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A brief description of the Holy House in Nazareth

3 min • Digitized on March 12, 2022

#Joseph #Mary

From The Life and Glories of St. Joseph, in file "The Life and Glories of St. Joseph", page 155
By Edward Healy Thompson, M.A.

The Santa Casa, now miraculously transported to Loreto, was, like the Nazareth houses in general, very small; and, as was the case with many of them likewise, it was built against the rock, with an opening into a cave or grotto at the back.1 On the one side was an apartment in the rock, which to this day bears the name of the kitchen of the Madonna; on the other, at a very short distance, was what is still by tradition called the workshop of St. Joseph.

The walls of the Santa Casa, wherein Mary had herself been born, and where she must have dwelt until taken to the Temple by her parents, were bare and unadorned, but we may be sure that her hands had soon placed everything in order, and, though there was nothing superfluous, the little they possessed was arranged with that neatness, modesty, and simplicity which invests a poor abode with a charm often wanting in the luxurious apartments of the rich.

Mary had no servant, so that all the domestic work was performed by herself; and, as there was no water in Nazareth save at one fountain, distant about a quarter of a mile from their abode, the Blessed Virgin, with her water-pot on her head, might have been seen, like one of the daughters of the ancient patriarchs, going daily to draw water at the well for the supply of the house—lovely as Rachel, bashful as Rebecca in her whole person and bearing, or, rather, immeasurably surpassing in beauty and modesty all the daughters of Eve.

The fountain was afterwards called by her name. Sometimes she would repair thither with a companion to wash the household linen, and Joseph, beholding her thus industriously employed, while thanking God in his inmost soul for having given him for his spouse, not a woman, but an angel of Paradise, grieved to see her, the daughter of kings and worthy of all the thrones of the earth, thus abasing herself to toil fit only for menials.

Within the house, likewise, she never remained idle. She plied the needle and the spindle, as she had been wont to do in the Temple, and her exquisite workmanship helped to procure the necessaries of life. Maria d’Agreda, in her Revelations, has drawn out a marvellous parallel between her and the “valiant woman” of the Proverbs, [Prov. xxxi. 10-31.] whom we may regard as the mystical type of Mary, as well as the example proposed to all women, but so ill followed by the greater number, especially in these soft degenerate days.

1 See Loreto and Nazareth, by the late Father Hutchison of the London Oratory, where will be found a full description both of the Santa Casa and of the sanctuary at Nazareth. It may here be observed that what has been miraculously removed formed only a, portion of the abode occupied or used by the Holy Family.

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