These wooden statues of various sizes are also collected from the Pilar Monastery from those left by the Capuchos.


Two statues of Baby Jesus from the Pilar Museum; the first is a small statue often placed in the manger, on the occasion of the Christmas festival, celebrated with great solemnity all over the world on 25th December every year (Figure 87). The second is of a slightly grown up Child Jesus, holding the globe in his hand, found in the sacristy of the Pilar Monastery (figure 88)

Figure 87 Jesus in Manger Figure 88 Growing Jesus


Wooden face of an Angel (figure 89) from Pilar Monastery. Perhaps it was a decoration on one of the Altars which were demolished because it was eaten by white ants due to neglect, after suppression of religious orders i.e. after 1835.

Figure 89 Angel Face C) STATUES OF STS. JOACHIM & ANNE

Figure 90 Sts Anne , Joachim & Child Mary Figure 91 St Anne& Child Mary St. Anne alone

The wooden st atue (Figure 90) of St Anne and St Joachim, parents of Mary, Mother of

Jesus, seen as a young girl by the side, probably had faces of ivory. The statues may have been defaced by miscreants after 1835. The second statue (figure 91), shows the same St. Anne, mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus, depicted as an old lady. After many prayers and tears, she conceived Mary in her old age, according to tradition.


The 17th century artist wants to present Jesus as a perfect man, like us, in spite of being the second Person of the Trinity; therefore, the full human features of Jesus are depicted in this medium size statue (figure 92). Before He was crucified, Jesus Christ was ordered to be scourged by the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate (Mk. 15:15). The suffering and death of Jesus are piously remembered by the Church in the forty days of Lent, that precede the feast of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead – the Pasch or Easter (Jn. 20: 19-29).

Figure 92 – Scourging at the Pillar


This wooden plank carving (figure 93) of the “Lamb of

God” in the centre, is from the 17th century Pilar Monastery.

The two hearts of Jesus and

Figure 93 – Lamb of God

Mary are on each side. The Heart of Jesus is shown with a crown of thorns around it. And the heart of Mary is shown with a sword of sorrow which mystically pierced it as she stood courageously at the foot of the Cross, while her Son, Jesus, was dying on it to save the world from sin. When Jesus was 30 years old, he was pointed out as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, by John the Baptist (Jn. 1:29).


This wooden life-size statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus belongs to the 18th century. It may have adorned one of the side altars of

the Pllar Monastery Church. The altar may have been demolished after 1835 due to termites. This statue too had a vertical crack from head to foot on its right side(to our left), which has been Figure 94 – Sacred Heart of Jesus

filled in and chemically treated by the late V. P. Khare, mentioned previously. This statue might have had a carved wooden frame,

for its niche, which is also preserved alongside, in the Museum.


A statue of St. Francis Xavier, Apostle of the East and co-Patron of the Pilar Society (figure 95) is surrounded by postage stamps brought out on various occasions by Portugal, its colonies and

Figure 95 – St Francis Xavier

Indian Posts at the time of Expositions of the Saint’s relics. At right is a Missal Stand of the 17th century (figure 96). It has the Holy Name of Jesus [IHS] circled by the glowing Sun. St, Francis Xavier was a Jesuit and IHS was the monogram of the Society of Jesus. The stand is used to hold the Missal – the liturgical book giving Formulas and Rubrics to celebrate the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Mass. Figure 96 – Missal Stand


This 17th century life size statue of St. Anthony (Figure 97), the body of which is made from a single piece of the

Figure 97– St. Anthony

trunk of a tree, was on the right side altar of the Pilar Monastery Church, (see Figure 123). It was removed in 1959 from its niche, to make room for a smaller statue made of Plaster of Paris. It was subsequently brought to the Museum and saved by chemical treatment.


This small wooden statue is of St Andrew who was one of the first to be chosen by Jesus Christ as his disciple. He was the brother of St. Peter (the first Pope). St Andrew preached to the Greeks and suffered death on a Cross like his Master. He is the Patron Saint of the Church of Goa-Velha. This statue is from the Pilar Monastery (17th century.)

Figure 98– St. Andrew


Furniture and other wooden artefacts left by the Capuchos and found in the Pilar Monastery are also displayed in the Museum.


This candle stand was used by the Capuchos for Holy Week Services

and Feast of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the 17th century Figure 99).

Figure 99 –Candle Stand

Probably it is the adaptation of the Trishul to Christian Art.

The type of wooden decorations with scrolls and flower garlands shown in figure 100 were placed between the candle-sticks on the altar, to give solemnity, especially on festive occasions.

The Pilar Monastery Church had a ceiling which had to be removed in 1921, as it was destroyed by termites.

Figure 101 shows one of its gold painted ceiling decorations. It was found in the Monastery and is presently in the Museum.

Figure 101- Ceiling decoration Figure 100 _Atar decoration


The skeleton of an old “Machila” or Palanquin (Figure 102), was found in an isolated corner on the third floor of the Pilar Monastery. It might have been there for over a

hundred years. Later major repairs to the Monastery building prevented it from being brought out as the doors and staircases were too narrow for it.

Figure 102 – Machila or Palanquin

It was carefully brought down by labourers, from the outer wall with thick ropes. In Kadamba times, such machilas would be used by two or four men (boyas) holding its ends, to carry the bride for the wedding ceremony. During the Portuguese era, it was a mode of transport for an individual noble “fidalgo”, or, perhaps, for the Bishop to be taken up and down the Pilar hillock; or for the Friar (priest) to take Viatcum (the last Sacraments) to the sick people’s homes in the villages, around.


This 17th century box was used in the Monastery, to keep the Monstrance (Ostensorium), when not in use. The Monstrance was used for the solemn exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The box has two quotations in Latin embossed on it, both from the New Testament: the English translation of the first is, “I am the Bread of Life come down from heaven (Jn 6:35)” and that of the second is what Peter said to Jesus, “You are Christ, the Son of the living God

(Mt 16:16)”

Figure 103 – Monstrance Box

  1. WOODEN CONFESSIONAL (figure 104)

Figure 104 – Confessional

The Confessional of the 17th century, was used by the Capuchos. It depicts the Pope’s tiara and the keys of the kingdom promised by Jesus to St. Peter ( cf. Mt 16: 17-19).


There are two chests of the same size, made of teak wood, inlaid with minutely carved pieces of coconut shell and ivory bits.

It is said that Augustinian Nuns, of Santa Monica’s Convent of Old Goa, used to commission this type of minute work with the help of local carpenters. The chests betray the influence of Islamic-Persian art. In this type of art, as representation of human figures is not allowed, the fabricators resorted to geometrical designs of Arabic influence. These geometrical designs are known as “Diapres”. They consist of concentric circles of coconut shell pieces with a small lozenge of ivory in the centre. The chests are fitted with copper hinges and special type of locks.

Figure – 105 Chest

Figure 105a shows the full picture of one of the chests. Figure 105b is a close-up view of the front portion.

Both the chests look alike. They show the artistic tastes and expertise of Goan carpenters to create such specimens of art which are to be emulated by the present generations.


There are three skeletons of the same size of “Reliquaries”. During the Capuchos’ era, they had contained the Relics of Martyrs and tokens of the Holy Land.

After the suppression of the Religious Orders, the relics were removed and only the outer contours left, as seen in figure 106.


The Pilar Monastery has a round rotating table in the hall on the first floor (Figure 107a).

Figure 106 – Reliquaries

The table has rich foliar ornamentation, carved all round its edge and an ornamented stand carved with fruits and leaves in two parts, held on three carved legs.

Figure 107 (a) Round table


There are two big teak-wood chairs in the Pilar Monastery. The ascent at the back is quite high and the arms have a curve. Goan carpenters were famous for manufacturing such ornamental chairs of different shapes, sometimes inlaid with ivory.

Such chairs are found in various Goan homes, also in Portugal and its old colonies, or adorn homes and museums in various countries. The figure 107b shows the Chair used in the Church by the Presiding Priest at Mass and other liturgical ceremonies. Figure 107c is a chair used to take rest.

Figure 107 (b)- -Church ChaIr Figure 107 (c) – Resting Chair



Old metal candle stands of various sizes and formats, vases and altar ornaments, no longer in use today, are displayed in a wall cupboard in the Pilar Museum. The simplicity of today’s liturgy has put aside such Church furnishings in the true spirit of the

Figure 108 – Metal Artefacts

Poverty of Christ, especially following the directives of Vatican II Ecumenical Council.

Four items, namely, a Holy water container and asperser, incense bearer’s box, and a crown are shown separately from the same cupboard in two pictures in figure 108.

  1. COINS

Some copper coins (figire109) known as bazarucos were found in the Pilar Monastery, in an old drawer, probably left by the Capuchos.

  1. The enlarged half Bazaruco was used in Goa after 1542 during the Viceroy Martin Afonso’s time when Dom Joao III was the King of Portugal 1532-1557). It was used locally to purchase daily amenities. More coins of this period are shown in figure 149 of Chapter 11.

Figure 109 (a) Coin of D. Joao III

  1. The second coin is of Dom Sebastiao, the boy King’s time. He succeeded his father, D. Joao III at the age of seven and disappeared at the age of 16. The coin depicts his coat of arms with the initials “SR” meaning Sebastiao Rei

but the ‘S’ is reversed.

Figure 109 (b) Coin of D. Sebastiso



A special feature of this Portuguese period is a hand-written copy of the Krista Puranna of Thomas Stephens, the first English Jesuit to come to Goa in the 16th century. He studied both Konkani and Marathi with the help of Hindu Brahmins and also wrote a Konkani Grammar in Roman script for the benefit of fellow Jesuit missionaries.

The Krista Puranna is written in Marathi in 1609, in classical Puranic slokas, using Roman script to present passages from the Bible and the life of Jesus Christ.

Figure 110 – Krista –Puranna Manuscript (1609)

It is said that Fr. Thomas Stephens dictated parts of his magnum opus to 12 Brahmin scribes and made them compose copies of each, thus getting several hand-written copies. Printed copies of the same were made in the first Printing Press mounted at Rachol Seminary in Goa in 1616, 1649 and 1654, and later, by Mr J. L. Saldanha at the Codbial Press in Mangalore in 1907.

