Santa Maria Maggiore is a Papal major basilica in Rome, Italy. It’s also known as Our Lady of the Snows, after the story of its founding. A husband and wife who were without heirs made a vow to donate their fortune to the Virgin Mary. They had a vision in which Mary told them to build a church on the site upon which they would find snow the next morning—in August—at the height of the sweltering Roman summer. In obedience, they left their home the next morning to look and found that snow had fallen during the night on the summit of the Esquiline Hill. The couple built a basilica in Mary’s honor on the very spot which was covered with snow. To remember the miracle, on this feast day, white rose petals are dropped from the dome during the celebration of the Mass . . . and snow-cones are enjoyed at our house.
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