Something About Mary

Loving thoughts and sharings on our Blessed Mother, Mary.

Apr 242016

There are a number of paintings depicting the Madonna del Buon Consiglio, (Our Lady of Good Counsel). I hadn’t given much thought or had much interest until my visit to Italy. After waiting a number of years to return to Italy I was able to get there in 2013 and kept it simple with a visit to Rome, Assisi and Abruzzo (for a short visit with relatives). It was mainly a pilgrimage for me, although I preferred to call myself a Pilgrim/Tourist on that trip.

On my visit to Assisi I came across a small painting on display at the Sacro Convento Museum at the Basilica of San Francesco. It immediately caught my eye and I fell in love with it. It was a beautiful depiction of Our Lady of Good Counsel painted by Pasquale Sarullo. Sarullo (1828 – 1893) was a 19th-century Franciscan friar, priest and artist. He was from Ciminna, in the province of Palermo, Italy; his work was appreciated by his contemporaries and had an international circulation. I can’t find detailed information about this artist or images of other works he painted but his painting of Our Lady of Good Counsel is a popular one, and I came home with a souvenir of Our Lady of Good Counsel – a small plaque with the image by Sarullo.

Our Lady of Good Counsel by Sarullo

Our Lady of Good Counsel by Sarullo

Devotion to the Mother of Good Counsel is associated with the story of a miraculous icon. The sacred image is found in a church in Genazzano, a beautiful town on a hill, south-east of Rome. The church dedicated to Our Lady of Good Counsel was built there in the fourth century. The fresco image was painted on a sheet of plaster that was very thin and delicate. It has survived through the centuries, withstanding several earthquakes and the bombing during World War II. Even though altars and walls around it were destroyed and the roof caved in, the icon was not destroyed.

Our Lady of Good Counsel fresco at Genazzano Italy

Our Lady of Good Counsel fresco at Genazzano Italy

The icon at Genazzano is approximately 30 centimetres wide and 46 centimetres high. The Christ Child nestles close to his mother. Mary supports Jesus with her left arm. She bends her head toward him, and their cheeks touch tenderly. The left hand of Jesus gently grasps the rim of her dress, indicating the intimacy of nursing……reflecting Mary’s concern for both Jesus and his Church. It is the most famous fresco in Augustinian possession. There is an annual feast day on 26th April.

Madonna del Buon Consiglio by Sarullo

Madonna del Buon Consiglio by Sarullo

This is the painted version by Sarullo that I was drawn to… it’s beautiful, and I love it.

May 242009


I have posted about Our Lady of the Southern Cross previously but I just had to post again as today,  May 24th, is the feast of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, Help of Christians – under the title of Help of Christians. In 1844, Mary, under this title was chosen as the patroness of Australia at the First Provincial Synod of Sydney. This statue of Mary, Help of Christians, stands in the Chapel of the Sacred Heart, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney, Australia. The Cathedral was dedicated in her honor by the Irish pioneer priest, Fr. John Therry who arrived in Sydney in 1820 and assumed responsibility for the planning and initial construction of the Cathedral.

Mother and virgin, she is the Patroness of Australia, under the title “Help of Christians.” Under the title of ‘Our Lady of the Southern Cross’ she is patron of the Australian Diocese of Toowoomba and of WYD08.

The title of ‘Southern Cross’ derives from  the constellation of stars seen only from the southern hemisphere. Mary is the  Help of Christians as she leads all people to her Son. She is our help and our advocate.

Artist Paul Newton shares about his painting –

“She is totally focused upon him and holds him affectionately to herself,” …… “At the same time she holds him so as to face us, the viewers, as if presenting or giving him to us.

“I wanted to suggest in Mary’s demeanour serenity and great humility, not drawing attention to herself but rather to her son.

God first entered the world through Mary,  who is ‘full of grace’ (Luke 1:28), when Jesus was born, and Jesus performed  his first public miracle at her prodding. She was centrally present when the  Spirit was poured out upon the nascent Church at Pentecost, fulfilling the  promise ‘you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you  will be my witnesses’ (Acts 1:8). She teaches us how to allow God to be poured  out upon the world through us, to ‘magnify’ Him (c.f. Luke 1:46-55), so that He  can be seen, known, loved and worshipped.


Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

O Mary Help of Christians, Patroness of Australia, Mother of Mercy, Queen of Heaven and earth, refuge of sinners, we consecrate ourselves to thine Immaculate Heart.

To thee we consecrate our country, our families, our hearts, our souls and all that we have.

And in order that this consecration may be truly effective and lasting, we renew today the promise of our Baptism and Confmnation; we undertake to live as good Christians -faithful to God, the Church and the Holy Father. We desire to pray the Rosary, partake in the Holy Eucharist, attach special importance to the first Saturday of the month and work for the conversion of sinners.
Furthermore we promise, O most holy Virgin, that we will zealously spread devotion to thee, so that through our consecration to thine Immaculate Heart and through thine own intercession, the coming of the Kingdom of Christ in the world may be hastened. Amen.

With ecclesiastical approval.


Something About Mary is being hosted by JMJ at Totus Tuus Family

May 212009

She touches our hearts and loves us dearly as our Heavenly Mother. Praying the Rosary is a powerful tool that Mary has handed to us. Here are some thoughts from young adults who love to pray the Rosary.

Mary Our Mother, Queen of Peace

Pray for Us.


Something About Mary  is being hosted by JMJ  at Totus Tuus Family 

Do visit to find out more and join in with us.

May 102009

When Jesus saw his mother,
and the disciple whom he loved standing near,
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”
Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!”
And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

Gospel of John 19:26-27

I love this passage of scripture. Here is our Lord, in excruciating pain while on the cross – He does not focus on His suffering but on the needs of others. Jesus looks after the needs of the beloved disciple John and of His Mother…… but this moment is not only for the two standing at the foot of the cross but for all disciples – and it is at this moment that Mary becomes mother of all disciples of Jesus….. she is Our Mother too.

Isn’t it wonderful that here on Mother’s Day, we too as mothers, can turn to our Lovely Lady of love and mercy and ask her to intercede for us for our needs and the needs of all her children on earth.


 Something About Mary  is being hosted by JMJ  at Totus Tuus Family 

Do visit to find out more and join in with us.

Sep 122008

Oil painting of Our Lady of the Southern Cross by Paul Newton – Commissined by Cardinal George Pell for World Youth Day Sydney 2008.

This beautiful painting of the patroness of Australia now hangs in St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney. Our Lady of the Southern Cross, Help of Christians is also patroness of WYD08.

Although the painting is of Mary she is focused completely on the child Jesus who is the centre of this work, and the centre of our focus – our saviour. Also included in this painting are typical Australian symbols -the Southern Cross in the night sky, a garland of wattles and Australian landscape as a background which has been inspired by the works of Australian artists such as Arthur Streeton and Tom Roberts.

This is such a beautiful painting I just had to post about it.  At the end of the Opening mass at Barangaroo in Sydney, a tall, unknown man came up to me and in great excitement he pointed out the Southern Cross in the night sky. The reason for his excitement was because the Southern Cross was directly above the alter….. and the WYD cross and icon were directly under it. Coincidence? I prefer to believe it was God-incidence. It’s one of those signs that sends an annointing through your body, and you just know it’s all part of God’s plan and that He has His hand over everything.

Wherever Jesus is present His blessed mother is also close by… it’s a special feeling to know this and to sense this at WYD08.

Our Lady of the Southern Cross, Help of Christians – Pray for us.