written in ancient histories: The chapel of Loreto was ordered and selected by the heavenly Father long before its erection on earth by the tribe of Jesse. In the great, remarkable, worthy city of Nazareth in Galilee that house was first built. It was there that Joachim and Anna, the father and mother of the holy Virgin Mary, lived and remained. It was there too that the holy Virgin was conceived, born, and reared. In that same house the noble archangel Gabriel delivered the message from the heavenly Father to holy Mary whence came the redemption of the children of Adam from the sins and transgressions consequent on original sin. In that house without loss of her virginity she gave birth to our Saviour, Jesus Christ. He was nourished afterwards on
p.113the white, milky, holy breasts of the Virgin, until the angel came from heaven to command and order her and her Son to go in exile and banishment to Egypt to escape Herod, son of Antipater, when the holy Innocents were slain. When our Lord was twelve years of age they returned from Egypt to the same house. There the holy Virgin spent the remainder of her days in this world. From it Almighty God's angels and archangels raised her holy body to the heaven of the angels plainly and evidently before all who saw it. When she rested in heaven, the apostles and disciples of the Lord dwelt for a while in that house. Afterwards they decided to bless and consecrate it so that it might serve only as an oratory and house wherein they might invoke Almighty God. Accordingly the apostles made with their own blessed hands a splendid miraculous cross in the shape of the Cross of Christ to commemorate it. Without doubt the only more miraculous image in all the world is that of the holy Virgin Mary made by the hands of Luke the evangelist. They were placed together in that chapel. Because of the number of its wonders and miracles and its holiness, the inhabitants of the city of Nazareth did great honour and showed exceeding great devotion to it. The neighbouring countries honoured it also.
Now there was a certain emperor named Heraclius elected in Rome at that time. He joined with Chosroes, king of Persia, in opposition to the law and faith of the church of God. They destroyed and banished the Catholic faith out of all the land of Jerusalem. They set up in ignorance and disbelief a supposed god by name Mahomet. The inhabitants of the city and the country were prevented by fear from submitting to God's religion in that holy chapel. Pope Nicholas IV, who was in Rome, commenced a war
p.115and an attack on these heretics. He despatched portion of his army to a great city in Asia named Tripoli. They besieged it. The pagan kings already mentioned came to relieve it. At that particular time, then, this holy house of Loreto, with all its materials and structure, moved away, being carried by the favour of God and holy Mary on the shoulders and breasts of the angels and archangels of Almighty God. They alighted and came to rest on a remarkable, beautiful eminence in a level, even, wide plain in Tersatto, in the kingdom of Slavonia, about midnight on the sixth of May of the year we have mentioned. Now the inhabitants of that country were accustomed to gather in this plain on these particular days each year for a festival and great ceremony. They were greatly surprised and wondered much when they saw the splendid chapel, for they knew not whence it came. After a time they went in. They found in it the image of the holy Virgin Mary and the cross already mentioned. Then they all came to the conclusion that it was the miraculous house and home where the Mother of the Redeemer was conceived and born. They feared greatly because of the transference and coming of the house. Afterwards they reverenced and honoured it. Many of the diseased and sick of the neighbouring districts had their health restored and benefited there. That also increased the earnestness and devotion to that house of the people who dwelt near it.
There was once a certain very noble prior superior in the monastery of Saint George. Because of his good life he is considered by everyone to be a saint. Alexandro was his name. This prior contracted a burning painful fever. He ordered that he should be conducted to the holy house of Loreto. That was done. He prayed and invoked the holy Virgin before the image. It seemed good to her to make known and reveal to that holy prior the secret history
p.117and the sacred mystery of that wonderful chapel. She came in person to speak and discourse with him, for he was holy and learned in wisdom and truths given him by the heavenly Father. Having miraculously appeared in splendour and brightness, she said: Here before thee am I, Mary the Mother of the Redeemer, whom thou hast besought and invoked with many prayers. Direct all thy hope and intention and meditation to my wondrous Son, and by His mercy thou shalt have health. Understand that it was in this holy house that I was conceived, born, and reared. In it, too, I was chosen by the heavenly Father as bodily Mother for his own Son. In it, also, I celebrated the hours, said prayers, and chanted hymns, invoking the Almighty God. There I was espoused in accordance with the Law and became spouse to Joseph the just. I preserved my virginity until I received from the heavenly Father the great conception whence came the saving of the race of Adam from the sins and transgressions of the first parents. For nine months afterwards Him I bore with reverence, until by grace I miraculously gave birth without labour, without earthly pain, without natural difficulty, without harm to my virginity, to Him, God and Man in one Person in that same house. There I reared Him, I fed Him on the breasts of my bosom, I carried Him and nursed Him, until the angel came from heaven to command me to fly with my Son to Egypt, to avoid Herod, son of Antipater. Joseph guided us and supported us throughout the journey. When my Son was twelve years old, we returned to the same house. I lived there afterwards as long as I was in life in the world. When I went to heaven of the archangels, John of the Bosom, with the other apostles, came to dwell in the
p.119house. They made of it a tabernacle and a venerable, honoured, holy place of prayer. Then they scattered throughout the world, according to the Almighty God's command, to plant the faith. Afterwards the house miraculously moved, so that it came to this place. Let this history and narrative and the holy tidings be made known and published by thee to all the neighbouring regions, and thou shalt have health from my Son, who is glorious and full of grace.
