Christian PilgrimagePilgrimages in LithuaniaJohn Paul II and Lithuania

Overcome evil with good.
Marijonų novicijai su magistru t. J. Novicku Marijampolėje. 1935 m.

Marian Fathers

The Marian Order of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary was founded in 1673 in the Polish diocese of Poznan. The first Marian monastery in Lithuania was established in 1750 in Marijampolė. Following reforms in 1909, the order became a “congregation” whose headquarters were in Marijampolė from 1918 to 1928, and since then are in Rome. The most important goal of the congregation is to spread devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Marians have spread rather widely throughout the world, and are now present in Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia and many other countries. Marian monasteries are particularly strong in Brazil.

In Marijampolė between the two World Wars, the Marian Fathers had a monastery, a school, a printing house, one of the largest libraries in Lithuania, and enterprises engaged in gardening and various crafts. In Kaunas they tended the Church of St Gertrude and maintained dormitories for lay people and for the children in their care. In Panevėžys, in 1937, the Marians established another monastery and a provincial novitiate. They also undertook activities in Ukmergė and Žemaičių Kalvarija (Samogitian Calvary), and provided pastoral care for Lithuanian emigrants, initially in the U.S.A., later also in England and Argentina.

During the Soviet years, the Marians continued their work in Lithuania clandestinely. When Lithuania regained independence, there were members of the congregation working in Kaunas, Marijampolė, Vilnius and Panevėžys. In Marijampolė the Marians have recovered the buildings of their monastery, printing house and school, and have been entrusted with tending the parish of St Michael the Archangel. A Marian school opened in the city in 2000 and in 2008 became a gymnasium.