In the Middle Ages the sanctuary of the Black Madonna became a destination stop on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. Saints, kings, and queens have come here seeking the blessings of the Vierge Noire including St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Ignatius of Loyola, St. Louis, Blanche of Castile- and in our own time, the composer Francois Poulenc wrote music inspired by his encounter with this disarmingly small but incredibly powerful figure.
This breathtaking site is cradled in the rocky side of a steep river gorge. In the 12 th century, the remains of a certain Blessed Amadour were found here, buried next to a prayer cave dedicated to Mother Mary. Hence the name Roc-Amadour (Rock of Amadour) One legend claims that the bones belonged to none other than Zacchaeus, the disciple of Jesus mentioned in the Bible. whose wife, Veronica, wiped the face of Jesus on his way to his crucifixion.
By the 12th century, over 120 miracles attributed to Our Lady of Rocamadour had been chronicled: the healing of the sick, curing of the insane, and restoration of dead babies, and miraculous freeing of penitent captives are only some of the claims.
Bellow is a paper on the pilgrim songs to Mary of the Middle Ages.
An excellent online guide to finding Black Madonnas is Ella Rozett's website, .found here. Ella has spent decades cataloguing Black Madonnas around the world, archiving pictures, legends and historical facts about them.
Marion Woodman was a brilliant depth psychologist whose own journey to wholeness and integration was marked by her encounters with the Black Madonna and whose work focused on embodiment. Below is a video clip of Andrew Harvey's interview.