Mangaluru: Statues of St Mariam Baourdy and St Joseph Vaz Installed at Rosario Cathedral

Mangaluru: St Ann’s Convent-Mangaluru has some close connection with Sr Mary of Jesus Crucified (St Mariam Baourdy), because in 1870 she had come down from France to this coastal town with a band of Pioneer Carmalites and had stayed at St Ann’s Convent for 2 years (1870-1872). So for the Apostolic Carmel sisters of St Ann’s Convent and AC sisters of other convents in and around Mangaluru it was good news that Sr Mary of Jesus Crucified was declared as Saint on Sunday, 17 June 2015 by Pope Francis in Rome. Sr Mary is a shining example of how our Lord can make use of a soul that is humble and faithful to Him, in spite of any obstacles that may lie in the way. It is indeed a thrilling story at this point in time, with her canonization in sight.


It is noted that since ancient times, India has been saturated with Sages and Saints- and for that matter South Kanara/Mangalore (Dakshina Kannada)has also shared a prime place and share in it too. Faiths and religions have moved hand in hand in high secular principles of this Holy Land-Mangaluru, which is also known as the “Rome of the East”. On 14 January 2015, we saw Fr Joseph Vas, who had served in and around Mangaluru being canonized as a Saint by Pope Francis in Colombo-Sri Lanka. It was also a joyous occasion for Cloistered Carmel Sisters based at Kankanady here, that one of their pioneers, Mariam Baouardy who lived in Mangaluru from 1870-1872, whose religious name was Sr Mary of Jesus Crucified, was canonized as Saint by Pope Francis in Rome on 17 May 2015.

The statue of St Mariam Baourdy was taken from her historical abode in procession on Sunday, 27 December from St Ann’s Convent to be venerated and installed at Rosario Cathedral-Mangaluru. Devotees had gathered in large numbers at St Ann’s convent on Sunday morning, where Rev Fr Dennis Moras Prabhu-Vicar General of Mangaluru Diocese blessed the statue. The statue was then taken in a procession from St Ann’s Convent to Rosario Cathedral, where a solemn mass was celebrated by Rev Fr JB Crasta-parish priest of Rosario Cathedral, along with other clergy.

Yet another statue of St Joseph Vaz who had played an important role in the growth of Rosario Church was also installed at Rosario Church-both these statues will be given a prominent niche in the Cathedral Portico on 10 Jan 2016.

About Sister Mary of Jesus Crucified (Mariam Baouardy):

Mary was born at Abellin, a hill country of Upper Galilee, Palestine, the land of Jesus and Mary. Her father Giries (George) Baouardy and mother Mariam Chahyn had 12 sons born to them and all died in infancy; they walked 170 kilometers on foot to the Grotto of the Nativity, Bethlehem and prayed for a girl child The Mother of God blessed them by granting their request – the miracle child of Bethlehem was born on 5 January, 1846, baptized Mariam, on 15 January 1846 in the Greek Catholic Church. After two years God gave them a second child a boy whom they named Boulos (Paul), but very soon both the parents died and the two children became orphans.


God looked upon Mariam (Mary) as a child of predilection, From the tender age of 3 she was blessed with the gift of interiority. She referred to herself as “the Little Nothing”. People ordinarily called her “the Little Arab” or “the little one”. Mariam’s paternal uncle took charge of her, and when she attained the age of 12, made all preparations to get her married. But Mariam was in love with Jesus of Nazareth and had already made up her mind to remain a virgin and so escaped her uncle’s gaze and disappeared.

Being an illiterate child, for seven years she spent time working as a servant in four or five different places in Greece and France, in homes of God-fearing families and at last, God called her to join the Convent of St. Joseph of the Apparition in Marseilles, France where Mary was received with much affection, she edified everyone through her saintly and childlike ways. She stayed there as a Postulant for two years. She was sincere and transparent, fully given to God in Jesus her Spouse. She was also endowed with extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit, including the ‘stigmata’ which appeared on her body on Fridays. Yet God had a different plan for her, for she did not get selected to the Novitiate and therefore had to leave the Convent.

As Divine providence had willed it, her second Novice Mistress Mother Veronica of the Passion recognized the unique and extra- ordinary working of the Holy Spirit in this young maiden and took special care of her. Mother Veronica was chosen by God to be the foundress of a new Active Carmelite Congregation to work for the education of girls in Mangaluru and the Malabar coast, and for this purpose had received from Rome the authorization to transfer to the Carmel of Pau, and was about to leave Marseilles.

With great compassion in her heart she proposed to her dear child ‘the Little One’, that she introduce her to the Mother Prioress of Pau. She wrote and the reply was immediate and positive. God put a close spiritual and genuine bond between the two souls and they from that moment forward grew as ‘soul mates’ on the path to sanctity, always pursuing God’s will and seeking perfection through prayer, obedience and openness to the Holy Spirit to gain spiritual insights and led forward on the path of holiness.

