Third Monday after Easter

Our Lady of Miracles, Mapusa, North Goa, Goa, India

In 1594, in this market center of northern Goa, the Portuguese built St. Jerome's Catholic Church on the site of a Hindu temple they had destroyed. It has turned into a locus of spiritual syncretism between the two faiths. At some point, a statue of the Miracle LadyMilagres Saibinn in the native Konkani languagedisplaced that of St. Jerome on the main altar. Her feast on the third Monday after Easter draws pilgrims from a wide region, both Christian and Hindu. To the Catholics, Nossa Senhora dos Milagres is the Virgin Mary, a loving mother with a gift for healing the sick. To Hindus, she is Mirabai, one of seven sisters and a brother said to have come from Bengal to Goa, each settling in a different location, where they are revered as deities. During the Milagres festival, people of both faiths bring offerings: garlands of firecracker flowers (crossandra), candles, and wax body parts. In addition, Hindus anoint replicas of Our Lady's image with coconut oil. At the associated fair, people stock up on provisions, grinding stones, and furniture. Around the same time a fire-walking zatra celebration honors Mirabai's sister Lairai at her Hindu temple in nearby Shirgao. 
The sisters exchange gifts at their respective festivals: Lairai sends a Milagres a pot of oil; Milagres sends Lairai a basket of jasmine. 

In 1961, during the Indian takeover of Goa, the Portuguese blew the roof off St. Jerome's church while trying to destroy a bridge. The church was soon renovated. Its website, stjeromesmapusa.com, has some information about Our Lady of Miracles in Konkani but none in English. Sources include "Mapusa in Bardez Goa," Comprehensive Information on Goa, www.goaholidayhomes.com/info/39/mapusa/ and "Goa's Milagres Saibinn feast at Mapusa," Goa News, April 27, 2009, goacom.blogspot.com/2009_04_01_archive.html. Photograph of Milagres Saibinn statue taken and uploaded on her feast day, April 27, 2009, by joegoauk18, www.flickr.com/photos/36834567@N04/3478944597.   

Also commemorated this date:

bulletMadonna del Soccorso, Bologna, Italy (Madonna of Rescue)
bulletNossa Senhora do Almortão, Idanha-a-Nova, Castelo Branco, Beira Interior Sul, Centro, Portugal
bulletSenhora da Saúde, Sobral do Campo, Castelo Branco, Beira Interior Sul, Centro, Portugal (Lady of Health)
 

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly