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Luz Church

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Kaatu Kovil

Luz means light in Portuguese. This is to symbolize the light that was sighted by the Franciscan missionaries from Portugal who had set sail for India's southern coast around 1500 AD.

The church at Luz in Mylapore is dedicated to 'Nossa Senhosra De Luz' - Our Lady of Light. Luz Church is still sometimes referred to as 'Kaatu Kovil' (Church in the forest), indicative of the forested area that is now the busy streets of Luz area.

Franciscan Fathers who followed after the intrepid seafarer Vasco Da Gama to the India, were left in the lurch after a storm in the Bay of Bengal. They prayed to Mother Mary invoking her intervention to guide them safely to the shores of India. They spotted a mysterious light, which not only helped them land in the shores safely but also appeared to point them to a wooded land. The Portuguese priests later built this small church - adorned with intricate gilded altar in the honor of the Lady of Light. This small church is probably one of the oldest churches in India.

Built in Gothic style, with arches and elegant classical lines, the church at Luz has gilded altars and frescoed ceilings. Every year on 15th August, the feast of the Church is celebrated with great fanfare. A grand mass and car procession is held.

This church suffered damage under the Golconda Muslim forces and also from the Mysore's Hyder Ali. After the British established their administration of South India from Madras, this church was periodically repaired. But to this day, nothing much has changed in this church for so many centuries. Our Lady of Light must have seen major transformations to this city from her altar.

Just behind the church is St.Isabel's Hospital managed by Franciscan Hospitaller Sisters. This hospital has a Nursing college established by the Franciscan Hospitaller Sisters. You will find Crucifix in every room of the 300 bed hospital - administered with efficiency and dedication with the same missionary zeal.

Luz Church Our Lady of Light - Nossa Senhosra De Luz Our Lady of Light