National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa
The Black Madonna of Czestochowa
|Opening date||June 26, 1955|
|Dedicated to||Black Madonna of Częstochowa|
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The National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa (or simply Czestochowa), known also as the American Czestochowa is a Polish-American Roman Catholic shrine near Doylestown, Pennsylvania, founded in 1953. It houses a reproduction of the Black Madonna icon of Częstochowa, Poland. The heart of Poland's second prime minister, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, is also preserved there.
In 1953 a Polish Pauline monk, Father Michael M. Zembrzuski, purchased a tract of land near Doylestown with the intention of building a chapel dedicated to the Black Madonna of Częstochowa at Jasna Góra, Poland's most important religious icon, to reconnect Polish-Americans with their Polish Catholic roots. A barn was converted into the first chapel; it was moved to a new site and dedicated on June 26, 1955.
The chapel was reorganized as a shrine to celebrate the thousandth anniversary of the Polish nation in 1966. It was dedicated on October 16, 1966, by Archbishop (later Cardinal) John Krol and President Lyndon B. Johnson. The centerpiece of the new shrine was a church building designed by the Polish-American architect George Szeptycki housing the replica of the Black Madonna painting.
In subsequent years other facilities have been added to the site, including a Polish-American cemetery (including monuments to Poland's second prime minister Ignacy Paderewski, the Polish-Lithuanian hussars, and the victims of the Katyń massacres), a monastery, and a visitor center. The cemetery also includes the graves of members of the Polish Veterans of World War II. The lower church interior was remodeled to resemble the interior of the Jasna Góra shrine in Poland housing the original painting. There is also an outdoor pathway with the Stations of the Cross.