August 5 -- The Celebration Of The Feast Of Our Lady Of The Snows

I feel that there are more than a few of us that could see the miracle in a snowfall that just wouldn't normally happen, in this case, a snowfall very out of season. That's just the nature of those of us who live or follow the ski bum lifestyle, or that mountain lifestyle. Who knew, and I didn't, that there are Catholics in the world that also feel this way, just for a bit of a different reason.

A couple of days ago, August 5, Rome’s Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore held an annual celebration for the feast of Our Lady of the Snows. This event commemorates the "miracle of the snow", which according to legend happened on August 5 in the year 352 and at the place this particular Basilica is built. The full description of this miracle snow event from says this about the history Our Lady of the Snow;

"During the pontificate of Liberius, the Roman patrician John and his wife, who were without heirs, made a vow to donate their possessions to Our lady. They prayed to her that she might make known to them in what manner they were to dispose of their property in her honour. On 5 August, during the night, snow fell on the summit of the Esquiline Hill and, in obedience to a vision which they had the same night, they built a) basilica, in honour of Our Lady, on the spot which was covered with snow."

It was late summer snow in Rome thought to be a sign from the Virgin Mary that lead to a church being built on that spot to commemorate the event. Though we, those who enjoy the winter and snow and the skiing/snowboarding life, might not go so far as to build a church, we might see it as a sign. It can be said with some certainty that we would celebrate it.

To that end, the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore does have a celebration each August 5, complete with artificial snow. In the case of the indoor service that is held at the church, the snow is actually rose petals that fall from the ceiling during Mass, which you can see in the following video.

Not a bad way to celebrate summer snow thought to be a sign from the mother of Jesus. I know, there are more than a few of you that are Catholic or religious in any way. Even the history of the event itself isn't thought of as much more than a legend, even by those who are religious. But, it's still kind of wonderful to think that a love of the snow can go beyond even how some of us show it.


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