In this video, Fr. Patrick J. Griffin, CM, Executive Director of the Vincentian Center for Church and Society of St. John’s University in Queens, New York, discusses the apparition of Our Lady of Siluva and reflects on how we can embrace the Blessed Mother’s example during Lent.
More than 400 years ago, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in the village of Siluva, Lithuania. In 1457, the first church was built in the Lithuanian village of Siluva. With the emergence of the Protestant reformation at the beginning of the 16th century, not even Siluva escaped conflict. The leaders of the village embraced Calvinism. Very soon after, the authorities seized the church, and the fervent Catholic faith in the village of Siluva seemed to have come to an end. The next generations of children were baptized in the Calvinist tradition, and Catholicism became a faint memory.
Now many years passed. In the summer of 1608, some children were pasturing their sheep in a field near a large rock. A woman, standing on the rock with a child in arms, attracted their attention. She was dressed in blue and white robes, and she was crying. The next morning, many of the townspeople gathered around the rock. Suddenly, the sound of sobbing was heard. All eyes turned and there standing on the rock was the weeping lady with the baby in her arms. The pastor asked, “Why are you weeping?” And the woman replied, “There was a time when my beloved Son was worshipped by my people on this very spot. But now they have given this sacred soil over to the plowman and the tiller and the animals for grazing.” And she vanished.
The experience of the Blessed Mother appearing to them enabled many people of the village to begin to rediscover their Catholic faith. It became the symbol of the faith of the local villagers, as well as the entire Lithuanian people: Our Lady of Siluva. The apparition of Mary with Jesus in her arms on the site where he was not worshipped for the last number of years, brings tears to the eyes of the Blessed Mother, who wants her Son to be sought and reverenced. No one more than Mary demonstrates the solidity of the faith, attentive to her Son’s words and deeds. She was prepared to accept whatever came into her life, and so Our Lady of Siluva points us to the importance of faith that is sacred, a faith that is sought, and a faith that is solid. Mary’s own faith in her Son guides us along these paths. May we continue to seek, and to follow her lead.