The history of this well-known miraculous image from Lithuania started with the construction of the wall around the town of Vilnius. The rampart built to defend the city had nine doors and the one on the south-east side was named the “Dawn Gate”.
King Alexander set the first stone in 1498 and in 1503 the gate was decorated with a very beautiful image of the Virgin Mary. 150 years later, Carmelite nuns restored the image, covering it with inlaid silver, and deposited it in a new chapel. At this very time, the chroniclers mention several accounts of miracles, in particular the recovery of an unconscious child on the verge of death, who had fallen from a balcony and was given to his mother in this state.
When the Muscovites attacked the city in 1655, a fire devastated Vilnius for a period of 17 days, but the painting of the Virgin was saved and remained intact. Several other fires were also put out in astonishing ways, in particular one in 1706 and another in 1715. In the year 1812, the chapel of the Dawn Gate, given the power of indulgence by the Pope and filled of ex-votos, was miraculously protected whereas all the other churches of Vilnius were destroyed or damaged.
The permanent pilgrimage continues and processions are held in the streets, with believers kneeling down in prayer. During these manifestations, automobiles drive by the gate at a slow speed and people walk slowly, the women even bow their heads, as they pass by, no matter what religion they belong to.
Taken from the Encyclopedia Maria, Beauchesne 1956
H/T: A Moment with Mary