August 2017


The Sanctity of Madhu
August 2017




The sacred statue of Our Lady of Madhu

The sacred shrine of Our Lady of Madhu has stood the test of time. Gleaming in blue and white it has been a beacon of hope, a place of worship that has blessed everyone who has sought refuge within its fold.


Words: Udeshi Amarasinghe
Photography: Menaka Aravinda and Vishwathan Tharmakulasingham

Interesting Facts

The holy statue of Our Lady of Madhu carrying Infant Jesus was crowned in 1924, 100 years after the statue of the Blessed Mother found its permanent home in Madhu.

The Church of Our Lady of Madhu was consecrated in 1944.


Situated in Mannar, the Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu is accessed via the road stretching through the Madhu National Park.


Upon arrival you are engulfed by the spirituality of the premises. As you step into the nave the prayers of the devotees can be heard, requests to the Blessed Mother. The simple though resplendent interior reflects the sanctity of this place where the devotees sit on the floor in devotion each lost in their own thoughts and then proceed on their knees, yet upright towards the altar where the sacred statue of Our Lady of Madhu is visible above. The holy sanctum in which the statue of the Holy Mother is placed, has a separate entrance, where once you reach the top of the stairs the gaze of Our Lady of Madhu is upon you. It is a moment of great spiritual reflection.


Christianity arrived in Sri Lanka during the Portuguese colonisation. The first home of Our Lady of Madhu is said to have been in Mantai, located a short distance away from its current place. Also according to the annals of history, it is believed that during the Dutch persecution of Catholics this holy statue was taken to the Kingdom of Kandy where its protectors had journeyed through the Wanni region and arrived in this place then called Maruthamadhu. Here the holy statue of Our Lady of Madhu was placed within a small house. A Portuguese lady by the name of Helena built the first church dedicated to the Blessed Mother in Madhu. Due to her great act of kindness the area to this date is known as Silena-Marutha-Madhu. With the advent of the British, there was greater religious freedom and over the years Madhu Church became the majestic edifice that it is today.

Interesting Facts

Pope Francis blessed the Rosary Village during his visit in 2015. This was the first visit by a pontiff to the sacred Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu.


The land on which the Madhu Church stands, is calm and peaceful. People from all faiths visit daily as it is a place of great divine power. Miracles are known to happen and it is with great belief that devotees worship at this shrine. Walking around the premises a sense of tranquility prevails. The Way of the Cross recalls the last journey of Jesus Christ, and is located amidst the shade of the trees. Candles are lit with great veneration and prayers are said in adjoining chapels.

The first home of Our Lady of Madhu is said to have been in Mantai, located a short distance away from its current Location.


The Rosary Village situated a short distance away from the main Church, depicts sculptures of the four mysteries of the Rosary: Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminous.


The entire site is organised into various blocks that provide the space for devotees to set up their camps during the feast. While there are 12 feasts celebrated during the year it is the feast in August that is considered the main celebration. Great numbers of devotees from all over the country as well as overseas arrive in Madhu in August to celebrate the Assumption of Our Blessed Mother to Heaven. All feasts are preceded by the Novenas.

Feast of Our Lady of Madhu: August 6 – 15, 2017

Hoisting of the Flag: August 6

Mass will be held everyday in the morning till August 14th (Tamil Service: 6am, Sinhala Service: 6.45am and evening: 6.15pm)

Assumption of Mother Mary (procession): August 15

Festive Mass will be held under the patronage of Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo: August 15; 6.15am

Visit the sacred shrine of Our Lady of Madhu during your holiday in Sri Lanka, it will definitely be a spiritual experience.

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    Ardent worshippers seek comfort in the presense of the Holy Mother

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    The Holy Eucharist

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    A prayer to Our Lady of Madhu after lighting a candle

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    Religious memorabilia can be purchased by devotees who visit the church

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    Stations of the Cross: ' The Agony in Gethsemane'

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    The Rosary Village

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    The magnificient facade of Madhu Church, Mannar

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