Friday, October 28, 2011
Our Lady of the Snows
Since I spent last week end at the shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, it seems fitting that I talk a bit about the devotion to her which was first introduced to the Midwest in 1941 by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. This was mostly through th work of the :Flying Priest of the Arctic", Father Paul Schulte, O.M.I. and the founder of the National Shrine, Father Edwin Guild, O.M.I. but the devotion is much older.
There is a legend about a marvelous snowfall in Rome in 352 A.D. It seems that Mary had indicated in a dream to a Roman couple that she wanted a church built in her honor and the site for the church would be covered with snow. On a hot, sultry day, August 5, the Esquiline Hill was covered with snow. Everyone proclaimed this summer snow a miracle. The great basilica of St. Mary Major was built on the site.
The Oblates of Mary Immaculate have honored Mary in Belleville, Illinois, as Our Lady of the Snows. They are her missionaries and see her special role in the Church as the first missionary who carried Jesus to others.