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Tomorrow marks the 555th anniversary of the devotion to Our Lady under the title "Mother of Good Counsel."
Church Militant's Rodney Pelletier dives into the history of the devotion nicknamed the "Madonna of the Popes."
Since 1467, the Church has been honoring Our Lady under the title "Mother of Good Counsel." The image was said to be miraculously placed in the dilapidated church of St. Mary of Good Counsel in Genazzano, just to the east of Rome.
Our Lady blessed pilgrims seeking her intercession by answering their prayers with miracles. Among the pilgrims and devotees were several popes. They raised the devotion to Our Lady to a higher profile.
Popes Urban VIII, Pius IX and John XXIII personally went on pilgrimage to Genazzano. In 1727, Pope Benedict XIII authorized the Augustinians who had been in charge of the church to establish a feast day by having a special Mass and prayers in the Divine Office.
Then, in 1753, Pope Benedict XIV approved the Pious Union of Our Lady of Good Counsel. Pius IX and Leo XIII were also members of this devotional group. Pope Pius VIII extended a plenary indulgence to pilgrims who venerate the image in Genazzano.
Pope Leo XIII made two great decrees to further devotion to Our Lady under the title. First, in 1893, he approved, for the laity, the use of the white scapular of Our Lady of Good Counsel. Then, in 1903, he added the title "Mother of Good Counsel" to the Litany of Loreto.
At a time in the Church where doctrinal and moral confusion are rampant, it's an opportune time for Catholics seeking clarity to implore Our Lady under the title of "Mother of Good Counsel."
Regarding this Marian devotion, Pope Leo XIII instructed the faithful, "Children, follow her counsels."