We took this title from her litany, thinking that the good counsel Our Lady would give the church of today would be to return to tradition. Only later did we learn about the miraculous picture and realize that we had held the meeting at which we had chosen her as our patron on 25 April, the very day when the picture appeared in Genazzano near Rome in 1467. As we uncovered its history (for a summary, see here), we were amazed to find just how appropriate a choice of patron she was. 

The picture is said to show the holy mother and child just after the presentation in the temple. The Christ child wears sacrificial red. His blood has already been shed at the circumcision and now that Simeon has raised Him in his arms to God as a living victim at the temple altar, the first Mass has effectively been offered.

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.