Our Lady of Good Counsel
On April 25, 1467, the feast of St. Mark, the people of Genazzano, Italy witnessed a miracle. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they heard exquisite music – the sound of angelic voices singing. Then, as they gazed upward at the clear blue sky, they saw a mysterious cloud appear and descend upon an unfinished wall of their church dedicated to Our Lady of Good Counsel. When the cloud disappeared, a beautiful image of Our Lady and the Child Jesus was revealed which had not been there before. The church bells rang of their accord and many people from the countryside rushed into the city to investigate the reason for the ringing. Many miracles occurred shortly after the appearance of the image, which were attributed to the intercession of Our Lady of Good Counsel. Consequently, Pope Paul II ordered an investigation of the image.
The same image had been seen in a church dedicated to the Annunciation in Scutari, Albania. The image in this church also arrived there in a miraculous manner. It is believed that the image had been transported from Albania miraculously in order to avoid sacrilege from Moslem invasion.
A commission of inquiry determined that a portrait from the church was missing. A vacant space the same size as the portrait was displayed for all to see. Many miracles continue to be attributed to Our Lady of Good Counsel. Pope Saint Pius V, for example, credited victory in the Battle of Lepanto to her intercession.
Several Popes have approved the miraculous image of Our Lady of Good Counsel. Pope Innocent XI had the portrait crowned with gold in 1682. On July 2, 1753, Pope Benedict XIV approved the Scapular of Our Lady of Good Counsel, and was the first to wear it.
In 1884, POPE LEO XIII approved a special Mass and Office of the Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel.
For over 500 years, the image has continued to attract numerous pilgrims.
Although much of the church was destroyed during World War II, the image has remained intact.
Our Lady of Good Counsel continues to be a source of consolation and encouragement to many today. Here is a short prayer to ask for her intercession in your life and in the lives of all her children:
O Mary of Good Counsel, inflame the hearts of all who are devoted to you, so that all of them have shelter in you, O great Mother of God. O most worthy Lady, let everyone choose you as teacher and wise counselor of their souls, since you are, as Saint Augustine says, the counsel of the Apostles and counsel of all peoples. Amen.
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