Our Lady of Good Health

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Our Lady of Good Health
LocationVailankanni, India
Date16th and 17th century
WitnessYoung milk delivery boy
TypeMarian apparition
Holy See approvalPending approval by the Holy See, endorsed by Catholic Bishops' Conference of India
ShrineBasilica of Our Lady of Good Health

Our Lady of Good Health is the name given to an apparition of the Virgin Mary believed to have appeared in the town of Vailankanni, Tamil Nadu, India. She is also known as Our Lady of Vailankanni and Holy Mother of Good Health. Her name in the Tamil language is ஆரோக்கிய மாதா (Arokia Matha).

The Feast day of Our Lady of Good Health is on the same day as the birthday of the Virgin Mary (September 8).

The three miraculous events[change | change source]

Although there is no written record of these three events, the oral tradition is that there were three apparitions. Two were during the 16th century and one in the 17th century.

First appearance[change | change source]

The first apparition was in the town of Vailankanni, Tamil Nadu. It is said that a Hindu boy was resting under a banyan tree near a pond. While he was resting, a woman with an infant on her hand came to him and asked him for milk. The boy agreed and ran off to get the milk. When he came back, he apologized for his lateness and the reduced amount of milk due to an accident when he was coming back with the milk. However, on inspection the boy found the pot of milk to be full and was convinced a miracle happened. Together a man, also a Hindu, and the boy went back to the pond where the apparition had occurred. Again, the Lady appeared with her child. On learning that it was the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus who appeared to the boy, the residents of the local Roman Catholic community became ecstatic and renamed the pond Matha Kulum (Our Lady's Pond).

Second appearance[change | change source]

Later towards the end of the 16th century, it is believed the Virgin Mary appeared to a crippled boy (and also a son of a widow) in a place called Thittu, once again in the same town of Vailankanni. The boy is said to have offered buttermilk to the Virgin Mary and then he was cured of his illness. The boy was then commanded by Mary to tell a Catholic gentleman in the nearby town of Nagapattinam. The first shrine was built by this Catholic gentleman.

Third appearance[change | change source]

The third appearance of the Virgin Mary was in the 17th century. A Portuguese merchant vessel was sailing from Macau in China to Colombo in Sri Lanka. When the vessel was sailing, it was caught in a storm in the Bay of Bengal. The sailors vowed to build a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary if they could reach land safely. The legend claimed that the sea became quiet and they reached safety on the shore of Vailankanni on the Virgin Mary's birthday, September 8. Because of their vow to the Virgin Mary, the Portuguese sailors put up a chapel at Vailankanni by transforming the last small shrine built by the last Catholic gentleman.

The Basilica (Extension) of Our Lady Good Health