In the rolling foothills of the Ozark Mountains southwest of St. Louis there is a small shrine dedicated to the famous Black Madonna of Czestochowa, Poland. In 1927 the Archbishop of St. Louis requested a group of Franciscans to come from Poland to set up a nursing home in the countryside. One of the newly arrived Franciscans, Brother Bronislaus Luszcz, remembering the many pilgrims to Czestochowa in his homeland, decided to construct a similar shrine in Missouri. In 1937 he began to build.
One of the first tasks was to clear trees from the hillside and build a wooden chapel with a reproduction of the famous painting of the Black Madonna on the altar. Later on, he started construction on the half-dozen rock grottos built along the hillside nearby. The first grotto, the Our Lady of Sorrows Grotto, was an experiment of sorts. Brother Bronislaus tore it down and rebuilt it several times, perfecting its construction and form. After becoming experienced with concrete and rock construction, he went on to build the other grottoes. He passed away in 1960, still hard at work in the maintainance and construction of the site.
The Black Madonna Shrine is located in the Ozark foothills about 40 minutes from St. Louis and several miles south of the town of Eureka, Missouri. From I-44, exit at Pacific and follow Highway F 4 miles south just past Highway FF.
References and Links to the Black Madonna Shrine and Grottos