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Center for Research on Global Catholicism Inaugural Lecture

Thursday, 29 September, 2022

Karin Vélez, Associate Professor of History at Macalester College and author of the award-winning The Miraculous Flying House of Loreto: Spreading Catholicism in the Early Modern World (Princeton, 2018), will deliver the CRGC’s inaugural annual lecture.

Entitled "Refugee Trauma and the Ambiguities of Miracles: A Historical Case Study of the Flying House of Loreto," Velez’s lecture will focus on the ways in which Catholics and historians alike have made much of the miracle of the Holy House of Loreto, Mary’s house flown from Nazareth to Italy in the 1290s.

Juxtaposing their often sharply opposed approaches, one can discern that the actual lived experience of refugees fleeing war zones was central to the history of the Loreto devotion, and was crucial to its global diffusion through the eighteenth century. As refugee crises continue to shake the world in 2022, the case study of Loreto’s miraculous flying house "overlaid with so many contrasting interpretations" offers one impressive example of how surviving disaster might be cumulatively processed across groups, cultures, and generations.

The Center for Research on Global Catholicism (CRGC) at Saint Louis University supports scholarship at the nexus of Catholicism and culture, providing robust programming that promotes interdisciplinary research, collaboration, and methodological innovation. The objectives of the CRGC include advancing knowledge and understanding of global Catholicism and supporting scholars and archives working in the field of global Catholicism by providing resources, community, and opportunities for collaboration. The CRGC is the first Humanities Big Idea project sponsored by the Research Growth Fund at SLU. It brings together three key components of SLU’s Jesuit history and mission: a legacy of global engagement, a commitment to rigorous academic inquiry, and a focus on social justice.

For more information, contact CRGC director, Mary Dunn, Ph.D., at