Black Madonna Shrine & Grottos is an example of what one man can do.
Madonna in Poland
Growing up in Poland, Bronislaus saw pilgrims honor Mary, Queen of Peace and Mercy. People traveled to visit the shrine at Jasna Gora. This monastery and shrine has been a spiritual capital for hundreds of years. People come to commune with the Holy. There is an icon, a beautiful work of art, that inspires many. It is known as “The Black Madonna.” As a young man, Bronislaus embraced a great love and devotion for Mary. He brought this love to Missouri.
In 1937 Br. Bronislaus began his labor of love
Missouri offers scrubby, dense forests of oak, walnut, hickory and sycamore trees packed together over limitless rolling hills. The land can be overgrown with shrubs and inhabited with countless wild creatures. Clearing the land was a major task.
Bronislaus built a cedar chapel and placed a painting of Our Lady above the altar. Soon the chapel offered prayer services. It became a devotional center. People came from great distances to visit.
One Sunday evening in 1958 an arsonist set the alter on fire. The brothers did their best but the blaze consumed the chapel.
Okay, let’s walk about the Shrine & Grottos
It’s an odd thing to see the last part first. In 1960, Br. Bronislaus suffered heat stroke. His final project was this grotto in honor of Our Lady of Fatima. This is just west of the bridge.
The grottos are built by hand. No power tools, no help. Native rock, from Old Mines, MO, seas shells and costume jewelry were donated by visitors and sent from foreign missions.
St. Francis Grotto
There are figurines of tiny creatures, sparkly bits, statues of bunnies, turtles are other creatures all around this grotto.
Up a hill, our next grotto is to honor Joseph.
taking one moment
The statues where made by artist Charles Bendel, May 1, 1890 – Feb. 24, 1978. He immigrated from Czechoslovakia and made his home in St. Louis, MO. It is said his favorite is a small work of a boy and his dog.
Return to Walk About
Following along the path the entire story begins to unfold . . .
Br. Bronislaus built and rebuilt this grotto. It isn’t as fancy as the others. The white inlaid wall is from the original monastery chapel. Originally a picture was displayed instead of this statue.
One more story:
I figure it’s time to go home now.
Shrine & Grottos -100 St. Joseph Hill Rd. Pacific, MO.
see ya later.
love & love,