Devotion to our Lady of Siluva may be traced to the early 1600s. An apparition of Mary led to the discovery of a deed to a church that had been buried for safekeeping 40 years earlier when the building had been confiscated by anti-Catholic forces. The deed's recovery led many to return to their lost practice of faith.
The chapel's statue, created by Lithuanian sculptor Vytautas Kasuba, is surrounded by a flaming gold mosaic aureole set against varying shades of blue mosaic. The symbols of Siluva, which means "pine cones," are prominent in the mosaic border. The altar frontal portrays the hill of crosses upon which the Lithuanians vigilantly upheld their Christian identity in the wake of communist oppression. The arch above the altar offers a further reminder of the sorrows experienced in the country; "Mary console the children of a land sprinkled with blood and tears."
The left panel mosaic identifies their sufferings with the passion of Christ, under the all-seeing eye of God the Father. Among the scenes are a mother teaching religion in times of persecution, the Eucharistic celebration among Lithuanian exiles in Siberia, and the confiscated parish church of Siluva.
Lithuania's patron saint, Casmir, is prominently featured on the right mosaic, along with the country's first sovereign (1250), King Mindaugas.
Lithuanian Prayer to Our Lady of Siluva
O Most Holy Virgin Mary,
Thou who didst appear to the shepherds
in the fields at Siluva,
Thou whose tears did bathe the rock
where once an altar stood,
Thou who didst with plaintive voice say:
"You plow and seed here
where formerly my Son was honored,"
grant that we, moved by Thy tears,
may once as our Forefathers did,
revive the spirit of adoration of Thy Son
in our fallow hearts,
strengthen the tottering structure
of the shrine which is the family,
and seek forgiveness
for the negligences 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 Thee,
the patroness of our country,
and with thy help obtain for our nation
the spirit of a living Faith.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.