Famous Valankanni Church,Tamil Nadu, India - Apparitions

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Valankanni,  one of the most visited pilgrim centers in Nagapatnam district,Tamil Nadu, India  is a small town on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. Here  the renowned shrine Basilica of our Lady of health draws pilgrims from all over India, not only Christians but also the people of other faiths. The Pope  has declared Valankanni as a “Holy city”. Here the Roman Catholic Church has an extended Basilica with two floors where one can find the statue of Jesus Christ.  Built in the unique Gothic style, the church  buildings are painted white, while roof of the church is made of  red tiles  in contrast to the color of the walls. People on a visit to this holy place can not miss the radiating rays of hope and grace that permeate the air.   

Apparitions Of Our Lady:

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Our Blessed Mother's apparitions in Valankanni, that  transformed this place into a Marian Shrine of international repute and  is popularly known as the "Lourdes of the East." It is an unquestionable fact that God has always been eager to intervene and help the devotees  especially during the most testing times bordering on a crisis situation. Here the  lord came to people   through Mary to help them get over their difficulties. Apparitions Of Our Lady are well known.
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01. Our Lady’s Vision to a Shepherd Boy:

Approximately 400 years ago –  a shepherd boy from Valankanni  everyday  delivered milk to a rich man in Nagapattinam 10 KM away. On an unusually hot summer day, the boy, rested for a while in the shade of a banyan tree near a pond. While deep in sleep he was woken up suddenly. With awe he saw a vision of a beautiful  smiling heavenly Lady with a lovely child in her arms  greeting him  and asking him for some milk for her child. Spell bound as he was,  the boy  obliged and felt happy.

When he delivered the milk at the rich man's house,  the milk pot  was full to the brim. The boy narrated to the rich man about the apparition he had  of a lady of unusual beauty with a child and the milk given to the child upon her request. Fascinated by the extraordinary miracle witnessed by the boy, the rich man went  to the spot and prostrated himself on the holy ground where the Lady had appeared to the boy.

The Christians in the local area were  happy and convinced that the vision was that of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus. From that day onwards the pond had come to be known as "Matha Kulam" (Our Lady’s Tank).  A chapel now stands at the place where Mary appeared to the shepherd boy 400 years ago. Thousands of people visit this place for her blessings. 

02.  Apparition of Our Lady to the Buttermilk Vendor:

This time, a poor lame boy of the village experienced the apparition. In the 16th century, there was a poor widow in the village of Valankanni with a son who was congenitally lame. The boy made a living by selling butter milk at a place known as  "Nadu Thittu" which had  a huge banyan tree.  The widow would carry the lame boy and leave  him there with a pot of buttermilk. The boy sold the butter milk to weary travelers who would take rest there. 

One hot day as  there was no customer, he was a little disappointed. Then, all of a sudden  he saw a  beautiful Lady  standing before him with a charming baby in her arms and the mother  asked him for a cup of buttermilk for the child. The boy immediately  responded with joy.  Both the Mother and the boy  cast a benevolent look at the lame boy as if to heal his physical handicap. The  grace of the child answered and a miracle had just happened. Gratefully  obliged, the lady requested the boy  to go to Nagapattinam and apprise a certain rich Catholic gentleman of the Lady’s appearance to him and to inform him of her desire to have a chapel built at   lankanni in her honor.  Knowing boy's handicap, the divine Lady made him get up and walk as if he was no longer a cripple. The boy's joy knew no bounds when he realized he could walk and it was not a figment of his mind but a reality.                                                                                                                                                   
The  boy  narrated to the rich gentleman of the apparition and lady's desire to have him  build a chapel in her honor in Valankanni. The gentleman himself  had a similar vision of Our Lady in his sleep the previous night, asking him  to build a chapel in her honor.

With the help from the local people he soon put up a small thatched chapel at Vailankanni and erected an  altar  in the chapel with  a beautiful statue of Our Lady of Valankanni holding the Infant Jesus in her arms. That marked the humble beginning of the Shrine of Our Lady of Valankanni. So many cures were taking place to those who prayed at the miraculous shrine. The Mother with her Divine Infant came to be known as ''Our Lady of Good Health'', Valankanni (in local parlance ''Valankanni Arokia Matha'').

03. The Portuguese Ship caught in a Storm:

In the  16th century European mercantile traders were busy in establishing trading centers in India. The Portuguese were devout Catholics with a special devotion to Our Blessed Mother Mary, the ‘Star of the Sea.' In the 17th century, a Portuguese merchant vessel  on its way to Colombo, was caught in a violent storm in the Bay of Bengal that produced giant powerful waves and the fate of the ship along with  the crew was at stake. The helpless sailors instinctively fell on their knees and sought Mary’s help and vowed to build a church in her honor wherever she helped them land safely. Their earnest and distress  appeal was instantly heard, for suddenly  there was a miraculous lull in the winds; the waves subsided and the sea became calm. Soon the battered ship was pushed to safety to the shores of Valankanni. On landing, the first thing the sailors did was to fall on their knees and thank God and the Blessed Virgin Mary for having saved their lives. They set about immediately to remodel the thatched chapel already put up by the local merchant.

Remarkably, all these extraordinary events took place on September 8, the feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The church attracts more than a million people from various parts of India in the months of August and September alone every year and services are held in many Indian languages.


Details About Valankanni Church Campus". www.velankannichurch.com. Retrieved 17 February 2014.