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  • Writer's pictureFr. Scott Haynes

Amazing Story of Our Lady of Good Counsel


In the Alban Hills, not far from the city of Rome, lies the little town of Genazzano, where the miraculous image of Our Lady of Good Counsel is venerated. In the Feast of St. Mark, April 25, 1467, pilgrims gathered in prayer were startled by a mysterious rustling sound and strains of sweet music. Looking toward the sky, they beheld what seemed a soft cloud. Slowly it descended and rested in front of the unfinished wall of the church dedicated to the Mother of God under the title of Good Counsel.


The picture rests suspended in the air without any visible means of support to maintain its stable condition, and this for five centuries! Although painted on a piece of plaster no thicker than an ordinary visiting card, the image has withstood the ravages of time. The artist of the painting is unknown. The venerated icon itself is a fresco painted on a thin layer of wall plaster no thicker than a credit card. For over 500 years, it has hung suspended in the air without the slightest apparent support. You could pass your hand all around the image without touching it! There’s nothing holding it. All of this – and more! – exists over a pagan shrine that was formerly erected to worship Venus.


It is said that the figures themselves represent Mother and Child after they had returned from the temple where Mary heard the sad prophesies of Simeon. Mary's eyes are half-veiled as though she were lost in contemplation, taking counsel with her God. The little Child does not return the gaze of the beholder, as happens in so many pictures, rather He draws our eyes upward to Mary as if to tell us to look for Counsel there, in the very Seat of Wisdom. It is a picture to be loved, a plain and common picture [hence our unframed treatment], a pious image to be copied and hung in the homes of the poor. That is all the sweet Mother of Good Counsel asks for her picture: a home in our midst, by our firesides, a family to guard and watch over, hearts that will love and venerate her. Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Saint Alphonsus Liguori, and Saint John Bosco are among the saints who have turned to her for guidance.



Prayer to Our Lady of Good Counsel

Most Glorious Virgin, chosen by the Eternal Counsel to be the Mother of the Eternal Word made flesh, thou who art the treasurer of Divine graces, and the advocate of sinners, I, thy most unworthy servant, have recourse to thee; be thou pleased to be my guide and counselor in this vale of tears.
Obtain for me through the Most Precious Blood of thy Divine Son, the forgiveness of my sins, the salvation of my soul, and the means necessary to obtain it.
In like manner, obtain for Holy Mother the Church victory over her enemies, and the spread of the kingdom of Jesus Christ upon the whole earth. Amen.

Imprimatur:  + Patrick A. O'Boyle



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