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Under the patronage of St. Tammany
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At the Matara Cemeterary on the Hakmana road, a Nun is being buried. "Our Sister was in the sanctuary during the morning service when the wave came - she was old and could not run," said another Nun. The deceased nun served at the Our Lady of Matara, which faces the sea. The central statue of the Church was lifted out to sea. "This is the fourth time it has been washed away - the statue came by sea and it was taken by it," say Parishioners. "We know it will come back."
This miraculous statue of the Blessed Virgin and Child Jesus has worked numerous miracles…Originally, history points out how the huge wooden crate was hauled out of the sea by fishermen of Weligama. When it was opened it was this most beautiful statue of the Mother and Child found inside untouched by sea water. The fishermen of Weligama had handed over the statue to the Parish Priest who subsequently placed it at St. Marys Church, Matara…
It is very clear that the statue of the Blessed Mother had come on its own unchaperoned over the waves…May our Lady of Matara bless and protect our beautiful country Sri Lanka with peace this crucial hour together with all our families.
The name of the train wrecked by tsunami in the world's worst rail disaster: Queen of the Sea.
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UPDATE 12/31: The Archbishop of Colombo reports the tsunami hit as a religious ceremony was being held under the miraculous statue of Our Lady of Matara, "venerated not only by Catholics, but by everyone locally:
"When the first wave hit, people began to flee; when the water receded, the priests and faithful turned back, but at that point the second wave hit and swept them away."
Hiran de Silva reports the statue of Our Lady washed up, safely, in his mother's garden in Matara (see Dec. 31 post).
The Archdiocese of Colombo has posted images of the Church of Our Lady of Matara in the aftermath of the disaster, including a picture of the statue. The site includes an appeal for donations to the Archbishop's Tidal Wave Relief Fund.