Ongoing Exhibitions

The Mission Stations. The Centenary Way of Lithuanian Missionaries

Exhibition presents the collection The Mission Station accumulated by the missionary priest, Father Antanas Saulaitis SJ, his friends and companions. The collection that has been accumulated for half a century consists of more than 2,500 exhibits from various cultures – liturgical implements, household artefacts, objects of personal use, books, printed material, letters, souvenirs, sound and image recordings, and other material – testifying to the century-long activity of Lithuanian missionaries all around the world. More than 150 exhibits have been selected for the exhibition. Boomerangs and liturgical vessels decorated with traditional patterns of Aboriginal Australians, dream-catchers and icons of the saints of North American Indians, poisoned hunting darts of the indigenes of the Amazonian jungle and a votive offering to St. Francis made by rubber harvesters, baskets woven from reed and cactus fibre and stoles with traditional patterns from Africa are displayed one next to another in separate groups dedicated to different regions.

From 1918, hundreds of Lithuanians – women and men, clergymen and lay people – set off in different directions of the world, led by the Christian missionary spirit – a call to sacrifice their daily comfort in the name of evangelisation, humanitarian aid and education. The exhibition is divided into four parts according to the directions of missionary work, each of which emphasises a certain distinctive feature of the region: the green colour is reminiscent of African forests and meadows, blue symbolises the ocean surrounding the Pacific islands, red refers to the faith and passion which has been leading missionaries to the American region, and the yellow colour stands for the light of the Sun rising in the East, Asia. In the world of missions this generalised division into five parts is inseparable from the World Mission Rosary, with every ten beads urging the Catholics to pray not only for themselves and their nearest and dearest, but also for the deprived and vulnerable people all over the world.

Antanas Saulaitis SJ (b. 1939) is a missionary priest, an active Scout, a writer and a teacher. Having lived in the United States of America since his childhood, and having started to travel at a young age, in his lifetime Saulaitis visited Brazil, Australia, South and North America and many European states several times. The collection of objects that he brought from there was gradually supplemented by other people – friends, companions and other missionaries contributed various culturally or emotionally significant objects unusual for the Lithuanian eye. This exhibition is just the first step in presenting a huge number of Lithuanian missionaries and volunteers. We hope that it will encourage not only the visitors’ interest in the noble activity of their compatriots, but also more thorough historical, anthropological and cultural research, and perhaps will even inspire or encourage some of them to take up volunteer missionary activity themselves.

Curator: Alina Pavasarytė
Organiser: Church Heritage Museum
Coordinators: Eglė Andrejevaitė, Rasa Bernotienė, Indraja Kubilytė, Ieva Lataitienė, Rita Pauliukevičiūtė, Živilė Ratavičiūtė, Kamilė Strumskytė, Birutė Valečkaitė
Architect: Ieva Cicėnaitė
Designer: Gedas Čiuželis
Supported by: Archdiocese of Vilnius, Lithuanian Jesuit province, Lithuanian Council for Culture, The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania
Media sponsors: „Clear Channel“, bernardinai.lt





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