CHANNAHON — Involvement in scouting and her traditional Lithuanian community has propelled Ann Savickas of Minooka into the position of being a light bringer.
Savickas carried a lantern with a flame that was lit in Jerusalem to a gathering of Catholic Scouts Saturday, Jan. 22, at Saint Anne Church in Channahon.
The flame originated in Jerusalem over the spot where Jesus is said to have been born. A child enters the grotto in Jerusalem and lights a candle from the Eternal Flame lantern there.
Savickus prayed as she presented the flame to the scouts.
“This light gives us hope that, even though there is much darkness in the world, we can still see signs of loving and peaceful communities,” she said. “We can still see people living together in harmony, and working together for your peace and justice.”
“We are the children that they (our ancestors) dreamt of a better life for. I teach in scouting the principles, the scout law, and so forth. But those principles are meaningless unless you remember to live them.
“(As a child of immigrant parents) The ancestors’ tears and suffering created a better world that we are living in now. We honor them by being the best we can be.”
Through the efforts of Scouts in Austria and the Austrian Airlines, the flame was transported overseas Dec. 5, 2010, to New York, where groups, including those of the Lithuanian and Latvian ethnicity, relit other lamps and took them around the United States.
As the appointed light-bearer from the Lithuanian community in Chicagoland, Savickus went to a church in Palatine on Dec. 10 to pick up the flame.
The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were gathered Jan. 22 for a religious “retreat,” or day to reflect on the scout heritage in light of their faith. Savickas brought the flame as a way to share the peace message.
In the afternoon, she would share the same message with an assembly scouts of Lithuanian descent, including her two sons, John, 17, and Tomas, 11, who are members of the Lituanica Scouts, which assembles at the Lithuanian World Center at 127th Ave. in Lemont, Ill.
Anne leads the Nerija Scouts or the female version of the Boy Scouts. Both groups are affiliated with Boy Scouts of American, but also concentrate on sharing aspects, music, crafts and culture of Lithuania.
Lithuanian, a small country east of the Baltic Sea, has suffered in its history of being part of or merged with nearby powerful countries, including Russia, the former Soviet Union and Germany.
Anne’s involvement in her Lithuanian heritage and the sharing of that history in the scouting program to her is the living representation of what her ancestors suffered for.