|Our Lady of Good Health|
Our Lady of Vailankanni
Holy Mother of Good Health
புனித ஆரோக்கிய அன்னை
|Location||Velankanni, Tamil Nadu, India|
|Date||16th and 17th century|
|Approval||Implicitly approved by the Holy See under Pope John XXIII in 1962|
|Shrine||Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health, Velankanni, Tamil Nadu, India|
Feast day, 8 September
Our Lady of Good Health (Tamil: ஆரோக்கிய அன்னை Ārōkkiya annai), also known as Our Lady of Vailankanni, is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary by devotees. She is said to have appeared twice in the town of Velankanni, Tamil Nadu, India, in the 16th to 17th centuries.
Though there is no historical document or record about the apparitions of Mary at Velankanni, passed down through oral tradition from the 16th century. Also, the rescue of the Portuguese in Goa and Bombay-Bassein, who were who were sailing through a deadly storm, off the coast of the Coromandel region in the 17th century.
According to tradition, the first apparition is said to have occurred to a young boy delivering buttermilk to a man who lived far away. During his travels, the boy stopped to rest beside a lake that was shaded by a Banyan tree. A beautiful woman, carrying a child, is said to have appeared, and asked the boy for some milk to feed her child, which he gave. When he reached the home for his milk delivery, he apologised for the delay and that there would be less milk in his pot. But when they opened the lid of the milk pot, the container was brimming with milk.
The second apparition is alleged to have occurred a few years later. A lame boy would sell buttermilk to passing travellers, who would pause in the shade of a large Banyan tree, to escape the heat of the day. However, he had no customers. According to the account, suddenly, an ethereal woman, holding a child appeared before him, and asked for a cup of buttermilk. He gave her a cup, which she fed to her child. The woman asked the boy to go to Nagapattinam, and find a certain Catholic man in the town, and tell him to build a chapel at Vailankanni in her honour. Apparently cured, the boy ran to Nagapattinam, where he found the man and told him his story. The Catholic men of Nagapattinam subsequently built a thatched chapel at Vailankanni, dedicated to Mary under the title of "Our Lady of Good Health".
In the 17th century, a Portuguese merchant vessel sailing from Macau to Ceylon was caught in a severe storm in the Bay of Bengal.The sailors prayed fervently for Mary, Star of the Sea to save them, and promised to build a church in her honor wherever they could land. The sea became calm, and their ship landed near Vailankanni on 8 September, the Feast of the Nativity of Mary. To honor their promise, the Portuguese rebuilt the thatched chapel into a stone church. The church was later renovated twice in the early 20th century.
Although these alleged apparitions have been formally approved by the Holy See, they were implicitly approved by Pope John XXIII's 1962 elevation of the Vailankanni church to minor basilica status. The Pope's apostolic brief noted that pilgrims in large numbers had been visiting the shrine for a long period of time, and that it was hailed as the "Lourdes of the East".
Main article: Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health
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of the Catholic Church
A Gothic-styled basilica stands in Velankanni in memory of the apparitions. The basilica erected by the Portuguese and the Indians stands at the site where the buttermilk seller saw Mary and Jesus. The iconic depiction of the Madonna is unique in that it is one of two only icons where Mary is portrayed wearing an Indian Sari, while the other statue is said to have been buried with Aurangzeb, the Mughal Emperor. The basilica is known as a site for pilgrims from all over India and its assembly of multilingual prayers every Christmas.
8 September, the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, is also commemorated as the feast of Our Lady of Good Health. The celebration starts on 29 August and ends on the day of the feast. The feast day prayers are said in Tamil, Marathi, East Indian, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, Konkani, Hindi and English.
The following churches and shrines in locations around the world are dedicated to Our Lady of Good Health.
The Tamil language film Annai Velankanni was made in honor of Our Lady of Good Health with the title Annai Velankanni in 1971. It was directed by K. Thankappan, starring Gemini Ganesan, Kamal Haasan, K. R. Vijaya, Jayalalitha and Padmini.
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