Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matka Boża Leśniańska / Blessed Mother of Leśna, Leśna Podlaska, Biała Podlaska, Lublin, Poland (1683) – 26 September:
The Leśnia Sanctuary begins on 26 September 1683. On that day, two shepherds – Miron Makaruk and Aleksander Stelmaszuk – looking for the lost cattle in the bushes, noticed a stone image of the Mother of God hanging on a wild pear tree, which gave an extraordinary glow. Wanting to take the painting off, one of the bravest young men climbed the tree but each time fell to the ground. The local inhabitants, seeing what was happening, began to pray fervently. Soon, Zabłocki’s elders from nearby Bordziłówka arrived and only he, as an unusually prayerful man, took the painting off the tree. Droplets of “sweat” appeared on the image and this phenomenon continued for a long time. Then the painting was taken to the manor in Bukowice. This extraordinary find deeply touched the religious and secular authorities of the time. Soon a wooden Church was erected on the site of the appearance of the Image. On 26 September 1695, a Parish was established in Lesna. From the very beginning, the Image attracted crowds of believers who experienced many favours thanks to the Blessed Mother, especially cures of illnesses. The Bishop of Lutsk, Franciszek Prażmowski, issued a decree in 1700, in which he stated that the appearance of the Image should be considered miraculous.
In the Lesnian Image, Mary is presented, embracing the Child Jesus with her right arm. The Child Jesus is holding the book with his right hand and his left hand is raised up in a gesture of teaching. Mary, standing in half-figure, is facing the viewer. In her left hand she holds an open book, on which, with outstretched wings, a dove – a symbol of the Holy Spirit – is supported. The figure of the Mother of God is covered with a coat.
The image of the Mother of God is a relief carved in field stone. The dimensions of the Image are: width 29.3 cm, height 31.4 cm, thickness 4.6 cm, weighs 9.5 kg.
On the site of the appearance of the Image of the Mother of God in 1718. a small Church was built. It exists to this day and is called the “Chapel of the Appearance of the Miraculous Image.” In 1727, the Parish of Leśna and the care of the Miraculous Image were taken over by the Pauline Fathers from Jasna Góra. They began the construction of a magnificent Church, which was erected in the years 1731 – 1758. It was consecrated under the invocation of the “Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul” on 8 September 1758. Huge crowds of the faithful of the Latin and Uniate rite were drawn to the Leśnia Sanctuary.
The situation changed with the partitions of Poland, when Leśna found itself under the Russian partition. After the fall of the January Uprising, the Lesnian Sanctuary found itself in a desperate situation. As part of the repression for helping the insurgents, on the night of 27-28 October 1864 , the Pauline Fathers were deported from Leśna. It was then, that the Bishop of Janów, Beniamin Szymanski, ordered to secretly take out the Miraculous Image and put a copy in its place. It was done in 1865. Soon the tsarist government abolished the Podlasie Diocese. The exiled Bishop took the Miraculous Picture with him to Łomża. He put it in the Church of the Benedictine Sisters. In 1875, the Church in Leśnia was taken over for the purposes of the Orthodox Church. Then the pilgrimages stopped. In 1889, an Orthodox nunnery was established in Lesna. It was to become the centre of Russification of Poles. In 1905 Tsar Nicholas II came to Lesna, whose relative was the superior of the nuns of Leśna. After the outbreak of World War I, the sisters left Leśna and took with them a copy of the painting of the Mother of God, still being firmly convinced that it was the original painting.
On 16 August 1915, the temple in Leśnia returned to Catholic worship. On 25 May 1919 . The Pauline Fathers returned to Lesna and immediately began renovation works in the Sanctuary. First of all, the search for the Miraculous Picture began, which was not found until 5 May 1926 in Łomża. It happened thanks to Fr. Aleksander Łaziński. After the canonical trial conducted by Bishop H. Przeździecki, the Miraculous Image returned
in a triumphant parade from Siedlce to Leśna on 25 September 1927. It was a great celebration for the entire Podlasie Diocese and over 25,000 people attended this event. In the interwar period, the Pauline Fathers decorated the Sanctuary. They looked after the pilgrims who were again in large numbers at the feet of their Lesnian Mother.
