This chaplet is inspired by the heavenly event that took place in Genazzano, Italy at Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel on the Feast of St. Mark, April 25th, 1467. It was there in a dilapidated church, the crowd witnessed a beautiful white cloud descending from a blue sky while hearing church bells ringing and beautiful music. As the cloud faded, a painting appeared on the wall of the Chapel picturing the Mother of God with the Divine Infant in her arms. It appears to be hanging in mid-air on the wall, supported only by the lower edge where it rests on a small base.
Mary began healing those who visited the image who were ill and granted them many graces. Followers of Mary continue to believe that She herself guards it with loving care. Those who witness the painting say that the colour of Mary’s complexion changes as does her expression, her smile, and her eyes. Copies of the image also help those who ask for Our Blessed Mother’s help.
The mystery surrounding this painting brings us to a little church in Scutari, Albania, home to the aforementioned fresco. The Turks were set to attack Albania and the church was to be taken over. Two Christian men who did not want to leave their blessed painting were visited in a dream by Our Mother Mary who instructed them to follow the painting. They witnessed the fresco leave the wall of their church and was carried by a cloud to Italy, where it currently resides in Genazzano. The men shared their story with those in Italy and their generations remained there.
Several popes have revered Our Lady of Good Counsel and encouraged Her devotion. Pope Benedict XIV (247th pope, 1740-1758) increased the devotion of the Marian Fresco by establishing the Pious Union. As news of this heavenly gift spread throughout Christianity, not all could visit the shrine, so the pope created this group. It was offered to all, rich and poor. Those who became members of the Pious Union sent their names written down to the shrine and were left at the painting. They also kept a copy of the fresco, recited 3 Hail Mary’s daily and once a year offered a Mass or Communion for their fellow union members. The register at the icon’s shrine shows Popes Pius VIII, Pius IX and Leo XIII all enrolled as members. Pope Pius XII placed his pontificate under the maternal care of Our Lady of Good Counsel. In honour of the Pious Union and its memory, I have included 3 Hail Mary’s to the chaplet.
During its restoration in the 1950’s, it was revealed that the image was part of a larger fresco and the identity of the artist became known. It is believed to be the work of the fifteenth century artist Gentile da Fabriano, painted around the time of Pope Martin V (1417-1431). Incidentally, Pope Martin V was born in Genazzano.
The Feast Day of Our Lady of Good Counsel is April 26.
The Novena of Our Lady of Good Counsel is April 17-25.
I offer the Chaplet of Our Lady of Good Counsel in blue. Each chaplet comes with a prayer page, a 7 cm x 11 cm copy of the painting, Our Lady of Good Counsel, as in the shrine in Genazzano, and a plastic storage bag. Sample images and prices are shown below.
Chaplet of Our Lady of Good Counsel – $14
The linear Chaplet of Our Lady of Good Counsel, inspired by the CWL crest, consists of felted white cross on a blue circular medallion, 6 beads and 1 end bead .