From the beginning of its existence, Mary has played a unique role in ministering to our Order. She was present in Pauline’s life and activities. Our Order has always venerated her as Mother, Lady, and Queen, and has zealously spread this devotion

– (Constitutions of the Order of St. Paul the First Hermit, Article 70).

Mary in the Life of the Order


Devotion to Mary is one of the most important aspects of the spirituality of our Order. Although our history presents the eremitical character of our community, Mary plays an important role in the hermit’s life, leading all of us as a Mother to her Son, Jesus Christ. Since the beginning of our Order, our founding fathers saw in her a refuge of holiness and realized how effective our mission can be when we plead to her for our religious community.

The imitation of Mary is just as important as the imitation of St. Paul the First Hermit because she teaches us humility and full entrustment to God, the resignation of our own will, and love for every person whom God places on the path of our religious vocation.

Marian Devotion in Our Order


Our devotion to Mary is based on the Gospel and the teaching of the Church. The veneration of Mary is expressed in many ways in our community. In addition to contemplating her life in the mysteries of the rosary, in-depth reading of church documents and books on Marian themes, singing the Litany to the Blessed Virgin Mary (Litany of Loretto) using our own traditional “Jasna Gora” melody, and other church devotions, we also celebrate all Marian feast days in the liturgical year.

During the summertime, we participate in walking pilgrimages from our Pauline parishes and shrines to Jasna Gora Shrine in Czestochowa, Poland. In the United States, we participate in similar pilgrimages to American Czestochowa in Doylestown, PA, where the Image of Our Lady of Czestochowa is also present.

Jasna Gora Shrine – Czestochowa, Poland


Our Order has many Marian shrines scattered around Poland and around the world, focused on welcoming pilgrims and helping them, especially through the celebration of the sacraments, among which the sacrament of penance and reconciliation seems to be paramount. However, Jasna Gora Shrine, located in Czestochowa, Poland, has a special place in our history and in our hearts. Jasna Góra is our greatest treasure of the Order, not only because of the number of votive offerings and valuable historical items left here over the centuries but above all because of the presence of Mary in the Czestochowa Icon, to which pilgrims come with requests and problems to plead for the intercession of the Mother of the Son of God.

The Pauline Fathers and Brothers have been the guardians of this holy place since the beginning of its existence. Jasna Gora Monastery is also a General House for the entire Order. This is where Father General of the Order and General Council reside. Together they make the most important decisions concerning the life and functioning of the entire Pauline community in the world. Jasna Gora, founded on September 8, 1382, by a Polish Prince Wladyslaw Opolczyk, was intended to remain a hermitage; however, the icon of the Mother of God, which the Prince has left to the Pauline Fathers, quickly became famous for miracles and attracted crowds of pilgrims, forcing the Pauline Fathers to go out and engage in the service of the faithful.

Mary has enriched our charism by placing on us special care for the spiritual life of all the pilgrims. For over six hundred years thiS place has been bringing abundant fruits of salvation which we, as Mary’s helpers, are trying to multiply in our own eremitical life and in the lives of the faithful who come to us.


The Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa

The Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa is painted on three linden boards having the following total dimensions: height, 47.6 inches; width 32 inches; and maximum thickness, 1,37 inches. The Icon depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary standing with the child Jesus in her arms. Both having expressions of thoughtfulness, Mary looks at the faithful, while the child directs His gaze toward the pilgrim and beyond.  The Blessed Mother’s right cheek is marked with two parallel scratches, while the third scratch is on the nose line. On the neck, we can see six cuts, two of which are clearly visible, while the other four cuts are more hidden. The Child rests on Mary’s left arm; in His left hand, He holds a book, while He raises His right hand in a gesture characteristic of teaching or blessing. The right arm of Mary points to Jesus, who is the only Savior of the world.

From the beginning, the miraculous Icon became famous for its countless miracles. Over the centuries, these miracles have caused many pilgrims throughout Poland and from distant coasts of Europe to visit the Marian Shrine of Jasna Gora. Signs of the pilgrims’ devotion to the Blessed Mother were countless votive offerings, which can be measured today by the value of the intentions of the faithful and not of their material worth. One of the most moving and extraordinary votive offerings at the Shrine is the one left by St. John Paul II. Currently exposed in a special container on the altar of Our Lady is the belt of his cassock, shot through and bloodstained during his assassination attempt in St. Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981.

The image of Our Lady of Czestochowa, from the beginning of the Shrine, was recognized as extraordinary, surrounded by the devotion of the faithful (including Polish kings), who offered her numerous gifts and votive offerings. Jan Długosz calls Our Lady of Czestochowa “the most worthy Queen of the world and ours.”

The first coronation of the Image of Our Lady of Czestochowa took place on September 8, 1717. It was the result of centuries-old Polish devotion for the Blessed Virgin displayed by all people and rulers of the Polish nation. The decision to coronate the Icon was taken by Pope Clement XI, who offered precious crowns. 

However, on the night of October 22-23, 1909, these crowns, together with the pearl dress surrounding the Icon of Our Lady, were stolen by unknown perpetrators.

The theft of Pope Clement XI’s crowns caused grief not only in the Polish nation, but also moved Pope Pius X, who then said: “I have just learned that Poland is crying. I decided to offer the crowns to the Holy Mother in place of those that one of my predecessors sent. I only regret that my poverty did not allow me to make a gift so magnificent that my heart wanted to offer. If it were in my power, then I would make a miracle to make my gift as magnificent as possible to express my devotion to the Mother of God and my love to the Polish nation.”

