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A Prayer to Our Lady of Šiluva

“Mary, console the children of a land sprinkled with blood and tears.”

– Inscription above the Our Lady of Šiluva Chapel

Since the 15th century, the Lithuanian people have looked to Our Lady of Šiluva during times of suffering and trials, seeking comfort and strength. Here at the Basilica, this beloved Marian devotion is honored in a chapel featuring a marble statue of the Blessed Mother and brilliant mosaics incorporating elements of Lithuanian folk art.

As we celebrate the 57th anniversary of the dedication of the Our Lady of Šiluva Chapel at the Basilica on September 4, we invite you to learn more about it and reflect upon a prayer to Mary under this title.

Origin of the Devotion to Our Lady of Šiluva

Our Lady of Siluva Chapel
The Chapel of Our Lady of Šiluva at the Basilica

In 1457, a nobleman named Petras Gedgaudas built a church in Šiluva in honor of the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Mary, bringing an icon from Rome for the church. It became a popular place of pilgrimage, with crowds of the faithful from all over the country and neighboring Prussia coming to celebrate the Nativity of Mary. However, when the church was forced to close in 1569 due to government opposition, the parish priest buried the icon along with important church documents in an iron box on the church property to keep them safe. For the next 39 years, the icon remained hidden under the earth, until it was rediscovered with the help of a group of shepherd children. Although the original chapel had perished in a fire during that time, the faithful of Šiluva built a new chapel on the property to house the icon, and soon began welcoming pilgrims to honor Our Lady once more.

The Basilica’s Our Lady of Šiluva Chapel

Dedicated on September 4, 1966, the chapel to Our Lady of Šiluva at the Basilica features a Trani marble statue of Our Lady and the Infant Jesus in native dress, created by Lithuanian sculptor Vytautas Kašuba. Pinecones and boughs, a symbol of Šiluva, are also found throughout the chapel, while the altar frontal depicts the Hill of Crosses. Mosaics reminiscent of the fabric art of Lithuania line the side walls of the chapel, displaying images of Saint Casimir and the sufferings of the Lithuanian people, relating them to the sufferings of Christ.

Prayer to Our Lady of Šiluva

Our Lady of Siluva As you consider the history of the devotion to Our Lady of Šiluva, we invite you to reflect on this prayer featured in the chapel:

“O most Holy Virgin Mary, you who appeared to the shepherds in the fields at Šiluva, you whose tears bathed the rock where once an altar stood, you who with plaintive voice said: ‘You plow and sow seed here where formerly my Son was honored,’ grant that we, moved by your tears, may once, as our Forefathers did, revive the spirit of adoration of your Son in our fallow hearts, strengthen the tottering structure of the shrine which is the family and seek forgiveness for the negligence and sins of our nation. O Mother of God, we desire to raise up the glory of your revelation from forgotten ruins, that we may all the more honor you the patroness of our country, and, with your help, obtain for our nation the spirit of a living Faith. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”


“Honor Mary, Lithuanian Style,” National Catholic Register

Rohling, Geraldine M., PhD, MAEd. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception: Guide and Tour BookWashington, D.C.: Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 2018.

Light a Candle at the Basilica

Light a Candle at the BasilicaIn honor of Our Lady of Šiluva, we invite you to light a candle today at the National Shrine. Vigil candles burn in the chapels throughout the Great Upper Church and lower crypt level of the National Shrine. Each candle represents the faith of the supplicants and their fervent prayers entrusted to the loving intercession of the Blessed Mother.

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