Global True Lithuania Encyclopedia of Lithuanian heritage worldwide

New Mexico

The only Lithuanian site of New Mexico is the Statue of Our Lady of Šiluva in the desolate landscape Rincon, New Mexico, with the inscription „OUR LADY OF ŠILUVA, LITHUANIA“ on its foundation.

Our Lady of Lithuania sculpture in New Mexico

Our Lady of Lithuania sculpture in New Mexico

It has been built in 1964 by a Lithuanian priest Justinas Klumbis, who served the parish in the 1950s-1960s (until 1968).

At the time, Soviet Union had recently occupied Lithuania. As Lithuanian priests were among the targets of Soviet Genocide, a disporportionally large number of them fleld Westwards to avoid likely death. As such, there were more Lithuanian priests in America than there was a need for them in Lithuanian parishes and many were sent to service in non-Lithuanian parishes, such as Rincon.

In Rincon, Justinas Klumbis built a Way of the Cross with at least two statues: one dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe (in a nod to the Hispanic population of the parish that is near the Mexican border) and Our Lady of Šiluva, dedicated to the country of Klumbis's own roots.

Our Lady of All Nations church of Rincon, NM

Our Lady of All Nations church of Rincon, NM

Interestingly, these two appearances of Virgin Mary are among the earliest church-recognized apparitions in the world, having happened in years 1531 and 1608, both becoming a key part of the religious life of their respective countries (Mexico and Lithuania). You may read more about Šiluva here.

As time passed, the desolate-landscape Way of Crosses fell into disrepair and was vandalised, with Our Lady of Šiluva‘s nose and the head / arms of the baby Jesus she holds head broken off. As such, Our Lady of Guadalupe was moved elsewhere, while Our Lady of Šiluva was put in front of the small church of Our Lady of All Nations, built in 1953 and named this way by Klumbis in 1959 (Klumbis served both this and the St. Francis de Sales church in nearby Rodey, where he lived). The church was repaired by local benefactors Carson family who own Del Rio chili nearby.

The semi-repaired remains of the original Way of the Cross with the foundations of Klumbis's statues are located on the hill behind the church of Our Lady of All Nations.

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