On July 3,1981, Vladas Lapienis, a fighter for the cause of freedom of belief, was released from exile. The exile returned physically exhausted but spiritually strong.
On July 30, 1981, Povilas Buzas, confined for one and one-half years in a strict-regime labor camp for duplicating religious underground publications, was set free.
Mečislovas Jurevičius is serving his term at the Kapsukas strict-regime labor camp. His address:
Kapsukas OC 12/3 Burys 5, brigada 51
Jurevičius, Mečislovas, Jurgio
Vytautas Vaičiūnas, an engineer, was interned in the Pravieniskes labor camp after his trial but was taken by prisoner convoy to the depths of Russia several months later. His address is still unknown.
Vytautas Vaičiūnas Writes
"I am writing from the Lukiškės prison. You were at my trial and saw how what was rejected one day was accepted the following and made incriminating . . . it was inevitable! Look at it as my sacrifice.
"I'm in a cell where people are assembled for distant journeys . . .. Private visits are not allowed here. Visits are through a pane of glass, and we speak into telephones. It is probably necessary that the Creator be worshipped even in those places where He is most forgotten.
"I repeat Gemma's ([Miss] Stanelytė — Ed.) words, 'Lord, accept my small sacrifice.' "
A Letter from the Pskov Prison
"They punished us severely because we loved our homeland, Lithuania, because we thirst for our nation's freedom, because we refused to be servile to the degenerates of the Lithuanian nation and its enemies. Yet our consciences are clear because the enemy was unable to break our will. We are now on our way to hard labor, and after that will follow long years of exile in Siberia. It is unknown whether we shall all return to our homeland some day. Yet we face our future calmly and boldly. We ourselves have various views and beliefs. One of us is a socialist, another a democrat, the third a humanist; two are practicing Catholics, one is indifferent. But we are all united by the ideas for which we resolved to sacrifice our freedom. Now we are even more united by our common fate.
"We send our thanks from this dreary prison cellar, our most sincere wishes, and pray for God's blessing and manifold graces for all who remember us with a kind word. We have the hope that our sacrifice, placed on the nation's altar, will help preserve the flame which will not be extinguished by any of life's trifles.
January 17, 1981 G. V. Iešmantas P. Pečeliūnas V. Skuodis."
Vytautas Skuodis Writes
"My suffering is sweet, and my path of sacrifice is easy, for I know its meaning, which is inestimably more precious to me than my own life. I pray for God's countless graces for you! ... I was very pleasantly astounded when I received nine letters on July 7.1 was especially surprised and pleased that four of them managed to reach me after thirty-three to thirty-five days of travel. I would like to point out that since I sent my June letter I have received no letters from my dear ones, who, I know, remember me. ... A new man called Dainis has come from Latvia. He's about my age, an engineer, and also an artist, a pupil of Sumisas."
July 11, 1981
A Letter from Anastazas Janulis to a Schoolgirl
"O Youth, I salute your unique childish trust, your unselfish spirit of sacrifice and energetic idealism, your mountainclimber-like daring in seeking Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.
"O Youth, I wish you Faith, Hope, and Love, which enables one to make ordinary works extraordinary and extraordinary ones ordinary. May your steps be watched over by the Lithuanian wayside Pensive Christ. May the Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin Mary be the wings that lift your soul to the stars. Today, when many tend to only take from life, may you, O Youth, give to life!
"What can I write about myself? Both a great deal and — nothing. In my thoughts I write many letters to you, O Youth, but unfortunately they do not reach their destination, for those thoughts are not set down on paper. And what is set down loses the shading of my daily existence. The cross I wear on my breast bears the inscription T am nailed to Christ's cross.' Oh, how I wish that these words would be fulfilled in me, that I would be worthy of them. It is written: God loves the cheerful giver. That is why I sing the 'Te Deum' in my soul because God has chosen me for a life of sacrifice, to follow his Son's path, if necessary, from Gethsemane to Golgotha. Of course, I miss the altar and the organ. Now my church is Nature's shrine. Nature is the Creator's open book, substituting for the Gospel. While reading this book, it is very easy to pray, not only in brief celebrations, but also to practice mental prayer.
"Many doves fly into our yard, and seeing them I remember Christ's words to be guileless as doves, but wise and my mother's words 'May God bestow the Holy Spirit upon you.' The dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Seeing an ordinary gray sparrow on the roof, I seem to hear Christ's words 'You are of more value than many sparrows', and not one of them (sparrows) falls without the knowledge of the Heavenly Father . . . Seeing the lowliest little flower, I remember Christ's parable: 'Do not be anxious for your life, what you shall eat, nor yet for your body, what you shall put on . . . Look at the birds of the air . . . the lilies of the field . . . not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed like one of these.'
"I give glory to the Creator, for indeed I now have nothing to worry about. Divine Providence provides for everything through his creatures. I am fed and clothed and rested. In a word, one need only love God and all will be for the good, even work will become a blessing. That is how it is. Prayer and work are the pair of wings on which I rise from the earth toward Heaven. When God calls me home to him someday, I will not be going 'barehanded' but gloved — wearing gloves that I made with my own hands (Janulis sews gloves at the labor camp — Ed.). All five of man's senses help in keeping God in mind and in communicating with him by mental prayer. While living here it is of the utmost importance to live with and for God. The man who lives with God becomes convinced that everything on earth is relative: happiness and unhappiness, joy and suffering, freedom and captivity, health and illness.
