In the Middle of Her Wounds

By Theresa Bonopartis

For close to 30 years now, I have had a deep devotion to Our Lady under the title of Our Lady of Czestochowa. I did not go looking for her. She sought me out.

At first it was subtle. I had never encountered her before, and then I started seeing her everywhere I went - in churches, in pictures, and then as a penance in the form of a novena during the Sacrament of Confession. The famous image of Our Lady of Czestochowa is so peculiar, you cannot help but be curious. Her dark skin, sad look, and facial scars beg to be questioned.

First, some back story: The image of Our Lady of Czestochowa, also known as the Black Madonna, resides at the Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa, Poland. According to pious tradition, St. Luke painted the image on a piece of cedar wood originally used by the Blessed Virgin Mary as a table in her home. Saint Helena discovered the image in the Holy Land in the fourth century. In the 15th century, St. Ladislaus brought it to Poland. Around that time, a Tartar arrow struck Our Lady in the throat. Then, the Hussites stole the image, and one of them slashed her face twice with a sword. But before he could strike it a third time, he fell to the floor and died. Since then, every time someone has tried to repair the scar on her throat and the gashes on her face, they reappear. Many other miraculous stories are associated with this holy image. The feast of Our Lady of Czestochowa is Aug. 26.

Not long after I had co-developed the "Entering Canaan" ministry for healing from abortion, which is particularly dedicated to Divine Mercy, in prayer, I felt as though Our Lady wanted to be patroness of this ministry. I thought that, like the scars on her face, the wounds of abortion may be healed, although they remain forever part of you.

My penance novena became a daily prayer. I prayed it for close to 20 years for the conversion of my father, who had once coerced me into having an abortion. He received the Sacraments before he died, and the last thing we spoke about together was my aborted son, Joshua. But it did not stop there, nor did my daily novena to Our Lady.

So much has confirmed our relationship over the years. Just like an earthly relationship, we have continued to grow closer. When the pilgrimage image of Our Lady of Czestochowa toured the world a few years ago, I was not surprised to discover that one of the intentions of the mission was the healing of those who had experienced abortion.

When the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, made a mosaic of the image out of pictures of those devoted to her, I found an image of myself right in the middle of her wounds. Where else would I be?

She remains a deep part of my everyday life, leading me always to her Son. On a recent visit to the Shrine in Jasna Gora, Poland, I felt as though I were visiting her home. She welcomed and embraced me in her peace and held me close to her in prayer. She obtained countless graces for me and others whom I have prayed for.

I have often thought of the scars on Our Lady of Czestochowa's face and their parallel with abortion. Women are told to forget about their abortions. Still, the scars remain. Over the years, I have watched as she has helped heal so many. It is no wonder that the scars of Our Lady, endured for our salvation, remain as well.

Recently, a priest friend of mine told me that Our Lady of Czestochowa looks like a warrior. I agree. A warrior ready for battle. Perhaps in this day and time, that is exactly what we need - a warrior who will lead an army of her children in the battlefields of this world to conquer evil through the grace she obtains from her Son. Mothers can be fierce when protecting their children from harm.

In St. Faustina's Diary, Jesus says, "I bear a special love for Poland, and if she will be obedient to My will, I will exalt her in might and holiness. From her will come forth the spark that will prepare the world for My final coming" (1732). Many think He was speaking of Pope St. John Paul II. He, St. Maximillian Kolbe, and St. Faustina have all been sparks. But I believe He was referring to Our Lady of Czestochowa.

I want to be with her as a warrior in her army. I pray to her daily for the courage, strength, and grace to fight alongside her in this crazy world, as she crushes the head of Satan. The battle has already begun. Are you willing to fight alongside her? She is calling you.

To learn more about Theresa Bonapartis' post-abortive healing ministry "Entering Canaan," visit or read her book A Journey to Healing Through Divine Mercy (Marian Press), which you can find on (Product code: TH-MERBK).


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