Immediately there came a multitude of legions of angels and archangels to meet the holy Virgin. Then she departed from that holy father. From the brightness and splendour, and the pleasantness of the divine heavenly odour on every side of her, he received health at once. He gave thanks to the holy Virgin and to her miraculous Son. He then journeyed to his home and narrated the events to all he saw.
The report and account of the matter reached the officer who was governing the country, Nicolas Frangipani was his name. He summoned to him the aforesaid father to learn the certainty and true account of the great miracle. When he heard them, he obliged the father to go without delay straight to Nazareth to find out if the story were true. There were four great, worthy, honoured noblemen of the country along with him. They reached Nazareth. Their journey was easy and without difficulty. They made enquiries of the great men of the city as to what had happened to the house. They narrated to them all the deeds and events and miracles connected with the house while it remained with them, how it was at length taken away from them miraculously on the shoulders and breasts of angels, and that they did not know whither it had gone. However, the messengers measured the foundation of it, its length, its breadth, and its circuit. They returned to Tersatto. That
p.121house, when measured then, had a measurement exactly equal to that which they had made at Nazareth. After all these proofs the people of the neighbouring cities and all the country gave great reverence and honour to the house, visiting it frequently with great devotion. For three years and seven months it remained in that place. The natives of the country, however, began to fear the passion and tyranny, the rage and rapine, of the Emperor Heraclius. For that reason the remarkable, wondrous, holy house became unfrequented, they neglected their devotion and their hearts grew cold, so that they did not give it such honour and respect as had been customary. But the great, wondrous Son and Almighty God were pleased to remove it from the place where it was. Angels and archangels carried it with them in its own form and shape, without change of stones or timbers, over the great, wide Adriatic Sea. They rested not until they reached Italy. They alighted in a dense wood in the province of the Marches, near the ancient city of Recanati. Laureta was the name of the noble widow whose private possession that wood was. For that reason the people acquired the habit of naming the picture the image of Mary of Loreto. The year of the Lord that time was one thousand two hundred and ninety-four, the tenth of September. Though that wood was close, intricate, and dark in olden times, yet it was gleaming, bright, and glorious from the angelic light the angels left in the holy house and around about it. Those who saw it believed that there were fires and conflagrations alighted in the wood.
Now there were shepherds guarding their flocks close to the wood. When they observed the great strange wonder, they abandoned their flocks and fled in haste to the city mentioned. They told their parents of the striking and wonderful event which had happened. Then the people
p.123of the city arose with the ready rising of one man. They came to the wood at once. On seeing the great strange sight, fear and terror came upon them. Groups of them went trembling and in fright through the wood. When they reached the centre of it, they found the splendid venerable house, built with skill and dexterity, and having inside in it the images of the Virgin Mary and of the Cross of the Crucifixion. They were startled and amazed. Afterwards they considered that it was a bounteous gift which the Heavenly Father, Almighty God, had sent to them. They fell on their knees. They adored and prayed and invoked the Lord, giving Him abundant thanks for vouchsafing to them so much of his great graces. They prayed and sung a sweet canticle in their own language. They chanted in sweetsounding words that the Almighty God was blessed, and that blessed, holy and glorious, too, was the merciful holy Virgin, the Mother of the wonderful Son, who was pleased to grant by her own graces that such a holy merciful sight should be miraculously exhibited to her poor people. In the end they returned by the same route until they reached the city.
