Between the 10th and 18th of November 2021, St. Joseph’s Senior Home Facility was blessed by the visit of the image of Our Lady of Częstochowa. The copy of the original Icon was created especially for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of St. Stanislaus Church BM, the oldest Polish parish in the state of New York. The copy of the icon was blessed on Jasna Góra Shrine in Częstochowa, Poland, and was later transported to the United States. Since then, the icon has been traveling along the East Coast, visiting several Polish Parishes and various religious facilities, including our very own St. Joseph’s Senior Home.
The visits of the Icon across the US not only offer a rare opportunity to meet with Mary, express our gratitude for the blessing we receive every day, and entrust our lives to Her, but they are also part of a wider and more profound initiative launched by the Fathers of St. Stanislaus Church. As part of the initiative, the Father’s call on the entirety of the Polish Catholic community to participate in the “Wotum Polonia ” campaign aiming to provide help to the Catholic Church in the Third World Countries. Following the peregrination across the United States, the image of Our Lady will be transported to a town in Uganda, where construction works are underway to provide shelter and food for children in need. The Fathers encourage the Polish community across the United States to contribute to the cause and help to raise the necessary funds to support the construction of the Children’s Village of Divine Mercy in Uganda built by the Good Samaritan Society.
The Little Servant Sisters of the Immaculate Conception welcomed Mary with great love and honor, entrusting their congregation and the whole of St. Joseph’s community under the care of Our Lady. The beautifully decorated icon was kept in the chapel, where we would gather every day to pray the rosary, attend adorations, or simply contemplate the beauty of the image in silence. The Sisters working at the Nursing Home and Mrs. Kasia from the Activity department organized a short “pilgrimage” for the sick who were transported to the chapel where they prayed the rosary and sang Marian songs in communion. As luck would have it, the visit of the icon overlapped with the 207th anniversary of our founder’s birthday on November 14th, so together with the residents we sang happy birthday and prayed to the Blessed Edmund Bojanowski.
The visit of Our Lady of Częstochowa evoked many emotions at our facility. It was a very meaningful and emotional time for all of us, the residents, the Sisters, the staff… Especially because in compliance with our founder’s recommendations, the congregation of the Little Servant Sisters has always been strongly devoted to Mary, and the sisters strive to imitate Her attitude and virtues on a daily basis. Through prayers, Marian devotions, and songs, the Sisters bring Mary closer to the residents and make Her a big part of their everyday lives. Thus the residents were deeply touched by Mary’s visit to our facility, and many still recall the feelings which accompanied them and emphasize the joy they had felt during the pilgrimage to meet with Mary in the chapel. Looking up at the image of Mary, one of the residents whispered with love: “Let’s listen to what the little boy is saying to his mom….”.
On Thursday afternoon, the Sisters and the residents gathered once again in the chapel to say their goodbyes to the image of Our Lady. Following a brief adoration led by Sister Leila, the icon was taken out from the chapel and moved to the Sisters’ Provincial Home in Cherry Hill, NJ. The residents were deeply moved and sobbed as the image was leaving the chapel. The Sisters reassured them that although the icon is no longer with us, Mary is still among us, as long as she remains in our hearts.
Our Lady of Czestochowa prays for us! Black Madonna intercede for us!