As over a foot of snow is set to blanket the UW-Madison campus and the Madison metro area, closing local schools, businesses, and even most operations at the university, let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, under her title of Our Lady of the Snows, to protect all those who must venture out into the inclement weather today.
Why Our Lady of the Snows?
According to a legend dating back to the fourth century (352 AD), the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a wealthy, noble Roman couple who were without children and, having no children, had chosen Mary as the heiress to their fortune. In her appearance in a dream, she expressed her desire to have a church built in Rome in her honor, and that the site for this church would soon find itself covered in snow. On a day in August, in the hot, stifling summer climate of Mediterranean Rome, the Esquiline Hill, one of the seven historic hills in the city, was blanketed by fresh snow – heralded as a miracle. In 358 AD, a church was built on the site to honor the Mother of God. Today, that church is known through the world as the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore – the Basilica of St. Mary Major, one of only four basilicas in all the world that are known as major basilicas (the others being St. John Lateran, St. Peter’s, and St. Paul Outside the Walls, also all in Rome). To this day, the Basilica of St. Mary Major remains the largest church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the city of Rome.
Our Lady of the Snows, pray for us!
For more information on the miracle of the snows:
For more information on St. Mary Major: