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Our Lady of Good Counsel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Our Lady of Good Counsel
LocationGenazzano, Italy
PatronageAlbania, Missionary Sisters of Saint Peter Claver, Augustinian Province of Midwest US

Our Lady of Good Counsel (Latin: Mater boni consilii) is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary, after a painting said to be miraculous, now found in the thirteenth century Augustinian church at Genazzano, near Rome, Italy. Measuring 40 by 45 centimeters the image is a fresco executed on a thin layer of plaster no thicker than an egg shell.[1] Over the centuries, devotions to Our Lady of the Good Counsel grew among saints and Popes, to the extent that a reference to it was added to the Litany of Loreto and the devotion spread throughout the world. Her feast day is April 26.


In the 5th century, during the reign of Pope Sixtus III, the town of Genazzano, about 30 miles (48 km) south of Rome, had contributed a large portion of its revenue for the Roman basilica now known as Santa Maria Maggiore. In appreciation, a church, called Santa Maria, was built in Genazzano and was later entrusted to the Augustinian Order in 1356.[1] The Genazzano church became a popular place of pilgrimage. Numerous cures were said took place there. The Augustinian friars were invited to minister to the spiritual needs of the pilgrims. They continue to serve there to this day.[2]


Our Lady of Good Counsel by Pasquale Sarullo, 19th century.
Our Lady of Good Counsel by Pasquale Sarullo, 19th century.

According to tradition, over time the old Augustinian church of Santa Maria in Genazzano fell into disrepair. A local widow undertook to renovate the church but ran out of funds, for which she was heartily mocked for her lack of foresight. In the year 1467, in the midst of the festivities for the Feast of Saint Mark, the townfolk suddenly heard "exquisite music." A mysterious cloud was then said to have descended and obliterated an unfinished wall of the parish church. In front of the populace, the cloud dissipated and a beautiful fresco, no thicker than a carte-de-visite and no more than eighteen inches square, of the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child was revealed. It was widely believed that it had been miraculously transported from a church in Scutari, Albania,[1] when that area was besieged by the Turks.

The picture of Our Lady was at first called "La Madonna del Paradiso" and now better known as "Madonna del Buon Consiglio" (Our Lady of Good Counsel).[3]

Such was the holy image's reputation that Pope Urban VIII made a "glittering" pilgrimage there in 1630, invoking the protection of the Queen of Heaven, as did Pope Pius IX in 1864. On November 17, 1682, Pope Innocent XI had the picture solemnly crowned.[4] Among her noted clients have been St Aloysius Gonzaga, St Alphonsus Liguori, St John Bosco, and Blessed Stephen Bellesini.


Art experts consulted during a restoration conducted between 1957 and 1959 suggest that the image of the Madonna was once part of a larger fresco that covered the wall and was subsequently covered over with plaster. They believe the fresco is likely the work of the early fifteenth century artist Gentile da Fabriano, probably painted around the time of Pope Martin V (1417-1431).[5] There is also a statue in the German town of Essen which depicts this Mary.[citation needed]


On April 22, 1903, Pope Leo XIII included the invocation "Mater boni consilii" in the Litany of Loreto. In 1939, Venerable Pope Pius XII placed his pontificate under the maternal care of Our Lady of Good Counsel and composed a prayer to her.[4][6]


The Augustinian Order contributed to the spread of this devotion internationally. In 1753, Pope Benedict XIV established the Pious Union of Our Lady of Good Counsel. Leo XIII, who was himself a member of the pious union, was deeply attached to this devotion.[7]

Through the years, various institutions have been named in honor of Mary under the title of Our Lady of Good Counsel. These institutions include a college, high schools, and churches.

Her Feast is celebrated on April 26.

Madonna di Buon Consiglio mosaic by Nunzio Monticelli, 20th century.
Madonna di Buon Consiglio mosaic by Nunzio Monticelli, 20th century.

The White Scapular

The small Scapular of Our Lady of Good Counsel (the White Scapular) was presented by the Hermits of St Augustine to Pope Leo XIII, who, on December 19-21, 1893, approved it and endowed it with indulgences in a Decree of the Congregation of Rites.

On the front panel of the sacramental (to be made of white wool) is the image of the fresco of Our Lady of Good Counsel, with the inscription, “Mater boni consilii [ora pro nobis].” On the second segment is found the papal coat-of-arms, which includes the Triple Tiara and the Keys of Heaven, with the words of Leo XIII: “Fili acquisce consiliis ejus” (Child, listen to her counsels).


Our Lady of Good Counsel is the Patroness of the Missionary Sisters of Saint Peter Claver,[8] the National Council of Catholic Women, and of the Catholic Women's League of Canada.

The "Midwest Augustinians" headquartered in Chicago have also adopted Our Lady of Good Counsel as their patroness, having named their Augustinian jurisdiction as the "Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel."

The town Essen in the German Ruhr- Area is under the patronage of the Lady. The High church the Münster of Essen as it is called was given to her after the Ruhrbistum was established.[citation needed]


Our Lady of Good Counsel in White Plains, New York is the site of the motherhouse of the Sisters of the Divine Compassion. The Good Counsel Complex is on the National Register of Historic Places.[9]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Mauriello, Matthew R., "Our Lady of Good Counsel", Fairfield County Catholic, January 1996
  2. ^ Taylor, Thomas. "Our Mother of Good Counsel". Midwest Augustinians. Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  3. ^ Middleton, Thomas. "Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 15 November 2017
  4. ^ a b "International Marian Research Institute Home : University of Dayton, Ohio".
  5. ^ "Augustinian Friends, An Online Home for Augustinian Spirituality".
  6. ^ This Saint's for You by Thomas J. Craughwell 2007 ISBN 1-59474-184-0 page 172
  7. ^ Ann Ball, 2003 Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices ISBN 0-87973-910-X page 515
  8. ^ "The Story of Our Lady of Good Counsel - Missionary Sisters of St Peter Claver of North America".
  9. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.


  • The Virgin Mother of Good Counsel, by Monsignor George F. Dillon, M. H. Gill and Son, 1888.
  • The Mother of Good Counsel of Genazzano, by João S. Clá Dias, Western Hemisphere Cultural Society, Inc, 1992. ISBN 1-881008-03-7
  • Miraculous Images of Our Lady, by Joan Carroll Cruz, OCDS, TAN Books and Publishers, Inc, 1993. ISBN 0-89555-484-4

External links

This page was last edited on 17 June 2019, at 13:33
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