The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Licheń is one of the largest and most famous in Poland.

The origins of the sanctuary date back to the mid-nineteenth century and are related to the apparitions of Our Lady to the shepherd Mikołaj Sikatka. Extraordinary events took place in 1850 in the Grąbliński Forest (2 km from Licheń, next to the road to Konin), next to the painting of Our Lady placed on a pine tree.

The Sony Chapel in the Grąbliński Forest. The part of the pine where the apparitions took place is preserved

W czasie objawień Maryja wzywała do modlitwy, pokuty i przemiany życia oraz poleciła zbierać jałmużny na Msze św. przebłagalne i przenieść obraz w godniejsze miejsce. Ostrzegała też przed zbliżającą się epidemią cholery, która w roku 1852 nawiedziła Wielkopolskę. Dramatyczne wydarzenia przypomniały miejscowej ludności o przepowiadaniu pasterza Mikołaja.

The scene of the apparition of the Mother of God to the shepherd Mikołaj Sikatka

The shepherd Mikołaj testified under oath about several visits to Fr. Florian Kosiński, the then priest of Licheń. The parish priest's report of November 5, 1852 on extraordinary events, prepared for the church authorities in Kalisz, is the oldest historical source confirming the fact of the apparitions and reporting their content.

The parish priest wrote: 

For several years, in the parish of Licheń, in the forest near the village of Grąblin, there was a painting of the Virgin Mary nailed on a pine tree by one of the local parishioners, who had already died. In the same forest, in the vicinity of the painting, for two years a shepherd of cattle from the aforementioned village was supposed to see an unknown person, supposedly from another world, who, through this shepherd, was trying to encourage the local people to real penance, a change of their current life, in many ways of reprehensible life, with the order to meet for three Masses alms from the entire parish, to ask God to avert the hanging punishments and diseases over the wicked - at the same time warning that the image mentioned from this place, in a secluded place, because only over the path, should be transferred to others to protect it from the insults of the infidels, could happen and be fulfilled without witnesses, and then without fear of punishment. She was to repeat this command and encouragement several times. The shepherd, who was later examined by the head of the local commune, testified the same to the protocol. Then, sent by the same to the Head of the Poviat [in Konin], he repeated this testimony

By the decision of the episcopal consistory in Kalisz, on September 29, 1852, the painting was moved from the forest to the cemetery chapel in Licheń, which served as a parish temple. It was a very large celebration with many believers and with the participation of spiritual, civil and military authorities. This event gave rise to the Licheń sanctuary and began a new stage in the life of the parish, from then on closely related to the veneration of Our Lady of Licheń.