The solemn coronation took place on May 22, 1910, in Czestochowa, and the crown was imposed by Bishop Stanisław Zdzitowiecki.

In the second half of the twentieth century, several other crowns were made and offered. The most important of these are the crowns founded on the Millennium of the Baptism of Poland in 1966, for the coronation done by the Servant of God, the Primate of Poland, Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński. At the end of his life in 2005, Pope Saint John Paul II also offered crowns for the Mother of God. The coronation with these crowns took place on August 26, 2005, on the solemnity of Our Lady of Częstochowa. The last crowns were offered in 2017 for the 300th anniversary of the first papal crowning of the Icon, as a foundation of the reconstructed stolen crowns of Pope Clement XI, made by the Italian Archdiocese of Crotone-Santa Severina. The crowns were blessed by Pope Francis on May 17, 2017.

The copy of The Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, will be crowned on August 25, 2019, by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia. The crowns were offered by the Pauline Fathers and Brothers along with the pilgrims of American Czestochowa, and blessed by Pope Francis at the Vatican, in St. Peter’s Square, on June 12, 2019.

Click on the Icon to discover

the meaning of the icon parts.


The Scars

Distinguishing the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa are the scars on the face of the Blessed Virgin, a sign and symbol of the mystery of the Cross and suffering. The Icon carries with it the marks of wounds and pain. For the people of Poland, these scratches are an integral part of their identification of themselves with the Queen of Poland. There are many wounds, cuts on the Icon (on the neck, face, and two below the right eye), as if the Blessed Mother wants to communicate that she is the Mother and Queen of a nation anguished and tormented over the centuries. In the darkest and most difficult moments for Poland, those marks of suffering and redemption became a sign of hope and help, to stand the test of time. Just like the seven swords of sorrows that pierced her heart under the Cross, she now wears these same signs of sorrows on her miraculous Icon.



Halos, symbolizing God the Father, surround the heads of Mary and Jesus, connecting them into one and highlighting the unity of Mary and the Child. Because Jesus’ head is so close to the figure of Mary, both halos come together into one composite whole, reminding us of the total unity of Mary with Christ. The halos constitute a characteristic feature of Christian iconography and mosaic monuments appearing at the end of the sixth or the beginning of the seventh century.



Jesus is a teacher. Throughout his entire hand is raised in a gesture of a blessing. It is a gesture that in the ancient Church was understood as the transmission of Eternal Wisdom. It is the beautiful gesture of blessing that parents offer to their children as they leave the home. In this blessing lies a wish that the child, now mature and beginning adult life, will surrender to God’s Wisdom and will live an honest life, one focused on God.



In the Czestochowa Icon, Mary is inscribed in the Holy Trinity. She is a picture, a reflection of the Holy Trinity because she acts as a mirror reflecting the Eternal Light into the world through her acceptance of the divine Motherhood. The unity and bond between Mary and Jesus are clearly visible. Her unity with the Holy Spirit is represented in the symbolic green background. The color green represents life, hope, and the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that surrounds and penetrates Mary’s core, just like it penetrates the core of God himself.


Mary Coat

The coat covers the head and arms of Mary, in pleats folded along her face. The folds of the coat along her right arm and at her heart move in the direction of Jesus and indicate that in the life of Mary, her thoughts, her heart, and all her actions are directed continually towards Christ. Our Lady, therefore, invites us to look to Christ for enlightenment, for courage, and for the sensitivity of the heart. The Blessed Virgin’s dark navy blue coat is a sign of the interior life that leads to infinity. The dark blue in iconography is a symbol of the life of God. In the Icon of Czestochowa, dark navy blue emphasizes Mary’s virginity while the coat with dark carmine lining emphasizes her divine Motherhood.


The Right Arm of Mary

The right arm of Mary is clearly and undoubtedly the most important feature of the Icon. Mary points to Jesus since she is only the mediator on the way to Jesus. She does not want us to focus our lives on her and her image, but to focus all our attention on her Son, who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). It is Jesus, who is exactly this way, this road, which Mary points to with her right hand: He is the Way!


The Book

The right arm of Mary is clearly and undoubtedly the most important feature of the Icon. Mary points to Jesus since she is only the mediator on the way to Jesus. She does not want us to focus our lives on her and her image, but to focus all our attention on her Son, who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). It is Jesus, who is exactly this way, this road, which Mary points to with her right hand: He is the Way!


Jesus Coat

The primary color of the Child Jesus’ robe in the Icon is red. This color symbolizes God’s never-ending love, which is the ultimate source of the creation and redemption of the whole world. This carmine shade of the robe signifies above all the divine dignity of Jesus, as well as the suffering of his human nature. Jesus is God born of Mary, who becomes the Mother of God (Theotokos) at the moment of her Fiat.


Signature of the Pope John Paul II

The copy of the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, located in American Czestochowa, was blessed by Pope Saint John Paul II on August 1, 1980. The visible sign of that wonderful occasion is the signature of John Paul II: “With Blessing, John Paul II, August 1, 1980” located on the front of the Icon just below Jesus’ knees.




Jasna Gora Monastery

American Czestochowa