History of Poondi Madha Basilica
In the beginning of the eighteenth century there was an Italian Jesuit missionary named Rev. Fr. Constantine Joseph Beschi S.J., popularly known as Veeramamunivar. He built a church and named it as the church of "Mary Queen of Immaculate Conception". Rev. Fr. Lourdes Xavier, Parish Priest of the church in 1955 noticed the bad shape of the roof and it was recommended that only the roof be demolished.
On a rainy night, the roof of the church collapsed. After this, the number of pilgrims to the Shrine was on the rise and kept increasing as accounts of miracles and cures started to spread. People gave her the name Poondi Matha. It has been raised to the level of Minor Basilica by Pope John Paul II on 3 August 1999.
Architecture of Poondi Madha Basilica
The present structure is a mixture of Gothic and French architecture. The row of statues of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ is the highlight of the structure. It includes structures of saints like St. Francis Xavier and also one of Fr. Constantine Joseph Beschi on the facade, above the portico. The shrine also has a relic of the True Cross, believed to be the one on which Christ was crucified.
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