Our Lady of Czestochowa
The Virgin of Jasna Góra
We did not think it possible for anyone to show a greater
outpouring of love for Our Lady than the Mexican people, the
first time we visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in
Mexico City. There is such a love for Our Lady in that country,
it defies description. We have witnessed the honor and tribute
paid to the Morenita (the Dark One) by people from all walks
of life. From the Pope, to the president of the country, to the
poorest citizen, all pay the greatest respect possible to the
Mother of God, their Mother.
But after having gone to Poland, in particular, the Bright
Hill, as Jasna Góra is called, we stutter trying to describe in
the slightest, the outpouring of emotion given to their Lady,
Our Lady. There’s not a time you go to Czestochowa that it
is not packed with pilgrims. From the youngest to the oldest,
they are in tears as they go before the image of Our Lady,
this most beautiful Mother of theirs. The first time we went,
children who had just received their First Holy Communion
were presented to Our Lady. There had to be three hundred of
them from all over the area. The girls were dressed like little
brides. The boys were dressed in suits. They couldn’t wa
until our host, Fr. Stefan, removed the barrier so that they could
run up and present themselves to Mother Mary. They flocked
around the Altar of the Chapel, where the icon of Our Lady of
Czestochowa waited for them.
We weren’t sure what we wanted to tell you about first.
Should we begin with stories from its magnificent tradition,
which are filled with accounts of major battles won through the
intercession of Our Lady of Czestochowa, and of the generals
who dedicated their troops and their battles to Our Lady, who
wore the breastplate of Our Lady as they went into battle, and
then came back after their victories to thank Our Lady, and
give Her complete credit for their conquest?
Or would you like to know about Lech Walesa, who had
been the head of Solidarity, and became the first president
of Poland after the fall of communism? He was originally
in charge of the workers’ union. For organizing the workers
against communism, he was imprisoned by the communists.
When he was released, he lost his job and took on odd jobs,
continuing to fight against communism. He became the leader
of solidarity and was again imprisoned in 1981. In 1982, he
was released and in 1983, he won the Nobel Peace Prize, which
he presented to Our Lady at the Shrine. A very pious man, we
had the privilege of attending a private Mass with him in the
Or should we begin with the miraculous tradition by which
this painting found its way from a little home in Jerusalem to
Czestochowa, Poland, 1300 years later? Where do you start?
I guess the beginning would be best.
Tradition tells us that St. Luke painted the original image of
Our Lady on a table top in St. Joseph’s workshop in Nazareth.
We truly believe that St. Luke sat at the feet of Mary and listened
to Her tell about the Miraculous Conception and Birth of Our
Lord Jesus. St. Luke is the only one of the four Gospel writers
who describes in detail the events from the Annunciation of the
Angel Gabriel to Our Lady, through the Visitation, the Birth of
Jesus, the Presentation in the Temple, and the Finding of Our
Lord Jesus in the Temple. Where would he have gotten this
information if not sitting at Her feet, listening in awe to this,
the most beautiful Woman the world has ever known?
And why not, while he was listening to Her, could he not
have painted a picture of Her, or drawn a sketch which later
could become a statue of Her (Our Lady of Loreto)? There are
many writings which justify this theory. From the early days,
writers such as Sixtus of Siena and Nicefar (a Roman writer)
both wrote that St. Luke painted the image of Our Lady.
There are literally thousands upon thousands of images of
Our Lady, most of them created through the inspiration of the
Holy Spirit by the hands of mankind (men or women). All are
limited in their ability to capture the beauty of the Mother of
God, except two. One is the image which was painted by the
Divine Artist, brought to earth by the Angels and deposited on
the hill of Tepeyac in Mexico in 1531. This is undoubtedly
the truest image of Our Lady we will ever see. The Artist was