April 25, 2017

Optional Memorial Our Lady of Good Counsel [Canada]

Our Lady of Good Counsel

April 26, 2017

Devotion to the Mother of Good Counsel is associated with a miraculous icon. The image [pictured above] is found in a church in Genazzano, a town thirty miles south-east of Rome. The church, dedicated to the Mother of Good Counsel, was built there in the 4th century. In 1356, it was given over to the Augustinians. Restoration started in 1467, when a widow, Petruccia, sold all her belongings to help finance the project. However, funds ran out before the task was completed.

That same year, the residents of Genazzano heard a beautiful melody emanating from heaven. As they looked up, they saw a white, shining cloud that descended on the Church of the Mother of Good Counsel. The cloud gradually vanished, revealing a beautiful painting of Our Lady tenderly holding her Divine Son in her arms. Immediately, Mary began to cure the sick and grant countless graces.

The news spread throughout the country. Two Albanians from Scutari appeared in the town with the following account. They had fled their homeland to escape the invading Turks. Before fleeing, they stopped in the church and had seen how the icon of Our Lady, wrapped in a white cloud, lifted off the wall on which it had hung for two centuries. They followed the picture until they could see the towers of Rome, when it suddenly disappeared. The mysterious icon of Genazzano was exactly identical to the one that had previously hung in the church in Scutari.

Pope Paul II sent two bishops to investigate the story. The prelates reported that 171 miracles were recorded in the months following the icon’s appearance. The pope’s commission also found that there was an empty space on the church wall at Scutari. The icon that had been venerated there for centuries was missing.

The image in Genazzano was painted on a sheet of plaster so thin that it would have been impossible for any human hand to remove it without damage. It had survived the subsequent centuries through the tumult of severe earthquakes and the bombings of World War II. Several altars were destroyed, walls caved in, and the roof was crushed. The icon, yards away from the explosion, remained intact.

Numerous miracles continued to be attributed to Our Lady of Good Counsel. Pope Saint Pius V credited victory in the Battle of Lepanto to her intercession. In 1682, Pope Innocent XI had the portrait crowned with gold. 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, a special Mass and Office of the Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel was approved by Pope Leo XIII. For over 500 years, the image has continuously attracted countless pilgrims. Our Lady of Good Counsel, pray for us!

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