Our Mother of Good Counsel
Feast Day April 26
Originally, the Augustinian monastery was situated outside the town, but a century later were invited to take charge of the parish church of Our Mother of Good Counsel in the town-center. When the friars decided to renovate and enlarge the church a miracle happened and drew the attention of great crowds of people. On April 25, 1467, as a side wall was being repaired and a marble figure of the Madonna was removed, there appeared, where the figure had been, an image of Mary and the Child Jesus. From that moment the title of the church was applied also to the image.
According to an old tradition, this very icon, venerated in Albania under the name Our Lady of Scutari or Our Lady of the Albanians, is said to have suddenly disappeared from a church as Albania was being invaded by infidels. Legend says that it traveled from the church and was followed by two Albanian men until they reached Genazzano and recognized the image as their own. The news of the "appearance" of the image, coupled with the story of the Albanians, has caused the church, from that time, to be the destination of many pilgrims, including several popes, saints and blesseds.
Pope John XXIII was a pilgrim to the shrine on the eve of the Second Vatican Council, and Pope John Paul II visited it before going to Albania to re-establish the hierarchy there following the collapse of communism. Leo XIII had declared the church a Minor Basilica in 1903 and in April of that year introduced the invocation 'Mother of Good Counsel' to the Litany of Loreto. Blessed Stephen Bellesini was pastor of this church for nine years until his death in 1840. His venerated remains are preserved in a side chapel of the basilica.