After that the people of the city were wont at all times to make visits of respect in this house, visiting, reverencing and worshipping God and the holy Virgin Mary. Their sick and diseased, and those afflicted with any other trouble, found comfort and restoration of health always there, by God's grace and the mercy of Mary, in the presence of the image and the cross. For that reason many people from other countries came to make a journey, devotion, and a pilgrimage to the holy house, when its great miracles became known. But many heretics and robbers, as it was situated in a lonely dark waste, and as pilgrims went to and from it, used to go to rob and murder near it. When Almighty God
p.125saw that, He ordered some of His angels to remove the chapel and bring it to a level wide plain in proximity to the wood. They did so, and placed it on a beautiful, fine, commanding garden-hill which had abundance of sweet-smelling herbs. Two noblemen of the city, brothers, had the ownership of that plain. The chapel was frequented as usual on the plain for a long time. The noblemen got much gold and silver and wealth of all kinds as a result. But then they conceived fierce enmity and great jealousy for each other. Almost every day they sought to kill each other. It was the mother who gave them birth who helped on their fighting and contention, for she used to say openly that to the son whom she liked and who was dearest to her the plain belonged by right, and that the other had no share in it. A fight arose between them in that way for a division of the profits of the chapel. When Almighty God, the author and beginning of all peace and contention, saw this, He settled by a miracle the dispute and disunion of the brothers. By His great glorious power He sent angels and archangels to move and bring the holy chapel until they placed it in the middle of the high road which crosses between the city of Recanati and the sea, in a particular place over which no one in the world had supremacy, mastery, or possession. It is in that place until the present time. That was the third moving and changing it had undergone since it had come across the sea.
After that, however, simple unwise people in the country wondered at the variety and strangeness of the movements and translations of the chapel. They suggested to the people of the city to put a foundation around it, for in their ignorance they feared lest it might be changed from them for the fourth time. The inhabitants of the neighbouring cities and all the country gathered and assembled. They quickly set works and a foundation around the chapel. The Italians and the people of the neighbouring countries frequented it in large numbers. They marvelled
p.127greatly at the magnitude and number of its miracles and wonders, and at all its travels and movements. When the holy Virgin saw that, in a particular year of the Lord, one thousand twelve hundred and ninety-six, she made known as follows the whole story and account of the chapel.
A certain holy old man of unblemished character and good life chanced to dwell near the chapel. He used to visit it frequently with great devotion and piety of intention. To him first the holy Virgin appeared in person. She told him, as she had told the pious father Alexandro, the prior of Tersatto, of the coming and going, and the whole story and adventure of the chapel, from the first up to that time, of its being transferred and carried miraculously on the shoulders and breasts of angels and archangels, and of the time and period at which it made every one of its changes and movements. She ordered and directed him to make known and truly narrate these things to all who were in his neighbourhood. At once the old man went to the city of Recanati. He told the wonderful tidings to the inhabitants of the city and all their kinsfolk. The people for the most part took small and imperfect heed of the story, regarding it with disbelief. They were all but mocking and ridiculing the old man. Still, when they saw the number of the wonders and miracles every day, they unanimously decided to select sixteen chief men, the wisest, most learned, most conscientious, and most truthful in the province of the Marches, and to send them to Nazareth in Galilee to investigate the origin and meaning of the story of the chapel. These sixteen men took a fleet, with all necessaries for a journey and travel. They set out then, and directed their course over the Adriatic sea. Thus they went till they reached harbour in Slavonia. From that they hastened to the plain of Tersatto. The inhabitants and dwellers in the country, and in that plain in particular, narrated and affirmed how that remarkable, wonderful, holy house came and descended on the plain, its wonders and miracles while it
p.129was there, how the holy Virgin Mary in her great mercy appeared to Alexandro and told the story and account of the chapel, how Alexandro and the four men went to Nazareth to test and confirm the story, and how they heard it all as it is above, and that the chapel was removed from them afterwards, and that they did not know where in the world it had gone. They then proceeded right straight till they reached Nazareth. Their journey through the country of the Barbarians, who were hereditary enemies and destroyers of the faith of Christ, was dangerous and terrifying. When they went to Nazareth, they found the particular spot and the foundation on which the house was first seated. They estimated and measured its length, and breadth, and circuit in comparison with the house they had left behind them in Italy. They were equal and alike. They then heard the statements and accounts the people of the city gave concerning the house, how it was built and erected at first, and how it afterwards disappeared strangely and miraculously. These showed that the old man in Italy had spoken words really true, and that the house was the veritable house which once stood on the spot mentioned, and was brought by a strange miracle, by the great power of Almighty God, to every place where it had successively been, until it rested in the end in the holy place where it then was. Then the Italians returned to their country. They underwent much danger and sickness by sea and land throughout the journey. When they reached their own country they told plainly all the accounts and information they had got about the house. All the people in the province believed that what they said was true. They gave thanks to Almighty God. The matter was made known and published in all the neighbouring countries. All increased their veneration, their visits, and their devotion to the chapel. Not only the Italians frequented it, but also many ecclesiastics of the regular orders of Christendom from other countries.
