Poland’s Black Madonna

In the Shrine with the Black Madonna behind me
In the Shrine with the Black Madonna behind me

Tuesday was a special day of pilgrimage for our group in Poland – a journey to Częstochowa in the South of Poland. The Black Madonna, or Our Lady of Częstochowa is a revered icon of the Virgin Mary housed at the Jasna Góra (in English – Mount Bright) Monastery. The icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa has been intimately associated with Poland for the past six hundred years.

Being led by Fr Simon, one of the Priests that live in the monastery, into the Shrine
Being led by Fr Simon, one of the Priests that live in the monastery, into the Shrine

It is believed that St Luke himself painted this divine icon on a tabletop from the Holy Family’s house. And for all these years, it has been a place of prayer. A great many number of miracles are believed to have occured here, and there are many signs in the Shrine of the strength on the devotion – rosarys hung over the walls, crutches and other symbols of illness hung from the walls, personal crosses are left here. Amidst the granduer of the place, there is a feeling of this being a people’s place of prayer.

Rosaries hung on the wall - prayer intentions to our Lord
Rosaries hung on the wall – prayer intentions to our Lord

This is a place of pilgrimage for the Polish people. The Shrine gathers thousands of pilgrims every day from across the country and the world. Every year 100,000 Polish people walk in pilgrimage to the Shrine for the Feast of the Assumption of Mary on the 15th August. They walk from a town in the North of Poland called ‘Hell’ (we couldn’t believe it – but check it out, its on the map) for over 600km to the Shrine.

For me it was incredibly special to be here and to see such devotion in the people of Poland – who have suffered so much through war and communism. They have such faith in our Lord to protect them. It is beautiful.

I prayed for our Diocese especially in this beautiful place. I prayed for all those involved in WYD Krakow next year. And I prayed for you dear pilgrim that is thinking about coming to WYD in Poland next year – that the Holy Spirit will be with you on this special journey to this special place.

Until next time 🙂

Walking up to the Basilica from the little town
Walking up to the Basilica from the little town

 

 

 

Young people, having recently made their First Holy Communion in their parishes, come to the Shrine in the Communion dress to receive communion in the presence of the Black Madonna, asking for Mary's help on their faith journey
Young people, having recently made their First Holy Communion in their parishes, come to the Shrine in the Communion dress to receive communion in the presence of the Black Madonna, asking for Mary’s help on their faith journey
At sun set
At sun set
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