TAKEN WITH GRATITUDE AND RESPECT FROM SANCTUS CHRISTOPHER BLOGSPOT)
The brokers behind the ill-conceived Treaty of Versailles made little of this truth and in 1918 overnight created a country called Czechoslovakia. Most people I meet today still use this name to describe that place below Poland and east of Germany. It doesn’t exist though and it never did, it was always two nations. The Czechs and the Slovaks. Two different languages. Two different histories. Two different cultures. Friendly with each other but definitely two different peoples. Their amicable separation in 1993 is proof of that.
Devotion to the Mother of God
What the Czechs and the Slovaks have had in common since their introduction to the Gospel is the love of the Holy Virgin Mary. Because in that borderland between the Czechs and the Slovaks was the site of the great miracle where the Mother of God raised up her Son and turned back the rampaging Mongols. This was an event that these two distinct peoples shared (as I wrote about in Our Lady of Hostyn), where the Madonna became Queen of the Marian Gardens that are Bohemia and Moravia and Silesia and Slovakia (Those of Sub-Carpathian-Rus ancestry, I’m not forgetting you, but yours belongs to the Slovak/Hungarian/Russian mix of culture that shares so much more with the Ukraine).
Despite more than 1,000 churches, chapels, and shrines dedicated to her honor in the Czech Republic, it’s interesting to note that the Blessed Virgin has never been given patronage of the peoples there. St. Wenceslaus, St. Adalbert, St. Ludmila, St. Prokop and St. Agnes of Bohemia among others have all been officially recognized at one time or another as the caretakers of the Czechs. Slovakia on the other hand, acknowledges only two, both of whom delivered Christ to them: St. Cyril and St. Mary.
Evidence of Slovakia’s devotion to Mary is shown in the shrines that stretch back in time nearly a thousand years, in the old Marian hymns and songs so lovingly composed in the Slovak language, in every home where the sanctity of the family and the purity of youth has been so jealously preserved. Along mountain passes, dangerous curves, river crossings, and just about anywhere that protection or help is needed, you’d always find a picture or statue of the Virgin Mary.
Our Lady of Sorrows of Šaštín
In 1564, part of Slovakia was under control of Lord Imrich Czobor, Vice-Palatine of Hungary, who was known for his cruelty to his pious wife, Angelica. One day while riding in a carriage through the town of Šaštín, near the edges of Moravia, Imrich became so enraged during an argument with Angelica that he stopped the carriage, kicked her out onto the side of the road, and left her there.
The second half of the twentieth century brought new character to Marian devotion in Slovakia. In 1964 Pope Paul VI bestowed the title of Basilica Minor on the church at Šaštín. Meanwhile, the Slovakian bishops, still under the Communist yoke, named Our Lady of Sorrows of Šaštín the Protector of Slovakia. And in Washington DC, before there was a “Czech shrine” dedicated at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, there was already a “Slovak shrine,” dedicated in 1965 to Our Lady of Seven Sorrows.
These recent events had all been given supporting momentum by an apparition that took place in 1958 which the visionary Theresa Neumann predicted was destined to become “the second Lourdes, of Slovakia.” See below for posting on "Our Lady of Turzovka," also borrowed from Sanctus Christopher blogspot!