Our Lady of Loreto in the Mantle of Refugees is the work of artist Margherita Gallucci, who has kindly lent it to us for this month’s cover of Women Church World. The work is an oil on panel, measuring 40-60 cm, and created in 2000. The artist is a contemporary figurative painter based in Cartoceto in the Marche region. She attended the Sacred Art School in Florence. Her specialization is sacred art, but she says, “Every creature in this world is sacred, and I cannot help but contemplate the beauty of nature of which we are a part”. Our Lady of Loreto also has significance for migrants; in fact, the Pope has included the invocation “Solacium migrantium” (help, succour of migrants) in the Loreto litany. The liturgical feast falls on December 10, in memory of the date of the arrival of the Holy House of Nazareth in Loreto from Palestine. The house of the Virgin Mary is said to have been miraculously transported by angels on the night of 9-10 December 1294.
The statue in the shrine is a Black Madonna. Some of the photos in this issue are courtesy of the humanitarian organisations whose ships rescue migrants in the Mediterranean, assist them, and bring them to safety. On ships like those of SOS Méditerranée, Open Arms, Meditarreanea Saving Humans board men, women, the elderly, and minors. These men, women, and children are fleeing poverty, dictatorships, and violence, and dream of a better future. Pregnant mothers, who are exhausted from the crossing on makeshift barges, and children who are born in these precarious conditions. The following are testimonies of suffering, pain, fatigue; but also of hope.