"I am healthy at this time (I ignore minor indispositions). The climate here is continental. The wind shifts often. It'll be blowing from the south, and then suddenly it's from the west or the east. It's dry; there was practically no rain this year. It is hot — stifling. Now the weather is becoming cooler. The nights are very mild. I had the pleasant opportunity to enjoy them. I had the fortune to spend several nights outdoors in the pure air. Lord, what a blessing! You lie there with your eyes wide open and gaze at the miraculous beauty of the universe. Whenever I watch the stars and the sky I remember the words of the great Spaniard: 'How wretched seems the earth when you look at the starry sky.' How much could be written about the night! It is with good reason that poets sing its praises. On those nights I spent much time in prayer and reflection. Where did I not travel on those nights! I borrowed the Wheels of Grigas (Big Dipper) from the sky, harnessed them with stars and set out across the sleeping world . . . Flying over the fields, forests, and lakes of my sleeping homeland, I seemed to hear the words of the poet Maironis: 'The world sleeps . . ..' But many hearts are still awake. Who are they? They are the restless hearts. There a mother is keeping watch over her child's cradle, here a priest is awake, not having finished his breviary because of various duties during the day. Unfortunately, there are also others who are keeping watch."
Julius Sasnauskas Writes
"I have shaken the dust of prison from my shoes and have become an exile. I was escorted from Vilnius by a special guard unit (that is what they called themselves): two soldiers and an officer. In the airplane they snapped handcuffs on me, but covered them with a newspaper a bit too late, for people are curious. They cheered me and made fun of my guards during the entire trip . . .
"In Tomsk I was placed in a prison again. Again the searches and a long wait until they finally opened the cell doors. The cell itself was tiny. At the security police prison two of us shared such a cell, but here we were ten. A cement floor, bunktype pallets, the window nearly completely nailed over with planks. It was stifling hot. At midnight legions of bedbugs appeared. I was kept at the prison only one night, and on Friday afternoon we set out in a prisoners convoy for Parabel.
"I reached Parabel exactly one day later, i.e., Saturday afternoon. I spent two nights in a police guard room. The authorities came on Monday morning, and after they had completed giving me all their instructions, I hurried out.
"I live in a dormitory at the edge of town. I can't go anywhere without the supervisor's permission. (Of course this is their own invention because the code limits only the administrative area and not the town.) I will be working as a locksmith and doing maintenance work at the oil pipeline authority. This was also their decision, supposedly to exert the 'proper influence' on me. Of course, my re-education will not be limited to this, a certain 'gentleman' has already been assigned . . ."
June 15, 1981
"Česnavičius ... at one time threatened to remove from the airplane anyone who decided to come for a visit . . . and instructed me to resist the'persuasions and temptations' of visitors . . ..
"... I remember my final statement well. According to Česnavičius the reporters understood it quite differently, therefore Tiesa (Truth) printed the Chekist version. There is no need to comment on the appeal for clemency (more accurately its conclusion). Except for that last page, they could achieve nothing else. Whereas in the facsimile printed in Tiesa, they 'cut off two sentences from the end. Of course, that request was foolish. After the trial I deduced from Česnavičius's behavior that they were thinking of rescinding my sentence of exile. Later, I had several arguments . . . and their position changed. They stopped 'educating' me and in exchange for freedom demanded not only that I sign a second appeal for clemency but provide 'more detailed information with total capitulation.' "
July 26, 1981
Since her return from exile, [Miss] Nijolė Sadūnaitė continues to receive no letters. The KGB confiscates not only letters from abroad but local letters as well. On her birthday (July 22) the International Committee for the Defense of Nijolė Sadūnaitė transmitted beautiful greetings to her on the radio:
"To our dear unforgettable sister Nijolė Sadūnaitė, our most heartfelt wishes of happiness and blessings on the occasion of your birthday. All of your friends, brothers and sisters, do not know where you are living now. Even though you cannot write to us we are always with you in O'.ir hearts and thoughts, as well as in our daily prayers, which include your dear ones .... Our best wishes will reach you belatedly, but they are from the bottom of our hearts.
"We also remember your small but courageous nation and all the countless others who shared your fate and their families. Your relative and his family in the United States of America join in our greetings, prayers, and wishes. May Heaven protect and guard you. May the Lord bless and ever hold his hand over you. You are always with us, as are your loved ones. Sincerely from all your friends, sisters and brothers, in the International Committee for the Defense of Nijolė Sadūnaitė. Our gift to you for your birthday is the many masses offered up in your intention."
Nijolė Sadūnaitė will not be able to thank anyone for the greetings, as is similarly the case with many others who have displeased the Soviet government. Therefore, the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania thanks the International Committee for the Defense of Nijolė Sadūnaitė and all who with loving hearts support those who are fighting and suffering for the freedom of belief in the Soviet Union.