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Enigmatic Statues in Indian Basilica – St. Mary's Basilica

In St Mary’s Basilica, a place of worship dedicated to ‘Our Lady of Health’ in Bangalore, India, there exists a revered wooden statue of the Virgin Mary. An unusual story surrounds this relatively small artifact.

Once, it was the custom to parade the image of the Virgin Mary through the city streets in the performance of a religious ritual. On one occasion a radical sect decided to stone the procession and hopefully destroy the statue at the same time. This destruction did not take place but instead, oddly enough, the majority of those who indulged in this nefarious activity were soon stricken with cholera, most of the them dying from the disease.

Later, the church itself was attacked and burnt to the ground; everything but the wooden statue being destroyed in the blaze. The iron remains today situated in a glass case in the Basilica; an object of deep veneration.

An additional, but larger statue of the Virgin Mother stands in a small chapel to the side of the main entrance. This figure is given homage by all creeds, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jain and Buddhist.

It was decided at one stage to have the statue removed to another section of the church and according to my interview with several church fathers, this action became impossible. The figure could not be physically removed from its place of rest and remains still in its original setting. The church, founded by the Abbe Dubois in 1813, was relegated to the distinction of a minor Basilica following these ‘miraculous’ events.