Our Lady’s Chapel (OLA)

 

Chapel

Inside the chapel there is a picture of The Black Madonna which was donated to the parish by the Polish Community of Cwmbran, who share this church.

This is the story about the The Black Madonna, as described below.

The Black Madonna

blackmadonna

There are many shrines of the Mother of God in Catholic Poland. But the one that is most venerated, is the Madonna of Czestochowa.

The shrine is not only a religious symbol of the faithful, but the love for their Great Patroness fused them together to act as one nation during the turbulent, sorrowful years of their existence during the partition by Russia, Germany and Austria.

Under the present government, love for her has not diminished. She is still the Queen of Poland.

In 1953 Cardinal Wyszyriski was imprisoned for not conforming with the orders of the government regarding religion. The people did not abandon him, nor gave in to the pressures of the government.

During 1955 a million and a half people gathered at the shrine. The release from prison of the cardinal was mostly due to the staunch backing of the faithful.

In 1951 THE GREAT NATIONAL NOVENA was launched and for nine years a replica of the picture of the Madonna travelled all over Poland.

The government became sharply aware that the people would not be separated from their faith, and the pressures on religion were lessened.

The story of the picture is fascinating. Where did it originate? Who painted it? What was its history before it was brought to Poland around 1382?

Tradition has it that it was painted by St. Luke, the Evangelist, in Jerusalem, and given to the Christians living there at the time.

In the fourth century A.D., it was taken to Constantinopole by St. Helen, and five centuries later was given as part of the dowry of a Byzantine princess.

It was rediscovered six hundred years ago in an ancient, tiny church where it was credited with numerous miracles.

A Polish prince brought 16 Paulist Fathers from Hungary and placed the picture under their care.

The style of the painting and the dark color of the face, remind the viewer of Egyptian or Greek paintings of great antiquity and not Italian as it was thought to be.

It was examined by experts in many ways including X-ray, and it has been definitely established that it was painted between the fifth and sixth centuries A.D. It is considered to be one of the oldest paintings of the Virgin in the world.

It bears many traces of its centuries-old existence. Among these are many nail holes where the faithful, in gratitude for favors received, nailed votive offerings.

When in 1430 robbers attacked the church and monastery, the picture was broken into three parts. It also has two long scars on the right cheek assumed to have been made by the blows of a sword.

Beginning with the reign of King Ladislaus Jagiello, each Polish king after his coronation, hurried to the shrine to place his nation under the protection of the Madonna

In 1655 the Swedish army attacked Poland. It conquered a great part of it and laid siege to the shrine and monastery for 40 days.

The few defenders, together with the Paulist Fathers led by the abbot Father Kordecki, held the invaders in check for 40 days until the nation rallied and the invaders were driven out.

Through the centuries countless pilgrimages have been made to the shrine.

It is a never-to-be-forgotten experience when the moment arrives of parting the drapes that cover the holy picture. Some unusual emotion stirs the heart. A great sigh issues from the lips of the onlookers as though it were the moment they had lived for.

It feels as if one were walking through centuries when climbing the stairs of the church tower where many volumes are stored filled with signatures of former pilgrims.

There are names of well-known people as well as crude signatures written with a work-worn, unskilled hand.

It seems as if it were God’s own plan. to give this spiritual treasure to sustain a nation which for centuries, has been the champion of Christianity, suffered so much for its faith, and has been betrayed so many times.

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