Thursday, February 6, 2014

Our Lady of the Snows

I have no words to accompany this except maybe: it's really not as bad as it sounds. After all, it doesn't come all at once! And it could sound a lot worse---if they said: 8 ½ feet!

Our own Our Lady of the Snows!

From online pages:

Improbable as it is for snow to fall during August, history tells of a snowfall that seemed more impossible. August 5, 352, snow fell during the night in Rome. There lived in the Eternal City a nobleman, John and his childless wife, who had been blessed with much of this world’s goods. They chose the Mother of God as the heir to their fortune, and at the suggestion of the Pope, prayed that she might make known to them how to do this by a particular sign.

In answer, the Virgin Mother during the night of August 5, appeared to John and his wife and also to the Holy Father, directing them to build a church in her honor on the crown of the Esquiline Hill. And what would be the sign that John and his wife had requested? “Snow will cover the crest of the hill.”

Snow rarely falls in Rome, but the flakes fell silently during that night, blanketing the peak of the historic hill. In the morning the news quickly spread and crowds gathered to behold the white splendor. The snow had fallen in a particular pattern, showing the outline of the future church. When it became known that the snow was a sign from Mary, the people spontaneously added another to her long list of titles, Our Lady of the Snows.

The Basilica of St. Mary Major was built on the site. It was restored in the fifth century and dedicated to Our Lady. The appellation "ad nives" (of the snow) originated a few hundred years later, as did also the legend which gave this Our Lady of the Snows name to it.

From the fact that no mention whatever is made of this alleged miracle until a few hundred years later, it would seem that the legend has no historical basis. Originally the feast was celebrated only at St. Mary Major; in the fourteenth century it was extended to all the churches of Rome and finally it was made a universal feast. In the reform of the breviary in 1741 the reading of the legend was struck from the Divine Office and the feast again received its original name, Dedication of St. Mary.

Googling this title I found not only dozens of Our Lady of the Snows parishes but a National Shrine to Our Lady of the Snows in Illinois!

Struck from the breviary 273 years ago-----yet. You gotta' love our Church!