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Our Lady of the Snows

"Pardon the faults of your servants, we pray, O Lord, that we, who cannot please you by our own deeds, may be saved through the intercession of the Mother of your Son and our Lord. Who lives and …More
"Pardon the faults of your servants, we pray, O Lord, that we, who cannot please you by our own deeds, may be saved through the intercession of the Mother of your Son and our Lord. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever." Amen. – Collect for the feast of the Dedication of St Mary Major in Rome. This statue of Our Lady, Mother of God, surmounts the pediment over the main entrance to the Basilica. "This feast commemorates the miracle of the snowfall that occurred during the night of August 4-5 in the year 358 on the site where the basilica now stands. According to tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared in a dream to two faithful Roman Christians, the patrician John and his wife, as well as to Pope Liberius (352-366), asking that a church be built in her honor on the site where snow would fall on the night of August 4-5. Pope Liberius traced the outlines of the church in the snow and the first basilica was built on that site. It was completed about a century later by Pope Sixtus III (432-440), after the Council of Ephesus in 431 during which Mary was declared to be the Mother of God."

Source: Lawrence OP on Flickr