It was in a small village in the South of India that once a remarkable incident had occurred. A Hindu boy was carrying a pot of milk to be delivered to a customer and was rather tired on the way. He rested himself under a banyan tree for a while near a pond.
As he was catching his breath, along came a woman, dressed in bright white clothing, carrying a baby. She asked him if he could spare some milk for her baby to drink. He was sympathetic to the mother and lent them his pot of milk. She thanked the boy and went on her way.
The boy had to reach the customer’s home empty handed and spoke about what happened to the milk. But as soon as he looked at the pot, milk suddenly began filling up inside the pot, right up till the brim! They were both amazed at the sudden happening and rushed to the pond where the boy had met with the woman. She appeared to them there as a vision of light and then disappeared.
A little while after that, a group of Portuguese sailors were caught in a storm. They prayed for the storm to pass and in a sudden flash of light, she appeared to clear the winds. The storm had passed, and they reached the shores of the very same village where she had appeared before. The fishermen led them to the chapel for them to pay their respects. The Portuguese were so thankful to her, that to mark her existence and her miraculous effects of healing and enlightenment, a shrine was put up in her honour, named after her. This was the Shrine of Mother Mary – Now known as St. Mary’s Basilica – In Velankanni.
Her influence has spread far across India, where there has been another Shrine in Delhi to commemorate her image as the Holy Mother Mary. Those who visit the shrine ask her to fulfill their wishes. And for those devotees whose wishes have been granted, they offer a new Saree to the replica of her statue in Velankanni that is then draped over her image.
Her image has been one that has transcended all levels of faith, despite region or religion, and has become a symbol of everlasting hope, grace and healing.