The Story of Our Lady of the Snows
Around the year 325A.D., there was an elderly couple living ordinary lives near the city of Rome. They began having a dream which repeated itself several times: a beautiful woman, whom they believed was the Blessed Mother, kept appearing to them.
They decided to seek out the Bishop of Rome to help them discern the meaning of the dream. The Pope recommended that they wait: if it were a genuine appearance of the Mother of God, and unmistakable sign would be given.
To everyone's surprise, on August 6th, snow began falling on the Esquiline Hill of Rome. The miracle of the snows was interpreted as God Himself affirming the Council of Ephesus which had declared belief in Mary as the "Theotokos", a Greek word wich means "Mother of God". A basilica called "Saint Mary Major" was built by Pope Liberius (352-366) and was dedicated on August 5, 451. It is called "Major" because it is the first church in the West build in honor of Mary.
The Catholic Community in Calrks Summit named it's church "Our Lady of the Snows" in recognition of the important role which Mary playes in God's plan of salvation for the World. On October 4, 1899, the original Our Lady of the Snows Church was dedicated be the Most Reverend Michael J. Hoban, Bishop of Scranton. It was to remain a mission church of St. Patrick's, Nicholson, until March 1, 1911, when it was established as a parish.
The present church building was dedicated on May 31, 1931 by the Most Reverend Thomas P. O'Reilly. It was built on solid rock out of the blue field stone which was excavated from the site.
The stained glass doors at the main entrance of our parish church retell the story: One panel shows the elderly couple with their heads together in sleep; then Mary, the Mother of God; and the Papal tiara (The Pope's triple crown) representing the couple's visit to the Holy Father, the Bishop of Rome. The other panel depicts our own Church; then the snow; and the seven lilies symbolizing the glorified Christ extending His hand in blessing.
Out Lady of the Snows is Legendary for the beauty of its churches and the outstanding service and dedication of its parishioners. The Lord has richly blessed us during the past and we are glad indeed.
Our Patron, Saint Benedict
St. Benedict is revered as the Father of Western Monasticism and the Patron of Europe. He was born around the year 480 A.D. in Nursia, Italy. His twin sister, Scholastica, also dedicated herself to the life of the Church as a contemplative nun.
Early on, Benedict became attracted to the solitary life of the many hermits who lived on the perimeter of society. He eventually embraced the life of a hermit monk at Subiaco under the direction of the monk Romanus, who gave him the monastic habit.
His reputation as a holy man spread among the hermit monks, and after a short leadership stint with the hermits of Vicovaro, who attempted to poison him, Benedict plunged forward with his plan for a monastary of monks living in a community. His first effort was at Subiaco, and eventually he was drawn to the summit of Monte Cassino in the year 530 A.D. when he was 50 years old. Here he founded the monastery that is known around the world as the bastion of liturgical and cultural treasures as well as a refuge for the poor and needy. It was here that Benedict wrote his Holy Rule for Monks.
The Benedictine motto is ORA ET LABORA - PRAYER AND WORK. To this day, the monks who follow the rule of St. Benedict faithfully mix contemplation and action in their rhythmic lives of service to God. Benedict died on March 11, 547 but his feast day is celebrated on July 11.
We are a privileged parish to be under the loving partronage of our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of the Snows, and Saint Benedict. May our lives be richly blessed, as their lives were.