Piekary Slaskie: The Basilica of St Mary and St. Bartholomew
(Shrine of Our Lady of Social Justice and Love)
History of Our Lady of Social Justice and Love:
The Basilica of St Mary and St Bartholomew with the Piekary Calvary is one of the most famous Shrines in Poland. The church houses the painting of Our Lady of Social Justice and Love.
Piekary Slaskie has been a centre of Marian worship for several hundred years. The shrine continues to have great significance for Silesians – Our Lady of Piekary is venerated as the patron of laborers, and Silesia is an important industrial area.
The oldest painting of Our Lady of Piekary, dating back to the 15th or 16th century, was taken to Opole in the early 1700s and at the beginning of the 18th century replaced with a late 17th century copy which – according to tradition – also became known for numerous graces. On August 15, 1925 the painting was officially adorned with crowns given and personally blessed by Pope Pius XI.
The oldest recorded pilgrimages to Piekary were those from Tarnowskie Gory in 1676 and from Opole in 1681. King Jan III Sobieski stopped to venerate the image as he led his army to Vienna to stop the Turkish invasion of Europe.
There are two special annual pilgrimages: “the men’s and youths’ pilgrimage” and “the women’s and maidens’ pilgrimage”, which draw up to 100,000 participants, mainly from Upper Silesia. Many Catholic Church hierarchs and well-known public figures take part in pilgrimages to Piekary.
Krakow Bishop Karol Wojtyla (now St John Paul II of course) came to Piekary nearly every year starting in 1965, he preached homilies and taught on work and its dignity and the rights of workers. After he became Pope, he sent telegrams, letters or recorded messages.
Traveling to Piekary Slaskie & The Shrine of Our Lady of Social Justice and Love:
Located about 50 miles north of Krakow, there is also train service to several nearby towns.
Click here for the official website of the Basilica of Our Lady of Social Justice and Love