August 1, 2008

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Remembering special days for our Blessed Mother

Shirley Vogler MeisterIf Indiana has experienced unusual snowfalls during August, I know nothing about them.

However, I do know that, according to tradition, in August of 352 A.D. a huge rectangle of snow was discovered on Mount Esquiline, one of the famous Seven Hills in Rome. People gathered to see the snow that lingered despite the hot and sultry summer heat. It formed the shape and size of a church.

Prior to this, legend says that Mary had appeared in a dream to a childless couple who were trying to decide how their wealth would be spent after their deaths.

In their dream, the Blessed Mother told them that she wanted a church built in her honor at that very place, which would be covered in snow. The Basilica of St. Mary Major was built on that hill in 358 A.D. and has undergone many changes over the centuries.

The devotion to Our Lady of the Snows was introduced to the American Midwest in 1941 by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. When Father Paul Schulte, a priest of that order, finished his missionary work north of the Arctic Circle, he retired to St. Henry’s Seminary in Belleville, Ill., my hometown.

The seminary was located not far from my high school, The Academy of Notre Dame. Because the devotion to Our Lady of the Snows grew, the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows was built in Belleville. Its full history and complete information can be found online at

Coincidentally, construction began in 1958, the year that my husband, Paul, and I were married on Aug. 30 at St. Mary’s Church in Belleville. Our youngest daughter was born on Aug. 5, 1963—the feast of Our Lady of the Snows.

As some readers also might know, Mary’s name is included in my name as well as in the names of all three of our daughters. Some readers also know that we display many images of the Blessed Mother in our home.

Feast days celebrated in honor of the Mother of Christ are:

  • Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, Jan. 1
  • Our Lady of Prompt Succor, Jan. 8
  • Our Lady of Lourdes, Feb. 11
  • Annunciation, March 25
  • Visitation, May 31
  • Our Mother of Perpetual Help, June 27
  • Our Lady of Mount Carmel, July 16
  • Our Lady of the Snows, Aug. 5
  • Assumption, Aug. 15
  • Queenship of Mary, Aug. 22
  • Birth of Mary, Sept. 8
  • Most Holy Name of Mary, Sept. 12
  • Our Lady of Sorrows, Sept. 15
  • Our Lady of the Rosary, Oct. 7
  • Our Lady of Good Remedy, Oct. 8
  • Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Nov. 21
  • Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dec. 12
  • Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Saturday after the Second Sunday after Pentecost

Also, Saturdays are dedicated to Marian devotions.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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