The Jasna Góra Monastery welcomes thousands of pilgrims each year to venerate the icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa.
Each August, thousands of pilgrims make their way to the Jasna Góra Monastery to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Częstochowa.
To these pilgrims, Pope Francis extends his warmest greetings. “Dear brothers and sisters,” said the Holy Father, “tomorrow in Poland is the celebration of Our Lady of Częstochowa, venerated at the Jasna Góra sanctuary.”
Pope Francis recalled his visit to Jasna Góra, during World Youth Day 2016, held in Krakow. “Five years ago, I was able to stop with young people before her black face and entrust to her the Church in Poland and in the world,” said the pope.
“May her motherly protection be a source of peace and all good for you, for your families and for all Poles,” he prayed. The Holy Father concluded his greeting by saying, “I bless you from the bottom of my heart.”
Our Lady of Częstochowa, the spiritual heart of Poland
Jasna Gora is the spiritual heart of Poland. The Polish people have venerated the historic image of Our Lady of Częstochowa, kept in the monastery, for centuries.
In 1655, 70 monks and 180 defenders, kept the monastery safe from an invading army numbering some 4,000 soldiers. As a result of the miraculous victory, King Casimir II dedicated Poland to the protection of Our Lady.
The devotion of Saint John Paul II
Pope Saint John Paul II had fervent devotion to Our Lady of Częstochowa. In 1979, during his first trip to his homeland after his papal election, John Paul II visited Jasna Góra to pray before Our Lady. He explained the devotion of the Polish people to the shrine, saying,
“The Poles are accustomed to link with this place, this shrine, the many happenings of their lives: the various joyful or sad moments, especially the solemn, decisive moments, the occasions of responsibility, such as the choice of the direction for one’s life, the choice of one’s vocation, the birth of one’s children, the final school examinations, and so many other occasions. They are accustomed to come with their problems to Jasna Góra to speak of them with their heavenly Mother.”
Years later, after an assassination attempt on his life, Saint John Paul II credited Our Lady’s intercession for his protection. “You saved me,” he prayed at Jasna Góra. In gratitude for Our Lady’s protection, John Paul II left the bullet-marked, blood-stained sash he was wearing the day he was shot at the shrine.
More recently, in 2017, on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the first canonical coronation of the image of Our Lady of Częstochowa, the Polish parliament declared 2017 a “Jubilee Year” for the country.