In 1467, during a festival at Genazzano, Italy, a cloud descended upon the ruins of a fifth-century church dedicated to Our Mother of Good Counsel. When the cloud disappeared, the people found a small picture of the Madonna and Child. Though on a paper-thin sheet of plaster, the portrait was able to stand upright on a ledge.
Tradition holds that the miraculous picture stood in the church without support for hundreds of years, even in spite of the fact that much of the church was destroyed during World War II.
This chapel, dedicated April 26, 1965, is a gift of the Augustinian Order, which has pastoral care of the original image and the Italian church in which it still reposes. The mosaic reproduction of the painting is the artistry of Ernoe Koch. It is surrounded by holy men and women known for their devotion to the Mother of Good Counsel: St. Rita of Cascia, an Augustinian nun; Blessed Stephen Bellesini, pastor of the shrine at Genazzano; St. Augustine, founder of the religious order; Pope Leo XIII, a devotee Mary under this title; Pope Paul II, who pronounced the authenticity of the miraculous painting; and Petruccia dei Nocera, benefactress of the Genazzano shrine.
The altar is of Botticino marble and the frontal piece bears the Augustinian seal: the burning heart, the mitre and crosier of St. Augustine, and the command "Take and Read" in Latin. To the right of the altar stands the near-life-size Trani marble statue of Our Mother of Good Counsel, sculpted by Arcangelo Cascieri and Adio di Biccari.
Prayer of Pope John XXIII
to Our Mother of Good Counsel
O Mary, your name has been on my lips and in my heart from my early infancy.
When I was a child I learned to love you as a Mother,turn to you in danger, and trust in your intercession.
You see in my heart the desire to know the truth,
to practice virtue, to be prudent and just,
strong and patient, a brother to all.
Mary, help me to keep my purpose
of living as a faithful disciple of Jesus,
for the building up of Christian society
and the joy of the Holy Catholic Church.
I greet you, Mother, morning and evening;
I pray to you as I go on my way;
from you I hope for inspiration and encouragement
that will enable me to fulfill the sacred promises
of my earthly vocation,
give glory to God,
and attain eternal salvation.
O Mary! Like you in Bethlehem and on Golgotha,
I, too, wish to stay close to Jesus.
He is the eternal King of all ages and all people. Amen.