There was a certain pious nobleman advanced in years who dwelt near the chapel. He was of unblemished character and good life, and Paulus de la Silva was his name. He was accustomed to visit frequently the holy chapel each day. One night, on the feast of the nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as he was in it praying and beseeching the holy Virgin, he saw with his own eyes a great light, namely, a shining torch, descending on the chapel. He thought it was twelve feet in length and six in breadth. Two hours before the dawn of day it descended thus. For ten successive years, on the same particular night and at the same hour, the nobleman saw the mystery of the great miracles. During that period he never spoke of it to anybody. A short time before death he sent messengers to call the bishop of Recanati and other good bishops. He narrated to them the strange, wonderful miracles which took place in the chapel, giving all his proofs and confirmations. These prelates considered that it was the holy Virgin herself, or angels from her, who used to come at the recurrence of the noble festival mentioned to honour and venerate the great wonderful chapel. After that the story was made known to the neighbouring countries, as is manifest.
On one occasion the bishop of the city of Recanati, whose name was Terremano, came on a pilgrimage to Loreto. He performed his pilgrimage, and having heard the multitude of the wonders and miracles of the chapel, returned to the city of Recanati. A noble and just man, Paulus Rinaldutius, who was in the city at that time, assured the lord bishop that his own grandfather in his old age swore definitely that his own eyes saw the chapel being transported over the sea on angels' shoulders until, wonderfully and miraculously, it descended in the aforesaid wood. A certain
p.133prior, also, who was in that same city, Francisco by name, gave his oath in the presence of bishop Terremano that his own grandfather swore by his conscience, at the age of one hundred and twenty years, that his own eyes saw the chapel coming and advancing over the sea until it alighted and descended miraculously in the wood we have mentioned, that he himself was praying and beseeching Almighty God and the holy Virgin Mary in that place there; also, the second time going to the hill that belonged to the two brothers, and the third time proceeding to the place where it then was. Because of these many proofs the people decided with one accord not to enquire or doubt further concerning the chapel. Besides, in addition to that, the multitude of its wonders and miracles every day incited the minds of the countries and peoples in the neighbourhood to worship and believe in it.
There was a certain great nobleman in France before that time, Petro Orgentorix was his name. He lived in the great city of Grenoble. He had a worthy wife, of noble blood and great beauty, of a distinguished family in France, whose name was Donna Antonia. Another woman in the same city became smitten with jealousy, envy, and hatred of her because of the man. She performed charms of devilry and witchery, of idolatry and heathenism, against her. Thereupon madness and unbearable frenzy came upon the first woman. She lost her senses and intelligence. Those who saw her were of opinion that there was an evil spirit in her, and that became evident afterwards. The nobleman went with the woman, seeking help and relief, to every church and miraculous holy place that he heard of in France. It was of no avail. After that he brought her to the city of Milan in Italy, to the great church of San Iulio, where people affiicted with that disease were accustomed to get
p.135assistance and relief often in their trouble and necessity by miracles. They spent some time in that church, but their quest was in vain. Next they went to the city of Modena, to a great church where miracles and wonders like that used to be wrought frequently, namely, the church of Geminiano. They prayed and invoked there, but yet they got no relief. Then they proceeded to the city of Rome. For a full month they remained in Rome in the church of Pietro Vaticano. There is a great, famous, miraculous column, with a stout iron grating around it, in the church, which today and ever since Christ was in this world drives demoniacal spirits out of those who visit it by God's grace clearly and plainly to the world. It is not often that any man or woman suffering from that malady goes away from that column without getting relief. The woman remained for a time each day to the end of the month within the enclosure of the grating beside the column. Even yet God was not pleased that she should obtain restoration of health. After that the company set out in grief and affliction. Except only the mercy of God, they had almost lost hope of assistance. Since none of the famous pilgrimages which they had made availed them, they thoughtlessly and in despair proposed to return to their native country, and to perform no other pilgrimage till the end of the woman's life. A certain noble knight of the order of Malta, who was returning from a pilgrimage to Loreto, met them on the road. They saluted each other, and each asked where the other had been. They told all their doings and adventures, and how they fared. The knight told and made known the wonders and miracles of the holy chapel, and the image, and the cross of Loreto, and advised them to go there. Because of all the stations and pilgrimages in other famous churches they had made,
