Our Lady of Good Counsel
The apparition of Our Lady of Good Counsel is so celebrated, Her picture so well known and so honored in the Church, that it is very fitting to allot a place to this devotion. The little city of Gennazano, situated on the mountains of the former Sabina province, about ten leagues from Rome, for a thousand years already had honored the Blessed Virgin as Our Lady of Good Counsel. In the 15th century, the church of that city was dilapidated and about to collapse. A pious woman of advanced age named Petruccia desired to provide for its reconstruction, but the gift of her entire fortune, which she made for this purpose, proved insufficient. Petruccia foretold that the Blessed Virgin would Herself finish the work.
Then on April 25, 1467, at the hour of Vespers, a celestial harmony was heard in the air, and the crowd saw a brilliant cloud coming down through the air, which came to rest over the altar in the Chapel of Saint Blaise in the Gennazano Church, where the restoration had begun. At the same time, all the church bells began to ring joyously. The cloud disappeared, and the marveling crowd saw a picture of Mary holding the Child Jesus, painted on a prepared surface, suspended in the air over the altar near the wall, without any natural support. It was duly verified that this picture had been miraculously transported from a church of Scutari, a city of Albania. Providence, wishing to preserve it from profanation by the Turks who were controlling that land, sent it as a reward for the faith of Petruccia and her fellow citizens of Gennazano.
A history of the marvels of all kinds which have been wrought since that time near this miraculous picture, suspended in the air, would require volumes. Often the picture has been seen to change its expression, the eyes of the Blessed Virgin taking on an appearance of joy or sorrow. How many illnesses and infirmities have been cured! How many spiritual graces have been obtained! Gennazano in Italy is still a venerated pilgrimage site, much frequented by the people of that land, and many pious pilgrims from other nations, when time permits it for them, arrange to visit this blessed sanctuary. The Sovereign Pontiffs have granted many indulgences to devotion to Our Lady of Good Counsel, and the title Mother of Good Counsel was included in the Litany of the Blessed Virgin by Pope Leo XIII.
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