Wednesday, August 7, 2019

American Czestochowa in Doylestown Pennsylvania

Daria Sockey, author of The Everyday Catholic's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours, recently traveled with me to Doylestown, Pennsylvania, in order that we might visit the "American Czestochowa," that is The National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa.

I had never been there before and I was in awe of the place. 

I loved it ... but ... I could not help but notice how much love, time, patience, devotion, money, patriotism went into creating and goes into maintaining this place. And yet Polonia has such minor impact on American cultural and political life. You have to wonder why. If Polonians can create an enclave like this, why can't they have a larger impact on school curricula, public debates about WW II and Holocaust history, and publishing decisions? 

I was also struck by how Polish the place is, and how much more it could be doing to make the shrine accessible to Americans who don't speak Polish and don't know much about Polish history. Too much at the shrine struck me as Polonians talking to other Polonians and not inviting non-Polonians into the conversation. 

Below are some photos of our visit. Obviously I am not a professional photographer and my camera is tiny and basic. But you can find many superior photos on the web. 


  1. The church is Catholic (universal), apparently many Poles don't read Greek.

  2. You write "I was also struck by how Polish the place is" and I support you and remind that Catholic means "Universal", not Polish.

    1. What does the number of Poles who read Greek have to do with it? I don't understand that comment -- oh, wait. I see. The Greek etymology of the word "Catholic."

  3. This is a very moving blogspot.

    I am not sure that the characterization of "Polonians talking to Polonians" is entirely accurate. The link above speaks of other nationalities also present at American Czestochowa.

    1. I'm being accurate. Go there. See a moving plaque to Jan Lechon, and zero explanation of who Jan Lechon is, or why anyone passing by might care about him.

      See a plaque to Poles who died in concentration camps and no explanation that anyone might understand about those Poles.

      The Smolensk monument says nothing about the winged hussars.

      And on and on.

      Even the bookstore is almost 100 percent Polish. Books in the Polish language, kitschy souvenirs like hats saying I'm Proud to be Polish.

      Not even nice Polish stuff, like folk art.

      And the web page text contains ESL errors.

      Look, I'm here. Polonia could hire me, or you, or anyone to curate the place and make it more accessible.

      But no.

  4. I have not been to Doylestown, but from what I know the city is also home to a museum dedicated to James Michener, who wrote a bestselling novel about Poland's history.

    1. Please provide a real first and last name with your posts. Thank you.


Bieganski the Blog exists to further explore the themes of the book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture.
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