As the Mother of God, Mary is honored for her many virtues, setting an example for the faithful in her spirit of unhesitating obedience, her heart of love, and her unwavering devotion to the Lord. Explore the chapels that honor Mary’s model of wisdom, faith, and more in this virtual tour post.
Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel
The devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary focuses on the Blessed Mother’s purity and love for the Savior. St. John Eudes and St. Anthony Claret were both instrumental in spreading this devotion to Mary, which encourages the faithful to develop a strong spiritual life and love for God, who demonstrates great love for us. The chapel devoted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the Basilica features a hand-carved wooden medallion, gilded with gold, depicting Mary and the Infant Jesus.
Mary, Queen of Missions Chapel
The chapel of Mary, Queen of Missions features a Venetian glass mosaic of our Lady, crowned with twelve stars and holding a globe surmounted by a cross, with the moon and the serpent beneath her feet. This space honors Mary’s role in aiding the faithful to spread the gospel throughout the world, fulfilling the Great Commission.
Our Mother of Good Counsel Chapel
A devotion that dates back to the 15th century, Our Mother of Good Counsel honors the wisdom of Mary. On the Feast of St. Mark in 1467, a cloud descended upon the ruins of a fifth-century church in Genazzano, Italy. Upon its disappearance, the people of the village discovered a small picture of the Madonna and Child on a thin sheet of plaster. The miraculous image remained delicately balanced on a ledge in the church for years, even surviving a bombing during World War II, and came to be known as Our Mother of Good Counsel.
The image is replicated in the Basilica’s Our Mother of Good Counsel Chapel, portraying Mary as the Eleousa. Around the mosaic are depictions of men and women who were devoted to Our Mother of Good Counsel. On the right of the altar, Our Mother of Good Counsel is also sculpted in Trani marble.
Mary, Help of Christians Chapel
Honoring Mary’s role in providing succor to the faithful, the Chapel of Our Lady, Help of Christians depicts the Virgin on a globe encircled by clouds. Flanked by three sets of adoring angels, she wears a crown and holds a scepter and the Child Jesus, whose outstretched arms reach out to all of humanity.
The altar frontal features the Salesian coat of arms and the altar reredos depict individuals specially associated with the Salesians, such as Pope (Blessed) Pius IX who approved the Salesian rule, and Mary Mazzarello, co-founder of the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians. The apse’s dark blue Venetian glass mosaic features a triangle, symbol of the Trinity, the descending right hand of God the Father, and seven rays of fire, symbols of the Holy Spirit. Surrounding the head of Mary are twelve gold stars, symbolizing the tribes of Israel.
Light a Candle at the Basilica
In honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we invite you to light a candle today at the National Shrine. Vigil candles burn in the chapels throughout the Great Upper Church and lower crypt level of the National Shrine. Each candle represents the faith of the supplicants and their fervent prayers entrusted to the loving intercession of the Blessed Mother.