REGINA — The origins of the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa prior to 1382 is shrouded in mystery, but it appeared in Poland at that time when Prince Wladyslaw Opolczyk retrieved it from somewhere in eastern Poland and placed it in the priory church of the Pauline Fathers at Jasna Gora (Bright Mountain). Known as the Black Madonna, it has been credited with many miracles and attracts thousands of pilgrims to its home in Jasna Gora.
Currently on a world tour celebrating Poland’s 1,050th anniversary of baptism and new evangelization, the icon was displayed in St. Anthony’s Church May 2-11. St. Anthony’s Parish was established in 1930 and is home to the city’s Polish community.
The community celebrated the Black Madonna praying the rosary prior to a 6:30 p.m. mass, followed by a novena after mass.
Hussite raiders in 1430 attacked the monastery and damaged the painting, including a sword strike across the face of the Madonna. By order of King Wladyslaw Jagiello the painting was restored but because of the damage it had to be repainted. The slash on the Madonna’s face remains visible.
According to various Internet sources the Black Madonna over the centuries protected the monastery from a variety of attacks. In appreciation of that protection, King Jan Kazimierz placed his crown at the feet of the icon in 1656 and dedicated the people of Poland to the Blessed Virgin. Since that time Polish people have considered the Black Madonna as Queen of Poland regardless of the political situation at any given time.
“When Poles had to immigrate to other countries they took with them a picture of the Black Madonna,” said Rev. Stanislaw Poszwa, SCh, current pastor of St. Anthony’s.
The May 2-11 visit was the second time the Icon was displayed at St. Anthony’s. In 1965 Polish Canadians arranged a Canadian tour of the icon to celebrate 1,000 years of Christianity in Poland. It was venerated at St. Anthony’s in August 1965. The church obtained a copy of the icon in 1982 and a year later it was blessed by Bishop Stanislaw Stefanek, SCh.
It is believed that the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa was originally painted by the Evangelist St. Luke on top of the table in the home of the Holy Family in Nazareth.
With notes from Rev. Stanislaw Poszwa S.Ch