Because I’m not already spinning approximately 2,203 plates, for the next month I’ll be posting daily about Mary and sharing 31 of the titles she known by around the globe. You might know some of the more popular ones (Our Lady of Mt. Carmel), and some might be new to you (Our Lady of Sheshan), but like the Church, Our Lady is universal. It’s important to see her role in bringing her son to people on every populated continent.
I can’t take 100 percent credit for the idea. This last Sunday, Father mentioned how he would mark the month of May, and shared some prayer ideas with the parish. As an afterthought he remarked that next year, he would pick a different title of Mary for each day of the month and say a prayer to Mary under that name. Within a minute I leaned over to Tony and loudly whispered, “That would make a great blog series!!!”. As soon as we got home, I searched for all the titles of Mary and decided to focus on apparitions and geographically specific devotions.
I’ll share an image, a brief history of the devotion and a prayer to Our Lady under that title. The whole experience promises to be a great study in Marian devotion, geography, and how crazy I can make my family as I endeavor to complete this series! Quick Takes will happen as usual, but each week, one of the Takes will include a title of Mary.
I AM JUST SO EXCITED TO GET STARTED!! ( Homeschoolers! It’s the end of the school year: follow along, Google the country mentioned, cook some ethnic food, draw a map, maybe narrate a paragraph if you’re trying to prove something to someone, and BOOM! complete curriculum for these final weeks when you really. cannot. even. anymore.)
Our Lady of Siluva
Appeared between 1608 and 1612 in Siluva, Lithuania
In 1457, a beautiful icon was brought back to Siluva, Lithuania from Rome by nobleman Petras Gedgaudas. To house it, Gedgaudas established a parish and church which soon became a popular Marian pilgrimage site. Unfortunately, within 100 years, the Reformation would entirely strip the town of it’s Catholic identity.
At some point in the mid-16th century, Father John Holubka the area’s last Catholic priest, took the remaining valuables, documents, and the beautiful icon (though that is disputed by later accounts), and hid them in an iron box which he buried in the ground. The last Catholic church was turned over to the Calvinist in 1532 and the Catholic faith was all but lost. The Church fought to regain the property but with the deed buried, and Father Holubka deceased, the Church’s efforts failed and the church was ultimately destroyed.
But Mary took matters into her own hands. Between 1608 and 1612 she appeared to children tending sheep in a field where the church had stood. According to the earliest written account (1651):
“Close to the village, shepherds, with their herd grazing the lands of the church, saw on a large rock a girl with garnetted hair, holding a baby in her arms and weeping bitterly. When they witnessed this scene, one of them ran to the Calvinist catechist of Šiluva and reported what he had seen. The catechist, an unmarreid man called named Solomon, came to the stone, and also saw the Virgin crying, as shepherds had seen. Gathering his courage, he turned to her: “Girl, why are you weeping?” The girl replied: “I weep because at this site my Son was once adored, and now here are only fields plowed and sown. Having said these things she disappeared. The catechist despised the vision believing it to be an evil spirit.”
The apparitions inspired many to return to the faith of their ancestors and in 1612 the bishop assigned Fr. John Kazakevicius to investigate and question witnesses. In addition, he immediately tried to locate information on the destroyed church. Thankfully, Father Holubka had had an assistant as he buried the box, which also held the deed. The 100 year old man, now blind, was brought to the site of the apparitions and immediately recovered his sight and was able to find where the box had been buried. After more than ten years of legal wrangling against mostly Protestant judges, the Catholic Church regained the land and by 1627 a new small wooden church had been built on the site.
By 1677, twelve priests lived in Siluva and tended to pilgrims who came to the church. Between 1760 and 1775 the current church was erected. Pope Pius VI authenticated the apparitions by Papal Decree in 1775, and in 1974 the church was given the title of minor basilica. Today there is a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Silvua in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Since Our Lady of Siluva helped bring about the conversion of so many, here are some prayers to her to help fallen away Catholics and non-believers.
Prayer for Graces of Conversion and Restoration
of Faith for Fallen-Away Catholics
Remember, dear Mother Mary, merciful Refuge of Sinners, most loving and ever-vigilant Guardian of the Faith of your children on earth, how you once appeared in the fields of Siluva to re-enkindle the dying embers of Faith in the hearts of the people by revealing to them the anguish of your maternal Heart over their long forgetfulness of their ancestral Catholic heritage. Look down, O dearest Mother Mary, in pity upon ……….
and intercede with your Divine Son for him/her/them, for he has wandered away from the fold of the True Faith. Too long now has he neglected his duties to God and to his own immortal soul. All our efforts, pleadings, and prayers for his return have been in vain. O Dearest Mother, if you will not take pity on him and come to his assistance, his soul may be eternally lost.
Miraculous Virgin of Siluva, let but one of your sorrowing mother’s tears fall upon this grace-starved soul and nourish it back to spiritual life. Rekindle the weak spark of Faith in this heart into a brightly-burning flame of renewed love and allegiance to your Divine Son.
O merciful Mother, who brought back the people of Siluva to the True Faith be moved by these prayers, and bring ……….
to a true conversion of heart, that he may return to his Father’s house and again partake of the Bread of Life, for God’s greater honor and glory and his own eternal salvation. Miraculous Virgin of Siluva, pray for us and for our wandering loved ones.
Prayer for the Conversion of Non-Catholics
O dear Mother Mary, merciful Refuge of Sinners, Most Loving and Ever-Vigilant Protectress of the Faith of Thy children on earth, remember that Thou didst once appear in the fields of Siluva to rekindle the dying embers of Faith in the hearts of the people of Thy Own Land by manifesting to them the sorrow of Thy maternal heart over their forgetfulness of their ancestral Catholic heritage. O Most Dear Mother Mary direct Thy eyes upon me as I kneel before Thy Miraculous Image and as I humbly beseech Thee to take pity upon and intercede with Thy Divine Son for ………..
who has drifted away from the fold of the True Faith. For too long a time now has he/she neglected his/her duties to God and his/her own immortal soul. In vain have been all our efforts, entreaties and petitions for his/her return to the Church. O dearest Mother, if Thou wilt not take compassion upon him/her and come to him/her aid, he/she will most certainly go from bad to worse and thus most likely lose his/her soul for all eternity.
Miraculous Lady of Siluva, deign to permit but one drop of Thy sorrowing maternal tears to fall upon his/her grace-starved soul and to restore it once again to supernatural life. Rekindle the feeble spark of Faith in his/her heart into a glorious flame of renewed Love and Fidelity to Thy Divine Son and to Thee. O most Merciful Mother, Thou didst bring back the people of Siluva to the True Faith. Let Thou, then, be moved by my supplication and bring ……..
to a true conversion of heart that he/she may return to his/her Father’s home and once again receive the Bread of Life for the greater honor and glory of God and for his/her own eternal salvation. Miraculous Lady of Siluva, pray for our drifting loved ones and for us!
Check back tomorrow to learn about Our Lady of the Pillar!