CWOC Resource: Our Lady of Good Counsel

History & Background

In the Alban Hills, not far from the city of Rome, lies the little town of Genazzano, where the miraculous image of Our Lady of Good Counsel is venerated. The story of the picture dates back to 1467. Pilgrims assembled on the feast of St. Mark were startled by a mysterious rustling sound and strains of sweet music. Looking toward the sky, they beheld what seemed a soft cloud. Slowly it descended and rested in front of the unfinished wall of the church dedicated to the Mother of God under the title of Good Counsel. The picture rests suspended in the air without any visible means of support to maintain its stable condition, and this for five centuries! Although painted on a piece of plaster no thicker than an ordinary greeting card, the image has withstood the ravages of time. The artist of the painting is unknown.

It is said that the figures themselves represent Mother and Child after they had returned from the temple where Mary heard the sad prophesies of Simeon. Mary’s eyes are half-veiled as though she were lost in contemplation, taking counsel with her God. The little Child does not return the gaze of the beholder, as happens in so many pictures, rather He draws our eyes upward to Mary as if to tell us to look for Counsel there, in the very Seat of Wisdom. If Our Blessed Mother is willing to ask her Son to work miracles to let us know of her motherly concern, Our Lady of Good Counsel is certainly willing to speak words of advice and instruction to help us over the hurdles of our daily lives.

Our Lady of Good Counsel, pray for us!

Time Required: Mass (if available) plus an additional 20 minutes.

Supplies Needed: Icon of Our Lady of Good Counsel

Set Up: display icon


  • Have a Mass (if available) with the intention of formally adopting Our Lady of Good Counsel as patroness for the CWOC group. If the liturgical calendar permits, the Mass and readings from the Collection of Masses for the Blessed Virgin Mother for Our Lady of Good Counsel can be used.
  • Read the history of the Our Lady of Good Counsel fresco and display her icon.
  • Pray the MCCW Our Lady of Good Counsel prayer together as a group:

Let us pray. Lord of heavenly wisdom, Who has given us your own Mother Mary to be our guide and Counselor in this our lives, Grant that in all things we may have the grace to seek maternal instruction and to profit by it in humility and love. O Mother of Good Counsel, Patroness of the Military Council of Catholic Women, help us to understand and fulfill the mind and will of your Divine Son, Jesus Christ.

Under the blessing of the Father, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, may we be responsible and intelligent daughters of the Church. May we labor in the spirit of renewal to realize more perfectly the Kingdom of God here below, as the only true preparation for our share in the Kingdom of Heaven.