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November 16


Saint of the day:
Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn

Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn's Story

Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn (Lithuanian: Aušros Vartų Dievo Motina, Polish: Matka Boska Ostrobramska, Belarusian: Маці Божая Вастрабрамская, Russian: Остробрамская икона Божией Матери) is the prominent Catholic painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary venerated by the faithful in the Chapel of the Gate of Dawn in Vilnius, Lithuania. The painting was historically displayed above the Vilnius city gate; city gates of the time often contained religious artifacts intended to ward off attacks and bless passing travelers.

The painting is in the Northern Renaissance style and was completed most likely around 1630. The Virgin Mary is depicted without the infant Jesus. The artwork soon became known as miraculous and inspired a following. A dedicated chapel was built in 1671 by the Discalced Carmelites. At the same time, possibly borrowing from the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the painting was covered in expensive and elaborate silver and gold clothes leaving only the face and hands visible.

The legend tells that in 1702, when Vilnius was captured by the Swedish army during the Great Northern War, Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn came to her people's rescue. At dawn, the heavy iron city gates of the gate fell crushing and killing four Swedish soldiers. After this, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Army successfully counter-attacked near the gate.

In the following centuries, the following grew stronger and Our Lady became an important part of religious life in Vilnius. The following inspired many copies in Lithuania, Poland, and diaspora communities worldwide. In 5 July 1927, the image was canonically crowned as Mother of Mercy. The chapel was visited by Pope John Paul II in 1993. It is a major site of pilgrimage in Vilnius and attracts many visitors, especially from Poland.




Prayer to Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn

O my Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, I offer myself entirely to Thy grace and to Thy overwhelming mercy today and forever, but mostly at the hour of my death do I dedicate myself to thee. To thee do I dedicate my body and soul, all my happiness and hope, all my sorrows and sufferings! I offer my life and the end of my life to Thy holy hands so that through Thy merits all my deeds and acts go according to Thy holy will and according to the will of Thy sweetest Son!





 Gate of Dawn in Vilnius, Lithuania





Mushroom Cookies



  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 large egg, room temperature

  • 2 tablespoons sour cream

  • 2 tablespoons unsulfured molasses

Chocolate Glaze

  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (6 tablespoons)

  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

  • Large pinch of kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, plus more if needed

  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Vanilla Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons pasteurized egg white (from 1 large)

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted, plus more if needed

  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Ground pistachios or ground freeze-dried raspberries, and poppy seeds (optional)


  1. Cookies: Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and spices. In a stand mixer bowl fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter with granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat to combine. Add sour cream and molasses; beat to combine. Reduce speed to low; beat in flour mixture until fully combined.

  2. Divide dough into 2 different-sized pieces: one piece being two-thirds of the dough, the other being one-third. From larger piece, make "caps": Scoop level tablespoons of dough and roll into balls. Cup each in the palm of your hand and use a finger to make a deep indentation. Place indent-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spaced 1 1/2 inches apart.

  3. From smaller piece, make "stems": Scoop rounded teaspoons of dough; roll each into a cylinder that's slightly pointed at one end, like a teardrop. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet, spaced 1 inch apart. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Bake until firm, 10 to 12 minutes. (If necessary, use a chopstick or similar-size dowel to reshape indents in caps after baking, so you can insert pointed ends of stems.) Transfer on sheets to wire racks; let cool completely.

  4. Chocolate Glaze: Combine chocolate, confectioners' sugar, cocoa, salt, and butter in a heat-proof bowl. Heat cream in a small pot over medium-high until bubbling around edges, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour hot cream over chocolate mixture; let stand 1 minute. Add vanilla; whisk until mixture is smooth and has the consistency of hot-fudge sauce. (If too thick, whisk in more cream, 1 tablespoon at a time.)

  5. Vanilla Glaze: Whisk together egg white and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Whisk in vanilla; texture should be like thick honey. (If too thin, add more sugar; if too thick, add a tiny bit of water.)

  6. Assemble: Dip cooled caps in either chocolate or vanilla glaze. Place, glazed-sides up, on wire rack. Sprinkle with pistachios or raspberries. Dip wider ends of stems in vanilla glaze to come about halfway up stems; dip bottoms in poppy seeds. Place, rounded-sides up, on rack; let stand until completely set, about 1 hour for vanilla, 2 hours for chocolate.

  7. Dip pointed ends of stems in vanilla glaze and insert into indents in caps. (If glaze has thickened too much, loosen with a little water.) Return to rack; let stand until completely set. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

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