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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Miracles at The Black Madonna of Czestochowa, Poland

On August 21st, Steven despite some misgivings, agreed to accompany me on our longest day trip yet, a more than 3 hour bus journey each way from Krakow to the town of Czestochowa. Being Catholic, albeit a somewhat lapsed one, and being as close as I would ever get to Czestochowa, I wanted to make every effort to see the Pauline Monastery of Jasna Gora and especially its Black Madonna icon/painting which is credited with many miracles. Jasna Gora has been a pilgrimage site since the Middle Ages and millions of pilgrims visit it now from all over the world every year.


Entrance to The Chapel of Our Mary
(Site of The Black Madonna)
in the Basilica.

Neither Steven nor I have ever been in such huge
crowds where there's no room in front, behind or
on either side; it was very unsettling for both of us,
all the more so being in a place of such reverence
 and prayer. Below shows again the massive crowd
all having come, just like us, to see The Black Madonna.

Finally, we're getting closer and closer to seeing her!

The Mother of God with the Christ Child or The Black Madonna at last!
The Madonna is black because of soot residue that discolors the painting, the result
of centuries of votive lights and candles burning in front of the painting.
There were hundreds upon hundreds of offerings
left by those who had come seeking miracles;
how very powerful and moving.

The comparitively simple ceiling in
The Chapel of Our Mary.

The magnificent Basilica

The more grandiose Basilica ceiling above
and in more detail below.

The Soldiarity symbol was in a position of
prominence in the Basilica.

The Golgotha Gallery displaying wall hangings
of Pope John Paul II's trips around the world.

His trip to Canada of course! 
Walking around the huge monastery of Jasna Gora (it seemed almost like a small town from the
Middle Ages), I heard contemporary music; Steven wasn't interested so I walked downstairs and stumbled upon a choir practice singing 'I Believe in God.'  Felt like I was right back at St. Frances Cabrini listening to our own choir at a Life Teen Mass!

Saw and walked the Stations of the
Cross from above - just spectacular.

This gives a good sense of the scope of
Jasna Gora Monastery.