p.137they had almost despaired, for they thought that any pilgrimage they would make would be of no use to them. The woman requested that she should be brought to Loreto. That was done on the seventeenth of July, the year of the Lord then being one thousand four hundred and eighty-eight. A venerable canon was superior in the chapel. He was a holy man, and Stephanus Francigena was his name. He came to meet them, having with him many young clerics. He conducted them to the chapel. Having entered, they prostrated themselves and invoked and prayed before the image of Mary and of the Cross. The venerable father read an exorcism according to the regulation and instruction of the Roman church to banish the demoniacal spirits out of the woman. It was not long then until seven devils with hateful inimical words answered him together out of the woman. Thereupon one diabolical spirit left her. It alighted on a bright torch of wax which was in the chapel. It could not leave it, but remained hanging from it visible to all. It said in a horrid voice that Sardo was its name. After a time a second spirit left her. It said that Herot was its name, and that through its agency and machinations there came about the death of the Duke of Burgundy, who had been establishing and supporting the faith and piety of God's church. After that it stuck to another torch which was in the church. It turned its ugly, horrible face on the father, and grinned and bared its dark, ugly teeth. Then it said plainly with a diabolical, bitter tone of voice: It is not you that has banished us from the home in which we have been remaining for a long time, but the wonderful mercies of Mary. The canon brought these great, noble strangers with him to his own house that night, and gave them honour and welcome. On the next day they came to the holy chapel. They prayed, and worshipped, and invoked
p.139earnestly the holy Virgin before her picture. The father carried out the same instructions and ceremony. Another demoniacal spirit left the woman. It said its name was Horribile. With its mouth it viciously and fiercely caught hold of a silver lamp with many lights which was hung in the chapel. It told publicly and plainly that itself, by its devilish powers, incited the people of Herod to behead John the Baptist. It wept and cried out then, and this is what it said: Mary, Mary, strong, avenging, inimical, and constant art thou against us. Thereupon the father and the others commenced to invoke holy Mary. A fourth spirit came out of the woman. It pronounced its name loudly, namely, Aroto. I am the one, it said, which, by my cunning and infernal arts, put it in the mind of Herod, son of Antipater, to slay the Holy Innocents while seeking Christ at the time of His birth. Immediately afterwards, more viciously than the other treacherous one, it stuck and adhered to a lamp in the chapel. With rage and terrible frenzy it turned its face to all, and particularly to the father. It said: Virgin Mary, strong and unmeasurable are thy miraculous merciful powers, for through thy great merciful graces thou hast driven and banished us from the habitation in which we were. When the father heard these words, he obliged the devil, in the name of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, to make known to him before all present all the knowledge and history of that house that he had. The devil answered him: Here is, truly, the house of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Almighty God. To rebuke and provoke the evil spirit, the father said it had spoken deceitful, lying words. Not so, truly, it said, but it is the Virgin who compelled me to narrate the truth of these words. To prove that, it showed to the father, with hatred and enmity the particular spot in the chapel in which the Virgin was when the archangel came from heaven with the message from the heavenly Father, and also the place where the archangel stood and rested while he was
p.141delivering it. It told also much of the story and miracles of the house at the command of the father. After these words the father made the sign of the cross, and forthwith three of the spirits fell under his feet, while the fourth hung on the lamp, none being able to assist or relieve the other. He forced these four, together with all the other evil spirits in the woman, in the name of Almighty God and the Virgin Mary, to ascend into the firmament and to injure her no longer. Three other devils then leaped out of the woman. Each of them gave a screech and great, horrible cry aloud. The seven of them arose before the people in birdlike flight in the air with the noisy wind. The woman fell at once into a fit and faint of death. All thought she was lifeless. Her body was placed upon the altar before the miraculous image. After a while she came to life, and sat up before all. She made the sign of the cross on her face and gave great thanks to the powerful Son and His merciful mother for the great mercy granted to her, namely, the banishing and expulsion of the seven devils out of her after they had dwelt a long time in her. She arose without sickness or disease. She gave much alms for the building of the great church which is around the chapel. All the people gave thanks to God and His glorious mother for the great miracles which had been wrought. The woman and her husband and their retinue returned safety to their own country. They served God and Mary continuously to their deaths, persevering in a holy life with great devotion to miraculous Loreto. Such miracles were frequently wrought in that holy chapel before all, both lay and cleric, but to narrate them all would be tedious. Still, one other miraculous story we shall tell, for it is confirmed by a stone in the chapel.
