This image of Our Lady is thought to have been painted by St. Luke on the wood of a tabletop that Jesus made. It has blackened over time due to the smoke of candles. After 500 years in Constantinople it was moved to the part of Russia that would become Poland. A popular story tells that in 1384, Polish Prince Ladislaus was passing Czestochowa with the picture when his horses refused to go on. He was advised in a dream to leave the icon at Jasna Gora (Bright Hill). So it remained in the church there, later protected by the Pauline Fathers.
In 1430 the Hussites attempted to steal the image. Failing, one plunderer slashed the image twice with his sword. Repeated attempts to repair the slash marks have failed.
During the Swedish Deluge and the siege of Czestochowa, the image became a symbol of resistance against the invaders. At the peak of the invasion, Our Lady of Czestochowa was acclaimed Queen of Poland in 1656 by King John Casimir. Shortly after, the Swedish army was forced to leave Poland.
On the feast of the Assumption 1920, during a Polish counteroffensive against the advancing Soviet army, the image appeared in the clouds causing panic among the Soviet soldiers, contributing to the Polish victory.
Devotion to Our Lady of Czestochowa is an essential elemet of the Polish culture and nationality and it has been transmitted in the Polish "blood" for many generations. Miracles attributed to Our Lady of Czestochowa are many and spectacular.
"The inner life of another that is known to God alone becomes to a much less degree open to us through friendship. It partially fills the desire of our incomplete, lonely hearts for completeness in another. Friendship brings out the best in a person through forgetfulness of self." - St. Thomas Aquinas