Veil of Our Lady of Loretto
 In 1854, the third Bishop of California, Thaddeus Amat, left his Sacramento office and traveled down the coast of California. He headed into Mexico and then across Panama. On the eastern coast, Bishop Amat and his entourage boarded a ship bound for Italy. In Rome, the bishop procured the body of St. Vibiana, St. Candidus, and various other relics, and translated them back to the United States.
Among these relics, was an envelope that was handwritten in Bishop Amat's own writing and sealed shut with a watermarked episcopal seal. Contained in the envelope was this 1/2" by 2 1/2" piece of the veil of Our Lady of Loretto.
      The reliquary that holds the relic was custom designed and handmade to resemble the most precious of all reliquaries - the tabernacle that houses the body, blood, soul, and divinity of the Son of the Mother of God.
This is one of the few remaining pieces of the veil or mantle which covered the original miraculous statue of Our Lady at Loretto, the same one which was destroyed by fire in 1921. The veil was replaced from time to time, and the cloth sent to Rome to be distributed as relics to bishops. The statue of Our Lady of Loretto was considered so miraculous that these relics received the same veneration as the relics of the authentic veils actually worn by Our Lady in life. It had been believed since medieval times that Our Lady held great graces for all who venerated her image there, and granted the greatest of favors. Subsequently, this relic is very rare and special since it touched the original miraculous statue, this statue which many saints prayed before and which granted so many favors.
The original statue was replaced in the same year by a new statue taken from the Vatican gardens. This statue has been artifically darkened, since in this way it would appear similar to the statue destroyed in the fire, blackened by smoke and time.

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last edited June 11, 1997