On the night of August 4-5 in the year 358, a miracle took place in answer to a prayer. A Roman patrician by the name of John and his wife had been praying to the Blessed Virgin, asking her what to do with their wealth. Childless, they desired to give their entire fortune to Our Lady but needed to know what the Blessed Mother would have them do with it.
That night in a dream, the Blessed Virgin appeared to them and told that she wanted a church to be built on the Esquiline hill in Rome, and that she would show them where the church was to be built by covering the area with snow. Our Lady also appeared that night in a dream to Pope Liberius, telling him of her desire that a church be built and instructing him to go to the same hill.
The next day both arrived at the hill to find an exact area covered with snow, an extraordinary miracle in the hot, muggy Roman month of August. The area the snow covered was marked off and Pope Liberius ordered that construction begin immediately on a new church. This church was to become known as St. Mary Major, which soon became the most important church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin in the West.
This great Marian miracle is still celebrated by the Church today. As the Vatican Information Service reports, St. Mary Major’s Basilica held their traditional triduum between August 1 and 3, and will also hold an additional two days of celebration on August 4 and 5 in commemoration of the miracle of the snow and the building of Our Lady’s greatest church in the Western world. Let us join our hearts and minds with those in Rome to celebrate this very special feast day, praying that Our Blessed Mother will continue to rain down graces all over the world for her poor children who are so desperately in need her prayers and her maternal presence. Our Mother of all Peoples, Our Lady of the Snows, pray for us.