Weeping Madonna Our Lady of Calvary, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, Poland






Drops of blood flowing from the eyes of Our Lady of Calvary were noticed on the painting given to the Bernardine Fathers in 1641. The veneration of the Weeping Madonna quickly became widespread. After the Partitions, the sanctuary at Kalwaria Zebrzydowska united the Polish nation whose country had been divided between three foreign powers. The icon was crowned with Papal crowns on August 15 1887. Nearly a million pilgrims come to see Our Lady of Calvary every year.

Kalwaria Zebrzydowska - The Feast of the assumption in the sanctuary of Our Lady of Calvary also know as the Weeping Madonna. Kalwaria Zebrzydowska was the first Calvary (or way of the Cross) created in Poland, and it's layout is based on the topography of old Jerusalem. The complex includes the church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, a Bernardine monastery and Mount Calvary itself, with forty four chapels scattered over the hills. Inside the church, the mannerist retrochoir stalls with twenty six scenes from the Life of the Virgin, the richly carved mid-seventeenth century pulpit and the Baroque high alter all merit close attention.

The crowds are particularly large during Passion Week and the festival of the Ascent of Calvary during which the stories contained in the bible are re-enacted. Pilgrims also arrive in vast numbers on the Feast of the Assumption, to follow the processions during which scenes of the Virgin Mary's funeral and coronation are staged.

As the present Pope John Paul II was born in Wadowice close to the Kalwaria, he often walked the Calvaria paths and prayed before the marvelous picture of Our Lady of Calvary.

Holy Father Pope John Paul II's Visit to Poland August 8, 2002

Pope Entrusts His Mission to Mary - At a Shrine He's Known Since Boyhood

Krakow, Poland, August 19, 2002 - Zenit.org. John Paul II entrusted to the Virgin Mary the fulfillment of his mission to the end, as he celebrated Mass in one of the shrines most important in his life. Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, located 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Krakow, was the pilgrimage center Karol Wojtyla frequented as a child with his father. He also went there as archbishop of Krakow, when faced with difficult decisions.

"Most Holy Mother," he prayed at the end of his homily today, "Our Lady of Calvary, obtain also for me strength in body and spirit, that I may carry out to the end the mission given me by the risen Lord." "To you I give back all the fruits of my life and my ministry," he said. "To you I entrust the future of the Church; to you I offer my nation; in you do I trust and once more to you I declare: Totus Tuus, Maria!"

The Latin phrase ("All thine") -- the motto of John Paul II's pontificate -- was inspired by the words of French theologian St. Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort (1673-1716). The Holy Father was visibly moved. Before the Mass, in the presence of 500 people who crowded the church, he was profoundly recollected in prayer before an image of the Blessed Virgin. About 20,000 people followed the event from the square next to the shrine.

Karol Wojtyla came to this church as a boy, accompanied by his father, one year after his mother's death. He last visited the shrine in 1979, during his first visit to Poland as Pope. In his prayer, the Holy Father also entrusted to Mary "the needs of the poor and the suffering." He asked the Mother of God to "enable the unemployed to find an employer," adding "help those who are poverty-stricken to find a home. Grant families the love which makes it possible to surmount all difficulties. Show young people a way and a horizon for the future."

"Cover children with the mantle of your protection, lest they be scandalized," John Paul II continued. "Confirm religious communities with the grace of faith, hope and love. Grant that priests may follow in the footsteps of your Son by offering their lives each day for the sheep. Obtain for bishops the light of the Holy Spirit, so that they may guide this Church to the gates of your Son's Kingdom by a single, straight path," the Holy Father added.

At the end of John Paul II's prayer, prolonged applause broke out in the church and in the surrounding area. Following the Mass, the Pope lunched with the community of Friars Minor, also known as Bernardines, who oversee the Kalwaria Zebrzydowska Shrine. The Pope left Poland this afternoon, ending the 98th international pilgrimage of his pontificate."