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Offline SeanJohnson

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NFP: A Polish Story
« on: May 06, 2019, 11:06:53 PM »
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  • People might be surprised to learn that a man surnamed Johnson is actually primarily Polish by descent (50% Polish from my mother's side; 25% Swede and Irish from my Father).

    My mother's maiden name was Kuznia (which is Polish for "Blacksmith shop").

    So my people are salt of the earth types: Neither noble nor well-connected; neither generally wealthy nor particularly well educated (with some exceptions).

    Most of us were farmers, who came to this country in 1881 as descendents of Albert and Hedwig Kuznia.

    In 1981, we all gathered together -over 1,000 American Kuznia's- in a field across from Assumption Church to commemorate our 100 year anniversary in America.

    That gathering drew some attention, since it was the largest assemblage of population within a 35 mile radius (albeit a temporary one).

    We thought we were pretty cool because we received a letter from Pope John Paul II ("The Polish Pope") acknowledging our anniversary, and had a bishop and 10 priests celebrate Mass in the field (with immodesty, communion in the hand, and the Novus Ordo, unfortunately).

    But the location was symbolic: It was where my descendants settled when they came to this country.  And the church they built with depression-era funds (provided by the Polish National Alliance, of which many of my fore-bearers served as officers) stands to this day as an out of place magnificent monument to their devotion to Our Lady of the Assumption:





    (See also: https://www.google.com/maps/uv?hl=en&pb=!1s0x52c6d16418cbc5f5%3A0x4d91645527e4fda4!2m22!2m2!1i80!2i80!3m1!2i20!16m16!1b1!2m2!1m1!1e1!2m2!1m1!1e3!2m2!1m1!1e5!2m2!1m1!1e4!2m2!1m1!1e6!3m1!7e115!4shttps%3A%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com%2Fp%2FAF1QipPKP4GSFrEO56yutqFasT2Tg_Ja5viFx8sO5X7s%3Dw266-h200-k-no!5sassumption%20church%20florian%20minnesota%20-%20Google%20Search&imagekey=!1e10!2sAF1QipPopORmmXprrSwA5kgr02865hbokxOLH9nMLqf3&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjMwue4uYjiAhUSRK0KHYtsDNsQoiowDnoECA4QBg)

    A good many of my relatives are buried in the cemetery behind this church (actually, almost everyone there is a relative; about 500 of them).

    Anyway, that gathering (37 years ago, when I was only 9 years-old) was memorable.

    There was actually a committee of Kuznia's dedicated to producing a book to commemorate the occasion, which began two years prior to the event.

    I have a hardcopy of that book, which features on its cover a family crest created to commemorate the occasion (not as a pretense to nobility, but as a reminder of what had held us together as a family on two continents).

    One of my distant uncles created a website, where the entire book is downloaded, which can be found here: http://www.nickkuznia.com/kuznia-book  (My branch is to be found under the Vincent and Wanda Kuznia).

    That website explains the symbolism of the Crest (and yes, this eventually gets into the matter of NFP):

    "The Kuznia Reunion Coat of Arms
    The coat of arms shown was adopted by the Kuznia Reunion Steering Committee to be used during the centenary of Albert and Hedwig Kuznia's arrival in America.
    The lower right quarter of the shield bears the crowned White Eagles of Poland on a red background. These are the arms of a free Poland and the colors of the Polish flag, to commemorate the birthplace of Albert and Hedwig.
    The lower left quarter displays tools that are found in a blacksmith's shop: the anvil, hammer, and forging pliers. "Blacksmith shop" is the translation of the name Kuznia.
    The American bald eagle bearing the banner American flag represents their adopted country, the United States of America. The 1881 signifies the year of Albert's arrival in America.
    The open cross on white represents their faith in God. The wheat and grapes signify both their belief in the Eucharist and the nature of their occupation in America, farming.
    The coloring of the coat of arms bears double significance. The predominant red, white, and blue of the shield are the colors of the American flag. Red and white are also the colors of the Polish flag. The gold crest atop the shield represents their prosperity in their adopted country and the predominent color of the flag of their Catholic faith."

    It really was no platitude.

    My ancestors lived the faith, first and foremost.  Many died in the habit of various 3rd orders, and were buried in them (as some pics in the book show).

    But at last I come to the point:

    They endured incredible hardship, and found the strength to do it precisely because their religion was lived, and real.

    My ancestors from outside Krakow, Poland were farmers, and poor and uneducated.

    But they were smart enough to buy land, figure out how to make it productive, and (here we go) never had to resort to NFP despite incredible hardship.

    Here are some direct quotes from the reunion book, to illustrate the conditions (Oh yeah: Great-Grandpa Albert was 26, and Great-Grandma Hedwig was 14 (!), when they were married, with the blessing of the Church and the rejoicing of both families!!):

    "Albert "Wojciech" Kuznia was born in Poland in 1841 to Joseph Kuznia and his wife, whose name is not known. As a young man, he married Hedwig "Jadwiga" Krzyzosiak, the daughter of Mikolai and Mary Krzyzosiak. Hedwig was born in Poland in 1853. At the time of their marriage. Hedwig was only fourteen years old and her parents had arranged her marriage to Albert. At about the age of seventeen, in 1870, she gave birth to their first child, Frank. He was followed by two more sons: Stanley born May 8, 1872, and Anton born November 6, 1873. To the best of our knowledge, they were followed by the birth of a daughter, Mary, that would have been born in 1874. The exact date of her birth or death is unknown. A fourth son, Paul, was then born in 1875, and another son, Joseph, on October 8, 1875. Between these two sons, it is said that a son named John was born, the sixth child of Albert and Hedwig. Though it is certain that a son, John, was born, we do not know the date of his birth or death. The last child born to them in Poland was Elizabeth on November 4, 1881. This fact has led us to believe that Albert did not leave Poland any sooner than 1881.

    "Many people recall talk that one of the children had died on the passage across the ocean, and the usual burial at sea was given. This theory can be neither proven or disproven, since records of family members that crossed cannot be obtained from the government archives because they arrived at the port of New York, and the records are not indexed for the year 1884.

    "In the nine years that followed, six more children were born. During their third winter in Marshall County, a set of twins, Bert and Mike, were born. They were followed sixteen months later by another son, Benedict, and seventeen months later again by a daughter, Anna. Their fifteenth child, Vincent, was born two years later, to be followed by their last child, another son named John, nineteen months later on May 4, 1894.

    "From these humble beginnings, the family prospered. Their faith in God carried them through the good times and the bad times. The grandchildren testify that prayer was an almost constant companion of both Albert and Hedwig. Obviously, they both had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and their rosary was a very dear part of them. It is said that Hedwig's rosary hung from the belt at her waist when not in use, and Albert often wore his around his wrist when he was not praying it. Hedwig often attended daily Mass in Florian.

    "Hedwig was buried in the robes of a Third Order Franciscan, or tertiary, of which obviously she was a member. This was her wish. She brought these robes with her from Poland when she came in 1884, and by the time of her death in 1925, they had deteriorated so much that great care had to be taken when dressing her for burial, as the fabric was falling apart."
    http://www.nickkuznia.com/kuznia-book/beginnings

    So that's what's in my veins.

    Eventually, my impoverished grandparents (Edmund and Annie Kuznia) built a farmhouse on Albert and Hedwig Kuznia's old farmstead.

    Attached is a picture of the house they raised 9 children in (Couldn't figure out how to copy/paste it).  I soent all my Christmas's and school vacations there.  Happy days!

    That house only had 4 bedrooms (for 11 people), and the furnace was in the (oft-flooded) basement, with a grate in the middle of the living room floor, in lieu of ductwork (you had to be careful at Christmas time walking around barefoot, or you might burn your feet walking over it).

    But at last we come to NFP:

    NEVER ONCE DID MY GRANDPARENTS (OR ANY OTHER PRE-CONCILIAR KUZNIA, SO FAR AS I AM AWARE, CONSIDER NFP AS A RESPONSE TO POVERTY, STRESS, OR ANY OTHER REASON.

    Men and women were tougher then.

    Men and women today are pansies, for the most part (even if they have big biceps, they have no heart).

    Cowards.  Catholic cowards.

    It is natural to waver, and OK, so long as you recover before the fall.

    This family history which I have let you in on shows the mettle which once typified simple Catholics.

    My family was just par for the course (but today, by comparison, they seem superhuman).

    But they only did what normal, regular Catholic s did.

    In my own case, I am in the process of forming and raising a large family.

    I will take as many blessings as God shall give me, even though I am secretly shaking in my boots.

    But like St. Augustine, I look at my forefathers, and the little women having 17 children, and say, "If them, why not me?"

    Maybe I don't get to buy the nice car, take vacations, get the fancy rifle, etc.

    But with God's help, he will give me the grace to be faithful.

