Where do you run to when you have something bothering you? The people of Poland till date go to “Jasna Gora” Shrine to speak to our heavenly Mother about their problems. They tell her everything; their joys and their sadness, their problems and their testimonies. This intimate bond between the Blessed Mother and the people of Poland was strengthened amidst great oppression and suffering as narrated by Saint John Paul II in one of his homilies.
Poland’s love story with Our Lady wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that point in history when King John II Casimir on April 1, 1656 dedicated the entire Poland to the protection of Our Lady. He proclaimed, “Great Mother of God, Most Blessed Virgin, I, John Casimir, by the grace of your Son, King of Kings and my Lord, and by your mercy, King, falling at your most holy feet, choose you for my Patroness and Queen of my countries. I entrust to your admirable care and protection my own self and with my kingdom Poland.”
The consecration of Poland was prompted by a miraculous event which took place in the year 1655 at a time when the Swedish invaded Poland. It was recorded that the only place that was not defeated was the monastery of Jasna Gora which served as the sanctuary of Our Lady of Częstochowa and nearly 4000 Swedish soldiers were sent on their heels by just seventy monks and some one hundred and eighty supporters.
Poland has produced quite a number of Saints whose immeasurable affinity to Our Lady could be traced to an intimate bond between the Blessed Mother and polish people from years back. One could say that devotion to Our Lady of Częstochowa is as essential to Polish culture as is devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico. It is in the “blood” of the Polish people and has been passed down through the generations. Many homes have an image of Our Lady enthroned in a prominent place and John Paul II made sure an icon was present in his apartments at the Vatican. It is also very common in Poland to make an annual pilgrimage to Jasna Góra to place all of your needs and worries before her image.
Devotion to Mary brings answers to difficult situations and closer bonds with her son Jesus Christ. Poland had learnt this long ago and you too can try it!
Summarized by Theresa Frances