07/31/2018, 13.02
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Devotee of St Joseph Vaz, 'healed through his intercession'

by Melani Manel Perera

In pain in her left leg due to a fall, she tried traditional and Ayurvedic treatments without any benefit. After healing she wants to help build a church dedicated to the saint.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Ms Perera is a Sri Lankan Catholic journalist. For months, she was treated for pain caused by a fall she had getting off a train. No matter what medication she took, the pain would not go away. Only prayers to and faith in Saint Joseph Vaz healed her.   

"I began to pray to St Joseph Vaz and after three weeks the pain in my knee began to fade,” she told AsiaNews. “Now I am completely recovered, without any medicine. I no longer feel any pain. I was truly blessed by St Joseph Vaz.”

"Every day I thank God for giving us such a saint. I thank St Joseph Vaz for completely healing me. I will never stop thanking him for as long as I can breathe."

Devotion to the revered saint as the Apostle of Sri Lanka is very strong in Sri Lanka. Born in India in 1651 into a Portuguese family, he landed on the island of Ceylon in 1687 to support Catholics during the persecution by Dutch Calvinists.

John Paul II described him as the greatest missionary that Asia has ever had. He was the first to understand the urgency of a new impetus for evangelisation, priestly training and the work of the laity.

Ms Perera fell at the Colombo Fort train station. "I was getting off the train and stumbled,” she said.

“After a month, the pain in my left leg did not go away and I started applying an ointment. Six months after the start of treatment, I still could not find any relief.”

“At that point I tried Ayurvedic Sinhalese medicine. I did another six months of treatment, but still without results. I could not walk nor stand for a long time and, in the end, I decided to stop it."

One day, "a friend told me: 'Why don’t you pray to Saint Joseph Vaz?' Motivated by this suggestion, I turned to the saint asking for his blessing. I visited the Tewatte National Basilica dedicated to Our Lady of Lanka, where the relics of St Joseph are on display. Later I went to pray at Wewala, the Christian village where he carried out his evangelisation."

After a few weeks, the journalist had recovered. Now she is thinking about visiting Maha Galgamuwa, another village where the missionary lived for a long while. Here she would like to make some donations to help build the church dedicated to him.

"Every day I pray to him for the great sacrifice and the great commitment he made in coming to Sri Lanka, giving us the Catholic faith. Following his example, I want to travel the country and listen to people who have no voice."

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Saint Joseph Vaz, a pioneer in interfaith dialogue and a promoter of the laity in Sri Lanka
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