This icon has a long and storied past. Its age and origin are unknown, although based on the style, it may have been painted in the 11th or 12th century. After being handed over by an art thief in 1499, it spent 300 years inside a Roman church, where many thought it was lost. Pope Pius IX ordered the icon to be given to the Redemptorists at the Church of Saint Alphonsus in Rome in 1866. Since then, it has become very well-known, and is venerated worldwide.