Jesuits in Lithuania and Latvia
WHERE WE CAME FROM
The Jesuits have lived and worked in Lithuania for over 450 years. Throughout the centuries, territories of the Lithuanian province included ethnic areas of Lithuania and Latvia, in certain periods – of Belorussia and Poland. In modern times, following the Soviet annexation of the Baltic States, religious activity was restricted. The Society of Jesus was able to work only in secret and Lithuanian Jesuits were active protagonists of the resistance against Soviet indoctrination in the whole territory of the Soviet Union.
About 30 members, mostly scholastics were left outside Lithuania. In 1948 Lithuanian Jesuits gathered in Chicago, U.S.A. They founded the Lithuanian Jesuit Youth Centre, served in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Uruguay, Rome, with a missionary in India and Zimbabwe as well.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Province of Lithuania and Latvia was formed once again. A crucial role in the renewal was played Jesuits of the Central European Assistancy and the Chicago Province in the USA.
WHO WE ARE
Jesuits strive to serve others as men of God in today’s world—by offering the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, by educating and accompanying youth, by serving those at the margins of society, and by promoting care for the environment.
There are currently thirty-one Jesuits working in the Lithuanian and Latvian Jesuit province.
WHAT WE DO
The Jesuits in Lithuania live and work at 3 main locations: Kaunas, Vilnius and Šiauliai. In Latvia from 2012 on, a community of Jesuits works in Riga.
In Kaunas they maintain the Kaunas Jesuit High School (grades 5-12) and serve at the church of St. Francis Xavier.
In Vilnius the Jesuits provide pastoral care for students, look after the St. Casimir Church, and have Vilnius University’s St. Johns Church entrusted to them. At the Vilnius Jesuit High School they also work as teachers and chaplains. The Jesuit youth ministry MAGIS also has its headquarters in Vilnius.
In Šiauliai the Jesuits maintain the Šiauliai Jesuit Primary School and serve in the parish of St. Ignatius.
In Riga the Jesuits offer Ignatian retreats, serve the Marupes Ave Maria parish (currently under construction), accompany the Latvian Christian Life Community, engage in ecumenical work with the Latvian Lutheran community and teach at a university.
In the U.S., the Jesuit Lithuanian and Latvian province provides pastoral care to Lithuanian-Americans at the Matulaitis Mission in Lemont, Illinois.
In addition to the above activities, we Jesuits write books and articles, appear in the media, and engage in dialogue with the broader culture and other religions. We read, spend quality time together, and laugh. In whatever we do, we always seek to remain contemplative and give witness to God’s love and compassion for us all.
HOW CAN YOU HELP
We thank you for any support (prayer, participation, financial), that you can provide.
If you have any questions about our mission and our current projects (building, renovation, various MAGIS initiatives etc.), please write us via email at email@example.com. For more information (in English) on how to donate, use the following link: http://www.balticjesuits.org/info.htm. For more information in Lithuanian, click here.