    Even more personal: At two distinct times in life, my wife and I have thought, "This is too much.  We can't go on like this.  Surely God does not intend for this."  We asked for permission to practice NFP, and on two separate occasions, we were granted permission.  But at the moment of truth, just before the fall, we recovered our courage.  We just couldn't do it.  We put our faith in God, and even if it meant we should live like our ancestors (my wife is Polish-Czech too), what's wrong with that, if we can (hopefully) raise souls to heaven for God's glory?

    I thank God for the simplicity of my Polish family heritage.  To be unremarkable, unheralded, but faithful, strong, and resolute in the performance of duty.  Maybe that is what we can offer to God in our times.

    When reasons suggests no reason for hope, to be dutiful.

    Yet there are so many moments of joy amidst the stress, work, and expense.

    No: We will have the children God gives us.

    We will never practice NFP, God willing.

    Why should we?
    Romans 5:20 "But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more."

    -I retract any and all statements I have made that are incongruent with the True Faith, and apologize for ever having made them-


    Offline Meg

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    Re: NFP: A Polish Story
    « Reply #1 on: May 07, 2019, 11:34:06 AM »
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  • You've provided a wonderful history of your family. You are fortunate to have such good Catholic examples from those who followed their Catholic faith, especially concerning NFP. It couldn't have been easy to raise many children in those days, but then people didn't expect an easy life back then.

    I'm a convert, so I have no Catholic examples to look to in my family background. However, my husband and I recently tried to purchase the huge old family farmhouse built by my great-great grandfather, post-Civil War, in Missouri. It is in extreme disrepair, so we didn't want to pay full price. Someone else made a full-price offer, so we weren't able to buy it. My great-great grandfather was protestant, but a good man, for a Protestant. He was Methodist-Episcopalian. He and his wife (my great-great grandmother) had 15 children, but two died in infancy. They farmed 700 acres at one time; only 4 four acres remain attached to the old home-place now.

    From viewing the attachment in your OP, I see that your grandfather lived in Seattle in the 1880's, in the Salmon Bay Park Additions area. Well, that's the very same neighborhood that my husband and I live in, though we are going to sell our home soon. The Redemptorists served Catholics here, in the 1880's, from Sacred Heart parish in the Queen Anne neighborhood, in, I think, a temporary structure back then. A more permanent structure (though made of wood) was built in 1901. Not sure if your family was still here by that time, but here's the church they likely attended if they were:

    https://stalseattle.org/parish/about/history/

    In the 1960's, a dreadful modern church was built to replace the lovely wooden structure. The FSSP have their apostolate there now. They share it with the Novus Ordo folks.


    Offline SeanJohnson

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    Re: NFP: A Polish Story
    « Reply #2 on: May 07, 2019, 12:56:48 PM »
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  • You've provided a wonderful history of your family. You are fortunate to have such good Catholic examples from those who followed their Catholic faith, especially concerning NFP. It couldn't have been easy to raise many children in those days, but then people didn't expect an easy life back then.

    I'm a convert, so I have no Catholic examples to look to in my family background. However, my husband and I recently tried to purchase the huge old family farmhouse built by my great-great grandfather, post-Civil War, in Missouri. It is in extreme disrepair, so we didn't want to pay full price. Someone else made a full-price offer, so we weren't able to buy it. My great-great grandfather was protestant, but a good man, for a Protestant. He was Methodist-Episcopalian. He and his wife (my great-great grandmother) had 15 children, but two died in infancy. They farmed 700 acres at one time; only 4 four acres remain attached to the old home-place now.

    From viewing the attachment in your OP, I see that your grandfather lived in Seattle in the 1880's, in the Salmon Bay Park Additions area. Well, that's the very same neighborhood that my husband and I live in, though we are going to sell our home soon. The Redemptorists served Catholics here, in the 1880's, from Sacred Heart parish in the Queen Anne neighborhood, in, I think, a temporary structure back then. A more permanent structure (though made of wood) was built in 1901. Not sure if your family was still here by that time, but here's the church they likely attended if they were:

    https://stalseattle.org/parish/about/history/

    In the 1960's, a dreadful modern church was built to replace the lovely wooden structure. The FSSP have their apostolate there now. They share it with the Novus Ordo folks.

    Hello Meg-

    What a small world it is, and thank you so much for filling in this additional family history for me regarding the Redemptorist church my family likely attended!

    That period is a rather obscure one for us, and I am excited to pass your information around to my family 😊

    You hit the nail on the head, I think, when you note that back then nobody expected an easy life, while today nobody expects a difficult one.

