She blessed a childless couple with a miraculous snowfall, and their property became a site for her outpouring of maternal graces.
Our Lady of the Snows is the Lady of the Roman Basilica of St. Mary Major, and the feast of the dedication of that church is also celebrated August 5.
The devotion dates back to the middle of the 4th century, when a Roman patrician named John and his wife were unable to have children. They continually prayed to be blessed with a child, but never became parents. As the end of their lives drew nearer, they discussed with each other what to do with their property.
They decided to pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary and ask for her assistance. On the night of August 5, a miraculous snowfall fell on the Esquiline Hill in Rome.
The couple also had a vision that same night that explained they were to build a church on the location marked with snow. Pope Liberius had the same dream, rose immediately in the morning and came to the spot, finding the couple kneeling in prayer in the snow.
A church was built soon after and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. That Church today is one of the four papal basilicas of Rome, the Basilica of St. Mary Major. It is the largest church in Rome dedicated to Our Lady.
At the conclusion of Mass on this feast day in the Basilica of St. Mary Major, white rose petals shower from the dome over the icon of Mary, Protectress of the Roman People, recalling the miraculous snowfall.
Read more: The 9 oldest images of Mary
Here is a prayer to Our Lady of the Snows
Oh Mary, lady of the greatest heights,
teach us to climb the holy mountain of life in Christ.
Guide us along the paths of God,
marked by your maternal footprints.
Teach us the path of love,
that we might always live in love.
Teach us the path of joy,
that we might bring joy to others.
Teach us the path of patience,
that we might welcome everyone in generosity.
Teach us the path of goodness,
that we might serve our brothers and sisters in need.
Teach us the path of simplicity,
that we might enjoy the beauties of creation.
Teach us the path of meekness,
that we might bring peace to the world.
Teach us the path of fidelity,
that we might never tire of doing good.
Teach us to raise our eyes to the heights,
so as to never lose from our sight the final goal of our lives:
eternal communion with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
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