Notre Dame de Vassiviere is unique because her features are those of a peasant or 'paysan' of the Puy-de-Dome region of France. The original ancient statue was destroyed during the French Revolution. The statue seen today is a replacement carved in 1805. Each year on July 2 this Black Madonna is carried from her winter home at the church of St. Andre in Besee -en -Chandesse to her summer home in Vassiviere in a lively procession known as the "Montee". This traditional celebration was begun in 1547.
Notre Dame de Fourviere found in Lyon, France is found next to the basilica in the chapel of St. Thomas a Becket. The current statue is a 17th century replica of an ancient statue that originally was venerated here. The original statue was destroyed by the Hugenots in 1562. Frequently she is depicted on her medals with a lion since her basilica is located in 'Lyon', the French word for lion.
Known as the Queen of the Savoie region of France, Notre Dame de Myans has been located here since 1100. She is credited with miraculously stopping an avalanche at her chapel in 1280 and with saving the brother of St. Francis de Sales as he was on his way to his marriage. This statue was referred to in ancient an ancient text as 'l'image de Notre-Dame, noire et ethiopienne' (the image of Our Lady, black and Ethiopian).
Our Lady of Czestochowa is also called "the Black Madonna of Jasna Gora" after the monastery where the icon resides ~ this Black Madonna is actually a painting, rather than a statue. She was made famous throughout the world by the veneration of Pope John Paul II and is frequently depicted on the reverse side of his papal medals as a sign of his devotion to her. Many miracles have been atrributed to this Madonna. Her legend claims that she was originally painted on a tabletop by St. Luke and brought to Constantinople by St. Helena. The icon was brought to Poland in the 1500's by St. Stanislaus.
Our Lady of Liesse, also known by the beautiful name 'Our Lady Cause of our Joy', was brought to Soissons, France from Egypt in 1143 by three knights of Malta who had fought in the crusades in the Holy Land. The original staute was destroyed during the French Revolution, but a great devotion to Mary remained in the diocese of Soissons. A duplicate statue was crowned in the Basilica of Liesse by the express wish of Pope Pius IX in 1857. Our Lady of Liesse medals contain the image of the Maltese Cross in memory of the crusaders who brought her to Europe.
Chartres Cathedral is actually known for two Black Madonna stautes. Notre Dame de Sous-Terre (Our Lady of the Crypt) was found in the 6th century, before the Cathedral of Chartres was even built. Some believe that the statue had Druid origins and was known to represent "the virgin who would bear a child" in that cult. The original statue was burned during the French Revolution. The current statue is a reproduction dating from 1857. The statue of Notre Dame du Pilier (Our Lady of the Pillar) originally dates from the 13th century. The current statue replaced the original in 1510 and is carved from pear wood. She is called this because she is located on a pillar for easier viewing by pilgrims who visit Chartres.
Please note that I will continue to update this guide as I collect more Black Madonna medals. If you are interested in finding a particular medal to add to your collection, please let me know and I will do my best to track it down for you. I frequently list various Black Madonna medals along with a wide variety of other patron saint medals, Papal medals, and Our Lady medals in my Ebay store Susan's Vintage Catholic Medals. Please take a look!