Jurgis Matulaitis (Polish: Jerzy Matulaitis-Matulewicz or just Jerzy Matulewicz) was born 13 April 1871 in the village of Lūginė, near Marijampolė, in southwestern Lithuania, at the time Russian Empire, and he died on 27 January 1927 in Kaunas, Lithuania.
Matulaitis was orphaned at an early age, with his father dying in 1874 and his mother in 1881. In his pre-teens, Matulaitis developed tuberculosis of the bone in his leg, from which he suffered the rest of his life.
Matulaitis earned his doctorate in theology at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. He also taught Latin and canon law in a seminary in Kielce. Matulaitis was the head of the sociology department and vice rector of the St. Petersburg Spiritual Academy, teaching dogmatic theology. Matulaitis was a noted teacher, cleric, spiritual advisor and confessor, but he resigned his position at the academy to work for the Marian revitalization.
Matulaitis was ordained to the priesthood on 20 November 1898, then professed as a religious in the Marian Congregation in 1909; on 14 July 1911, he was elected superior general of the Congregation of Marian Fathers. He reformed the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, changing their constitution, habit and way of life.
Matulaitis founded the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lithuania on 15 October 1918, and was installed as Bishop of Vilnius on 8 December in the same year. Matulaitis founded the Congregation of Handmaids of Jesus in the Eucharist in 1924 in Belarus. He also established Marian religious houses and movitiates at Bielany, Poland, Marijampolė, Lithuania, Fribourg, Switzerland, and Chicago, Illinois. In 1926, Matulaitis traveled to the United States a second time, where he participated in a eucharistic congress.
Matulaitis fought vigorously to defend the rights of the church and freedom of the people. Matulaitis resigned from his see on 14 July 1925; on 1 September 1925, Pope Pius XI appointed him titular archbishop and apostolic visitator to Lithuania. The Vatican dispatched Matulaitis to Vilnius to complete a concordat with the Lithuanian government to restore diplomatic relations, which the 55-year-old church leader successfully accomplished just before his death on 27 January 1927.
Overcome evil with good.
- --taken from Saint Paul the Apostle; inscribed on Matulaitis' coat of arms.
- Bishop Emeritus of Vilnius
- Titular Archbishop of Adulis
- Superior General of Congregation of Marian Fathers