Shrine of Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted Logo

517 S Belle Vista Ave

Youngstown, OH 44509

Ph: (330) 799-1888

Search
Close this search box.

The New Csiksomlyo in the Land of the Free

Twice during the past years the Madonna had to be removed from her ancient Shrine in Csiksomlyo; first, in 1916 when the Rumanians invaded Transylvania, and then again in 1944 when they came back with their Soviet allies to subdue the land of the Seklers anew.  However, the statue did not get too far and was soon returned to her traditional home.  Yet, many of the faithful guardians of her ancient Shrine, the Franciscans of Transylvania, by the vicissitude of wars and persecution have been driven out of their native land and were homeless until they found a new home in America.  However far they drifted from their ancient Csiksomlyo, their hearts remained in warm affection and devotion with their beloved Madonna.

Coming to America without a thing, it took them long years of hard work until they could afford to think of building a new home for themselves.  Finally, in 1957 through the courtesy and kindness of the Bishop of Youngstown, the Most Reverend Emmet M. Walsh, they obtained permission to settle down in the city of Youngstown.  When the time arrived to erect their new monastery, they wanted to dedicate it to their beloved Madonna.  They wanted to build a new Shrine in her honor, in which through the veneration of the artistic replica of her famous miraculous statue, she might shower her goodness and graciousness upon the people of this land, too, as she had been doing in Transylvania during the centuries of grief and affliction.

Thus, the idea of the new Csiksomlyo on American soil was born and made a reality in the city of Youngstown, Ohio in the year of the Lord 1964.

The new Shrine was approved by the Bishop of Youngstown with the title, Our Lady, Comforter of the Afflicted, on September 6, 1963.  The solemn blessing of the cornerstone took place on the 8th of October of the same year, the Right Reverend Msgr. Owen L. Gallagher, Vicar General of the Diocese of Youngstown officiating.  By the end of that same year the construction progressed so far, that the shrine-chapel could be opened to the public and the friary occupied by Franciscan Fathers, guardians of the new Csiksomlyo, under the leadership of their beloved superior, the late Fr. Hippolyt Deesy, Delegate Provincial.

One year later, the lovely little sanctuary with the radiant new statue of the Madonna of Csiksomlyo enshrined in it, is was ready for its solemn dedication.  It was performed by our beloved Episcopal Patron, the Most Reverend Emmet M. Walsh, on October 4th, the Feast of Our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi, Founder of the Franciscan Order, at 4:00 p.m.

This is how the ancient Csiksomlyo was transplanted to the new world, and was brought from the far East to America.  This is how the patroness of the Seklers for many centuries came from the foot of the Carpathians to the valleys and open plains of beautiful Ohio.  It is good to have her here.  It is important that she be here.  The defense lines against the new barbarians of the East, against godless communism, today are here in the far West; the battle for freedom’s ultimate victory is fought in America.   This country and its people are the only, and last hope of the free world and of the captive nations.  America today is the bulwark, the fortress, the Carpathians!  May the Patroness of the ancient battle for freedom, the Madonna of Csiksomlyo, therefore, have a home here in this country, that she may stir up and encourage, console and comfort, strengthen and defend those fighting for freedom’s final victory.