Friday, May 5, 2017

A Thrift Store Purchase

A friend of mine happened to be in a thrift store and found a picture of the Blessed Mother in what looks like a foreign country with the front of an airplane and dogs in the forefront. The people in the picture wear hooded coats.  I had never seen a picture like that before. I thought it might be some other denomination's picture.

Today my friend showed the picture to several women and a priest, and no one had seen the picture before or knew what the picture was all about. In the right hand corner there was tiny lettering and all I could read was "The Flying Priest."  When I arrived home I checked on the Internet. What a  pleasant surprise to find out something about the picture.

The Flying Priest of the Arctic was an ex-war pilot named Fr. Paul Schulte. He would make runs to the Arctic Circle to take medicine and to offer spiritual counseling to the Inuit people living in the cold and snowy place.  There is a short movie showing the people shoveling the snow to make a runway so the plane could land.

His order is the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and a shrine was built in Belleville, Illinois which is nine miles south-east from St. Louis, Missouri. I remember when I was in St. Louis that I almost went to see the shrine, but I didn't. Now, I wish I had taken the short drive to see it. An artist by the name of J. Watson Davis painted a picture and it is similar to the one my friend purchased at the thrift store.

August 5 is the Feast Day of Our Lady of the Snows. The article also stated that Our Lady of the Snows is one of the first images of the Blessed Mother and had come from Rome, Italy. "Our Lady of the Snows is one of the oldest devotions to Mary. It has direct ties to the legend about  marvelous snow fall in Rome in 352 A.D. Mary, had indicated in a dream to a wealthy, childless Roman couple that she wanted a church built in her honor and the site would be covered in snow. Since it was a hot day when it snowed it was proclaimed a miracle and a church honoring Mary was built."  This was taken from an article on the Internet.

The lady that was drawn to the picture and ended up buying the picture and was curious as to which image of the Blessed Mother it could be or even if it was a picture of Mary. I am glad I found the very same picture on the Internet. She was really surprised that Our Lady of the Snows originated in Italy, since she is Italian. I am glad that the mystery of the picture is now solved.

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