    I think this naive approach to life in modern times explains many of our social ills (eg., the prevalence of divorce, abortion, annulments, NFP, etc.).

    People seem to grow up disconnected from the real world, then spend most of their lives trying to flee it in selfish pursuits and dereliction.

    I begin to see Bishop Williamson’s perspective regarding modern man being “denatured,” as well as his exhortations for rural and anti-technological lifestyle.
    Romans 5:20 "But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more."

    -I retract any and all statements I have made that are incongruent with the True Faith, and apologize for ever having made them-


    Offline Seraphina

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    Re: NFP: A Polish Story
    « Reply #3 on: May 07, 2019, 01:01:08 PM »
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  • My ancestors would be similar, especially on the Irish side.  The Scanlon and Fagans came over in 1848 and 1849, respectively.  The Murphys arrived in either 18th or 1852, the records give both dates.  The Scanlons moved into a single room on the fifth (top) floor of a tenement in what is now Chinatown in New York.  They had 13 children, nine of whom lived  to adulthood, not bad for those times.  Of the nine, we have records of two men and one woman.  The men married and had eight and 10 children born.  The woman, Ellen, married Danny Fagan.  They had seven children, four of whom lived.  One of these was Helen who married Leon Murphy. They married and settled in the Hell's Kitchen area of Manhattan.  Here, the large families stopped as a result of the Spanish Flu of 1918.  My grandmother, Helen hovered near death, was given Last Rites three times.  She was bedridden for about two years.  My grandfather had the flu before grandma and while very sick, made a full recovery.  In the years following, they had numerous miscarriages, and two babies lived only a few weeks.  But two grew to adulthood, my aunt who died in 2013 and my father, Pete, still alive and kicking at 89.  He married at age 28 to my Polish mother Franya, still single at 34.  They had three children, two of whom are living.  After a third miscarriage, my mother couldn't have anymore children, but no NFP.  Patrick was premature and lived three days, just long enough to be baptized, so he's our baby saint in Heaven.  My sister lost the faith, "married," has two boys, and divorced.  I've remained single, and had I not come of age when the nuns were exchanging habits for jeans and religious departing for the world, I'd probably have become a sister.  It's rather sad that of my faithful, and tough Irish ancestors, there are two boys in young adulthood and mid-teens who grew up without religion, and only three practicing Catholics, yours truly and my elderly parents.  As for my aunt, uncle, their children, my three cousins and their offspring, NFP was skipped over, going right to contraception because the faith was abandoned. It's the same story on my mother's side.  My uncle and aunt had eight children, no NFP, and raised them in the faith, only for Vat. 2 to cause every last one of them to abandon religion.  Seven married. Five had either two or three children, who in turn three married. One couple has two children, the other two have none by plan. One second cousin is unmarried and has three children by two different men.  Needless to say, not one of these is Catholic.  We have minimal contact with my cousins, and no contact with their children.  People have moved all over the US and Canada. Having nothing in common, no family homestead or land on either side, we remain without physical and spiritual roots.  The parishes where my parents grew up and in which I was raised are literally gone, closed down and sold off.  As Our Lady forewarned, the time would come when Catholics will have left the Rosary and brown scapular.  

    Offline SeanJohnson

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    Re: NFP: A Polish Story
    « Reply #4 on: May 07, 2019, 01:27:59 PM »
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  • Seraphina-

    Your family history parallels my own, particularly with regard to the abandonment of the faith after Vatican II.

    From strong roots, the combination of living the American dream (ie., easy life) and the apostasy in Rome were sufficient to rip them out by their roots:

    Leave the farm, go to the city where the fun and careers are, women going to college and polluting themselves with uncatholic indoctrination and the deterioration of common sense, and self-justifying excuses for NFP, divorce, contraception, and all the rest.

    Except for my mother, I know of none still in Tradition.

    First they were seduced away from the land.

    Then from the Church.

    Plenty of “devout” conciliarists, but all grossly modernist, going to church in shorts, etc.

    About 20 years ago, I attended my last Novus Ordo at the church pictured in the OP. I was hunting on my grandpa’s farm a mile away.  The sermon was about ham sandwiches!

    That was it.

    Inside the church, the high altar (and side altars) still stand, along with side sections of the marble communion rail, because of the intervention of my great-uncle Valerian:

    After the new Mass was promulgated, the priest announced before the sermon that in order to conform to Vatican II, the church was going to have to get rid of it all.  But that beautiful decor had been paid for by impoverished immigrants who donated the money for it through the Polish National Alliance.  

