The link between Saligao and Daugim

by Fr. Nascimento Mascarenhas

About 35 years ago, back in 1970, I visited Daugim in Old Goa. Once a thriving suburb of the City of Goa, I saw that it had been reduced to a completely deserted village. But, though Daugim is dead, Saligao lives. And through Saligao, Daugim also lives — for in Saligao, Daugim is a living memory, and to live in the minds of men is to not die.

The two Goan villages — Saligao in Bardez and Daugim in Old Goa — are bound in an indestructible union via a golden link — the beautiful statue of Saligao’s patroness, Mae de Deus. Once the prized possession of Daugim, this miraculous Mae de Deus statue, which adorned the altar of the Franciscan Church of the Friary of Mother of God in that village, is since 1873 the priceless treasure of Saligao. While the wooden image of Mae de Deus was placed on the main altar of the Friary Church, the stone image of Mae de Deus occupied a place in the central niche of the frontispiece of that same church.

Now, the stone Mae de Deus statue is seen at the Saligao Church in the body of the church, whereas the wooden Mae de deus statue that had since 1873 stood on the left-hand-side altar in the transept of the church, began occupying its place on the main altar of the Saligao Church since 26 November 1973.

It’s interesting to go back in history and look into the events that resulted in this relocation of the Mae de Deus statue from Daugim to Saligao. In 1560, Dom Gaspar de Leao Pereira was appointed as the Archbishop of Goa. This prelate was keen to set up a Franciscan retiro (hermitage) in his archdiocese. After clearing some administrative difficulties, he gave orders for the construction of the friary at his own expense, and the place chosen was Daugim, a suburb of Old Goa.

The first Friary of the Mother of God Province was finally inaugurated there on 31 October 1569. It was also the first friary in the sense that it was the principal monastery of the province where the Provincial of the Franciscan order and his staff ordinarily resided. It was quite an extensive monastery, large enough to house 40 friars. The friary, and later, the custody and province of which it would eventually become the motherhouse, was dedicated to the Mother of God (Madre de Deus).

In 1835, Christian religious houses in Portuguese India fell out of favour with the government in Portugal, and the Mother of God Friary in Daugim, Old Goa was no exception. All religious orders were banned, and the movable and immovable property of the Daugim friary was confiscated by the government, and a caretaker was appointed – Joao da Rainha dos Anjos, a “suppressed” Augustinian. The friary gradually fell into ruin, as the government had no real interest in its upkeep. By 1878, the friary had almost disappeared and the church was a mere shell. By then the church furniture and artefacts had been moved to other places. A cross was erected to mark the site where once stood in heavenly splendour the convent and church of Madre de Deus.

Meanwhile, in 1864, Archbishop D Joao Crisostomo de Amorim Pessoa (1862-1874) visited the parish of Nagoa. At the same time, he also visited the chapel of Our Lady of Victory in Saligao, and suggested to the villagers that they consider building their own church (Saligao was then under the parish of Nagoa, even though the village already had some chapels, and even a cemetery, from as far back as 1839).

The suggestion was immediately put into execution by the good people of Saligao. All began to work earnestly, the principal among them being Francisco Salvador Pinto, who was very influential and well accepted by the Government. The village community at its meeting on 5 November 1864 decided to build the church on the site where it now stands, it being a central place.

After fulfilling the legal formalities, the foundation stone for Saligao Church was laid on 7 February 1867, by the Vicar General of the Archdiocese, Canon Joachim Antonio do Rosario, commissioned by Archbishop Amorim Pessoa.

The church was built with stones from the chapel of Our Lady of the Victory, which was demolished; stones from the ruins of the Daugim friary and church; and, stones from the quarry (pedreira) that was providentially discovered between Saligao and Pilerne, at the site where Our Lady’s Minor Seminary now stands.

In 1873, by Government Order No. 113 of July 22 (Boletim Oficial No.57) and Order of Junta Governativa of the Archdiocese of October 25, was erected the Saligao Church as a parish church of collative status, under title of the Most Immaculate Mother of God, separating the village from the parish of Nagoa.

The Saligao Church of Mae de Deus, built in a Neo-Gothic style, was solemnly blessed on 26 November 1873, by the Promoter of Justice and Vicar of Panjim, Fr. Domingos Jose Rafael Pinto, who also handed over charge of the parish to Rev. Fr. Caetano Xavier de Abreu from Panjim. On the same day was also made the solemn entry and enthronement in the new church of the miraculous Mae de Deus statue from Daugim.

3 comments on The link between Saligao and Daugim

  • Thom

    Well described and exposed the untold story about Saliao, Daugim, the Franciscan monastery, persecution of Religious and the confiscation of the properties, Saligao-Pilerne Seminary and the present Neo-Gothic Church of Saligao!
    Hats off to Rev. Nascimento Mascarenhas – Thom Goenkar

  • I have been on a church picnic to Daugim when I was very small and still have faint memories of Daugim church ( we all brought back a little wall plaster at that time ) . It would be nice if a special picnic could be arranged by Fr Nascimento to Daugim village to refresh our memories and ties with that old suburb of Old Goa .

  • leonardo sousa

    village Daugim was annexed to s. Bras by then governor Order, till date no Administrator of S. Bras claimed the property. Today factory Atlas stands at the site of the Convent of Our Lady of Mother of God.
    the managing committee may claim the said land in near future.

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