About Blessed Joseph Vaz:

Joseph Vaz was born on April 21, 1651 in Benovlim, Goa as the third son of Christopher Vaz and Miranda. He became a priest in 1676 and served in different parishes of Goa till 1681. Later he was sent to Canara. Fr Joseph Vaz travelled from Goa barefoot and served in Honnavar, Basrur, Kundapur, Gangoli, Mulki, Mangaluru and Ullal Panir. He survived an attempt on his life in 1684, when he was serving as the parish priest of Panir Church. His ambition was to work as a missionary in Sri Lanka.


Life of Blessed Joseph Vaz – Apostle of Kanara and Sri Lanka:

1651 – Born in Benaulim, Goa, India, on April 21.

1676 – Is ordained a priest. Shortly after, volunteers to go to Sri Lanka where the Dutch were persecuting Catholics and had banned all priests from entering the island. The Chapter of Goa refuses his offer because the mission would have meant certain death for him.

1681 – Is sent to rescue the almost extinct mission in Kanara, present-day Karnataka in India. Rebuilds the Church in Mangalore and Kanara, establishes missions, tends to the sick, ransoms prisoners.

1684 – Returns to Goa and joins a band of native Indian priests who formed a community.
1685 – Founds a religious Congregation, the ‘Oratory of St. Philip Neri’, on September 25.

1686 – Leaves Goa secretly and sets out for Sri Lanka.

1687 – Arrives in Jaffna in the Tamil region of Sri Lanka, with a servant, John Vaz, both disguised as coolies. He works with a price on his head.

1691 – Is almost captured by the Dutch and is advised to go to Kandy. Is brought into Kandy in chains and imprisoned as a Portuguese spy by the Buddhist King, Vimaladharna Surya II.

1693 – Works a miracle of rain during a severe drought. The King releases him and gives him protection and freedom to preach in his kingdom. As in Goa and in Mangalore, is often seen in ecstasy in prayer. The people call him “Sammana Swami” or Angelic Father.

1697 – Is joined by three of his Indian Oratorians from Goa. During a small-pox epidemic in Kandy, the King and the people flee the capital. Fr. Vaz and Fr. Carvalho, tend to the dying and abandoned victims for almost two years.

1705 – Dedicates the Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu.

1711 – Dies in Kandy on January 16, after 23 years of arduous missionary work in Sri Lanka.

The Work of Blessed Joseph Vaz:

His missionary work was not colonial, not helped, authorized, associated with conquest by a colonial power. He gained the protection of a non-Christian King, Vimaladharma Surya II, a devout Buddhist. He used Inculturation as a missionary method. He founded a Catholic para-liturgy and literature using the two languages and cultures of Sri Lanka, Tamil and Sinhalese; he practiced and taught Meditation.

He educated his servant John Vaz, a member of the Indigenous tribe of Kunbis, and sent him back to Goa with a letter of recommendation to the priesthood. At that time, the Portuguese Church Councils reserved the priesthood only for the two higher castes in Goa. He rescued and expanded the Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu, one of the 5 officially crowned Marian Shrines of the Church. It was crowned for its fame for miracles and for pilgrimages in 1924, even before Fatima.

He is the first non-European native in modern times to found a Mission and Church in a “Third World” country; to found a fully native Catholic Religious Congregation; and to be given the official title of “Apostle” (of Kanara and Sri Lanka) by the Church, for his work in rescuing th Church there. His Indian Oratorian Mission is the only fully native, non-European Catholic Mission of our colonial era.

The Church he re-founded in Sri Lanka was persecuted and survived isolation from Rome for 140 years: “Here is a country in which the faith was first preached, and a Church founded with great success to flourish for over a century, by missionaries who, being afterwards forced by the political failure of their nation to abandon the field, left this island for good and their converts without churches or priests and under the heel of a persecutor; and a single priest (Joseph Vaz) from another country, came here of his own accord and labouring heroically with a price upon his head, revived the faith and made many conversions in the subsequent political, social and ecclesiastical changes in the country were ever able to undo his work. It must be stated with caution and subject to correction, but no other instance of such an achievement is known in Christendom.”

The Process for his Recognition as a Saint:

1711 – Father Joseph Vaz dies a saintly death in Kandy, Sri Lanka, and is honored with a public funeral.

1713 – The Jesuit Bishop of Cochin begins his Cause.

1896 – Mons, Zalesky, Papal Nuncio and founder of the Papal Seminary in India, suggests that a new Cause be started. It begun by the Goan Church.

1953 – The diocesan ordinary process is sealed and sent to Rome. It contains volumes of miracles, including the three required outstanding miracles.

1954 – All 78 Bishops of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka sign a Petition to Pope Pius XII to beatify him.

1976 – Cardinal Cooray of Sri Lanka petitions Pope Paul VI for action. A Positio Historica, summary of the historical documents relating to the life and work of Father Joseph Vaz, is requested.

1985 – The Positio is submitted and the Bishops of Sri Lanka petition Pope John Paul II to beatify Vaz.

1993 – The miracle required for Beatification is approved by the Sacred Congregation for the Saints and the Pope issues the Decree of Beatification.

1995 – The Government and Bishops of Sri Lanka host the visit of Pope John Paul II to Sri Lanka for the official Beatification of Blessed Joseph Vaz. 2015 – Pope Francis on January 14 will canonize Fr Vaz as Saint in Sri Lanka.

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