Devotion to Our Lady of the Snows
Usually, when one talks about devotion to the Mother of Jesus under a particular title, there is a link, either to one of Mary's qualities (Sorrowful Mother, Mother of Mercy) or to one of her apparitions (Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Guadalupe). Devotion to Mary under the title of Our Lady of the Snows is one of the oldest devotions to Mary. It has direct ties to the legend about a marvelous snowfall in Rome in 352 A.D. Mary had indicated in a dream to a wealthy, childless Roman couple that she wanted a church built in her honor and the site for this church would be covered with snow. On a hot, sultry morning on August 5, Esquiline Hill was covered with snow. All Rome proclaimed the summer snows a miracle, and a church to honor Mary was built on the hill in 358 A.D. Restored and refurbished many times, this church, now the magnificent Basilica of St. Mary Major, still stands today as the seat of devotion to Our Lady of the Snows in the Catholic Church. However, Our Lady of the Snows is honored here, not so much because of the legend, but because of her special role in the Church that is by its very nature, missionary. The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate - the congregation of priests and brothers who operate this Shrine - following the inspiration of their founder, St. Eugene De Mazenod - have always called on Mary as their principal patroness, one who looks upon their missionary efforts with a mother's love.
Devotion to Our Lady of the Snows in the Midwest
The devotion to Our Lady of the Snows was first introduced to the midwest in 1941 by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Fr. Paul Schulte, O.M.I., known as "the flying priest of the Arctic," was a pilot who brought medical aid and supplies to remote Oblate missions, particularly north of the Arctic Circle. He developed a strong personal devotion to Our Lady of the Snows while working in the Oblate missions, and built a small chapel in her honor.
Devotion to Our Lady of The Snows at St. Henry's