There was a certain honoured, venerable archbishop in the city of Coimbra in the kingdom of Portugal. When he heard of the fame, and renown, and greatness of the many wonders and miracles of the chapel of Loreto, his desire and intention was to build and erect a chapel in its honour. He came to Rome. He was a long time there pleading with the Pope, asking him as a grace and a favour to give him one stone out of the chapel of Loreto, that he might have it as an honoured relic in the church he wished to erect in his own diocese in Portugal. After a long time the holy Father, after consultation and much discussion, gave him that favour and request. He sent letters and a command, under his great seal, to the prior of Loreto, instructing him to give one stone out of the holy chapel to the archbishop. The altar priest of the archbishop himself was the special messenger who brought the letters. When these reached Loreto, they showed the authority and the command of the Pope and the Roman court to the prior. Fear of the Pope prevented the prior from not fulfilling his command, though he was sad and regretted it. The archbishop set out from Rome to the city of Trent. He said he would rest and remain there until the stone and the altar priest should overtake him. The prior and young clerics of the church took one stone out of the chapel. When the father got it he left Loreto on the first of December, and went from there to the city of Ancona. They left Ancona on the third of the same month. They were proceeding every day to the end of that month, they and their horses overpowered with toil, and labour, and every difficulty during that period. They reached Trent, where the archbishop had been awaiting them. Immediately all their horses died from the labour and toil they experienced carrying the stone. The father showed the stone with
p.145reverence and in secret to the archbishop. His mind and heart were delighted at seeing it. He then said that, before he would leave that city, he would put a coffer and covering of gold and silver about it, with a beautiful, well-wrought shrine and splendid painting on the outside. That was all done and completed quickly and readily. When the archbishop wished to return to his own country with the stone, sickness and virulent disease came upon him, and he was near death. The doctors and physicians of the city were gathered to him. They said they did not know at all what was his ailment, or how they could give him any assistance. After that he became extremely feeble and weak. The doctors gave him up, although he had commanded them not to do so. When his altar priest saw that, it occurred to his mind, since earthly cure had failed, to seek a spiritual one for him. There were two venerable nuns in two monasteries in the city. Everybody believed that they led saints' lives. The priest went to the place where one of them was. He told her sorrowfully of all the sickness and malady of the archbishop, and asked her, for the honour of Almighty God and the holy Virgin Mary, to pray for him. The holy nun said: I shall earnestly pray for him, and do thou come after three days to see me. Next he spoke to the other one. She promised likewise. He returned on the third day. He asked the nuns in turn if they had done as they had promised. One answered, and this is what she said: I have done my best to pray and intercede for him, but it was in vain. He must restore whatever he has taken out of the holy chapel of the Virgin Mary at Loreto. Then perhaps, by the grace of God and the miracles of our Lady, he shall obtain restoration of health. He went then to the second nun. The words of both were the same. When the priest heard them he was startled and surprised, for up to that time he was certain that no one in the city knew the story or secret of the stone except the archbishop and himself. He went to the archbishop
p.147in great sorrow and distress, and told him all the doings and sayings of the holy women. Sorrow and intense regret came upon the archbishop. He besought and invoked the holy Virgin Mary, and made his confession to a certain holy father. He confessed in sadness, grief, and affliction that in pride and haughtiness he had requested the Pope and the Roman court to dismember and tamper with the holy chapel. He then promised to serve Mary earnestly and continually to the end of his life, and to restore the stone to the holy chapel of Loreto. Thereupon the priest set out with the stone from the city of Trent, on the road to Loreto, about midday on Friday. They had scarcely left the city when the archbishop got great relief from his ailment. About midday the following Monday they had reached the city of Ancona, neither they nor their horses having encountered toil, difficulty, or trouble on the way. A post set out from Trent after them stating that the archbishop was well, and giving great gratitude and thanks to the Virgin Mary. Then the community and assembly of Loreto, and the inhabitants of the country, gathered together when they heard the story. They went to the city of Ancona to meet the stone. They journeyed five leagues. They returned in a splendid procession to Loreto, two thousand laics and clerics with a great bright torch in the hand of each, and the stone carried solemnly and reverently by the prior of the church. There were also hosts of many thousands in the procession. When they reached Loreto, they placed and settled the stone in its proper place as it had been before. At once it miraculously, strangely, and wonderfully took hold of the proper adjoining stones, as if there had never been a separation of them from the first day until that time. Ever since it is plain to be seen in the
p.149chapel. The figure of the Cross is on it to commemorate the miracle. The father returned to the city of Trent. He found the archbishop there without pain, disease, or trouble, as if no injury had happened to him. The name of the Virgin Mary, and the fame of her holy, miraculous chapel, were rendered great by these remarkable wonders.
When the holy fathers who were Popes in Rome saw the number of these wonders and miracles, from the time of Paul II, the two hundred and fifteenth of those who were in the chair of Peter in Rome up to that time, the year of the Lord being then one thousand four hundred and sixty-four (this Pope himself, Paul II aforesaid, gave these full indulgences for the forgiveness of his crimes, sins, and transgressions to everyone who, with devotion, repentance, and penitence, goes to the pilgrimage of Loreto) to the present, every Pope who was in Rome, to the number of twenty-two, to the reign of this holy father, Paul V, the year of the Lord being now one thousand six hundred and nine, successively exalted and honoured the indulgences of Loreto by confirming every privilege which their predecessors had conferred on it. Everyone thinks and believes that Loreto, without doubt or comparison at all, is the most honoured, venerated, holy, miraculous, and privileged house in all the world. The Popes have granted many gifts and bequests to this house, and it is rich and wealthy, possessing every thing it needs. Kings, and princes, and the Catholic nobles of Christendom send as presents and gifts to it many splendid, precious gems of gold and silver, precious stones, splendid many-coloured garments, mass vestments of all colours, and chains of bright gold. Every nation in Christendom also, which comes to and from it, bestows on it. Ó Néill and the Earl, the lords and the
p.151Irish noblemen with them, obtained a view of that treasure They had never seen the like before.
