There lived a man, a butcher by trade, who was owner and operator of a large slaughter house. Marcin Lanio and his wife, Margorzata, enjoyed a rather prosperous life, in company of their two sons, Piotrus, who was four, and Kazimierz, age two.
The gruesome tragedy if 1540 left an indelible imprint on the minds and spirit of the inhabitants of Lublin some few miles from Jasna Gora.
It happened one day that Marcin, accompanied by his helper, went to town on a shopping tour. The mother was preoccupied in the kitchen, preparing batter for bread which she was about to bake. As it happened, she ran short of yeast, so she left the house momentarily to borrow some from one of her neighbors. The two youngsters were left alone at home.
Piotrus, the older of the two, who on many occasions had seen the butchers slaughter the livestock in the yard, decided to imitate them. In his childish mind he figured that the most convenient victim would be little Kazio sleeping innocently in a nearby crib. Without much forethought, he took a large sharp knife and slashed the throat of his sleeping infant brother.
Seeing the flow of blood, he soon realized that something terrible had happened. He was overcome with fear of punishment and hid inside the large baker’s oven left open by the absent housewife. Within a matter of moments, the unsuspecting mother, having returned and not hearing the children thought them to be asleep.
Consequently, she went about with her baking and started a log fire in the prepared oven. All of a sudden the blood froze in her veins as she hears the agonizing screams of her son, Piotrus, now helpless in the depths of the burning oven. Frantically, she pulled him out, but it was too late. Piotrus, her son, had suffocated in the smoke-filled chamber and now she held this lifeless form in her arms.
As she looked about paralyzed by this sudden turn of events, her staring eyes were fixed on another gruesome sight. She saw in the blood-soaked crib the lifeless body of her younger son – dead.
Shocked, she stood there staring and then, as consciousness returned, became completely demented, striking her head against the wall; pulling her hair and finally tore her clothes to shreds. In her condition, she looked like a ghost from another world.
It was then, that Marcin her husband returned home. He did not stop to think. As he saw the condition of his wife between the two corpses of his sons, he took an ax and crushed the skull of his wife with one blow.
His mind cleared after a little while and realized what he had done. Dreadful fear and remorse seized his body and soul. His mind, however, became enlightened by a sudden heavenly impulse. He did not submit to despair but listened to the advice of pious friends and neighbors. He placed his entire and unshaken faith in Mary of Jasna Gora, she would not forsake him in his critical moment. He felt then and there, that the Madonna of Czestochowa to whom he was always so devoted would give back to him the family.
All the neighbors by now, mostly out of curiosity assembled at the scene of the tragedy. Their surprise was augmented by the scene which followed. Marcin Lanio, without a word, loaded the three blood-soaked corpses into a wagon, and with the sign of the cross, turned the horses in the direction of Czestochowa. The bystanders watched this gruesome and tragic scene, some in fear, others in tears. This indeed was a public act of faith!
In silence Marcin continued his hopeful journey through narrow roads, shaded by overhanging branches. The sides of the road were lined with a great number of skeptical people. Some of them in amazement wondered what prompted this man to be transporting three corpses in an open wagon. Many questioned his sanity and what he intended to do, since they knew that normally once the dead are dead, they so remain.
Marcin paid no heed to them, because his mind and heart were focused on the Blessed Mother. He continued the pilgrimage in silent prayer fortified by unshaken confidence. Then he saw in the distance the shining cross on the cloister steeple. As the journey continued, he soon heard the sound of evening bells calling the faithful to prayer. His spirit was suddenly refreshed as the horses began to gallop and his prayer became more fervent and confident.
At the Church
Finally, he arrived at the Church and with the help of some understanding bystanders carried the three corpses in improvised caskets into the chapel. He himself did not enter because he had neither the strength nor courage; but he lay prostrate before the main door. In tears he kissed the feet of the faithful as they entered the chapel and begged them to pray and intercede for his family before the throne of the Miraculous Madonna of Czestochowa.
For a moment, silence which seemed to last an age filled the edifice. Then, the outburst of spontaneous voice almost burst open the walls of the structure, as all joined in a hymn of thanksgiving to the Blessed Madonna of Czestochowa. Prominent among them were the voice of the once dead children and their resurrected mother.
Soon the fame of this miracle became world –wide and the Emperor ordered a true copy of this miraculous portrait to be made and placed in the Cathedral in Vienna.