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