Mother Mary Statue
There are various traditions in vogue regarding the origin of the beautiful wooden statue of Our Lady of Snows in the Basilica (mother Mary statue).
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 (Mother Mary Statue).
In the heart of hearts, he wished that the statue be sent to the newly converted Paravars of Pearl Fishery Coast as his gift for he had noticed that great attachment of those Paravars towards the Hindu Goddesses, such as Madurai Meenakshi and Kanyakumari Bhagavathi Amman.
He thought this beautiful statue of Our Lady of Snows (mother Mary) would be the best substitute for them. 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.
The beautiful wooden statue of Mother Mary was received by Very Rev. Fr. Michael Vaz, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Goa and was solemnly installed in the Jesuit church of San Paul at Keracope Street, Thoothukudi.