Our Lady of Snows, Shrine Basilica of beloved mother of Jesus, Mother Mary. She has been offering her blessing to all the people for more then 400 years. There are many incidence where Our Lady showered her grace over the land.
There are various traditions in vogue regarding the origin of the beautiful wooden statue of Our Lady of Snows in the Basilica. According to one such tradition the statue of Our Lady of Snows was kept in a Chapel in a Convent of the Augustinian Sisters in Manila, Philippines. St. Francis Xavier, on his way to china had to spend a few days in Manila. he was very much attracted by the Beauty of the Statue.
But when he expressed his wish to the sisters, they first turned down his request, Later, when they came to know of the death of St. Francis Xavier on Sancian Island in 1552, they remembered his request and immediately sent the statue to Thoothukudi by a ship named SANTALENA and the ship arrived on 9th June 1555.
It was received by Very Rev. Fr. Michael Vaz, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Goa.
In 1582, through the efforts of the Jesuits, a church dedicated to Our Lady of Mercy (Senhora de Piedade) was consecrated by the Bishop of Cochin Msgr. Devoura on 5th August, the fesast of Our Lady of Snows. It was in the Jesuit head-quarters in Keracope Street. It was also called St. Pauls Church. Every year the annual feast was celebrated on 5th August. In 1610 when the miraculous statue of Our Lady of Snows reached Thoothukudi, it was solemnly installed in the church of Mother of Mercy and thereafter gradually it came to be called the Church of Our Lady of Snows.
Later Fr. Vigilius Mansi, laid the foundation for the new church on 4th April 1712. He faced lot of problems from Dutch Government in getting permission for building the new church. The construction was completed within a year. On August 5th 1713, the new church was opened and blessed and the first feast in the new church was celebrated.