August 29

Our Lady of Good Health, Velankanni, Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu, India

Located on the Bay of Bengal in southeastern India, the shrine of Our Lady of Good Health was built near the site of three miracles all said to have occurred on September 8, Feast of Mary's Nativity, beginning in the late 1500s. The feast of the Velankanni shrine begins on August 29, with the hoisting of Our Lady's flag, and continues with daily masses and processions through September 8, when the flag is lowered. 

Miracle 1. On his way from Velankanni to deliver milk to a wealthy customer in Nagapattinam five miles north, a Hindu boy stopped to drink at a waterhole and rested there under a banyan tree. A radiant woman appeared, asking for some milk to give the child in her arms. On fulfilling her request, the young milkman was gratified to see the baby smile. When he got to Nagapattinam he told his customer the story by way of apology for his lateness and the reduced amount of milk. But finding the milk pot full, the rich man, also a Hindu, asked the boy to show him the place where the lady appeared. In the shrine's account, the customer prostrated himself at the spot, considering it holy ground (Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Health Vailankanni, www.vailankannishrine.org). In other devotional accounts, the mother and child reappeared when the boy and his customer got there (Velankanni Church, www.velankannichurch.com). Local Catholics identified the apparition as the Virgin Mary, and the waterhole became known as Matha Kulam, Mother Tank. 

Miracle 2. A few years later, a Catholic man in Nagapattinam dreamed that Our Lady asked him to build a chapel in her honor. The next day, another young milk vendor, this time a crippled boy who sold buttermilk on Velankanni's public square, arrived at his house with the same request. The beautiful woman had appeared to him asking for buttermilk for her child. After he gave it, she bid him tell the Catholic of her desire for a chapel. Suddenly healed of his infirmity, the boy hastened to Nagapattinam with the news. The man built a thatched chapel at Velankanni, with a statue of the Madonna and Child. So many pilgrims found healing there that the Virgin of Velankanni became known as Our Lady of Good Health. 


"Mother of good health beckons all," The Hindu, www.thehindu.com

Miracle 3. In the 1700s, a Portuguese vessel encountered a storm en route to Malaya. After praying to the Virgin for help, the crew found port at Velankanni. In thanksgiving they improved the shrine, then and on subsequent visits. 

On November 3, 1962, Pope John XXIII designated the shrine a Basilica.   

Also commemorated this date:

bulletNotre-Dame de Limon, Brignais, Rhône, France. Vow made during plague, 1640. Feast now celebrated on the Sunday nearest Sept. 8.
bulletNostra Signora della Guardia, Gavi, Alessandria, Piedmont, Italy
bulletMadonna della Guardia, Varazze, Savona, Liguria, Italy
bulletNostra Signora della Guardia sul Monte Figogna, Ceranesi, Genoa, Liguria, Italy
bulletMadonna dei Papalini, Prato, Prato, Tuscany, Italy. Spanish invasion stopped, 1512.
bulletSanta Maria al Giglio, Montevarchi, Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy (St. Mary at the Lily). Apparition to several people, 1585.
bulletSanta Maria di Collemaggio, L'Aquila, Abruzzo, Italy. La Perdonanza: holy door open only evening of Aug. 28 to evening of Aug. 29
bulletSanta Maria di Valleverde, Bovino, Foggia, Puglia, Italy. Patron saint. Fair, procession. 
bulletMadonna delle Lacrime, Syracuse, Sicily, Italy. Image bled, 1953.
bulletPort Arthur Mother of God, Vladivostok, Primorsky Krai, Russia (August 16 Julian).
bulletMother of God of the Holy Rosary, Chortkiv, Chortkiv, Ternopil, Ukraine. Icon crowned, 2009.
 

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly