After a few weeks off, I turn our attention to the second National Marian Shrine in the country of India – Our Lady of Bandra. Although the current church is just over 100 years old, the devotion to Our Lady of Bandra finds its origins in the 16th century.
In the latter half of the 16th century, Jesuits priests from Portugal constructed a chapel and brought the original statue with them. In the year 1700, Bandra was attacked by Muscat Arabs, pirates that were seeking treasures to plunder and steal for their own use. When they saw the statue of Our Lady, holding a gilt-lined object in her hand, they cut it off and disfigured the statue.
In 1760, the plundered chapel was rebuilt and the statue of Our Lady of Navigators, was found in a storage closet of the nearby St. Andrew’s church. It substituted for the destroyed statue. This particular statue has an interesting back story. A Koli fisherman, an inhabitant of the Bandra region, dreamt that he would find the statue. Sometime during 1700 and 1760, the statue was found floating in the sea. The Koli fishermen that found the statue called it – Mot-Mauli, which means Pearl Mother. The word, mot, comes from the word, mount. The word, mauli, means Mother.
The original statue was restored by placing the figure of the Child Jesus over the place of the arm where the stolen object was present. Both statues are now present in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount. Hindu and Koli Christians visit the shrine to pay homage to Our Lady. The feast of Mount Mary happens every year on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in September. Pope St. John Paul II visited the shrine in 1986.
Our Lady of Bandra…Pray for Us