Alert reader Nancy sent me a most intriguing link to the "robes," or metal icon-covers, given to clothe the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa
(feast day August 26, so naturally this is a bit belated) over the years. Nancy also shares a few fascinating bits of hagiographic and historic trivia about them, and the Shrine itself:
Very beautiful. Picture #8 has a special story. The crowns (and you can see the words Totus Tuus inscribed on them if you look carefully) were blessed by JPII on his last full day on earth, Apr 1, 2005. The then-Archbishop Dziwisz performed the crowning honors a few months later, on her feast day on Aug 26.
And apart from the connections to JPII, here's another reason why us non-Poles might want to say a little prayer to her. It was to Our Lady that King Jan III Sobieski of Poland and his army prayed before marching on to Vienna to defeat the Turks in battle, thus saving Christian Europe. I think we all would like to see history repeat itself.
By the way, I've heard the slashes on the cheek of the image, which bled miraculously, came variously from the sabre of a Swedish cavalry trooper or a Hussite iconoclast. Does anyone have more solid details on this?