Santa Maria Maggiore

The Story of Our Lady of the Snows


Over the centuries, details of the origins of Our Lady of the Snows have become blurred. Anyone who has played the game ‘telephone’ has witnessed first hand how easily words can unintentionally change. Though there may be some conflicting facts when researching the story, the basic details remain unchanged – a miracle occurred on August 5th.

An elderly couple lived in Rome in the 4th century. The couple was wealthy and childless, thus, they were in a quandary as to what to do with all their money. There were no heirs to whom they could leave their riches. They wanted to leave their money to honor Our Lady but wanted guidance as to how. Prayerfully, they took their dilemma to Mary and asked for her advice. Their response was a visit from the Blessed Mother. She told them she wanted a church built on Esquiline Hill, one of the Seven Hills of Rome.

Our Lady must have known all about human nature and the tendency to question things, especially unusual things like visions. In order to make sure everyone knew this was a real visit and not just a dream by some crazy old man, the Blessed Mother gave them a sign. On August 5th, in the middle of the heat of summer, it snowed upon Esquiline Hill. That was enough to convince the elderly couple and they donated their fortune to the building of the Basilica – Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major aka Our Lady of the Snows).

This basilica was the first church dedicated to the Blessed Mother. It is one of the four patriarchal basilicas in Rome, along with St. Peter’s, St. John Lateran, and St. Paul Outside the Wall

For more information on St. Maria Maggiore, use the following link: