Friday, August 5, 2016
August 5: Our Lady of the Snows
When we usually talk about devotion to the Blessed Mother under a particular title, there is a link to one of her qualities (Queen of Peace or Mother of Mercy) or to one of her apparitions (Our Lady of Lourdes or Our Lady of Fatima etc). Devotion to Mary under the title of Our Lady of the Snows is one of the oldest Marian devotions. It has ties to the legend about a miraculous snowfall in Rome in 352 A.D. The Blessed Mother had indicated in a dream to a wealthy, childless Roman couple that she wanted a church built in her honor and the site for this church would be covered with snow. On a hot, sultry morning on August 5, Esquiline Hill was covered with snow. And all of Rome proclaimed the summer snows a miracle! A church to honor Mary was built on the hill in 358 A.D. The Church was restored and refurbished many times, and this church, now the magnificent Basilica of St. Mary Major, still stands today as the seat of devotion to Our Lady of the Snows. The feast is closely associated with the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. You can learn more about this feast day from the Patron Saints Index.