Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel ("Madonna del Buon Consiglio")-- the miraculous love and grace that the Blessed Virgin revealed to the faithful through an iconic fresco of Holy Mother and Child.
In Genazzano, Italy—a small town about 25 miles outside of Rome-- the Church of the Virgin Mother of Good Counsel had fallen into disrepair. In the fifteenth century, a pious widow and tertiary of the Augustinian Order, Petruccia Noteria, undertook the monumental task of restoring the church following a vision from the Blessed Virgin. She implored her neighbors to help her with the task, but instead, they scoffed and jeered, accusing her of madness at her advanced age, and mocking her alleged holiness. Petruccia was not to be deterred, however, and committed all of her resources to the repairs of the church. She was not deterred by the derision of her friends and neighbors, instead saying to them, “My dear children, do not put too much importance on this apparent misfortune. I assure you that before my death the Blessed Virgin and our holy father Augustine will finish the church begun by me.”
Our Lady of Good Counsel has been approved by the Vatican, and many popes throughout history have been especially devoted to her. She is the patron saint of those seeking enlightenment. Her feast day is celebrated April 26. Her miraculous intercession reminds us that the love of Our Blessed Mother is perfect, her virtue knows no bounds, and her constant heavenly intercession for each of us is a gift not to be taking for granted. Pray for us, Our Lady of Good Counsel! Intercede for us with Jesus, Our Lord!
Prayer of Our Lady of Good Counsel:
O Holy Virgin, to whose feet we are lead by our anxious uncertainty in our search for and attainment of what is true and good, invoking thee by the sweet title of Mother of Good Counsel. We beseech Thee to come to our assistance, when, along the road of this life, the darkness of error and of evil conspires towards our ruin by leading our minds and our hearts astray.
Do Thou, O Seat of Wisdom and Star of the Sea, enlighten the doubtful and the erring, that they be not seduced by the false appearances of good; render them steadfast in the race of the hostile and corrupting influences of passion and of sin. O Mother of Good Counsel, obtain for us from Thy Divine Son a great love of virtue, and, in the hour of uncertainty and trial, the strength to embrace the way that leads to our salvation.
If Thy hand sustains us, we shall walk unmolested along the path indicated to us by the life and words of Jesus our Redeemer, and having followed freely and securely, even in the midst of this world's strife, the Sun of Truth and Justice under Thy maternal star, we shall come to the enjoyment of full and eternal peace with Thee in the haven of salvation. Amen.
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."