In our foyer is a small, beautiful icon of Our Lady of Good Counsel, and the icon has an interesting story behind it:
Each year on April 25, the feast day of St. Mark Genazzano’s patron Saint, a fair took place near the church of the Mother of Good Counsel. On that day in 1467 towards the evening as the fair was beginning to end a white luminous cloud appeared over the village. The cloud descended on the church of the Mother of Good Counsel. The bells of the old tower began to ring by themselves. The cloud hovered a short distance away from the church wall. It faded and the miraculous image of Our Lady holding the Christ Child appeared. There followed many miracles. So great was the number of healings that a notary was appointed to make a register of the more important cases. […] It is presently located in a side chapel, built between 1621 and 1629, in the church of The Mother of Good Counsel, Genazzano. The painting is a fresco executed on a thin layer of plaster or porcelain not much thicker than paper. One writer describes it as a fresco painted on a material resembling egg shell. It appears suspended in mid-air in its frame, with approximately an inch of space between it and the wall behind it. The only support is on the lower edge where it “rests on a small base on one of its sides, i.e. from the centre to the extreme right”
In a thorough, detailed study, Joao S. Cla Dias writes, “…the fresco has unexplainably remained suspended in the air close to the wall of the chapel in the church of The Mother of Good Counsel for over five hundred years.” Cla Dias’ work contains several documents about the miraculous character of the image itself, including the amazing fact that the painting is not mounted or attached at the back.
The levitation factor — whatever that is — means little to me; I just love the icon — I love Christ tugging at Mary’s neckline, looking to nurse.
A number of Catholic saints were reported to have levitated during their lifetimes — most famously, Joseph of Cupertino, Martin de Porres, and Francis of Assisi. Teresa of Avila was so unnerved by her ecstatic levitation that her nuns would struggle to hold her down as she prayed.
As I am not terribly interested in this sort of phenomena, why bring it up?
Because my son just sent me this cool video on quantum levitation, and I had to put some religious topspin on it — because it’s what I do! :-)
Icon image is my own