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Human Life International's Father Peter West leads prayer in front of Grand Rapids' abortion facility with the Black Madonna icon on April 13, 2014.Human Life International

This incredible lady has been credited with saving entire cities targeted for destruction by war. She has been hailed as a protectress and defender. And now she is gaining a name for herself not only as a defender of life-and-family but also as a terror of abortion facilities, due to the high number that have closed after she has visited them.

Since beginning her pilgrim visit to the United States 14 months ago on August 24, 2013 in Maryland, the “Black Madonna,” renowned by Poles as “Our Lady of Czestochowa,” is credited by on-the-ground pro-lifers for saving a number of babies from abortion and for the closure of four abortion clinics nationwide.

“Our Lady desires for us to know that every single life has value and that we need her intercession if we are to overcome the culture of death,” said Father Peter West, Vice President for Missions at Human Life International, who accompanies the ancient icon of Mary the mother of Jesus from state to state, parish to parish, abortion site to abortion site.

The Black Madonna’s pilgrimage around the world began in Vladivostok, Russia in the summer of 2012. The goal of the campaign, organized by Catholic and Orthodox faithful, is to have the icon — a reproduction of the original that resides in Poland — circle the globe and inspire people to build a civilization of life and love.

Tradition has it that the original icon was “written” by St. Luke on a tabletop belonging to the household of the Holy Family. The original image traveled on many roads over the centuries, from Nazareth, to Byzantium, to Rus, finally ending up in Poland in the 14th century where it has remained to this day in the monastery of the Pauline Fathers at Jasna Gora in Czestochowa.

Since 2012, the Black Madonna icon has traveled over 40,000 miles across 24 countries, visited almost 100 cathedrals and 60 Orthodox churches in over 400 cities, and has been venerated by hundreds of thousands of people.


During her pilgrimage across the US, it is common for the Black Madonna to be escorted to local abortion mills. Here prayers are said for the abortion workers who take lives instead of saving them. Her visit encourages local pro-lifers to be steadfast and hopeful.

“Stand at the forefront of the defense of life movements and lead us. Protect life! Save the family! Strengthen us! Obtain from your son the victory of the civilization of life and love!” reads a prayer specifically composed in Poland in honor of the campaign.

Local pro-lifer Ellen Castellano will never forget the Black Madonna’s August 2013 visit to LeRoy Carhart’s late-term abortion facility in Germantown, Maryland, known as one of the most notorious abortion mills in America.

During the icon’s visit, a formerly hostile clinic worker suddenly began talking to sidewalk counselors instead of cussing at them. Three lives were saved in a four-hour period. A woman who had just aborted her child asked sidewalk counselors for help in pursuing healing.

“Maybe the icon has an effect of deliverance – it seemed that something was really different out there,” wrote Castellano in a testimonial.

Pro-lifers in Corpus Christi, Texas, directly credited the Black Madonna with shutting down the city’s last abortion mill in June after she visited there three months prior.

Dr. Francette Meaney, who has led pro-life efforts in Corpus Christi for almost four decades, rejoiced at that time, saying: “We thank Mother Mary in her icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa for this blessing. Dr. Aquino performed 2,000 abortions a year here and now the city named for the ‘Body of Christ’ will be a place where all children have a chance to have a birthday.”

The four abortion mills closed after being visited by the Black Madonna are:

  • Center for Women's Health – Cleveland, Ohio
  • Women’s Med Center (Lebanon Road Surgery Center) – Sharonville, Ohio
  • Aid For Women – Kansas City, Kansas
  • Coastal Birth Control Center – Corpus Christi, Texas

Fr. West called the pro-life pilgrimage thus far a success.

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“Every life saved is a success. Every abortion mill closed is a success. Every time a person's faith is strengthened to have the courage to stand up for life is a success. Every heart that has turned back to God and accepted his mercy is a success.”

Fr. West believes that years from now, people will remember the pilgrimage of the Black Madonna.

“We will look back and realize how powerful Our Lady’s intercessions are when we pray against the Culture of Death. Our Lady of Czestochowa gave us confidence that we could overcome abortion and anti-life forces by the power of God through her intercession.”

“North America has been blessed by Our Lady’s visit. She continues to give us strength, as Children of God, in the battle to combat the culture of death. By the power of God and through her prayers, we can be victorious!” he said.

The Black Madonna is scheduled to leave the country for Mexico at the beginning of December. 


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