The Puranna was also written in Devanagri script, one copy of which is found in Marsden Library in London. A Hindu Pandit Balelu from University of Pune, went to London, brought its Devanagri Xerox copy and printed it in India.

Thus, in the Pilar Seminary Museum are displayed:

  1. A precious hand-written manuscript of the Krista Puranna of Marathi, using Roman script. Glancing through its pages, one can see that the style of the hand-writings differ in its various parts, which means that it is one of the original copies dictated by Fr. Thomas Stephens to the scribes. Not only the pages but also the verses are numbered in serial order, (though a few pages are torn or are missing in this copy).
  2. The Mangalore printed copy of 1907, in Roman script.
  3. Xerox of the first page of the original in Devanagari script found in Marsden Library in London is also here.
  4. A copy of Pandit Balelu’s print from Pune, in Devanagri script
  5. Another copy annotated by Fr. Caridade Drago of Vasai in Devanagari script.
  6. The same has been transliterated by Fr. Nelson Falcao SDB in modern Marathi using Roman script and also translated into English side by side.
  7. An eminent Goan scholar, Shri Suresh Amonkar has recently published it in Devnagri Konknni, also keeping the old Devnagri Marathi side by side.
  9. Antiphonarium Romanum

This book of Musical notes (figure 111) was used by the contemplative Capuchos in the Pilar Monastery for choral singing of the Hours of the day’s liturgy. This choral singing, by the community in common, was compulsory for them. This is a 1741 printed copy. The musical notes are in Gregorian chant, and the language is Latin, the Church’s official language.

  1. Episcopal Ceremonial

Figure 111 – Antiphonary

This Latin Episcopal Ceremonial was used by the Bishop when he came to preside over solemn celebrations, such as

Ordinations and Pontifical Masses. This book was printed in 1746

  1. Roman Missals Figure 112 – Episcopal Ceremonial

Two Latin Roman Missals printed in 1749 and in 1786 were made use of in the Pilar Monastery for celebration of daily Eucharistic sacrifice of Mass (figure 113). They contain Mass formularies, texts of readings from the Bible and rubrics. Other old books of Scripture, Theology and Canon Law left by the Capuchos, are shifted to the Library of the Pilar Theological College.

Figure 113 Roman Missals



A small ivory image of St. John the Baptist, the Precursor of Jesus Christ, is seen here, wearing animal skin, a Lamb in his right hand.


There are different small statues depicting different stages of the life of Jesus and His Mother in ivory, ebony or

Figure 114 – St John, the Baptist

bone, offered to the Museum by various benefactors: e.g. Zita Moraes, her sisters and husband Ernest Paes, from Benaulim, when their house was sold, they offered their whole family

Figure 115 (a)

Oratory, consisting of small and medium size ivory statues. Some of these statues are depicted alongside.

Figure 115a: the new born baby Jesus, meant to be placed in the crib at Christmas. Its hands

and feet are worn out or missing; figure 115b depicts

Figure 115 (b) – Holy Family

Holy Family of Nazareth; 115c Jesus hanging on the Cross is carved out of a single piece of the elephant’s tusk and to save it, the artist has given that shape to it. Figure 115 (c) Figure 115 (d) Figure 115d: three images of Jesus Crucified: two have no hands and one has only one hand;

Figure 115 e the Pieta – the Sorrowful Mother Mary, contemplating the dead body of her Son Jesus, as she holds it in her lap, after it was brought down from the Cross. On the wooden pedestal are the instruments of the Crucifixion, also carved out of ivory pieces and fixed on to it.


This is a 17th century scene of Calvary (figure 116). The statues of the Crucified Jesus, his sorrowful Mother, his beloved disciple. and the penitent St Mary Magdalene, embracing the Cross, are made from elephants’ tusks. The birds, made from the Figure 115 (e)

nose-bones of the rhinoceros, represent the seven Sacraments flowing from the pierced side of

Figure 116 – Calvary Scene

Jesus, as the Fathers of the Church always interpreted. However one bird was found missing from the set. The images are from the endowments of the Capuchos who in 1613 constructed the Pilar Monastery. These images were removed from the main altar around 1921 to make place for the tabernacle. These statues are the property of the Pilar Monastery, lent to the Museum. There are also two tusks of the elephant around the Scene(not shown in figure116). They were donated to the Society in 1960 by the late Antonio Inacio Fernandes from Aldona.


Glazed porcelain pottery of the latter 17th to early 19th centuries is seen in the Pilar Museum.

Figure 117 – European pottery


European imported pottery of 17th century, probably Italian or Spanish, was

found in a field outside the Pilar compound. It is known as five shards pottery. (figure 117)


There are two rare pieces of beads (Contas) pottery (figure 118) from Portugal belonging to late 17th or early 18th century, excavated behind the Pilar Monastery, while digging a pit for a gas plant. It is said that the Prtuguese attempted to make this type of pottery for some time, but gave up, as they could not compete with the pottery that their ships brought from Macau.

Figure 118 – Portuguese Pottery


The Portuguese carried on trade with China through Macau. Artefacts like basins, dishes, tea kettles, all of Chinese or imitation Chinese porcelein wee found in the Pilar Monastery belonging to the Capuchos (18th century).

Some of them depict flowers in different designs, especially the poeney flower.