    So after Mass, in the basement in front of everyone, Valerian addresses the priest from across the room, and trembling with anger, assures the priest that if he puts one hand on that communion rail or altars, he is going home to get his double but axe, and chop them off.

    That is how any of it survives to this day.  They don’t mention that story in the book, but it is true and well known in the family.

    There was also an important lesson learned:

    What is fought for is retained, and what is not fought for is lost.

    This is why the SSPX, with its branded apostolate, is losing everything.

    X’s CCCC thread proves that beyond a doubt (and another 6-7 examples could be added to it only since its recent publication!).
    Romans 5:20 "But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more."

    -I retract any and all statements I have made that are incongruent with the True Faith, and apologize for ever having made them-



    Offline Seraphina

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    Re: NFP: A Polish Story
    « Reply #5 on: May 07, 2019, 01:59:21 PM »
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  • Yes, it is similar. Probably 90% or more of the people on this forum have the same basic story.  One difference between yours and mine is that your ancestors left the land for the cities, whereas mine had no land to leave, neither in the US or in their native Ireland or Poland.  My Irish ancestors were tenants (slaves!) on the estates of English Protestant land owners.  Come the Potato Famine, their huts were torn down and they were turned out to die by their tens of thousands in the fields, forests, and roadsides.  My Polish ancestors were also tenant farmers, peasants, who owned no land.  Both came to New York where mere existence was the goal.  The first person to own land and a home were my parents, who bought a dilapidated cottage surrounded by thorn bushes and overgrown trees draped in huge grapevines. It took my father two years to make it inhabitable.  On my mother's side, her brother bought a small house and land a few years after my parents.  In the recession in the 1970s, my uncle lost his job and they had to sell the place and go back to renting.  Neither my sister nor I make enough even collectively to afford our parents' present home.  The taxes alone exceed our combined incomes.  None of my cousins own homes or land, either.  If it weren't for the GI Bill, my father and uncles wouldn't have gone to college and probably wouldn't have been able to buy homes.  They were in the right place at the right time.  So it's easy to see how, without even a parish for stability, the families have splintered and scattered.   

    Offline Matthew

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    Re: NFP: A Polish Story
    « Reply #6 on: May 07, 2019, 03:28:20 PM »
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  • Thank you for sharing this family history, Sean.

    My family on my dad's side was similarly humble. Blue collar workmen.  They came over from Ireland many generations ago, and settled in southern Wisconsin. My grandpa was a refrigeration repairman -- repairing all kinds of cooling units for Muller Pinehurst, a large Wisconsin dairy. I used to eat that brand of ice cream all the time. He had 8 children and was often gone doing "service calls". The woman he married was the stronger Catholic, fortunately and unfortunately. She was the oldest sister of Thomas A. Nelson, which his why I'm related to him.

    But the fact that all my aunts & uncles were sent to Catholic school in the 60's shows that up till that point, the Mc_____ clan was still very much Irish Catholic. Several of them had red hair and freckles (not my dad though) and most of them drank (some quite a lot) and they all smoked. Many even had problems with substance abuse. Very typical faults for the Irish.
    There were no software developers on that side of the family. There might have been some brains, but they were more the "underachieving" sort.

    Despite the fact that my family was very poor while growing up, both my parents highly treasured and loved their children and we all knew it. When I love my children today, I'm just acting like I naturally would act, going with nature, that is to say imitating my dad. My mom wanted to have a larger family than she ended up with, but it wasn't meant to be. She had to have all her babies C-section. And not the modern 2000's C-section either -- the old kind of cut which did much more damage.* She lost a lot of blood with #3. I do know that my parents never used artificial birth control.

    I got my engineering brains from my mom's side of the family, the German side. My mom's oldest brother was a computer programmer. All 4 of my mom's siblings went to college and were decent taxpayers, disciplined, no trouble with the law -- all of which was the opposite of my dad's family :)

    However, my mom only had 4 siblings (family size starting to go down) which might have been related to the other problem -- my mom's parents got divorced. Both remarried. But the remarried "spouses" both passed away first, and I think my grandfather reconciled with the church before death. Here's hoping!

    Speaking of which -- my last remaining living grandparent, my grandmother (mother's mother) is currently dying. Please say a prayer for her.

    She has been living with her youngest son for many years now, and he goes to the SSPX. She has already received the Last Rites from an SSPX priest, and I heard she's holding a crucifix a lot while she's awake. Here's hoping and praying for a holy death!



