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Catholic Dictionary




Lithuanian shrine to the Weeping Virgin, to which over a hundred thousand formerly came annually to pray to Mary for help, some to be cured. In the early sixteenth century, when much of the country was Protestant and Lithuania was fighting both Russia and Sweden, a few shepherd children saw the vision of a beautiful young woman holding a sleeping child in her arms. Dressed in white, she was crying, her tears falling on her little one. The children ran home to return with their parents and neighbors, among them a Lutheran minister serving locally. THe lady told them that all the cause of her sorrow was the absence of the old church that had honored her Son and had once been on the spot where she was. An old man whose blindness was later cured at the shrine verified the lady's story. He directed the digging there and an old chest filled with altar vessels and a picture of the Virgin was brought to light. Buried records told of a church there in 1457, long since destroyed. A new church was built on the old grounds and the picture of Mary enthroned within. Pilgrims came from great distances to the hallowed spot. Since 1940, when Lithuania was incorporated into the U.S.S.R., the state of the shrine is uncertain.