The Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Good Counsel, is the patroness of the Council of Catholic Women. With the feast day of Our Lady of Good Counsel fast approaching (April 26), let's take a look at the inception of this title.
Tradition says that an old Augustinian church in Genazzano, very near Rome, Italy, fell into disrepair during the 15th century. The church, Santa Maria, was a crumbling mess. A local widow took it upon herself to attempt fund raising in order to make repairs to the church. Unfortunately, her efforts were not enough. To make matters worse, she was mocked by the townsfolk for her attempt and subsequent failure.
Not long after, during the Feast of Saint Mark in 1467 the people of Genazzano miraculously heard exquisite music. Following the music, the townsfolk saw a wondrous cloud which descended to the church and destroyed an unfinished wall of Santa Maria church. As the cloud scattered in front of the fascinated villagers, a beautiful fresco of the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child was revealed. The fresco was no thicker than today's card stock. It was roughly 18 inches square, and believed to have been miraculously conveyed from a church in Scutari, Albania. At the time, the Turks were invading Scurari.
Today, that fresco is known as "Madonna del Buon Consiglio" or Our Lady of Good Counsel. Pope Urban VIII (1630) and Pope Pius IX (1864) both made pilgrimages to the holy image. Pope Innocent XI, in 1682, had the portrait crowned. In 1939, Pope Pius XII gave care of his pontificate to Our Lady of Good Counsel.
Early in the history of the National Council of Catholic Women, Our Lady of Good Counsel became patroness of the organization. Today, she is patroness of hundreds of local councils across the United States, including the Houlton Council of Catholic Women.