    * The classical caesarean section involves a longitudinal midline incision on the uterus which allows a larger space to deliver the baby. It is performed at very early gestations where the lower segment of the uterus is unformed as it is safer in this situation for the baby: but it is rarely performed other than at these early gestations, as the operation is more prone to complications than a low transverse uterine incision. Any woman who has had a classical section will be recommended to have an elective repeat section in subsequent pregnancies as the vertical incision is much more likely to rupture in labor than the transverse incision.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesarean_section
    Start your Amazon.com session by clicking this link, and my family and I get a commission on your purchase!

    Offline Capt McQuigg

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    Re: NFP: A Polish Story
    « Reply #7 on: May 07, 2019, 05:16:43 PM »
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  • I'm still not convinced that NFP is not Church-sanctioned birth control.  Sure, no chemicals are involved but the intent is the same.

    The goal, the stated purpose, the reason for engaging in, the primary factor in engaging in NFP is to avoid having more children.  This is only different from birth control because there are no chemicals involved. 



    Offline Kazimierz

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    Re: NFP: A Polish Story
    « Reply #8 on: May 07, 2019, 09:16:34 PM »
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  •  Thank you and Bóg zapłac for your story Sean. I find upon reading it how much I miss my mom and dad a very great deal.
    I am thankful for my Polish heritage, which helped preserve my Catholic Faith. (I was going to post a Polish religious and patriotic video but watching it turned on the waterworks too much.)


    Offline SeanJohnson

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    Re: NFP: A Polish Story
    « Reply #9 on: May 07, 2019, 10:11:31 PM »
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  • Ah, my all-time favorite (Click on Our Lady to enlarge)!!!



    Our Lady of Czestochowa

    CONTENTS: UPDATED FEBRUARY, 2011
    HISTORY OF THE IMAGE
    NOTE ABOUT THE IMAGE
    PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF CZESTOCHOWA
    PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS PRAYER
    THE LITANY OF OUR LADY OF CZESTOCHOWA
    SOURCES USED
    EXTERNAL LINKS FOR OUR LADY OF CZESTOCHOWA

    IMAGE 1: VERY LARGE, PLAIN VERSION OF THE BANNER IMAGE
    IMAGE 2: IBID, MEDIUM-SMALL, PLAIN----- FOR A COLOR PRINTER
    IMAGE 3: ORIGINAL IMAGE MEDIUM  LARGE PLAIN
    IMAGE 4: ORIGINAL IMAGE MEDIUM PLAIN----- FOR A COLOR PRINTER
    IMAGE 5: VARIATION, ONE OF ONLY 800 EXECUTED, VERY LARGE, WITH BEADS AND METAL
    IMAGE 6: CHRISTMAS CARD
    IMAGE 7: POLISH HOLY CARD
    IMAGE 8:  POLISH STATUE, FAIR CONDITION
    IMAGE 9: STATUE 2, GOOD CONDITION
    IMAGE 10: JASNA GORA MOSAIC
    IMAGE 11:  PLAQUE


