In the magnificent city of Rome, the most important church dedicated to Our Lady is the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. The basilica was built around the year 352, during the reign of Pope Liberius.
The legend: John was a member of an upper-class family. He and his wife were preparing to retire. Having no children to inherit their wealth, they chose to consecrate their riches to the Church but did not know how it would best be used. They prayed about this for many months but did not receive what they considered a clear answer. Needing advice, they took their quandary to their priest who suggested that they meet with Pope Liberius who was also the Bishop of Rome. John’s wife, having a devotion to Mary, felt that before they meet with the pope, they should first go to Our Lady in prayer.
On the night of the third of August, Our Lady appeared in a dream to John, his wife, and Pope Liberius. She asked that they build a church in her honor for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and service of the Sacraments. She added that it was to be a large church so that its size could serve all from the area and beyond, and it was to be built upon the Esquiline Hill. She then told them that a sign, which would designate the exact location, would soon follow and said that this sign would mark the exact location in snow.
The following morning, John and his wife met with Pope Liberius who recommended that they begin their meeting with a prayer to Our Blessed Mother, asking for her guidance. Much to their surprise, they realized that Mary had visited all three in the same dream during the previous night. Excitedly, they agreed that it had to have been a miracle.
Pope Liberius asked that John and his wife fast and pray for the remainder of the day and he blessed the couple as they joyfully pledged their wealth to the Church, promising to do whatever Our Lady asked.
After the couple had finished praying their usual evening prayers, they offered a special prayer to Our Lady for her continued love and protection.
They prayed that, if it was her Son’s will for them to offer their wealth for the building of the church she spoke of in their dream, that she would show them the sacred location. They then prayed an ancient prayer called Sub Tuum (meaning Beneath Thy Protection). Unbeknown to them, Pope Liberius was praying the same prayer at the same time.
That midnight, when the date went from four August to five August, snow began to fall in Rome. It was, however, not the kind of snowfall that had ever been experienced in Rome. It was a hot August night when the snow began falling over the entire city, astonishing all who witnessed it. Many feared that it was an expression of God’s unhappiness with their behavior and ran from their homes, begging for His mercy. As unexpectedly as it began, the snow stopped. John, who had been awakened by the turmoil, rushed to his veranda in time to observe the snowfall beginning and by the time it stopped, his wife was awake and beside him. Initially saddened by the snow’s end, John’s wife looked toward the Esquiline Hill and shouted, “Look! Look to the Esquiline Hill! It is snowing there!” Looking up toward the hill, John saw what appeared to be a brilliant glow over the entire hill. This glow became brighter and, eventually, was so brilliant that large snowflakes could be seen as silhouettes against its reflection. John and his wife observed with amazement until they finally fell asleep.
At dawn, when they awoke, they ran to the Esquiline Hill. Pope Liberius, along with thousands of people from the city, arrived there at the same time. All wanted to witness the “miracle of the Snows.” Realizing that the snow marked the exact location of the church, the people staked off the area before it melted.
Pope Liberius gathered all together and after leading them in praying the ancient prayer, “Beneath Thy Protection”, he declared Esquiline Hill to be the site of the new church. John’s wife asked that it be dedicated to the Blessed Mother who had appeared to them. The church was named “Our Lady of The Snows”. It is also referred to as the “Basilica Liberiana”, after the Pope who consecrated it.
The couple donated all their wealth toward the building of the basilica. It was completed eleven years later and its first Mass was celebrated there.
Pope Liberius proclaimed August fifth to be the Feast of Our lady of the Snows. Both John and his wife were buried in the nearby graveyard where their bodies lay under the shelter of Our Lady of the Snows.
We have created this rosary as a devotion to Our Lady of the Snows with the understanding that, although the answers to our prayers may be neither as dramatic nor breathtaking as the vision of that snow in August, we shall ever be assured that Mary’s guidance will shine upon us as it did on the Esquiline Hill.
Wanting this rosary to visually symbolize the light of hope and assurance of the brilliance of Our Lady’s intercession, we attempted to echo the reflection and brilliance of the event with gold shimmering on white. The glass Aves are pure white with gold veins running throughout. Spacing the beads, we have chosen Preciosa crystal in a combination of white opal and gold. Golden filigree Paters sparkle as they highlight the sacred strand. Imported Italian golden Miraculous Medal center and ornate gold and silver crucifix complete this very limited edition rosary
which measures 19 ½”.
Edition limited to three
Your Our Lady of the Snows Rosary will be shipped in a fabric pouch and gift box.
$99.50 including shipping within the US
$115 including shipping outside the US
Under thy protection we seek refuge, O Holy Mother of God;
In our needs, despise not our petitions,
but deliver us always from all dangers,
O Glorious and Blessed Virgin.
“Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day be led astray. This is a statement that I would gladly sign with my blood.”
~Saint Louis de Montfort~
All rosary designs copyright Marilyn Nash
All rights reserved