The original icon of Santa Maria del Popolo (St. Mary of the People) is displayed in the "Piazza del Popolo" in Rome. The church of St. Mary of the People has a long history. The original church was founded in 1100 by Pope Paschall II. Pope Gregory IX had the church enlarged to thank our Blessed Mother for her intercession after the terrible plague of 1231. Pope Gregory IX installed this miraculous icon which became known as "St. Mary of the People" for the community that grew up around the church.
The third archbishop of Chicago, George Mundelein, appointed December 9, 1915, was appointed Cardinal-Priest on March 24, 1924, by Pope Pius XI. His titular church in Rome was "Santa Maria del Popolo" After taking possession of his new church, he returned to Chicago and years later founded a new parish of the same name in "Mundelein" a town named for him. An extra replica of this icon is presently above the altar in our Parish Chapel.