  1. LAMPS AND VASE Figure 119 – Chinese and imitation Chinese

These kerosene lamps are highly elaborate in the holder as well as the Chimney. In the Portuguese period and before electricity reached Goan homes, these lamps lighted the houses of the rich and poor alike.

Figure 120- – Kerosene lamps, glass bottles and a vase

The Chinese vase depicting cock fight, is of rare ceramic material. They were probably left by the Capuchos of the 18th century.


Such granite stone basins were used to store water in Monasteries, which had big communities. In the time of the Capuchos,

there were no pipes and taps to get water for daily use. So they used to employ labourers to bring water from the well at the bottom of the Pilar hillock, and store it in such basins. Figure 121 – Broken Water Basin

This basin, broken by miscreants, had 2 Crosses flanked by two lotus flowers each, carved on it. In the Pilar Monastery there is another water basin attached to the wall of the sacristy.



The Franciscan Capuchos had brought from Rome the replica of Veronica’s veil, which according to a legend was stamped with the bleeding Face of Christ while he was on way to Calvary. It used to be exposed in the Pilar Monastery Church for public veneration and blessing on the 5th Monday of Lent from 1624 onwards. As years passed, a big concourse of people started gathering in Pilar, from various villages, even from Salcete, for this blessing. The Capuchos might have heard from the local people about the procession of Buddhist Bikkus and Hindu Rishis of former Kadamba Jayakeshi I‘s reign. So, as a substitute, they started adding life size statues of the saints of their Franciscan Orders; and thus with the Veil they went on introducing the Procession of Saints, until the number of these statues reached 65.

It was a Penitential Procession during Lent at the approach of Holy Week of the Suffering and Death of Jesus, culminating with his triumphal Resurrection. As there was no paved road and traffic at that time, as it is today, the Procession was winding its way down the Pilar hillock, with the 65 statues carried in Palanquins, by a foot-path up-to Malwara Chapel, then turn back and climb up again the Pilar hillock; the procession would last long and end up past midnight. Many of the pilgrims, especially from Salcete, would be stranded the whole night at the canoe-ferry point.

  1. FOUNTAINHEAD [Figure 122]

In 1998 this artefact was offered to Pilar Seminary Museum by the Dhazan Committee managing the Chapel of St. Peter at Danddi. On the pedestal of the fountainhead, there is an inscription giving the date in Latin words thus “KELE FECIT ANNO MDCCLV” (Made in the year 1755); however, the non-Latin word “KELE” is enigmatic.

The fountainhead is worked out on a granite stone. On a crushed lion sat an African slave with his mouth wide open; through the mouth, the water was passed in to the fountain. Above the slave was standing another man; only the legs of the latter can be seen on the pedestal, his half broken head, showing Greco-Roman features, is separated. Perhaps the body was worn out by the force of the gushing fountain water, as the small holes for it to rise and fall can still be seen on the pedestal all around this structure.

  1. GRAECO-ROMAN SOLDIER (Figure 122a)

In 2009, a local fisherman cast his net and felt it heavy. He was happy that he had made a good haul of fish. To his utter disappointment, it turned out to be an aluminium statue of a Roman soldier which he offered to the Pilar Museum.

Figure 122 – The Fountainhead


Figure 123(a) – Greco-Roman soldier

Danddi in Agasaim had been part of the Gopakapattana harbour of the Kadambas. It commanded the southern entrance to the port. From 1510 up to say 1781, a Portuguese Customs Office was situated near the Port. The officer was perhaps also in charge of collecting the toll of the canoe service, operating between Agasaim and Sancoale and of paying the wages of those operating the canoes.

The family of this officer, a Portuguese “Fidalgo” residing there, had mounted a fountainhead on a pedestal in front of their spacious house (Manor)1. (See figure 122b).

Figure 123(b) – The Manor of the Portuguese fidalgo and Customs officer at Agasaim, now no more to be seen

Figure 123c below gives the front portion in the central part of the same Manor. The Custom Officer’s family would operate the fountain-head which had adorned the entrance of the Manor, for the entertainment of the pilgrims awaiting their turn to cross the River Zuari by canoes.

The Custom officer’s Manor crumbled down by the turn of the 20th century. The officer’s descendants too disappeared or the family died out. By the nineteen thirties the canoes gave way to the ferry boats. Dandi, as the crossing point was abandoned. With all this progress Dandi lost its importance.

Figure 123(c) – The front portion of the Customs Officer’s Manor

New ferry wharfs were opened between Agasaim and Cortalim. Gradually after Goa’s liberation, ferry crossing gave way to the present Zuari Bridge, part of National Highway 17. The fountainhead fell into disuse, and in course of time landed in a well from which it was extricated , some time back.

Some of the other valuable artefacts in the Manor like the artefact of the Roman soldier were washed away and landed in the River Zuari. Today only a small hall of the spacious Manor is used by fishermen to store their nets. The vast property of the Manor has been made into plots and new houses have come all over the place. The Chapel was also part of the Manor Complex, but has been extended and is at present used for Sunday services for the villagers.


