It’s been over a month since my last post, and I usually try not to let that happen. Unfortunately in the past month, I had to deal with the passing of my beloved senior dog (Krypto, 15 years old). The leading up to his death, and the grief afterwards, has been pretty tough. Thanks to some built up vacation time from work, I decided to take off the end of October for a few weeks to sort of get my mind back on track. One of the things I have been wanting to do for awhile is visit the Black Madonna shrine in Pacific, MO (USA). There are not many Black Madonnas in the US, but when I found out about this shrine about 4 hours away, I knew I would have to make it out there some time, and now it was good as time as any.
Located in the deep forest about 40 minutes south west of St. Louis, MO, this shrine is just up the road from a Franciscan Monastery. A history of the site can be found here: https://theblackmadonnashrine.org/who-we-are/
Upon arriving at the site, there is an outdoor chapel that had three variants of Our Lady of Czestochowa on display. Two of these were framed portraits on pull carts and a third was a mosaic version on the wall behind an altar. See the pics and video below:
To the left of the altar is a mini museum. Inside are various artifacts either relating to the site, donated items or souvenirs of Our Lady of Czestochowa. Below is a few pics, as well as a quick video walk through.
At the other end of the chapel, there is a gift shop that features Catholic items, but what really impressed me was the amount of Our Lady of Czestochowa items they had! I expected a few things, but wow, this went into another level! So I ended up getting quite a few items like a small medal coin, a sticker suncatcher, 8×10 print in frame, a magnet and a gold leaf icon (the smaller version, as they had three different sizes). To find Black Madonna icons for sale can be a hassle at times, so I was thrilled to get one, especially one of such high quality. Pic below:
Besides this amazing shrine to Our Lady, the grounds also feature a large grotto that was built using locally found items. There is a geode grotto here locally that is similar to this one, so I have seen something like this before. It is one of those projects that is an absolute labor of love that took years to put together. Very impressive and is definitely an example of “folk art.” Here are a few pics below:
I was extremely happy that my wife and I made the trip to the shrine. While I do like seeing the large cathedrals, these little “labors of love” that exist in the middle of nowhere really warm my heart. Check it out if you are near to the area. Their official website is: https://theblackmadonnashrine.org