‘Our Lady of Divine Grace’ Mokama Shrine

Posted by Spalding Hurst

February 15, 2024

ABOVE – Father Reni Prakash presenting documentation materials to Sister Malini Manjoly

The “Our Lady of Divine Grace” shrine in Mokama is in the final stage of being raised as a minor basilica. The request and all the needed documents with photos and videos are submitted to His Eminence, Arthur Cardinal Roche, Prefect of ‘Dicastery for the Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments’ in Rome for final approval.

His Eminence Filipe Neri Cardinal Ferrao, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) and Archbishop of Goa and Daman, granted “Nihil Obstat” on behalf of the Conference to the request of Most Rev. Sebastian Kallupura, Metropolitan Archbishop of Patna to raise Mokama shrine to a minor basilica on Jan. 30, 2024.

The legend of Mokama was known as Mukum (Home) Amah (Mother), which means “Home of the Mother”. It revolves around a princess who was to wed a prince. But unfortunately, the prince died on a hunting expedition. And she embraced an ashram way of life, serving the sick and needy. In due course of time, she was looked upon as a mother. And her Ashram came to be known as “Home of the Mother”. Thus, the place came to be known as Mokama – Home of the Mother.

Rev. Father Marion Batson, S.J. was attracted to the name Mokama. Father Batson shared his dream of having a shrine in Mokama with Mr. Thomas Leslie Martin, chairman and the managing director of the Martin Burn Co. Ltd. of Calcutta (now Kolkata). Initially, he was reluctant to consider the idea of building a shrine in Mokama. Later on, he put his heart and soul in making Father Batson’s dream a reality. It is believed that Mr. Martin had a dream of Our Lady on a lotus flower in a beautiful rose garden amidst the picturesque square surroundings. Thus, the two great minds worked together to make the ancient legend a glorious living reality for all to see: Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Grace, Mokama. The Holy See nominated Mr. Martin as the “Knight Commander of the Eminent Order of St. Gregory, the Great” in February 1947. It was a great papal honour for Mr. Martin.

The architectural style of the shrine is Hindu-Arabesque and Indo-Romanesque, blending Eastern and Western art. The unmatched beauty of the architecture is exquisite. The shrine is designed in such a way that it is extremely pleasing in every detail, a real ornament.

Father Batson and Mr. Martin desired that the statue of Our Lady of Divine Grace is different from all known statues of our Holy Mother ever made. They wanted the statue to be something more than beautiful, exclusive and a part of the Mokama legend. An American-Russian artist, Mr. Derujinski, carved the statue of Our Lady of Divine Grace in one block of wood. The statue depicts the real Indian motherhood with Indian attire, holding her Divine Son offering to the entire humanity.

His Grace, Dr. Ferdinand Perrier of Calcutta Mission, dedicated the shrine on November 4, 1947.

During the Holy Year 1950, Archbishop Constantini, Secretary of the Congregation for the Propagation of Faith, exhibited pictures of Mokama Shrine in the exhibition of the mission art – bold and wise – in finding a style which might be Indian and Christian at the same time. He wrote a letter of “Congratulations” to Father Batson for satisfying the Congregation in a remarkable way.

Father De Geneva, S.J. requested a special privilege to offer holy Mass in honour of Our Lady of Divine Grace, Mokama, for the pilgrims in the shrine in 1965. His request was granted by Propaganda Fide to commemorate the dedication of the Shrine on Oct. 22 every year. Due to frequent floods during the monsoon, the annual feast was changed to the first Sunday of February. A nine-day novena is conducted leading to the feast. Many pilgrims – Christians, Hindus and Muslims – visit the shrine during the Mokama annual feast every year. The inside of the shrine got a new altar with two lecterns and other liturgical items. The sanctuary, original altar and inside of the shrine are lighted with colourful lights. The sanctuary has an automatically changing color chandelier.

The groundwork for the documentation and presentation of the proposal to the CBCI was done by Rev. Father Reni Prakash, Mokama co-pastor. Sisters Ann George Mukalel and Malini Manjoly helped with the final editing of the documents to be presented to the CBCI. Father Reni honoured Malini’s request to give us a copy of all the presented materials to the CBCI. In his kindness, he gave us a large album with the photos, a big file with the printed documents and a pen drive with the videos for the Bangalore-Patna Province Archives. May God bless him abundantly for his hard work and generosity.

It is the cherished dream of the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Patna that the Our Lady of Divine Grace, shrine popularly known as Mokama ki Maharani (empress of Mokama) be raised to the privileged status of a minor basilica soon.

The prayers of the SCNs in Mokama are with the Archdiocese, and all are concerned that the process may go through smoothly.

Written by Malini Manjoly, SCN

5 Comments

  1. rita puthenkalam

    Thanks, Malini, for this wonderful picturesque sharing on our Shrine of Our Lady of Mokama! It gives such nostalgia to those of us who are away from Mokama now. Thanks again. I treasure these photos that bring such fond memories!

    Reply
  2. Martha Walsh SCN

    I have a framed picture of Our Lady of Mokameh now replacing Our Lady of Perpetual Help Bascilica in Roxbury MA, my mother and Grandmother’s parish. Nana witnessed a miracle there where so many crutches were left as miracles happened there. A Christmas I lost my copy of her picture, so now will honor Mokameh one as well. WOW was my response to your news in Mokameh.

    Reply
  3. Maggie Cooper

    Wow, Malini! What a complete and wonderful story of Our Lady of Grace
    shrine! The pictures are marvelous!
    I hope your request is granted! We are with you with congratulations for all your work in presenting the request!!!

    Reply
  4. Amrit alfred

    It is really wonderful to see the miracle that the GOD has done to this place.
    This place has always been a great miracle to many and always have been close to the heart of all the people in and around north India especially.
    We used to visit shrine feast every year as a family. Now we are shifted to some other state but still look for this place, the joy and the happiness, it used to bring.
    Hoping to come again to the shrine feast and visit the Basilica.

    Reply
  5. Cecilia

    Great work. Thanks a lot for your hard work. May Mother Mary bless you all.

    Reply

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