The Capuchos occupied the Pilar Monastery till the suppression of Religious Orders in Goa by the Portuguese Government in 1835. After that the Pilar Monastery was confiscated, abandoned and came to be used as a stable for cows, by those appointed as caretakers by the same Government, from 1835 to 1855. During this period, the Procession of Saints was stopped. Soon, Goa Velha Parish Church of St Andrew, which was situated at the bottom of the Pilar hillock, in the vicinity of the erstwhile destroyed Kadamba palace, too reached a dilapidated state. By 1841, most of the belongings of this Church were transferred to the Pilar Monastery, and that Church was demolished and a new foundation was laid far away in the market area of Goa-Velha village.

However, because of the excrements of the cows, tied at night in the Pilar Monastery Church, it became a dreaded place with cobra snakes making their habitation among the anthills that sprouted within. Many images, vestments, even side altars and ceiling of the Monastery were uncared for, vandalised by miscreants and destroyed by white ants.


In 1853 eleven Friars of the suppressed Monastery of the Carmelites of the third order from Chimbel, applied to the Portuguese Government for permission to live a common life according to their statutes. The request was granted by the Order of 10th March 1855, on condition that they should not wear the religious habit outside their residence
and no new novices be admitted. However, their Chimbel Monastery building roof had become weak and they had no money to repair it. When monsoons started, the roof tiles started falling on their heads and the rain water gushed in. So they had to go away. They then went back to the Governor and petitioned to him to allow them to stay in the Pilar Monastery. They were allowed.

The Friars came to the Monastery of Pilar not earlier than 1856. On 30th June 1856, they placed a petition for the 100 Xerafins (gold coins) which the Santa Casa de Misericordia contributed towards the expenses of the Feast of Our Lady of Pilar and for the “jono” of the Communidade of Batim, which was due to St. Pascal Baylon and which had been appropriated by the Public Treasury. In the same year, Friar Sebastiao das Augustias appealed to the Government to order the secretary (escrivao) of the confraternity of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception to surrender the keys of the Chapel containing the statues, which the Secretary had taken away so that he – Friar Sebastian – might be able to hold the Philosophy and Latin classes there. As the Carmelites were advancing in age, slowly they started dying out.


Meanwhile, the edifice of the present new Parish Church of Goa Velha was completed around January 1868. The belongings of the Old Church of Goa-Velha, kept in the Pilar Monastery, which by now had come into the custody of the Carmelites, were shifted to the new Church, under the guidance of Carmelite Friar Cyrilo de Anunciacao, administrator of Pilar Monastery, as well as the Parish Priest in charge of the Goa Velha Parish from 1864 to 1869,. The Confraternities (Confrarias) of the Franciscan Third Order of Laymen and of the Holy Sepulchre and that of Mary Immaculate Conception, all started functioning from this new Church.


According to local legends, the Carmelites, after hearing the parishioners, proposed to transfer all the images of the Procession of Saints to the new Church of Goa-Velha. However, the neighbouring parishioners of St. Lawrence Church of Agasaim protested, because for over two centuries the Procession was going from Pilar to the Malwara Chapel in Agasaim. Therefore, the Carmelites called the elders of both the villages for a meeting in the Pilar Monastery to take a final decision. However the elders of Agasaim Parish, failed to turn up for the meeting; and all the images of the Saints went to the new Goa-Velha Parish Church.

Of the erstwhile 65 statues and palanquins (Charols), they got the residual of only 25; the remaining had already been destroyed by the neglect and vandalism of the previous years, as exposed in the previous sections of this Chapter. Thus from Lent of 1868, the Procession of Saints started going around the streets of the Goa-Velha Parish Church. In the process they also took away the statue of the Immaculate Conception from the side altar of the Pilar Monastery Church and mounted it on the side altar of the new Church.


Before the malaria / encephalitis plague wiped out the Old Goa city, and before the Goa capital was transferred to Panjim around 1761, the Archbishops of Goa had their residence and office in Old Goa between the Cathedral and St Francis Assisi Monastery. With the plague, this residence too was abandoned and shifted to another building in Panelim village, situated on the outskirts of Old Goa. A little thereafter, Panelim residence too was given up and the Archbishop resided temporarily in the congested area of Panjim (N Sra de Piedade) or Caranzalem

Figure 123 (d) – Archbishop D. Ayres d’Ornelas

Chapel. For summer residence, they had to go far away to the Nilgiris etc.

By the decree of 1878 from the Overseas Minister of Portugal, the then Archbishop of Goa, D. Ayres d’Ornelas, in answer to a petition he had made earlier, got the Pilar Monastery as his summer residence2. Had it not been for this Archbishop, the Pilar Monastery, with all its surroundings and hedges would have gone under public auction3, as soon as the Carmelite presence died out.


By 1886, all the Carmelite confreres died out and the old Administrator of the Pilar Monastery, Fr Cyrilo de Anunciacao was left alone. The new Archbishop of Goa, D. Antonio Sebastiao Valente who had arrived in Goa in 1882 from Cochin, with a young boy, who was admitted in Rachol Seminary and later ordained priest, Fr Thorath, was given as a companion to the above administrator. Seeing that the Pilar Monastery Church side Altars were infested with ant hills, and snakes, Fr Thorath demolished the ant-hills and killed many snakes and in the process had to demolish the side Altars. In the meantime, in 1886, Goa Archdiocese was raised to an honorary Patriarchate of the East Indies and the Archbishop D. A. S. Valente became the first Patriarch. Soon, thereafter, Fr. Cyrilo de Anunciacao died on 22nd October 1887 and the Pilar Monastery was again closed and abandoned.


