Feast of Our Lady of the Snows

It always strikes me as rather humorous that in the midst of the summer heat of August we have the feast of our Lady of Snows. It's more properly the feast of the Dedication of St. Maria Maggiore in Rome—the oldest Church dedicated to Our Lady in the west.

So, why Our Lady of the Snows? The story goes this way: "During the pontificate of Liberius, the Roman patrician John and his wife, who were without heirs, made a vow to donate their possessions to the Virgin Mary. They prayed that she might make known to them how they were to dispose of their property in her honour. On 5 August, at the height of the Roman summer, snow fell during the night on the summit of the Esquiline Hill. In obedience to a vision of the Virgin Mary which they had the same night, the couple built a basilica in honour of Mary on the very spot which was covered with snow."

The Basilica is one of the most beautiful in Rome! It is also the home of the pieces of the the Creche and the home of a striking statue dedicated to Our Lady of Peace. (above) Here she is no demure young lady, but a Motherhood strong in her maternal love. With her right hand she holds up her Child, with her left she holds up her hand as if warding off evil. (When I first saw this statue I had the most awful temptation to give her a high-five!)