Mary Page News

November 25, 1997

Mary Page is a link to a variety of information. The items give insight into our interest areas, our outreach, and the myriad ways people honor Our Lady. We welcome your input and your comments.

Thanksgiving Mary's Way
Phenomenology and Theology of Apparitions: An International Congress for the Fatima Jubilee
An Austrian Village is a Marian Museum
Asian Marian Pilgrimages in the USA
Chapel of Our Lady of Good Health, Vailankanni

Thanksgiving Mary's Way

It has been said that Thanksgiving is the most religious holiday for people in the United States. It is perhaps the one day a year when we stop together to say a little prayer of thanks as we gather at the Thanksgiving meal.

Mary Page wishes you a blessed Thanksgiving. We ponder Mary's life to see what her gratitude was like, and we discover the Magnificat: My soul rejoices in God! Her gratitude can be called an active thanksgiving. After the great things of God were done to her, she hurried away to serve others. There, two women -- God-filled -- rejoice and praise God for the great things done to them.

Mary Page hopes your Thanksgiving will be like Mary's, a sheer rejoicing in God's greatness and God's goodness.

Prayer of the Church
Father, all-powerful,
your gifts of love are countless
and your goodness infinite.
On Thanksgiving Day
we come before you
with gratitude for your kindness:
open our hearts to concern for
our fellow men and women,
so that we may share your gifts
in loving service.
We ask this through our
Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Opening Prayer for Thanksgiving Day

Our Lady of the Prairies
National Shrine of Our Lady of the Prairies
Powers Lake, North Dakota

Phenomenology and Theology of Apparitions: An International Congress for the Fatima Jubilee

From October 9-12, 1997, an international congress took place in Fatima to discuss phenomenological and theological aspects of apparitions. The congress was prepared for more than a year, when scholars in history, philosophy, biblical backgrounds, theology and pastoral sciences formed a research commission to explore this topic. The congress concentrated on the period from 1915 to 1917, that is the period immediately prior to the events at Fatima in 1917.

Informationsdienst zu ehren der Unbefleckten Gottesmutter Maria [IDU], 20 August 1997

An Austrian Village is a Marian Museum

Are you taking a trip to Austria in the near future? You may be interested in an exhibit in the museum village, Niedersulz. The village presents the history and culture of the Austrian vineyard region. In three of the buildings, Marian devotion, crucifixes and devotionals of Christ's passion and death can be seen. Corpus Christi processional altars are also among the devotionals. The collection is arranged according theological and historic cultural perspectives.

Niedersulz is the only museum village in Austria. It is also the largest outdoor museum in lower Austria. The village is an attempt to show the life of the people in the vineyard districts before industrialization.

Informationsdienst zu ehren der Unbefleckten Gottesmutter Maria [IDU], 13 August 1997

Asian Marian Pilgrimages in the USA

At the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Cardinal John J. O'Connor told 2000 pilgrims, mostly from New York, that Asian Catholics could change the city of New York. Filipinos, Chinese, Vietnamese, Koreans, Japanese, and Indians came for the first Asian Marian pilgrimage, which had been organized by the Archdiocese of New York. Asians from Washington also participated in the pilgrimage.

Informationsdienst zu ehren der Unbefleckten Gottesmutter Maria [IDU], 20 August 1997

Chapel of Lady of Good Health, Vailankanni

The news bulletin of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC, reports in its Fall/Winter 1997-1998 issue:

On Saturday, August 16, 1997 nearly five thousand pilgrims of Asian Indian descent converged on the Basilica of the National Shrine to celebrate a defining moment of their centuries-old faith and devotion: the dedication of the newly-established Oratory of Our Lady of Good Health, Vailankanni.

Attired in richly embroidered and multi-colored costumes of their native India, the congregation rivaled the splendor [of] the Shrine's celebrated mosaics as they processed to the beat of fabulous drums and beneath bejeweled Indian temple umbrellas a the beginning of the Dedication Mass. ...

Three years went into the preparation for the dedication of the Oratory of Our Lady of Good Health, Vailankanni, which took place in conjunction with the fiftieth anniversary of India's independence from British rule. The work was sponsored by the Indian American Catholic Association.

Devotion to Our Lady of Good Health, popularly called "Our Lady of Vailankanni," first originated sometime during the mid-sixteenth century when, according to tradition the Virgin Mary appeared with her infant Son to a Hindu boy carrying mild to a customer's home. While he rested under a native banyan tree near a pond, Our Lady appeared to him and requested mild for her Son. The boy readily agreed. On reaching the customer's home, the boy apologized for his lateness and the reduced amount of milk by relating the incident that occurred on his way. However, upon inspection of his order, the man found the milk pot to be full and was convinced that something miraculous had happened. Together the man, a Hindu, and the boy returned to the place where the apparition had occurred. When they reached the pond, Our Lady appeared once again. On learning that it was Our Lady who appeared to the boy, the residents of the local Catholic community became ecstatic and promptly renamed the pond "Matha Kulam" or, "Our Lady's Pond."

Some years later, Our Lady is said to have appeared again, however this time to a crippled boy who was selling buttermilk near a public square on the outskirts of the village of Vailankanni. She asked him to share his supply with her infant Son and the boy complied. Our Lady then asked the boy to inform a certain wealthy Catholic man in the nearby town of Nagapattinam of her appearance. Not immediately realizing that his crippled leg was miraculously cured, the boy rose up and began his journey. The man to whom Our Lady referred had had a vision the previous night in which he was requested to build a chapel for her. Together, the man and the boy returned to the site of the apparition. This time, the Virgin appeared to both. The man subsequently erected a thatch chapel for Our Lady at this site which quickly became a holy place of veneration to the Blessed Mother. Henceforth Our Lady was referred to as Mother of Good Health.

Yet a third time, Our Lady is said to have appeared in Vailankanni region. A group of Portuguese merchant sailors were rescued by her from a violent storm which had wrecked their ship. When the merchants reached the shore of Vailankanni they were taken by the local fishermen to the thatched chapel. Desiring to offer thanks and pay tribute to Our Lady, the sailors built a small permanent chapel on a return trip. On subsequent visits they improved on it and eventually dedicated the chapel on the feast of her nativity, September 8th, which was also the date of their rescue and safe landing at Vailankanni.

To this day, the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated at the Shrine of Vailankanni in the context of a nine-day festival, drawing more than a million and a half pilgrims. Not only do vast numbers of Catholics journey to Vailankanni throughout the year, but many non-Christians visit as well. The original modest chapel was replace by a modern and spacious church in 1933. The Shrine of Our Lady of Vailankanni was elevated to a Basilica on November 3, 1962 by Pope John XXIII.

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