During the Portuguese Government’s ban on Religious Orders, a Goan priest, Very Rev. Fr. Jose Mariano C. Bento Martins (figure 124a) from Orlim, Salcete, Goa , founded the Society of the Missionaries of St. Francis Xavier, in Agonda, Canacona on 26th September 1887. The first Patriarch of the East Indies, Archbisop D. Antonio Sebastiao Valente received secretely the commitment of Fr. Bento Martins and his three companions, in his Patriarchal Palace Chapel in Panjim, before the Blessed Sacrament exposed at 8 o’clock in te night (to avoid Government attention), and appointed Fr. Bento Martins as the first Superior of the nascent Society. Fr. Bento Martins, built the first Parish Church at Valpoi and enlarged the Chapel at Agonda. It was raised to a Parish soon afterwards. With his confreres, he also penetrated into the villages of Canacona, Cabo de Rama and up to Velim in Salete.

Figure 124(a) – Fr. B. Martins, the Founder


Seeing the zeal of these first members of the nascent Society, the same Patriarch – Archbishop, D. A. S. Valente (Figure 124b), gave the abandoned Pilar Monastery as the headquarters of the new Society in 1890, and since then it came to be commonly known as the ‘Society of Pilar’, and its members were called Pilar Fathers. More candidates started joining the Society in Pilar. Figure 124(b) D. A. S. Valente


Fr. Bento Martins also did pioneering work in Shiroda but all of a sudden died of malaria, at the young age of 49, on 16th August 1896 at the Pilar Monastery4. After his death. Fr. Bento

Martins was buried in the Goa Velha Cemetery. Msgr. Lucio Vaz succeeded him as the second Superior of the Society from 1896 to 1936.


In the span of 22 years, from 1887 to 1909, only 16 members had taken the risk of joining the Pilar Society, in spite of the enforced ban on religious orders. Out of those who had joined prior to 1909, only eight had made their perpetual or life commitment, while others had left or were about to leave before, or after completing five years in the missions.


The Pilar Monastery building had been in bad shape. Even the corridor walls were coming down. Msgr Lucio Vaz carried out extensive repairs and reinforced the Pilar Monastery building. He cleansed its surroundings and saved the corridors from ruin. The Church roof was renovated, the altars and images of saints on them were also touched and gilt with the help of local artists by Figure 124 (c) – Msgr. Lucio Vaz

19215. One of the benefactors, who helped Msgr Lucio Vaz in this restoration work was Mrs Isabel Ribeiro e Henriques,

Figure 124 (d) – The Monastery Church roof under repairs in 1921

a widow, whose two only sons died one after the other in May-June 1923. They died at the very young age of 20 and 10 years respectively; they were the great grand sons of the Viscount of Bardez and to them a gravestone is dedicated by the inconsolable mother, shown in figure 124e, and placed in the Chapel of O. Lady of Mount Carmel in Pilar Monastery.


The Carmelites had left some statues. One of them of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was in the Sacristy of the Pilar Monastery together with two statues of Carmelite saints.

Thus since 1921, the Pilar Monastery has undergone changes and alterations in many aspects.

Figure 124(e) – Grave stone of Henirques brothers

The Blessed Sacrament tabernacle was shifted to the main Altar as it stands today and the statue of Our Lady of Carmel from the Sacristy was placed in the niche where the tabernacle stood before. That Altar in the Chapel on the left side of the Pilar Monastery Church, was originally mounted by the Capuchos, (as can be surmised from the crest of the altar, which shows the image of Jesus embracing St Francis Assisi from the Cross, a favourite Franciscan theme).

All the images on the Altars of the Pilar Monastery appear to have been made by the Capuchos with the help of local artists, for they betray Indian features, especially in their facial expression. However, the facial features of the statue of Our Lady of Carmel does not appear to be local. It seems to have been originally brought from Portugal in the 16th century. The Carmelites brought it to Pilar Monastery from one of the ruined Churches of Old Goa, in the 19th century, for they used to celebrate a solemn feast of Our Lady of Carmel on the 16th of July, in the Pilar Monastery, during their occupation of it.

To keep their tradition alive for some time, the Pilar Society too celebrated the feast of O.L. of Carmel on 16th July and the solemn feast of O. L. of Pilar on the 17th, (it being the day of the laying of its Foundation

Stone in 1913). Both feasts were attended by a large concourse of the faithful from the neighbouring villages.

Figure 124 (f) – Altar of Our Lady of Carmel in Pilar Monastery

Below the same altar, was also placed in a glass case, the image of the Crucified Christ after

Descent from the Cross, which was also found in the Sacristy of the Pilar Monastery.


On the left side of the main Altar, there was only a table with a small crucifix in olden times. In the Sacristy of the Monastery there was another big Crucifix. As we shall see in the next Section 12A) , Fr, Agnelo joined the Society in 1897. Seeing that he had a great devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows, Msgr Lucio Vaz, by bringing together the above mentioned big Crucifix and the statue of Mother Mary and pieces of carved wooden columns from dilapidated altars in Pilar and also in Old Goa, erected, around 1902, the new Altar of Our Lady of Sorrows in the place where it stands at present. (See figure 124g). It is said that Fr, Agnelo used to celebrate his daily Mass, often on this Altar, especially when he was residing in Pilar from 1898 to 1908.

