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Suodziai, Lithuania: Healing Shrine (site of Apparitions of Jesus & Mary)

About the apparitions to Anele Matijošaitienė:

Anele, more commonly called Aneliuke, was born in 1927 in Uzpjauniai village, in the parish of Kudirkos Naumiestis.  As a child she was somewhat of an outsider and especially enjoyed solitude and prayer.

She got married in 1955 to a local man named Pranas, who told her that he did not have long to live….and therefore did not want to have children since he would not be around to take care of her.  He did, indeed, die not long after that.

She had a special devotion to Saint Anthony and, for three months after her husband’s death, she prayed for his intercession so that she would be able to bear all of life’s hardships and pain……..and then, one day, she heard an inner voice: “Your prayer has been heard.” .

Then on November 14, 1969, Jesus Christ appeared to her...looking very much like He appears in the painting of Divine Mercy.  Twelve days later, on November 26,  she saw the Blessed Virgin Mary. These were the first of what were to become many apparitions to her.

As word spread, pilgrims began to come to the shrine, which was still in her house, and many physical and spiritual healings were reported.

At this time, Lithuania was still under Soviet domination and, of course, the Communists made every effort to stamp out religion and that was certainly in the case of reported apparitions.  Her home was demolished and an agricultural aviation airfield was built in its place.   She was put into a psychiatric hospital, where she was given all kinds of drugs supposedly to “cure her”.

It was not until 1990, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, that Lithuania became independent and religious persecution ceased.

All this had been foretold to Anele by the Blessed Virgin Mary 8 years earlier!  The signs here were instrumental in the rebirth of Lithuanian religion and patriotism in this predominantly Catholic country.

After independence, the land was returned to their owners and a small house was built for Anele.

The Bishop gave permission for the construction of a chapel and allows Holy Mass to be celebrated by visiting priests on the day commemorating the first apparition.  The chapel was built in the fields of the Suodziai Village where the apparitions had taken place and was consecrated as the Chapel of God’s Mercy in 2002.

Anele died on April 22, 2012 and was buried next to her house and the Chapel of God’s Mercy. Her  funeral was attended by over 1,000 people as well as 20 priests and bishops, including Juozas Žemaitis, Bishop Emeritus of Vilkaviškis, who led the Funeral Mass.  Here is a video of her funeral.

About the Chapel of Divine Mercy in Suodziai:

The Chapel is located in the middle of a field here in the village.  Every year, on the 14th of November (the date that Christ Manifested Himself to Anele) many pilgrims flock here. There are weekend Masses celebrated all year as well.

They occur on Saturdays before the last Sunday of the month, as well as on the first Friday and Saturday of the month.

Here is a video of the grounds of the chapel.

Click here for the local tourism website that gives some information.

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