    HISTORY OF THE IMAGE
    The origin of this miraculous image in Czestochowa, Poland is unknown for absolute certainty, but according to tradition the painting was a portrait of Our Lady done by St. John sometime after the Crucifixion of Our Lord and remained in the Holy Land until discovered by St. Helena of the Cross in the fourth century. The painting was taken to Constaninople, where St. Helena's son, the Emperor Constantine, erected a church for its enthronement. This image was revered by the people of the city.
    During  the siege by the Saracens, the invaders became frightened when the people carried the picture in a procession around the city; the infidels fled. Later, the image was  threatened with burning by an evil emperor, who had a wife, Irene, who saved it and hid it from harm. The image was in that city for 500 years, until it became part of some dowries, eventually being taken to Russia to a region that later became Poland.
    After the portrait became the possession of the Polish prince, St. Ladislaus in the 15th century, it was installed in his castle. Tartar invaders besieged the castle and an enemy arrow pierced Our Lady's image, inflicting a scar. Interestingly, repeated attempts to fix the image, artistically have all failed.
    Tradition says that St. Ladislaus determined to save the image from repeated invasions, so he went to his birthplace, Opala, stopping for rest in Czestochowa; the image was brought nearby to Jasna Gora ["bright hill"] and placed in a small wooden church named for the Assumption. The following morning, after the picture was carefully placed in the wagon, the horses refused to move. St. Ladislaus understood this to be a sign from Heaven that the image should stay in Czestochowa; thus he replaced the painting in the Church of the Assumption, August 26, 1382, a day still observed as the Feast Day of the painting. The Saint wished to have the holiest of men guard the painting, so he assigned the church and the monastery to the Pauline Fathers, who have devoutly protected the image for the last six hundred years.
    Having survived two attacks upon it, Our Lady's image was next imperiled by the Hussites, followers of the heretic priest, John Hus from Prague. The Hussites did not accept papal authority as coming from Christ and taught that mortal sin deprived an office holder of his position, among other heresies. Hus had been influenced by John Wyclif and became infected with his errors. Hus was tried and condemned at Constance in 1415. The Hussites successfully stormed the Pauline monastery in 1430, plundering the sanctuary. Among the items stolen was the image. After putting it in their wagon, the Hussites went a little ways but then the horses refused to go any further. Recalling the former incident that was so similar, the heretics threw the portrait down to the ground, which shattered the image into three pieces. One of the plunderers drew his sword and slashed the image twice, causing two deep gashes; while attempting a third gash, he was overcome with a writhing agony and died.
    The two slashes on the cheek of the Blessed Virgin, together with the one on the throat, not readily visible in our copy, have always reappeared after artistic attempts to fix them. The portrait again faced danger in 1655 by a Swedish horde of 12,000, which confronted the 300 men guarding the image. The band of 300 routed the 12,000 and the following year, the Holy Virgin was acclaimed Queen of Poland.
    In September 14, 1920, when the Russian army assembled at the River Vistula, in preparation for invading Warsaw, the Polish people prayed to Our Lady. the next day was the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. The Russians quickly withdrew after the image appeared in the clouds over Warsaw. In Polish history, this is known as the Miracle of Vistula.
    During the Nazi occupation of Poland in World War II, Hitler order all religious pilgrimages stopped. In a demonstration of love for Our Lady and their confidence in her protection, a half million Poles went to the sanctuary in defiance of Hitler's orders. Following the liberation of Poland in 1945, a million and a half people expressed their gratitude to the Madonna by praying before this miraculous image.
    Twenty-eight years after the Russian's first attempt at capturing the city, they successfully took control of Warsaw and the entire nation in 1948. That year more than 800,000 brave Poles made a pilgrimage to the sanctuary at Czestochowa on the Feast of the Assumption, one of the three Feast days of the image; the pilgrims had to pass by the Communist soldiers who patrolled the streets.
    Today, the Polish people continue to honor their beloved portrait of the Madonna and Child, especially on August 26, the day reserved by St. Ladislaus. Because of the dark pigment on Our Lady's face and hands, the image is affectionately called the "Black Madonna," most beautifully prefigured in the Bible, in the Canticle of Canticles, "I am black but beautiful." The pigmentation is ascribed primarily to age and the need to keep it hidden for long periods of time in places where the only light was from candles, which colored the painting with smoke.
    The miracles attributed to Our Lady of Czestochowa are many and most spectacular. The original accounts of them,  some of them cures, are archived by the Pauline Fathers at Jasna Gora.
    Papal recognition of the miraculous image was made by Pope Clement XI in 1717. The crown given to the image was used in the first official coronation of the painting, which was stolen in 1909.
    Pope Pius X replaced it with a gold one encrusted with jewels.


    PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF CZESTOCHOWA
    [size=-1][TO BE SAID EACH DAY UPON ARISING][/size]
     
    HOLY MOTHER of Czestochowa, Thou art full of grace,
    goodness and mercy. I consecrate to Thee all my thoughts,
    words and actions----my soul and body. I beseech Thy
    blessings and especially prayers for my salvation.
    Today, I consecrate myself to Thee, Good Mother, totally
     ----with body and soul amid joy and sufferings to obtain
    for myself and others Thy blessings on this earth and
    eternal life in Heaven. Amen.
    Imprimatur: Cardinal O' Boyle, Washington, DC

    [size=-2] BACK TO THE TOP OF THIS PAGE[/size]

    A note on the image: The original, in all its deterioration can be viewed in our image gallery attached to this page. Modern day versions, of which our banner image is made from, are somewhat different than the original, but at least in this country, it has become a tradition of sorts to give holy cards with the image above. In honoring Our Lady, Catholics want to have her image as beautiful as possible, so artists who portray her miraculous images tend to fancy up the details a bit, so that is why you will find various versions of Our Lady's miraculous images, from Our Lady of Pompei to Our Lady of Guadalupe. For the Polish people, Our Lady of Czestochowa is Queen of their country and she is now adorned as royal images are often depicted, but most especially because the Roman Pontiff presented her with this Crown of which you are viewing a replica. There is nothing sinister or harmful to Our Lady with this intention, it is just human nature and quite touching actually.  So we are using the updated and very lovable and beloved image for our main image.


