Our Lady of the Snows
Located in Our Lady of the Snows Church and Shrine Visitor Center
The devotion to Our Lady of the Snows began in Rome in 352 A.D. Legend has it that a, wealthy, childless couple wished to help further the works of the Church. After visiting Pope Liberius, he told them to pray for guidance. On the night of August 4, the Virgin Mary appeared to both the husband and wife in a dream and asked them to construct a church in her honor. To designate the spot, she said there would be a miraculous snowfall to mark the site. On the hot, humid morning of August 5, Rome awoke to snowfall on Esquiline Hill. The people of Rome proclaimed it as a miracle and the couple’s prayer were answered. They constructed a church on the hill where it had snowed. The church still stands today and is known as St. Mary Major Basilica. It is sometimes referred to as the original Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.
Father Paul Schulte, O.M.I. brought the devotion to Our Lady of the Snows to St.Henry’s Seminary in Belleville, IL in the early 1940’s. There he met Fr. Edwin Guild, O.M.I., who founded the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in 1958 at its current site.