A certain Pope, whose name was , as an increase of glory and honour to this holy chapel, ordered that, on a certain day in the month of December each year, a fair and market should be held beside it, and that any nation in Christendom had the right of coming to that fair. These people brought to the town and all the country every necessary and comfort that they needed, and that increased and greatly enriched the town and the whole country. That frequency of wonders and miracles happens from time to time in the holy chapel, and especially at the occurrence of these fairs. If one person had all the tongues in the world, he could not count, enumerate, estimate or narrate them. That was fitting, for it was no earthly or bodily man like Adam, who was made of common earth, who dwelt and remained there, but our Saviour, Jesus Christ, miraculously made man by the heavenly Father in the womb of the holy Virgin; also, it was not of the bone of a man that she was fashioned, like Eve, but was born a chaste virgin in that house contrary to the course of nature. It was not three angels alone that were in that house, as they were with the patriarch Abraham, but it was the abode and resting-place of all the orders of angels and archangels. In it, also, was the home and abode of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, for nine months in the womb of the holy Virgin, whence it acquired fame and notability, for in it alone the divinity and humanity of the Son of the living God were united. Everyone regards the mountain of Thabor as a holy place, and so it is. After having endured the Cross of passion and martyrdom, from it Jesus Christ ascended to the right hand of His Father. But this house is more noble,
p.153honourable, and venerable, for in it the Lord was born and reared, also in it His wondrous mother was conceived, born, and reared, and spent all her days, except a few, in this world. The tomb, too, in which the body of our Lord lay dead and lifeless for three days, and whence it arose from the dead afterwards, is considered a holy, venerable, and worthy place, and that is fitting truly. Much more noble, honourable, and venerable is the house where He was born and reared, where He lived for a long time in the world, where He took many a time food and drink, where He kindly discoursed with His disciples, and where He prayed and invoked the heavenly Father every day. Consider and examine with all your power and authority all the houses and holy, mysterious, meritorious, miraculous places in the world, and understand and believe there is no comparison or similarity between this house and any place of them. It alone is the most noble, honourable, famous, wonderful, worthy, blessed, miraculous, holy, merciful, strange, and wondrous. It may be called the house of God and His mother in this world, transported and miraculously translated on the shoulders and breasts of the angels and archangels of Almighty God.
The kings and princes and the titled people of the Catholics of Christendom have given so many presents of gold and silver, of precious stones, of various, wonderful, splendid jewels, and of every instrument of the holy Church to it with earnest devotion that it is one of the richest and wealthiest houses in Christendom, having the fairest, best built, and best made church in the world, with rows of columns of white marble around it, and an even, level circuit of broad, marble stones. It is a walk of a day and a night from Loreto to the frontier of the kingdom of Turkey. There is perpetual, lasting war and conflict between the Pope, the head of the Church and God's vicegerent on earth, and the Turk. However, notwithstanding the number of the hostings and expeditions of the Turks in Italy, especially
p.155near the town, by the grace of God and the holy Virgin Mary it has come that they have not injured, much or little, Loreto or its inhabitants, and that they have been unable to come within two and a half miles of it at any time.
The Pope who was styled Leo X built a strong, impregnable rampart, with outhouses for defending and fighting, and with sure, strong, fortified towers, having many regular cannon and much big ordnance of every kind, with all their equipment, about it. The Pope has a troop of horse, and a large guard of soldiers, continually on the watch by night and day, so that no enemies of the Church may take it unawares.
