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.

Every Donation Makes a Difference

When did you first attend an MCCW retreat? What keeps you coming back year after year? Perhaps it’s growth in your faith, re-connecting with friends, or quiet time to reflect.

In October, the MCCW European Region hosted its annual retreat. With 140 women present, this was MCCW’s largest European retreat in years. Attendees heard talks by author and EWTN host, Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, AMS priests, and Sister Phillip Marie Burle. MCCW provided workshops for building CWOCs, and installed a new leadership team that is already working on the 2019 retreat.

This spring, we will host similar retreats in the Pacific, Southeast, Northeast, Central and Western regions. With participation continuing to grow, we know that women value the experience. These retreats, like all MCCW programs, are only possible through your generous support. Will you spend time reflecting on how you have grown personally through a retreat and consider making a donation to MCCW so that we can continue to provide these opportunities for Catholic military women?

To donate, visit or send checks payable to MCCW to PO Box 4456 Washington, DC 20017. Your gift is fully tax deductible.

Our Promised Priests

For ten years, MCCW members have supported the AMS Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program with loving prayers and financial contributions. As our perpetual charity continues to grow vocations to the priesthood, MCCW has set a new goal for 2019. With your help, we will endow a scholarship!

This scholarship will allow every dollar given by MCCW women to go further as our initial contribution will be invested, leaving the earnings to be used for scholarship purposes.

In order to endow the scholarship, we must make a gift of $50,000. With more than $35,000 gathered between 2016-2018, we are close to our goal. Will you help us meet this goal during the spring regional retreats? I know together we can rise to this challenge!

More details will be shared with our membership at the retreats, on social media, and in future issues of The Well. We ask that your personal tithing goal for 2019 includes supporting our seminarians – those men called to serve both our God and our military families.

Time is Fleeting

Dear Sisters in Christ,

We woke up to a snow-covered winter wonderland this December morning in El Paso, but snow is a fleeting thing here in the desert so I encouraged my three kids to hurry into their snow-gear and go out to play before it melted. They did and it was a good thing because by noon all that remained of the snow was a scattering of puddles on our sidewalks.

I think this is an apt reflection for this time of year, when we turn the calendar page from one year to the next. Time is a fleeting thing, too — blink and another year passes! And like my children taking advantage of the brief chance they had to play in the snow, we should all look at the start of the new year as a chance to take advantage of the time we are given to grow in our relationship with Christ.

There are so many ways to do this — adding more prayer to your day, starting new devotions as a family, finding new ways to participate in ministry in your church community. You could also join your local CWOC group or start one if your chapel doesn’t have one (MCCW has resources to help you do this!)

And no matter where you live in the world, MCCW will host a retreat in your region this year. Registration for retreats in the five CONUS regions (Pacific, Western, Central, Southeast, and Northeast) will be open this month and I encourage you to sign up. (Retreats in Europe and Asia are in the planning stages for Fall 2019!)

Military life is full of stressors and the opportunities to step away from those stressors are few and far-between. The MCCW retreats — planned to be relatively close to you and relatively short in duration — can be that opportunity for you. I have three young children at home so I know how hard it can be to step away, even for a few days, but I really do believe that these retreats are a worthwhile reason to call in that mom or mother-in-law to help with the kids; to ask your husband or boss for some time-off; to spend that birthday money on something truly special. I hope that I will see many of you at these amazing weekends of prayer, the sacraments, and fellowship.

And, as we turn the calendar page from 2018 to 2019, I will pray that each of us takes advantage of the time we are given this year to grow in our faith and deepen our relationship with our Savior, Christ Jesus.

In love and prayer,

January Volunteer of Month-Kelli Powell

Sometimes the most valuable volunteers are doing work quietly, behind the scenes; work that isn’t even seen by many. Such is the case with our January volunteer of the month, Kelli Powell. Kelli came on board in fall 2018 as the digital resource manager for MCCW. In this newly created position, Kelli was tasked with gathering and organizing MCCW’s digital resources — no small task in an organization with a 60 plus year history and new leadership every two years. Despite many obstacles, Kelli jumped in feet first and has been quietly doing this task wonderfully. She is part of a team that is filling a password-protected portal with information that will be able to be accessed by future MCCW leaders as well as members looking for resources — a resource that will keep on giving for years to come. Thank you, Kelli, for your hard work!

