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Black Madonna Bibliography

Black Madonna Bibliography

An Annotated Bibliography for Books on Black Madonnas

– This bibliography was prepared by Michael Duricy and Vincenzina Krymow for The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute in 2006.


Ermelino, Louisa, The Black Madonna, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2002

The Black Madonna, who protected her mountain villagers in southern Italy, followed her people to America, working magic and miracles on Spring Street in Little Italy (NY). An exploration of how three women are forever changed by the Madonna of Viggiano.

Hope-Simpson, Jacynth, Black Madonna, Thomas Nelson, Inc., New York, 1976

Juvenile fiction about two boys on a car trip through Yugoslavia, find a black icon in a cave, smugglers steal it ....

Monk-Kidd, Sue, The Secret Life of Bees, Viking, New York, 2002

In an interview she says, "It's about a girl who has lost her mother and who finds these women who teach her about a Black Madonna and love her into healing. Lily's great quest was for her mother, but not only for an earthly mother. It took me a while to understand this as I wrote it, that she was longing--as most all of us are--for a larger mother. We're all really looking for that great mother."

Schoemperlen, Diane, Our Lady of the Lost and Found, Viking Press, New York, 2001

Mary comes to visit a middle-aged writer, stays a while, and talks about her life, including her appearances to James in Saragossa (Our Lady of the Pillar), Meinrad's experiences at Einsiedeln, St. Peter bringing a life-sized statue of Mary and Jesus to Barcelona, and St. Luke painting her portrait that is now at Czestochowa.

Spiritual and Psychological Interpretations

Cunneen, Sally, In Search of Mary: The Woman and the Symbol, Ballantine Books, New York, 1996

Using the latest findings by historians, anthropologists and psychologists, as well as art historians and religious scholars, the author reveals what we know about the life of Mary, follows the history and development of her image over the last two thousand years, and explores the different ways that Mary has transformed the lives of people today. Includes a discussion of Romanesque 'Throne of Wisdom' statues and Black Madonnas.

Galland, China, Longing for Darkness, Tara and the Black Madonna, Penguin Books, New York, 1990.

Story of her ten-year journey to discover the meaning of darkness in the mysterious black images of divinity.

Galland, China, The Bond Between Women, Riverhead Books, 1998

Continues her exploration in other cultures, including South America.

Groth-Marnat, Barbara, A Pilgrimage to the Black Madonna: The Story of a Woman's Spiritual Journey, Red Rose Publications, Santa Barbara, CA, 1990

The author's journey takes her to Montserrat, Madrid, Toledo, Guadalupe, Avila, Salamanca, Saragossa and Olite, where she describes in detail the Madonnas, their stories and her impressions.

Gustafson, Fred, The Black Madonna, Sigo Press, Boston, MA, 1990

Dr. Gustafson is a Jungian, psychologist, pastoral counselor and minister. Includes a detailed study of Our Lady of Einsiedeln and "Other Goddesses of Darkness."

Murdock, Maureen, Unreliable Truth--On Memoir and Memory, Seal Press, Avalon, New York, 2003

Relates her experience of dreaming about a dark-skinned Madonna while in her forties, learning about the Black Madonna of Le Puy, and traveling to Le Puy, where she experienced the "solace, embrace and compassion of the Madonna."

Ryan, M. J. (Editor), The Fabric of the Future: Women Visionaries Illuminate the Path to Tomorrow, Conari Press, Berkeley, California, 2000

Includes a chapter by China Galland--"The Black Madonna and the Limits of Light: Looking Underneath Christianity, A Teaching for Our Time."

Woodman, Marion and Dickson, Elinor, Dancing in the Flames--The Dark Goddess in the Transformation of Consciousness, Shambhala, Boston, 1997

Both are Jungian-trained practitioners. Brings together history, mythology, psychology and religion in an exploration of the Dark Goddess. Discusses the growing 'adoration' of the chaste Virgin Mary during the "Age of the Black Virgin," (i.e. the twelfth and thirteenth centuries).

Academic Literature

Begg, Ean, The Cult of the Black Virgin, Penguin Books, Revised Edition, London, England, 1996

This Jungian analyst investigates the origins of the phenomenon and provides a thorough guide to Black Madonnas in Europe.

Birnbaum, Lucia Chiavola, Black Madonnas--Feminism, Religion and Politics in Italy, Northeastern University Press, Boston, 1993 (originally in Italian)

Identifies the expression of contemporary Italian liberation theology in the beliefs and observances surrounding the dark (black, brown, or gray) Madonnas of Italy and the continuity between the earth-based images of the sacred female and their Neolithic predecessors found on or near the same sites.

Cassagnes-Brouquet, Sophie, Vierges Noires--Regard et Fascination, Editions de Rouergue, Rodez, 1990 (paperback 2000, in French)

Traces the history of the Vierges Noires of France, their legends and their devotions, from the Mediterranean basin and the ancient rites dedicated to Isis, Cybèle and Artémis.

Moss, Leonard W. and Cappannari, Stephen C., "The Black Madonna: An Example of Cultural Borrowing," pp. 319-324 in The Scientific Monthly, (June 1953).

Based on a paper presented to the Anthropology Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, December 28, 1952, St. Louis, Missouri. At the time, the authors were members of the faculty of Wayne University in Detroit, Moss in Sociology, Cappannari in Anthropology.

_____, "In Quest of the Black Virgin: She is Black Because She Is Black," in Mother Worship--Themes and Variations, James J. Preston, editor, Univ. of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1982

The authors developed a three-fold classification of types of Black Virgins from the nearly one-hundred samples they had collected from various parts of the world:

1) dark brown or black Madonnas with physiognomy and skin pigmentation matching that of the indigenous population, as in Guadalupe, Costa Rica and Africa

2) various art forms that have turned black as a result of certain physical factors: deterioration of lead-based pigments, accumulated smoke from use of candles, smoke damage from a fire, oxidation of silver used in construction of the image, accumulation of grime over the ages

3) residual category, no ready explanation, black and renowned as miracle workers--European Madonnas

Oleszkiewicz-Peralba, Malgorzata. The Black Madonna in Latin America and Europe: Tradition and Transformation, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM, 2007

The author examines the black Madonna from a comparative, cross-cultural perspective, going throughout east-central Europe, Brazil, Mexico and Aztlan. Written in a style both academic and personal, this text breaks new ground by its vast scope. Includes hundreds of images, many in color.

Scheer, Monique. "Change in the Meanings of Black Madonnas from the Sixteenth to Nineteenth Centuries," pp. 1412-1440 in The American Historical Review, col. 107, #5 (December 2002)

This recent academic essay provides strong evidence that awareness of a special significance for Madonnas which were dark developed between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries and that the primary symbolism viewed darkness and as indicator of antiquity which then symbolized uniqueness and profundity in a spiritual sense.

(There are also numerous works in French.)


Rosikon, Janusz, The Madonnas of Europe--Pilgrimages to the Great Marian Shrines of Europe, Rosikon Press 1997, Ignatius Press, 2000.

The author, a photographer and journalist, spent five years following the pilgrim routes to Marian sanctuaries through Europe. The book portrays seventy of the most important ones, including the Black Madonnas in Altotting, Czestochowa, Einsiedeln, Le Puy, Loreto, Montserrat, Rocamadour and Torreciudad.

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