Black Madonna by Katherine Skaggs, used with permission.

By Lisa Steiner, Associate and Social Concerns Liaison

Today I pray to the Black Madonna, the mother of all creation. I pray that she will care for all the children of Earth, especially those who look like her. I pray that she can rescue our brothers and sisters who struggle against racism all over the world. And I pray especially that she will empower all mothers to love fiercely and live courageously as she did.

It is this Mary that moves me at this time in my life, not the European depictions of Mary from my upbringing. The Black Madonna offers me a pathway to a God who is in solidarity with the entire human family. This Lent especially, I have needed her intercession so that I can face some difficult truths. Who better than a Black Madonna to understand our troubles? She experienced the anguish of seeing Christ, her own child, humiliated and executed at the hands of the self-righteous. This image of Mary assures me that all people who experience persecution and lose loved ones because of injustice are not alone. The Queen of Heaven accompanies them with every struggle and offers them swift comfort.

For several years I have been getting to know the Black Madonna. Ever since meeting her in Sue Monk Kidd’s 2008 novel, The Secret Life of Bees, I have searched her out and communed with her. I have visited her at the summit of Montserrat, Spain, and closer to home at an exhibit of nativity scenes at University of Dayton. I have found ways to incorporate her meaning into the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows (sometimes called the Chaplet or Servite Rosary). Most of all I have sought ways to connect with our loving God through the Black Madonna’s sacred, feminine power. She consoles me and strengthens me.


Prayer to Black Madonna
O Mother of the darkness
Of the deep rich soil
That brings forth new growth:
Bless all your children
Struggling for new ways
Of being community for each other.O Mother of the darkness
Of the infinite night sky
That graces us with endless stars:
Bless all your children
Looking for hope and light
To pierce the present shadows.O Mother of the darkness
Of the creative womb
That nurtures brilliant possibilities:Bless all your children
Seeking wisdom yet to be experienced
On paths still opening before us.O Mother of the darkness,
Black Madonna, Madre Negra,
Czarna Matka, who calls everyone
In the human community “My child”:
Bless us all and bring us all
Gift and grace as we reach out
For each other’s hands. Amen.
—Jane Deren, Ph.D
Copyright 2018, Education for Justice, a project of Center of Concern