Strengthened by Grace

How often do we rely on God’s grace and God’s strength to get through the many challenges, both routine and extraordinary, in our lives? Or maybe the question is, how often do we forget to call on Jesus to give us that grace? MCCW hopes you will join us for one of our seven 2019 regional
retreats to explore those questions together. Inspired by 2 Timothy 2:1 – “Be strengthened in the grace that is in Christ Jesus…”– we will look at the role grace plays in our lives, explore the times the grace of Christ was apparent in our lives, and reflect on the many ways we can be strengthened by that grace. Watch for registration details for the Pacific, Western, Central, Southeast, and Northeast retreats in December, and details for the fall Europe and Asia retreats after the new year!

Fall Greetings from the MCCW President

Dear Sisters in Christ,

Fall greetings to you this month! During this busy time of year, November offers us the opportunity to take a deep breath and recall all that for which we are thankful.

MCCW has so many things to be thankful for this year – an amazing Forum in San Diego, a wonderful European regional retreat, the creation of our seventh region – Asia, and the “yes” given by so many new board members and volunteers who have come forward to help MCCW grow and thrive.

Most of all though, MCCW is grateful for the opportunity to connect, unite, and inspire you – our military sisters around the globe every day. In the hopes of reaching even more women in 2019, MCCW is offering a special gift to anyone who makes a donation to MCCW in this month of giving thanks. Read more about it in this newsletter — you don’t want to miss this!

Personally, I am grateful for the earlier sunsets which cause my family to gather in our cozy home a little sooner each day. I am going to take full advantage of every minute of it because I know that once the days start growing longer, life will get even busier, especially with all the exciting MCCW retreats being planned! Stay tuned in the coming weeks and in the December Well for exciting announcements about your region’s retreat! In the meantime though – cuddle up with your family and take a moment to recall all the blessings heaped upon us by our loving Father.

In humble service,

Texas Seminarian in the Spotlight

Currently attending St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, CA, Carlos Warfield has been adopted by the CWOC ladies from JBSA Randolph in Texas. Focusing on the beautiful scripture passage from Jeremiah
29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for
evil, to give you a future and a hope,” Carlos has dedicated himself to serving our Lord and will one day be an United States Army Catholic Priest. In his free time, Carlos enjoys gardening, running, swimming, following the Dallas Cowboys, and watching the San Antonio Spurs. Pray for Carlos on Nov 16, his birthday, and pray for all of our Co-Sponsored Seminarians every day of the year.

European Team Recognized as Outstanding Volunteers

For November 2018, MCCW is recognizing the 2017-2018 European Regional Team as its volunteers of the month! Sarah Zeola, Amy Vedra, and Amber Wusterbarth (the three ladies on the left side of the photo) planned and hosted an amazing four day retreat for more than 120 women from across Europe during October.

The retreat, with a theme of God’s divine love and mercy, was a beautiful time of prayer, reflection and fellowship. Sarah, Amy, and Amber were well-prepared, gracious hostesses and were a blessing to all who attended.

Thank you, ladies!

Giving Tuesday – Giving You A Community

Every year after the madness of Black Friday and the craziness of Cyber Monday, our country engages in a more charitable tradition known as Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is a day when we are asked to make donations to nonprofit organizations and causes we support. We ask you to prayerfully consider making that gift to MCCW this year.

“Why does MCCW need my support?” you might ask.

MCCW connects, unites, and inspires thousands of Catholic women affiliated with the US military — and it does all this with a small, donation-based budget.

Your support allows MCCW to continue to provide:
• The MCCW Worldwide Forum
• Regional Retreats in the Northeast, Southeast, Central, Western, Pacific, European, and the newly created Asia regions
• Pilgrimages
• Digital resources and connectivity through our website, Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube

To thank you for your generosity, MCCW would like to give you a gift in return. For any gifts over $50 made during the month of November, you will receive 5% off one 2019 retreat registration (non transferable). For any recurring, monthly gift over $15 set up during the month of November, you will receive 10% off one 2019 retreat registration (non transferable). To make your gift, visit

MCCW thanks you for your generosity and for putting your trust in our ministry to continue connecting, uniting, and inspiring our sisters in Christ to grow in their faith.