Tag Archives: Fr. Donald Calloway

Visiting the Holy House of Mary in Italy

The simple stone house in which the Virgin Mary was born, where she received the invitaton of an angel at the Annunciation, and lived with the Holy Family, is believed to be in the small coastal town of Loreto in central Italy’s Le Marche region. To the marvel of scientists, the House disappeared from Nazareth, miraculously moved to Croatia, and then later to three different spots in Italy in a way that defies human explanation.

According to historians, after 13 centuries in Nazareth, on May 10, 1291, the house of the Holy Family disappeared overnight, completely undetected, confounding the community. It is believed to have been carried by angels first to the town of Trsat, an area in modern-day Croatia. It baffled the townspeople there on how a house could simply appear overnight. It is remarkable that just three years later, Muslims invaded the land around Nazareth and ransacked everything. Surely the house would have been destroyed.

 Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (September 8, 1774 – February 9, 1824) reported that among her mystical experiences was a recurring vision of the Holy House carried over the sea by seven angels. Historical, scientific, and archeological evidence attests that there is no other logical explanation.

 Four Stops

Father Donald Calloway, vocation director for the Marians of the Immaculate Conception and author of five books on the rosary, visited the House of Loreto four years ago. “You get a sense of this being an extraordinary relic and that you are in a very holy place,” he said in an interview with Legatus magazine. “It’s almost overwhelming, like a spiritual generator.”

Father Calloway wrote about the House of Loreto in his newest book Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father. He explained the path it took before its last resting place in Loreto. The house’s first stop was in Trsat, Croatia. Villagers were amazed that it had no foundation. After three years, it disappeared again on December 10, 1294, leaving only an outline of the spot it had occupied. To this day, a monument marks that spot.

From there it was taken across the Adriatic Sea to the town of Ascoli Piceno, Italy. It was there for only eight months, as robbers had begun stealing from the pilgrims. In August 1295, the house disappeared yet again and reappeared on a hill outside Ascoli Piceno. But the two brothers who owned the land fought over ownership and also exploited tourists for financial gain. So near the end of December 1295, the Holy House was taken to its final location in Loreto.

The History

A year after the house appeared in Loreto, the Catholic Church appointed 16 envoys to investigate. They visited Loreto, Croatia, and Nazareth. At all locations, the measurements of the house were exactly the same with absolutely no discrepancies. In 1469, the Basilica della Santa Casa (Basilica of the Holy House) was built over the Holy House where it still stands today, attracting approximately four million pilgrims annually.

Many saints have visited both before and after it moved. Biographers of Saint Francis of Assisi wrote that he visited the house in 1220 in Nazareth, and Saint Louis, King of France, visited it on the feast of the Annunciation in 1251. Other saints that visited include Saint Francis Xavier, Saint Charles Borromeo, Saint Francis Borgia, Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, and Saint Therese of Lisieux.

An inscription from the 16th century on the eastern façade of the Basilica reads: “Christian pilgrim, you have before your eyes the Holy House of Loreto, venerable throughout the world on account of the Divine mysteries accomplished in it and the glorious miracles herein wrought. It is here that most holy Mary, Mother of God was born, here that she was saluted by the Angel, here that the eternal Word of God was made Flesh….”

Scientific Evidence

A scientific study undertaken by Professor Giorgio Nicolini was presented at a conference organized by the “Amici del Timone” Cultural Center in Staggia Senese, Italy on April 24, 2015. His talk was titled “The Story of the Incredible Move of the House of Mary of Nazareth to Loreto.”

Nicolini pointed out the impossibility of transporting the house over sea completely restored, given the poor technological resources of the time. He cited the existence of many documents and eyewitness accounts and noted that the chemical composition of the house’s stones, wood, and mortar are unique to the region of Nazareth and non-existent in all of Italy.

Detractors have claimed that a wealthy family had dismantled the house and transported it brick by brick at the request of the Crusaders, then rebuilt the house in Loreto. “Such an operation, with the transportation conditions of the 13th century, would have been a more miraculous feat than the angelic translation,” Nicolini said.

Last year, Pope Francis became one of almost 50 popes who have visited or written about the House. He prayed at an altar built into the house on the feast of the Annunciation, March 25, 2019. Then in October, he designated December 10 on the universal calendar as the feast of Our Lady of Loreto. The decree stated that this new feast day “will help all people, especially families, youth and religious to imitate the virtues of the perfect disciple of the Gospel, the Virgin Mother, who, in conceiving the head of the Church also accepted us as her own.”

PATTI ARMSTRONG is a Legatus magazine contributing writer.

Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual

Father Donald H. Calloway, MIC
Marian Press, 326 pages


Consecration to St. Joseph can be accomplished with a simple prayer of entrustment, but here Fr. Donald Calloway sets forth a 33-day program of preparation similar to what St. Louis de Montfort recommended for Marian consecration in his True Devotion to Mary. Through prayer and curated readings assigned for each preparation day, this text will guide the faithful toward a richer and deeper appreciation of St. Joseph leading up to the selected day of consecration. It’s a way of acknowledging him as spiritual father, committing to imitating his virtues, and placing oneself under his guidance and protection – of which all can benefit immensely.


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The song that God loves to hear

In 1983, there began a series of apparitions in Argentina to a simple, uneducated woman named Gladys Quiroga de Motta. As in so many other apparitions in this century, the rosary would be the central theme. From the start of the apparitions, Mary appeared to Gladys holding Baby Jesus in one arm and displaying a large rosary that stretched across both her hands. In the apparition of November 26, 1983, Mary expressed the desire to be known as “Our Lady of the Rosary of San Nicolás.” On the following day, Gladys visited the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Rosario (a town near San Nicolás) and saw a statue of Our Lady that she claimed was an exact representation of what Mary looked like during the previous day’s apparition. Upon inquiring, Gladys was informed that this particular statue of Our Lady of the Rosary had been given to Argentina in 1884 by Pope Leo XIII for use in the cathedral of Rosario. At some point during construction of the cathedral, it had been placed in the bell tower and forgotten. Below is the account that Gladys gave regarding this episode:

For the first time, I saw a statue of the Virgin that is the same as what I see. It had been stored away at the cathedral. This image of Our Lady of the Rosary, that had been brought from Rome to San Nicolas 100 years ago, for the inauguration of the cathedral, [and was] blessed for that intention by Pope Leo XIII. Our Lady said to me: “They had me in oblivion, but I have reappeared; place me there [where Mary requested a shrine to be constructed] because you see me such as I am.”

In 1990, the local bishop gave his approval for the publication and distribution of the messages given to Gladys by Our Lady. There were no less than 1,800 messages! Even after the local bishop gave his approval for the spread of the messages, Gladys continued to have almost daily apparitions. …[She] requested the rosary be prayed every day, especially among families and in groups, and specifically asked that a perpetual novena of the rosary be undertaken by the local people…These apparitions were officially approved by the diocesan bishop on May 22, 2016.

… Mary described the rosary as a song that God loves to hear and a tie that binds us to our spiritual mother. Our Lady stressed that the rosary is so powerful that it can change the heart of anyone for the better [and] has the greatest influence in overcoming evil; every danger can be faced with the rosary…One of the most powerful messages Mary gave was on April 10, 1986 when she said: “The holy rosary is the weapon which the enemy fears. It is also the refuge of those who look for relief for their sufferings, and it is the door to enter into my heart.”

Excerpt from Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon, by Donald H. Calloway, MIC (Stockbridge: Marian Press, 2016), pp. 150-51, “San Nicolás, Argentina (1983-1990).” www.frcalloway.com. Used with permission.

Modern-day prodigal son, FR. DONALD CALLOWAY, MIC, is a convert to Catholicism and a member of the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. Prior to his conversion he was a school dropout and involved in crime. A prolific author on Mary and other faith topics, he is a popular speaker on the Divine Mercy, and has written seven books.


“My impression is that the rosary is of greatest value not only according to the words of Our Lady at Fatima, but according to the effects of the rosary one sees throughout history. My impression is that Our Lady wanted to give ordinary people, who might not know how to pray, this simple method of getting closer to God.” Sister Lúcia of Fatima

Fr. Donald Calloway: Modern-day prodigal son

Rebel-convert to Catholicism resuscitated by Christ’s mercy, Mary’s help

Catholics today may recognize Fr. Donald Calloway as a Marian priest who is a prolific author, speaker and pilgrimage guide. But as a young man, he was a drug-addled high school dropout who had been kicked out of a foreign country and thrown in jail multiple times. A chance encounter with a book about Marian apparitions sparked a radical conversion to the Catholic faith and a subsequent calling to the priesthood.

Father Calloway, 45, the vocations director and vicar provincial for the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, today lives in Steubenville, Ohio. He will be speaking at the 2018 Legatus Summit in January. He recently spoke with Legatus magazine staff writer Brian Fraga.

What are you going to be talking about at the Summit?

I’m giving two talks. One will be on my conversion story. I was not raised a Catholic, and I had a radical life before becoming Catholic. Then I converted to Catholicism and got my vocation to become a priest. Hopefully, I’ll give the people a message of hope in that talk, especially anyone who may be having difficulty with their children who are away from the faith.

The second talk will be about my book, Champions of the Rosary. Tom Monaghan read that book after it came out, and he loved it. He said one of his staff members bought dozens of copies and gave them away. As result of that book, he said he wanted me to come and speak at the Summit. Basically it’s about the history of the rosary, the popes, the saints, the major players, miracles, battles, all that good stuff.

What was your life like before you converted to Catholicism?

It was pretty messed up. I had dropped out of high school. I was involved in criminal activity, immoral activity. I ended up in two drug rehabilitation centers, was kicked out of a foreign country, was thrown in jail. I had long hair down to my waist. I followed the band the Grateful Dead. I was all messed up.

Did you grow up in any faith tradition?

No. I wasn’t anything. I didn’t believe in God.

What brought you to your conversion?

My parents had a big conversion almost three years before I did. They became Catholic, and I was resisting all that. I thought they were crazy. I thought they had joined a cult. I didn’t know what it was, but one night when I was at their house, I picked up a book they had on their shelf about Marian apparitions. I didn’t know what that was, who the Virgin Mary was. I went through that book, and that book changed my life. That helped me to go talk to a Catholic priest, and after that, everything snowballed. My conversion went really fast.

How soon after your conversion did you have the inclination that you were called to be a priest?

It was within one year. I just fell so madly in love with Jesus, Our Lady and the Church that I didn’t know what to do with my life. So in prayer, I kept asking, “What do you want me do?” and I just felt that call to be a priest. To do all that, it took ten years because I had to go back to get my education and do all the studies.

Do you have any hobbies?

My favorite hobby would be surfing, but I don’t get to do it much in Ohio. I travel a lot, so I try to surf when I can. I also write a lot and lead pilgrimages all around the world to Marian shrines. Every year I lead four pilgrimages. I go to Fatima, Lourdes, Our Lady of Guadalupe. I go to Poland just about every year. Those are really powerful pilgrimages with just so many saints and so many shrines. That culture just totally loves Our Lady.

How do you find the time to do everything?

It’s not easy. A lot of time I work in airports because I fly so much. I put in earphones, tune out everything going on around me and I’m there for hours, just writing. It works.

No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy

Father Calloway’s inspiring story demonstrates the depths of God’s mercy . . .

callowayNo Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy
Marian Press, 2010. 262 pages, $19.00 paperback

One of the most talked about new Catholic books of the year, Fr. Calloway’s memoir tells how he went from being a drug-addicted teen wanted by the authorities in Japan to a young on-fire Catholic priest. He was a high school dropout who was institutionalized twice and thrown in jail multiple times.

Through the intercession of Our Lady, Divine Mercy touched his life, leading to a profound conversion which unfolds like a Hollywood blockbuster.

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