In 1939, the difficult time of the Nazi occupation began. In the fall of 1940, the Germans occupied the Monastery and expelled the Pauline Fathers.
After the war, in 1951, under the direction of the Prior – Father Jerzy Tomziński, the Church received a Pulpit and an Organ.
On 18 August 1963 , the Primate of Poland, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, together with the Bishop of Podlasie, Ignacy Świrski, crowned the Miraculous Image with papal crowns. From 11 to 12 June 1970, Cardinal Karol Wojtyła stayed in Leśna. On 25 September 1977, the 50th anniversary of the return of the Miraculous Image was solemnly celebrated. In 1983, the solemn celebrations of 300 years of the appearance of the Miraculous Image took place and in 1984 the Church in Leśnia was elevated to the rank of a Minor Basilica. In 1992, a break-in was made to the temple in Leśnia and attempts were made to steal the golden crowns from the Miraculous Image. In 1995, the 300th anniversary of the establishment of the Parish in Leśna Podlaska was celebrated. This time the ceremony was presided over by the Primate of Poland, Cardinal Józef Glemp. In 1996, works on frescoes and paintings in the Basilica began and they were completed in 2002. On 26 September 2019, the Leśnia Sanctuary celebrated the 100th anniversary of the return of the Pauline Order to Leśna Podlaska. – https://lesnapodlaska.paulini.pl/historia-sanktuarium/
St Cosmas (Optional Memorial)
St Damian (Optional Memorial)
(Died c 286 ) Martyrs. Twin brothers and Physicians, Apostles of Charity, Evangelists – born in the 3rd century, of Arabic descent and died by being tortured, without suffering any injury and finally they were beheaded c 286 in Aegea, Cilicia (modern Ayas, Turkey).
The Martyr twins are remembered in the Roman Canon of the Mass in the prayer known as the Communicantes (from the first Latin word of the prayer). They are also recalled in the Litany of the Saints and in the older form of the Roman rite, in the Collect for Thursday in the Third Week of Lent, as the Station Church for this day is Santi Cosma e Damiano.
Saints Cosmas and Damian:
St Amantius of Tiphernum
St Callistratus of Constantinople
St Colman of Elo
St Cyprian of Antioch
St Eusebius of Bologna
St John of Meda Ord.Hum. (1100-1159) Priest, Monk, Abbot
St Justina of Antioch
Blessed Louis Tezza MI (1841-1923) the “Apostle of Lima,” Blessed Louis was an Italian Priest, a professed member of the Camillians and Founder of the Daughters of St Camillus de Lellis M.I. (1550-1614), Apostle of Charity, Spiritual Director, Counsellor, Administrator, Teacher, Reformer, Advisor. An unknown visitor carved the words “Apostle of Lima” on his tomb..
Blessed Louis’ Story:
St Marie Victoire Therese Couderc
St Nilus the Younger (910-1005) Abbot and Confessor and Founder of Italo-Greek Monasticism in southern Italy.. St Nilus was a charismatic leader and leading spiritual personality of his time.
St Senator of Albano
St Vigilius of Brescia
Martyrs of Korea – 12 saints: Twelve lay people in the apostolic vicariate of Korea who were imprisoned, tortured and martyred together in the persecutions in Korea.
• Saint Agatha Chon Kyong-Hyob
• Saint Carolus Cho Shin-Ch’ol
• Saint Catharina Yi
• Saint Columba Kim Hyo-Im
• Saint Ignatius Kim Che-Jun
• Saint Iulitta Kim
• Saint Lucia Kim
• Saint Magdalena Cho
• Saint Magdalena Ho Kye-Im
• Saint Magdalena Pak Pong-Son
• Saint Perpetua Hong Kum-Ju
• Saint Sebastianus Nam I-Gwan
They were beheaded September 1839 in Seoul Prison, South Korea and Canonised on 6 May 1984 by St Pope John Paul II.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Amalia Abad Casasempere de Maestre
• Blessed Andreu Felíu Bartomeu
• Blessed Antonio Cid Rodríguez
• Blessed Josefa Romero Clariana
• Blessed Manuel Legua Martí
• Blessed María Jord´ Botella
• Blessed Pau Castell´ Barber´
• Blessed Teresa Rosat Balasch