Since the pictureís first appearance in Shkodra, Albania in 1267,
Our Lady has helped the Church overcome enemies, temporal and spiritual, bent on her destruction. She first offered protection against the Turks, who eventually occupied Albania and took Constantinople in 1453. When the picture appeared in Italy, apart from the Turkish threat, the country was about to be besieged by the Protestant ideology of the Reformation sweeping down from northern Europe.
The picture symbolizes lay involvement and responsibility in times of counterreformation. It was not the humanistic clergy that restored the third-century shrine of Our Lady in Genazzano, but an Italian widow. We pray that Our Lady will help our trust to restore our spiritual shrine through its traditional priests.
As liberalism established itself in the Church from the mid eighteenth century, no fewer than five anti-liberal popes fostered devotion to the Mother of Good Counsel. Benedict XIV (1740-58), Pius VIII (1829-30), Blessed Pius IX (1846-78) and Leo XIII (1878-1903) were all enrolled as members of the Pious Union of Genazzano, and Pope Pius XII entrusted his pontificate (1939-58) to her. Pope Leo also devised the unionís motto: Children, follow her counsels, and added the title Mater boni consilii to the Litany of Loreto. A revival of devotion to the Mother of Good Counsel could do much to overcome the diabolical disorientation which afflicts the Church of today.