- The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared here 400 years ago in one of Europe’s first Marian apparitions, and probably the only in which she spoke to a non-Catholic Christian.
- For nearly 500 years, the indulgenced feast of the Nativity of Mary has been celebrated here.
- A miraculous painting of Mary and Jesus has been venerated here for over 300 years.
- On September 7, 1993, Pope John Paul II prayed at Šiluva and entrusted Lithuania to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
From the oldest of times to the present, a steady stream of pilgrims has been flowing to Šiluva. The feast of the Nativity (or “Birth”) of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been celebrated here for nearly 500 years, each time drawing many thousands of pilgrims from all of Lithuania and beyond. Pious visitors throng to the Chapel of the Apparition of Our Lady of Šiluva, which stands in the exact place where 400 years ago Mary appeared. Nearby, in the shrine’s Basilica, they pray before a painting of Mary and Jesus that has been renowned for special graces since the early 17th century. Altogether, about a quarter of a million pilgrims pass through Šiluva each year. The largest groups gather in early September during the annual eight-day indulgenced feast known as Šilinės. Before that, on the last Sunday of August, pilgrims traditionally walk to Šiluva from the town of Tytuvėnai and from the Dubysa Valley, to thank God for the gift of Lithuania’s freedom. Pilgrimages are also organised from the Hill of Crosses. The 13th of every month is Marian Day at the shrine, which in 2008 marked the fourth centenary of Mary’s apparition with particular solemnity.