Whoever wishes to perform the meritorious pilgrimage of Loreto must remember that it is with earnest devotion and perfect intention he must journey to it, and not for any earthly or temporal purpose. When he has made his confession completely, without any excuse at all, he must receive the holy Sacrament. Let him avoid any bad companion, and every cause whence mortal sin might come. If there be a church in the town where the pilgrim remains each night, let him prostrate himself with hearty and earnest prayers to holy Mary. If there be no church in the town, let him pray secretly at hours of going to bed and getting up in his sleeping chamber. Especially let him hear Mass every Sunday. He shall not neglect to give, to the extent of his means, charity and alms to Almighty God's poor and indigent. If it be that he is unable to give alms, let him show his kindly feeling to the poor. Let him say an Ave Maria for the soul of each. If weariness of mind or tribulation of spirit befall him, let him make the sign and image of the Cross of the Crucifixion upon himself. Let him consider after that the passion of Christ, or the virtues and
p.157the mercy of the holy Virgin Mary; death, which is in store for everyone; the glory and pleasure and happiness of Heaven above, in the presence of the heavenly Trinity, of the holy Virgin Mary, of the angels and archangels and the nine orders of Heaven which did not transgress; the innumerable, unspeakable pains of hell, in the presence of Lucifer and his demoniacal rabble, where there shall be a multitude and variety of all pains and grief forever, where there shall be gnashing of teeth and melting of eyes, cold and hunger, heat and thirst, great, unbearable darkness, union and habitation with the faces of the rabble of devils. Or let him contemplate the passion and martyrdom of some of the noble, great apostles, or some of the saints or just who suffered death and martyrdom in this present life for Almighty God, or some other holy thought should rest and dwell in his heart instead of an evil one. Let him be careful, prepared, and prayerful on his way. Let him take heed that he do not lose the merit of his pilgrimage by temptation and attack of the devil. If he meet a beautiful, blossomy plain, with much flowers and good fruit, let him think of the brightness, glory, and pleasure of paradise. When he hears the birds' song, let him contemplate the sweet music and melodious harmony of the angels and archangels of the holy Trinity. If he should chance upon beautiful rivers and streams of pure water, let him consider the contentment and glory of the angelic heaven. When he reaches deep, dark glens, and hidden, difficult, pathless places, let him think of the many horrid pains and the unbearable, unspeakable darkness of hell.
Tadhg Ó Cianáin wrote this, and give thou a thousand blessings for his soul, et cetera, 1609.
Let him proceed and advance gradually each day, according to his power and strength, until he reaches his journey's end. Let him know and consider with all his heart that his period in this world is
p.159being spent every day, and that his days shall finally come to an end. It is necessary for all to watch carefully, in fear, and on their guard, that journey, for it alone is the last end and certain fate of everyone. If he is able, let him come by day to the town, so that he may have sufficient time to prostrate and pray in the holy church before he retires to rest. Then let him receive the holy Sacrament, after having made his full confession with a clean heart. Let him make the pilgrimage then with piety and a warm, holy intention, with full repentance in his sins and vices, with remembrance of Christ's passion and the last judgment, with perfect love of his Creator and his neighbours, with thanks and respectful reverence to the heavenly Virgin, for it was in her name and in her honour that blessed, holy house obtained all merits and privileges. Let him pray and beseech the all-powerful Son and His wondrous mother before the image of Mary and of the Cross we have mentioned that he may obtain safety of soul and body from the Almighty Lord at the request of the holy Virgin, all his suitable necessities besides, the welfare and grace of the Pope, and the Catholic Church, and those who support it, and of the clerics of Loreto in particular, and the glory of the holy chapel itself. In the end of his pilgrimage, let him sing Te Deum laudamus if he can, or, according to his ability, let him give great thanks to the Saviour for his being led to that meritorious house. Let him take heed afterwards that no unlucky misfortune befall him, by the temptation of the devil, after his journey and pilgrimage, whereby he might lose the wonderful, meritorious good he has done. Let the pilgrims make known and narrate to those who meet them all the wonders and miracles of this house that they remember, that those who have not been there may conceive a great desire to perform the pilgrimage to it, and that they may obtain for themselves relief and comfort of soul and body,
p.161destruction of disease, and pain, and every calamity, and glory for the heavenly Father and the Virgin Mary who granted these graces to it. Every Saturday let there be always sung with sweet chanting, and harmonious organs and music, litanies which the Church has published in Mary's honour, to render famous and renowned the image we have spoken of.
We beseech, implore, and adore Almighty God, who created and redeemed the children of Adam, and the holy, heavenly Virgin, who obtained these miracles for this great, strange chapel, that they may grant to us in this life a way in which we shall walk, and progress, and journey to the heavenly seat and the eternal peace, that we may not dwell or habitate with the devil and his rabble host, but in union with the angels and archangels, the patriarchs and prophets, the saints and virgins of the world, in union with the apostles and disciples of the Son of Almighty God, in union with the divinity and humanity of the Son of God, in union with the nine orders of heaven who did not transgress, in union with the holy Virgin Mary, in the union which is nobler than every union, in union with the noble, holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. We implore the mercy of Almighty God, through the intercession of holy Mary, that we may reach and occupy that union in saecula saeculorum. Amen.