    [size=-1]SOURCES USED:[/size]  
    [size=-1]MIRACULOUS IMAGES OF OUR LADY, Joan Carroll Cruz, TAN BOOKS;[/size]
    [size=-1]BORN IS HE THE CHILD DIVINE, Amy Gerber,  METRO BOOKS;[/size]
    [size=-1]THE TRIUMPH OF THE CHURCH, Compiled by Fr. John Marquee, S. J.,[/size]
    [size=-1]SCAFATI PRINTING CO.[/size]
    [size=-2]BACK TO THE TOP OF THIS PAGE[/size]
    [size=+1]EXTERNAL LINKS: [/size][size=-1]VERIFIED, [/size]February, 2011

    [size=-1]WEB SITE ON HISTORY OF "BLACK" MADONNAS[/size]
    [size=-1]BLACK MADONNA SHRINE[/size]
    [size=-1]NATIONAL POLISH SHRINE[/size]
    [size=-1][/size]ICONS OF OUR LADY OF CZESTOCHOWA
    JASNA GORA SANCTUARY
    [size=-2]

    BACK TO THE TOP OF THIS PAGE[/size]
    Romans 5:20 "But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more."

    -I retract any and all statements I have made that are incongruent with the True Faith, and apologize for ever having made them-


    Offline trad123

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    Re: NFP: A Polish Story
    « Reply #10 on: May 07, 2019, 11:00:50 PM »
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  • I have this hanging on the wall of my office.

    Before Ancestry's most recent update I thought I was 100% Polish. Apparently, my father is Latvian and my mother is Polish.
    2 Corinthians 4:3-4

    And if our gospel be also hid, it is hid to them that are lost, In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of unbelievers, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not shine unto them.


    Offline Kazimierz

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    Re: NFP: A Polish Story
    « Reply #11 on: May 08, 2019, 08:45:00 AM »
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  • I have a few unique icons of MBCz I ought to take pictures of and post. Perhaps when my pain subsides and I can get out bed with less difficulty.

    How many will be having the May crowning this Sunday if I may ask?


    Offline Matthew

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    Re: NFP: A Polish Story
    « Reply #12 on: May 08, 2019, 09:11:48 AM »
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  • We will be having a May Crowning here with Bp. Zendejas this Sunday.
    Start your Amazon.com session by clicking this link, and my family and I get a commission on your purchase!

    Offline songbird

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    Re: NFP: A Polish Story
    « Reply #13 on: May 08, 2019, 03:25:18 PM »
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  • Captain McQuigg:  I read your post.  IMO Attitude is where sins begin.  The Communist use the scheme KAB: Knowledge, Attitude, Behavior.

    IMO you could relate that to this subject of what the world calls Population control, which we know is a lie, of Satan. But that is knowledge to the evil of the world.  After that the enemy hopes for attitude change, then behavior of artificial birth control/abortion and sterilization.

    I remember as a child, of a family of 9, the families in our Catholic Church were very proud of their families.  Mothers bought bolts of fabric to make dresses for us girls and we all matched!  We would come into church, like ducks in a row, IN Front of our parents.  We sat in a pew in front of our parents, and disciplined if need be.

    Now that is a very good attitude.  We marry for children.  Mothers stayed home, not like today.  The gov't will do all they can to take that mother nurturing out of the ladies heads.  It is such a joy and luxury to have children, stay at home and home school, which I did and i wanted no regrets missing the joy of raising the children.

    Happy Moms' Day!

    Offline songbird

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    Re: NFP: A Polish Story
    « Reply #14 on: May 08, 2019, 03:33:30 PM »
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  • Not to ever forget, the Powers of God, is what helps us to be brave and courageous.  I am sad to say, that I wish I had that in my veins then.  There were fears that I had, if my husband would be happy or aprehensive when pregnant. I can't say why or how the feelings were in me.  It would have helped to have a real true Mass and truly ordained clergy in the 60's 70's 80's.  It would have been nice to have OBGYNs to be congratulating us rather then to put us ladies down for carrying a child.

    It would have helped to have that congratulations from family members and others who had our contacts. 

     

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