SERVANT of GOD ADELE DIRSYTE was born in 1909 in
was the youngest of six children and her parents were hardworking farmers.
Adele spent her childhood working the farm and attending school. Her parents
taught her to value hard work. Lithuania
When she was 19 years old, Adele decided to study Philosophy at University. There she was very involved in Catholic college groups,giving many speeches, lectures and conferences to Catholic Youth organizations. After leaving university, Adele took that passion for her faith and worked for Caritas and a number of other Catholic organizations that took care of the poor and orphans.
|With her Mother & brother|
She wrote many articles that were published about the need to help others. During the German and Soviet occupation of
, Adele found a job teaching
in a girls school and language academy. Her students shared that Adele took the
teaching position as an opportunity to teach the girls about their faith and go
to Mass and retreats with them. She organized relief efforts and hid Jewish
students in her home when she could. Lithuania
In 1944, when the Soviets reoccupied her country, she joined a group of activists who sought to bring faith and culture back to
. Adele worked to
strengthening of her people’s religious and national traditions. In 1946, she
was arrested for hiding a person who had escaped from the Soviets. She was put
on trial before a military tribunal and sentenced to 10 years in a
concentration camp. Lithuania
A year later, she was moved from the concentration camp to a forced labor camp in
there was extremely difficult, with excessive physical work being aggravated by
poor nutrition, lack of hygiene, and intense cold weather. All these effected
Adelė’s health but she was known by the other inmates to be energetic and positive,
organizing prayer groups to pray the rosary. Russia
Over a period of two years, Adele was transferred to several other labor camps where she had to cut rocks, build railways and other hard manual labor. She was always a spiritual leader to those in need. In her spare time during these years, she wrote a Prayer Book for girls who were exiled in the Siberian labor camps.
It was a small handwritten book sewn together with cloth covers. The inmates would copy the prayers and make their own prayer book, adding their personal prayer to the next copy. Adele encouraged the women to add their new prayers to their own books and others when they could.
During this time, Adele found out that a priest was passing through a nearby village and she arranged for the Eucharist to be brought to the women secretly. The Soviet guards found out and punished Adele, with daily beatings for weeks. When the other inmates realized that she was being brutally beaten, they tried to comfort her, but she would say that the guards needed her forgiveness and she would pray for them. Finally the Soviets took her to an isolated prison where they spent months trying to break her spirit and faith. They put her in the mentally ill section of the camp. She died there in 1955 when she was 46 years old.