360 years since the Swedish siege of Czestochowa, and 11 years since a 60th wedding anniversary celebrated there (Part Five)
By Mark Wegierski
Adam Mickiewicz, the great Polish national poet, who was one of the central creators of Romantic and modern Polish nationalism, mentions Mother Mary and Jasna Gora near the very beginning of his great lyric poem, "Pan Tadeusz".
One of the three books in the famous "Trylogia" (Trilogy) of the Polish author Henryk Sienkiewicz (winner of the 1905 Nobel Prize in Literature, mainly for his Christians-in-Nero's-Rome novel Quo Vadis) deals with the Swedish Deluge (Potop), and much of the narrative is focussed on the siege of Jasna Gora.
One of the last official acts of Pope John Paul II – which had obviously been planned before the onset of his terminal illness -- was an exhortative letter delivered to the Prior of Jasna Gora on April 1, 2005, along with some new "crowns" for the Black Madonna icon.
We eventually returned to the car and drove back to the family house. The charge for the parking is just whatever you wish to donate.
The anniversary banquet was finally served at a large table in the house at 8 P.M. I pounced on all the delicious food, such as pork cutlets and roast beef, which I washed down with mineral water and some celebratory champagne. There were about fifteen people at the table, including cousins from various branches of the family. There was a separate table for the children in an adjoining room. The Westie got well fed too, especially enjoying tidbits given from the dinner table.
I enjoyed the boisterous conversation at the table, and I was told by my relative's grandfather (probably with some exaggeration) that his branch of the family was a ducal house renowned in Polish history. I was also joking with a young male cousin about the brand of mineral water we were quaffing, which was being promoted at that time by an advertising campaign with Cindy Crawford, the American supermodel, who says four words in Polish in the television commercial.
The conversations continued at a rapid clip until about 11 P.M., when my relative drove me to the Ibis Hotel in Czestochowa, as staying at the full house was impossible. I checked into the hotel, thanked my relative profusely, and made my way to the comfortable room. I was dead tired and enjoyed the long, hot shower immensely, subsequently quickly falling asleep in the comfortable bed. This day of July 10, 2004, had been one of the longest and most event-laden days of my life.
(This series is based on the author's article that originally appeared in Chronicles (Rockford, IL) (December 2005), pp. 38-39.)
Mark Wegierski is a Toronto-based writer and historical researcher.