Genazzano, Italy: Original Image of Our Lady of Good Counsel
The town of Genazzano is home to the original fresco of Our Lady of Good Counsel. In earlier pagan times, it was a celebrated shrine for the worship of Venus until, in the fourth century, a church was built there in honor of Our Lady and called the Church of the Virgin Mother of Good Counsel. Over the ensuing years it fell into ruin…until an event in the mid-Fifteenth Century.
According to tradition, in the year 1467, in the midst of the festivities for the Feast of Saint Mark, the residents of the town suddenly heard beautiful music. A mysterious cloud was then said to have descended and obscured an unfinished wall of the parish church. Then, as everyone watched, the cloud dissipated and a beautiful fresco appeared, no thicker than a post card and only about 18 inches square, of the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child.
This event naturally led to increased devotion to Our Lady of Good Counsel. In 1630 Pope Urban VIII made a pilgrimage to the shrine, invoking the protection of the Queen of Heaven. Other Popes to travel here included Pope Pius IX as well as Pope Innocent XI who, in 1682, had the picture solemnly crowned.
Among those with special devotions to Our lady of Good Counsel were: St. Aloysius Gonzaga, St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. John Bosco, and Blessed Stephen Bellesini.
As time went on, the Augustinian Order contributed to the spread of this devotion internationally. There are many parishes, schools, hospitals and other institutions named in honor of Our Lady of Good Counsel.
Traveling to Genazzno:
Genazzano is about 30 miles south of Rome. There is train service from Rome to the nearest train station, Valmontone (about a 30-minute ride from Rome) and from there it is about 7 miles from the town, so a taxi would be needed. Get train & bus schedules, see fares & buy tickets here.
The town is quite small, so you won’t miss the church.
Address: Corso Cardinale Vannutelli, 2, 00030 Genazzano, Italy
GPS coordinates: 41° 49′ 59.5164” N, 12° 58′ 22.7532” E
Tel: +39 0695 79002 Fax: +39 06 94 35 59 37
e-mail: [email protected]
Click here for the official website of the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Genazzano (in Italian)