On each side of the Crucifix are later additions of St. Joseph Vaz, the Patron of Goa Archdiocese (see figure 139), and St. Therese of Lisieux, Patroness of the Missions.

Figure 124 (g) – The renovated and restored three altars in Pilar Monastery as they stand at present: O. Lady of Sorrows left); Main Altar (Centre) and St Anthony and Immaculate Conception (right). Below the main Altar is the Altar facing the Congregation as per the norms of Vatican II.

It is to be noted that before Vatican II Ecumenical Council introduced reforms in the Liturgy, each priest celebrated Mass individually; concelebration was allowed only on Moundy Thursday and at Priestly Ordinations. Each priest also used to celebrate Mass facing the Altar with his back to the Congregation; Mass facing the Congregation is Vatican II’s innovaton, which requires a cental altar facing the Congregation as can be seen below the main Altar in the Pilar Monasery Church in figure 124g.


As mentioned in Chapter 11, section 16 A, when the Procession of Saints was taken over, in 1868, by the Goa-Velha parish, the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception also took away to their new Parish Church, the statue of the Immaculate Conception that was on the side Altar of St Anthony in the Pilar Monastery Church. The vacuum created above the image of St Anthony, was filled in, after 1921, by transfering to it, the image of the Immaculate Conception that was in the Chapel of Cabo in Panjim, the present Raj Bhavan (Governor’s Palace) that had fomerly belonged to the same Order of the Capuchos as of the Pilar Monastery.

However, one last change on the Altar was made by a member of the Reorganized Society That member felt that the majestic wooden stattue in the niche of St Anthony (Figure 97) was worn out and had to be substituted with a smaller statue of Plaster of Paris, as we see at present. Figure 124g, thus, shows the Altar of St Anthony with all these modifications on the right side of the main Altar.


If the Society of Pilar exists till at present , it is due to its saintly member, the Venerable Fr Agnelo D’Souza.


Agnelo was born in Anjuna on 21st January 1869. He studied at Rachol Seminary and obtained the coveted distinction “Accessit” on completing his philosophical and theological studies there in 1893. After teaching in his private school in Calangute for three years, he joined the Society of Pilar on 17-7-1897, was ordained a priest on 18-12-1898 at the Se Cathedral, Old Goa by the Patriarch D. A. S. Valente. He spent the first ten years of his priesthood (1898 to 1908) in the Pilar Monastery, completely submissive to his Superior and in a life of prayer. However, he was helping his Superior, Msgr. Lucio Vaz, in preaching the Retreats conducted for priests and lay people, during this time. After the death of D. Valente in the Pilar Monastery, he and his three priest-companions had to bear the brunt of the persecution of the Portuguese officials.

He then worked as a missionary in the Parish Churches of Shiroda (Goa, 1908-1909), Kumta, Karwar (1910 – 1917) and was then transferred to Sanvordem, Goa. While working in Sanvordem, he was appointed Spiritual Director of the. Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol, in 1918.

Besides he preached sermons, retreats, missions and novenas in most of the Churches and Chapels of Goa. His preaching ministry continued throughout his life. He preached his last nine-day Novena of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the Rachol Seminary; he collapsed in the pulpit while preaching the last sermon on the Vespers of the same. He died a few hours after his fall at dawn of 20th November 1927. On the same evening he was given a solemn burial in the Cemetery of the Rachol Parish. Soon after his burial, thousands started visiting his grave, irrespective of caste or creed, in spontaneous acknowledgement of his saintliness, seeking his intercession before God, without any influence or encouragement from the Church authorities. Thousands of favours began to be reported.

Figure 125 (a) – Ven Fr. Agnelo


Fr. Agnelo’s mortal remains were transferred, eleven years after his death, from Rachol cemetery to Pilar Monastery on 10th January 19396. At the entrance of the Pilar Monastery, a marble tomb was built and on 15th April 1939, Fr. Agnelo’s mortal remains were enshrined in it. See figure 125b. Since then, devotees in thousands from all over the world, flock to his shrine in Pilar to seek his intercession or thank God for favours received. With the devotion of Fr Agnelo came the sympathy and support to the Pilar Society.

The process of Canonization of Fr. Agnelo was started in Rome in 1947. All formalities done, Fr. Agnelo was declared Venerable, after the approval of the Apostolic Process of his life and virtues by Pope John Paul II on on 10-11-1986. Figure 125(b) – Ven Fr. Agnelo’s Tomb in Pilar Monastery

The last Process of Miracles, attributed to him, is yet to be finalized. If this is done, then, God willing, he may be Beatified; and if another miracle takes place after Beatification and is studied and approved, then Fr. Agnelo may be Canonized and declared a saint.


