Polish troops fought in the Haitian Revolution, some defecting in support of rebel slaves. With them was Our Lady of Częstochowa, who remains an adored figure in Haitian religion. They have descendants in Haiti today. Furthermore, a Polish American once ruled the Haitian island of La Gonâve, the Polish pope John Paul II momentously visited Haiti in 1983, while a Polish American prelate is the spiritual godfather of Haitian Miami. Each summer, meanwhile, busloads of Haitian pilgrims visit the Shrine of Częstochowa, in Doylestown.
Terry Rey is Professor of Religion at Temple University. He works primarily in the fields of the anthropology and the history of African and African diasporic religions.