top of page

Our Lady of Good Counsel

COUNSEL 72 Our_Lady_of_Good_Counsel_2048x.jpg

Our Lady of Good Counsel is a Marian title derived from a Catholic tradition associated with the town of Genazzano, Italy about 30 miles outside Rome. A beautiful fresco painting of the Virgin Mary and Christ child on a thin plaster wall is at the center of Genazzano’s beloved 15th century legend.


According to the town’s origin story, on April 25, 1467, residents heard heavenly music and discovered the astonishing, delicate painting where an old, dilapidated church wall once stood. Having knowledge of a recently abandoned church in Scutari, Albania that once housed a Madonna painting, reports claim that the work miraculously transported over 350 miles in one night to its new Italian home as Scutari collapsed under invasion.  

As word spread fast about the painting’s sudden, mysterious appearance, Pope Paul II sent investigators who witnessed miracle accounts firsthand from local townspeople and visiting pilgrims. After three days the committee issued a declaration marking the apparition authentic, and the Pope officially sanctioned annual celebration of the miraculous event. Beginning quickly thereafter, copious reports of healing miracles attributed to the fresco increased its fame. Its moniker “Our Lady of Good Counsel” arose from various reports of the Virgin offering sound life guidance and wisdom to devotees over the ensuing decades.

By 1472 Pope Sixtus IV initiated construction of Genazzano’s new Sanctuary basilica of Santa Maria del Buon Consiglio (St. Mary of Good Counsel) to enshrine the precious fresco. Popes granted plenary indulgences for pilgrimage to the image during Jubilee years, establishing the town as an important stop on the era’s pilgrimage circuits.


As devotion spread abroad, replica paintings circulated internationally and institutions like American Good Counsel College took inspiration from the Italian apparition. In the 20th century, devout Catholic John F. Kennedy even chose to visit the fresco during his 1963 tour of Italy. Nearly 500 years since its miraculous arrival, the delicate medieval painting of Mary and Christ still draws throngs of pilgrims to Genazzano seeking spiritual nourishment and guidance from Our Lady of Good Counsel.  

bottom of page