According to an old
legend, Mary took a few personal belongings with her and a table, which
had been used in the home of the holy family. Our Lady had often sat
at this table doing her work. The tears of sorrow which she so often
shed, also fell upon this table! But there was something else special
about this table. When Jesus lived with Mary and Joseph in
A group of virgins assisted Mary, and under her guidance, formed the first congregation of women. These good women begged St. Luke, a good artist, to paint a picture of Our Lady. Luke loved the Blessed Virgin and agreed to paint her portrait. Luke painted the picture on the top of the table, which had been used by the holy family. As he painted, he conversed with Our Lady and gathered facts about the life of the holy family, which later aided him in writing the gospels.
When Luke was finished his painting of Our Lady, she looked at it. Mary wanted all people to have a living memory of her, so she caused the beauty, holiness, and character of her face, to be copied onto the picture! We can never thank God enough for all the holy images.
Many of the faithful
visited the home of
Cestius Gallus, the
President of Syria, arrived in
In all haste, the
Christians fled from the city of
In the year 325 A.D.,
Very soon, the picture
became famous throughout the city, because of the special graces that
people received when they prayed before the image. The future rulers
During his reign,
Emperor Izauryn of
The image of Mary
was carried from one country to another. It went from
During the reign
of Casmir the Great, King of Poland (1333-1370), the
Soon after, the
On the following
morning, the painting was placed in a carriage, and the prince was on
his way. Well at least he thought he was on his way, but the carriage
would not move. The horses could not move the carriage even one, single,
inch. St. Ladislaus then fell on his knees before the sacred image of
Mary, and prayed, "What shall I do with your image, dear Mother?
Please guide me in this matter, because it seems that you do not want
me to take your image, away from this spot." The prince then
Soon his prayers
were answered. Twice in a dream, Ladislaus was told to leave the miraculous
picture of Mary, on Jasna Gora (Bright Hill), in
He then signed a
document, ordering a church and monastery to be built on the hill of Jasna
Gora. St. Ladislaus loved Our Lady very much, so he paid for the construction
of these buildings with his own money. But that is not all. He brought
in some Pauline monks from
The Pauline monks truly loved Our Lady, and took great care of the shrine. They encouraged the town’s people and pilgrims to have great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. And Mary blessed these people who came, giving them many, many, graces.
Things went well for a long time, but in the year 1430, some Hussite heretics ransacked Our Lady's shrine at Jasna Gora, stealing numerous items from the sanctuary. They also stole the beautiful picture of Mary, and threw it on a wagon with their other loot. They raced off, but after only a short distance, the horses suddenly came to a dead stop. These dreadful Hussites then remembered that this same type of thing had happened, when the picture of Our Lady was first brought to Jasna Gora.
The Hussites were furious! Taking the sacred picture of Our Lady, they smashed it on the ground, breaking it into three pieces! Then one of the heretics flew into a rage, drew his sword, and raised his arm. Slash! He struck the cheek of Our Lady on the holy image! Slash! He struck the cheek of Our Lady again! But the third time he went to strike the holy image of Mary; he froze on the spot, dropped to the ground in agony, and died a horrible death!
God would not stand by, to see a sacred picture of His dear mother, handled in such a manner! It is obvious that Our Lord wants us to remember, if you insult His mother in word or action, you are in deep trouble; that is of course, if you are not sorry for what you did!
Many artists have tried to repair the wound from the arrow and the sword slashes, on the miraculous picture of Our Lady. But it doesn't matter how many times they have tried, the wounds always reappear.
In 1655, the miraculous picture of the Blessed Virgin was again, in danger of being destroyed. 12,000 hostile Swedish soldiers came face to face with 300 men who were guarding the sanctuary of Our Lady. The poor men were out-numbered by far, but Our Lady was with them and she helped them succeed in fighting off the enemy. The next year, in 1656, the Blessed Virgin was proclaimed, Queen of Poland.
Centurys passed and
The Blessed Virgin
continues to protect her faithful, Polish people. Even though they have
had to struggle against enemies such as German Nazi's and Communists,
over the past few years, the Poles continue to pray to Our Lady for help.
And Mary will continue to be
Today, the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa is very dark; it looks almost black. But this is easy to understand because over the years, thousands of candles have burned before this image. The black smoke from candles, and dust, gradually discolours any picture or statue that is near them. Also, remember that the picture is almost 2000 years old; was handled and kissed by many people in the past, and it was not always in the best of weather conditions.
The miraculous picture of Our Lady of Czestochowa, has two dress like coverings. One is made up of precious jewels and the other is made up of beautifully coloured beads. The jeweled dress is priceless, because it is made up of expensive jewels, donated by the wealthy families of Poland. The second covering is not very expensive, but it is very special, because it was lovingly made by the peasant women of Poland. At one time there was another lovely dress, made of beautiful pearls, but in 1909, it was snatched off the altar by some thief. A movement was then started, to make a silver dress for Our Lady, to replace the stolen treasure.
The crown of gold, which today decorates the miraculous image of Our Lady, was a gift of Pope St. Pius X. He sent it as a loving Father, because he loved the Polish people and wanted to comfort them in their sufferings. The crown before this one, was given as a gift by Pope Clement XI, in 1717. But sad to say, in 1909, it was stolen at the same time, by the wicked thief who stole the pearl dress!
Loads of miracles have been worked by Our Lady of Czestochowa over the years. Mary is very powerful. She is the Queen of Heaven, and she will help anyone who calls on her.
One of the most famous
miracles that ever took place was when Our Lady brought three dead people
back to life. In 1540, in
Piotrus, the older of the two, accidentally cut his baby brother with a knife. Realizing that something terrible had happened, he hid in the huge oven, left open by his mother. Soon the mother returned to the quiet house. She started a fire in the oven and went on with her baking.
Suddenly she heard the cries of her poor child, coming from the oven. She hurried to pull him out, but the boy was already dead. She then noticed her dead, little Kazio. All this was too much for the poor woman, and she went crazy, pulling out her hair and tearing her clothes.
When the Marcin returned home, he saw the terrible scene and then killed his wife. When he realized what had happened, he was sorry for what he did. Though he was terrified, he put his confidence in Our Lady of Czestochowa. He placed the bodies in the wagon and headed for the shrine on Jasna Gora.
When Marcin arrived, some people helped him carry the dead bodies into the church. He begged the people to pray to Our Lady for his family. Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament was just starting. In tears the people prayed and sang to Our Lady. Suddenly, as they sang the beautiful "Magnificat," the three dead bodies came to life and walked into the arms of their joyful husband and father!
Our Lady of Czestochowa has worked many more miracles. Perhaps another time, I can tell you about them. We can never thank God enough for all the holy, miraculous images of Mary. The Catholic Faith is the only Faith. Let no Protestant or Heretic refuse this truth, for if they do, they will have to face God and Our Lady on this matter, and I would not like to be in their shoes.
Love Mary and live forever.
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