Last October, as they had many times before, an assembly of people gathered in front of the Warr Acres’ abortion clinic located in the suburbs of Oklahoma City. This time, however, they hosted the Black Madonna, a replica of Our Lady of Czestochowa, which is being brought around the world by Human Life International during the “From Ocean to Ocean in Defense of Life” campaign. The original icon has been associated with many miracles over the centuries, and the pilgrimage with the Black Madonna has also been spiritually fruitful for many who have participated in the campaign.
Two months after HLI vice president for missions Father Peter West escorted the Black Madonna to the Warr Acres clinic, Outpatient Services for Women closed its doors for the last time. The abortionist, Naresh G. Patel, M.D., was arrested on racketeering charges prompted by an undercover investigation. If convicted, Dr. Patel could spend ten years in prison. In late December, he lost his medical license pending this investigation.
Attributing the closure to the visitation of the icon and the efforts of those who have prayed at the clinic for years, an ardent pro-life volunteer Bernadette Klein said, “I personally felt very blessed to pray with those who care deeply about the lives of our unborn babies, and for all life issues!”
Father West spent over a year traveling across North America with the pilgrim icon as part of a worldwide pilgrimage to convert hearts and minds to respect all human life. The icon, whose history is deeply intertwined with the Polish people, depicts Mary holding the baby Jesus. The image has significant religious and cultural meaning for millions of Catholic and Orthodox faithful.
“Our Lady made an incredible impact in the U.S.,” said Father West. “Focusing the prayers of the faithful is essential to rebuilding a Culture of Life here where the sick, disabled, and especially those in danger of abortion and euthanasia are embraced, not killed.”
The presence of the Mother of God and Men means bright light of hope over the grave nature of abortion, he said, praying for an end to the senseless violence associated with abortion which rejects the sacredness of life from its beginning to natural end.
“I believe that the images of Our Lady of Czestochowa and the Our Lady of Guadalupe have particular power against the evil of abortion. She touches the hearts of those wounded by sin,” Father West said. “This victory should remind us of the importance of taking images of Our Lady to abortion mills.”
According to Father West, history has revealed Our Lady’s victories in the midst of dramatic conflict between death and life. In 1863, Our Lady of Czestochowa won great victories over the threat of the Islamic domination of Vienna and over communism in Poland in 1989. In Mexico, Our Lady of Guadalupe also put an end to a Culture of Death in 1531.
“It is through Our Lady that God wants to bring the ultimate over Satan to bring about the victory of the culture of life,” he added.
Prayers have been paramount to the success of the Black Madonna’s tour with the historic From Ocean to Ocean Pilgrimage in Defense of Life campaign which began in Vladivostok, Russia in the summer of 2012. The pilgrim icon is currently in Mexico, visiting parishes and shrines as custodians plan to take “her” to the rest of Latin America.