Matulaitis pg 5 11-29-18

In the fall of 1918 with of WWI winding down in Europe, events were occurring in Lithuania that would benefit the people of northeastern Connecticut for years to come.
George Matulaitis, a 47 year old priest who is credited with the revival of the Marian Congregation that had been closed down by the Russian government, embarked on a mission to resurrect this dying community and infuse it with new life.  Matulaitis revived the congregation, which was down to one surviving member and singlehandedly brought it back to life.
As part of the revival, Blessed George Matulaitis, who was posthumously beatified by Pope John Paul II on June 28, 1987, also founded a Lithuanian religious community for women, the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, popularly known as the Sisters of the Poor.
Following the founding of the Congregation, the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception made their way to the U.S. in 1936.  They ventured to America because Matulaitis felt strongly that the mission of the Congregation had to direct its attention to other parts of the world.
“Our concern is with all humanity and with the needs of the universal Church.  In a special way we must direct our attention toward the vast territories of Russia and Siberia, where so many souls have strayed from the fold because there is no one to guide them; toward America with its noisy life-style where it is easy for people to forget their spiritual needs,” Matulaitis penned in his journal on Jan. 25, 1911.
His foresight led to the eventual purchase of property and the establishment of buildings by the Congregation on Liberty Highway (Rt. 21) in Putnam.  There the good Sisters of the Immaculate Conception tended to the needs of others, especially Lithuanian refugees.
In 1943 the Congregation purchased the former Windham County Home for Children and immediately welcomed Lithuanian refugee children who had fled to the U.S.  They also opened a boarding home and a summer camp for girls.  The sisters also operated a printing operation for Lithuanian language material.
Today, the Liberty Highway property serves as a Spiritual Renewal Center for retreats and groups requiring space for meetings.  A nearby building houses the Lithuanian-American Cultural Archives.
“What can explain the phenomenon: a religious community that emerged in Lithuania having survived the oppressive regime of the Czar at the close of WWI, a community that sent missionaries to a strange new land, i.e. the United States and soon after endured fifty years of Soviet communistic atheism until it reclaimed its independence, and that this community still exists today both in Lithuania and in the United States after 100 years?” penned Sr. Igne Marijosius, head of the Congregation.
The centerpiece of the Congregation’s work in northeastern Connecticut is Matulaitis Nursing Home.  Founded 50 years ago in 1968, the skilled care facility has regularly received top national rankings.  Matulaitis, a 119-bed facility that employs 150 people, provides long-term skilled care, rehabilitation and post-acute care, palliative, end of life and hospice care and respite care pending availability.
Matulaitis, located at 10 Thurber Road in Putnam, is a non-profit corporation that participates in Medicare and Medicaid.
“I believe the foundation on which it (Congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception) overrides political, ideological, societal changes.  The communal witness of the members’ Christian faith, a commitment to Christ and the Church and fidelity to core Christian principles and following the motto of its founder, Archbishop George Matulaitis, ‘Overcome evil with good,’ speaks for itself.  And Matulaitis Nursing Home is a witness to this for the past fifty years,” said Sr. Igne.
A century after its founding by Blessed George Matulaitis, a person of compassion for the sick and whose heart went out to children and orphans, the work of this man of peace continues.


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