A massive church not far from the Capodimonte Museum stands guard over the entrance to the Catacombs of San Gennaro. Designed in the likeness of St. Peter’s in Rome, Naples youngest church (1920 – 1960) was built for the devotees of the Madonna del Buon Consiglio, Our Lady of Good Counsel, and a painting by the same name.
The painting, commissioned by Sister Maria di Gesù Landi in 1884 and the work of Raffaele Spanò was believed to be involved in two miracles. Ending the cholera epidemic of the same year and stopping the rain of volcanic ash that was pummelling the city after the eruption of Vesuvius in 1906.
Both miracles occurred within a few days of Sister Maria di Gesù Landi revealing the painting to the public and because of this, she was able to get recognition for both the painting and the cult that had developed around it. The painting was coronated on January 6th, 1912 by Pope Pius X. Eight years later, construction started on the church that was built for the pilgrims who were pouring into the city to see the painting.
Sister Maria di Gesù Landi did not live to see the completion of the church she advocated to have built at the Catacombs of San Gennaro, but her miraculous painting endures, taking the place of honour on the major altar. Other works at Madre del Buon Consiglio include several works rescued from abandoned and closed churches, a copy of Michelangelo’s Moses, as well as the tombs of the Princesses of the House of Savoy, Anna and Elena d’Aosta, Archbishop of Naples Corrado Ursi, and Maria di Gesù Landi.