Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Madre del Buon Consiglio, July-August 1986, the magazine published by the Augustinian Friars of Genazzano (Italy)
A Present-Day Testimony
FOR many years now, we have been surprised and amazed to frequently see foreign young men recollected in deep prayer in the chapel of the Madonna. We decided one beautiful day to speak with them, asking why they came so assiduously to our shrine. They told us they felt much attraction to the very beautiful image of the Madonna of Good Counsel, who showed special favors to the founder of their association: Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. We expressed to them our desire to have some testimony about the matter, and Professor Plinio was kind enough to send us from Brazil the Dichiarazione that is printed here:
"IN December 1967, when I was fifty-nine years old, I had a severe case of diabetes. As a result, my right foot became gangrenous. For this reason, the doctor had to amputate my four small toes.
"This measure was taken without any hesitation, since he seriously feared that the gangrene would spread to the entire foot, which would then require a much larger amputation. In such a circumstance, would it be preferable to perform that larger amputation, once and for all? In view of this, I remained under observation in the hospital.
"Now, it so happened that some time before those events, I coincidentally began reading the book La Vierge Mère du Bon Conseil by Monsignor George F. Dillon (Bruges: Desclée de Brower, 1885). During the reading, I experienced a sensible consolation in my soul.
"Before my illness, my friend, Dr. Vincente Ferreira, had traveled to Italy and had the kindness of bringing me a picture from Genazzano representing the venerated painting of Our Lady of Good Counsel. That picture arrived at the moment of a spiritual trial that made me suffer much more than my physical malady.
"Since 1960, I had been president of the National Council of the Brazilian Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property. Circumstances, not proper to go into here, gave me the certainty that it was in the designs of Divine Providence that this organization might perform an extensive action on behalf of Christendom in Brazil, in all of South America, and even on the other continents.
"On the other hand, I was convinced that my death, in this situation, would be ruinous for the effort which was beginning to flourish vigorously... an effort that I ardently desired to achieve for the greater glory of Our Lady before dying. So, I was in a state of true anxiety regarding the uncertainties of my clinical and surgical situation.
"On December 16, another friend, Dr. Martim Afonso Xavier da Silveira Jr., gave me the aforementioned picture on behalf of Dr. Vincente Ferreira. When I fixed my eyes on it, I had the unexpected impression that the figure of Our Lady, without changing at all, expressed for my sake an indescribable and maternal sweetness; that she comforted me and instilled in my soul (I do not know how) the conviction that the Blessed Virgin was promising me that I would not die without accomplishing the desired work. This suffused my soul with tranquility.
"I hold that conviction until today. And, by the grace of Our Lady, that work has prospered admirably, warranting the hope that it will reach its goal. When I was favored with this `smile-promise' of Our Lady of Genazzano, I did not say anything to those present. Only much later did I speak of this to my friends. Two of them, who were visiting me at the hospital at the time I received the picture, upon hearing my narration, said that they had noticed that the figure of the Mother of Good Counsel looked at me with great pleasure, which fact caught their attention. However, they did not notice the `smile-promise' that I mentioned. They sign the present declaration with me.
"Thanks be to the Blessed Virgin, my health was then restored in such a way as to amaze the surgeon and render the second operation unnecessary.
"I write the present declaration with my heart overflowing with love and gratitude to the Mother of Good Counsel of Genazzano.
São Paulo, May 10, 1985