Because of the restrictions put by the Free Mason Portuguese Government on the Society, no new member could join it and the old ones were dying out. Only one young member, Fr. B. R. Rosario Gomes, in his forties, was the Dean of Honavar in North Kanara. But his mind was assailed by doubts about the future of the Society. Since he was the only young member, he was tempted to leave the dying Society and go to join the Jesuits outside Goa. When he came down to Goa for his holidays in May 1927, Fr B. R. Rosario Gomes, went to see Fr Agnelo, and to open his mind to him. After listening to him attentively, Fr. Agnelo

Figure 125 (c) Very Rev Fr B..R. Rosario Gomes

consoled h im and prophesied emphatically, “Fr Rosario, do not think of leaving the Society; it has a great future; indeed the finger of God is here.”

This advice calmed the fears of Fr Gomes who courageously carried the burden of the Society, singlehandedly. For by 1928, the old members started dying out and only a handful of them were surviving, most of them too old to take up any resposibllities, and the Society was threatened with extinction. Because of the above personal encounter he had with the Fr Agnelo, Fr Gomes wisely took the step to bring the remains from Rachol Cemetery to Pilar, when he was the lone survivor of the Society in 1939.


The wall cupboard (figure126a) has artefacts belonging to the late 19th and early 20th century, and contains porcelain material for domestic use.

They are generally connected with table service, which, perhaps, Msgr. Lucio

Figure 126` – Crockery in the Pilar Museum

Vaz had brought to serve all those who participated in the Lenten Retreats in the Pilar Monastery. Silver spoons,forks and knives seen in the same cupbiad were donated to the Museum by the Da Gama family of Gama-vaddo, Carpna, Aldona.

Likewise, two thick copper plates generally used in Goan homes to take canji (rice gruel) were donated to the museum by a benefactor and are preserved in one of these wall cupboards.

Figure 127 – Thick Canji Copper Plates

14. VESTMENTS Two Mass vestments from Pilar Monastery are embroidered in gold thread. The yellow vestment has the figure of Jesus Christ in the middle with the four evangelists (writers of the Gospels), each represented by his face and symbol; John with eagle as his symbol on top;

Matthew with man’s face as his symbol on the lower side; Mark with lion’s face to the left and Luke with the face of an ox to the right.

The red vestment is wowen with velvet cloth and gold thread. These vestments are over 200 years

old and may have

Figure 128 (a)– Mass Vestments – figure 128 (b)

been used in the Pilar Monastery by the Capuchos or Carmelites or acquired by the former members of the Society. It is said that the former nuns at Sta Monica Convent in Old Goa used to weave such vestments.


Msgr Lucio Vaz was too old and asked the Archbishop-Patriarch for an auxiliary in 1934; so the above mentioned Fr. B. R.R. Gomes, Dean of Honavar, was trasferred to the neighbourhood as Parish priest of Curca and made Auxiliary Superior of the Society. By 1936, Msgr. Lucio Vas resigned and died shortly afterwards.


Meanwhile, some Seminarians of Rachol who were planning to start a new missionary Society of their own, were advised by the then Patriarch-Archbishop D. Theotonio to re-organize the dying Society of Pilar. Two of them, – Fr. Conceicao Rodrigues and Fr. Francisco Sequeira, accepted the advice and together with the above Fr. B. R. R. Gomes as Superior, Fr. M. J. Barreto as Novice Master and four new entrants: Fr, J. Albuquerque, Fr. T. Cabral, P. Lacerda and P. Mascarenhas (the last two as candidates for Lay Brothers) – all of them together re-organized the Society on 2nd July 1939, in the Pilar Monastery. According to the requirements of Canon Law (1917), they started their Novitiate on 5-8-1939 and made their commitment as members of the Society on 8-9-1940. The first Chapter, held on 26th September 1940, elected the same Fr. B. R. R. Gomes as the first Superior General. He was subsequently re-elected and was at the helm of the Society till 19497.

The Re-organizers overcame several odds against them. They were single-minded in the pursuit of their objective of ‘spiritual grafting’ into the dwindling Society.

Figure 129 – A later photo of the Reorganizers of 1939: Bro. Paixao Lacerda, Fr. Francisco Sequeira, Fr. Conceicao Rodrigfues, Fr. M.J. Barreto, Fr. B. R. R. Gomes, Fr. J. Albuquerque, Fr.T.Cabral and Bro P. Mascarenhas


The first concern of the Re-organizers was to ensure the stability and progress of the Society by establishing in 1942 a Seminary in the Pilar Monastery with only 7 students on its rolls, for the recruitment and training of the future members of the Society. As new candidates went on joining the Seminary, year by year, the spacious All India Mission Seminary building, (Figure 1a) was put up from 1946, and the entire building was completed only on 12th August 1962, with the consecration of the fixed marble Altar and the blessing of the Chapel. The special imported thick Carrara marble had been brought from Italy in 1961, before the Liberation of Goa. A holy water font-stand at the entrance of the Seminary Chapel shows the name of the Italian marble company (figure 130a).

Figure 130 (a) Marble Holy water stand

The altar was consecrated with a relic of St Thomas, the Apostle of India. The Chapel has beautiful stained glass windows depicting St Thomas and St Francis Xavier and in the middle is Our Lady of Pilar, Mary, the Mother of Jesus (figures 130b & c). The former two are based on the paintings of Angelo da Fonseca who had studied at Shantiniketan, Calcutta, under Abhanindranath, brother of Rabindranath Tagore to adopt Indian motifs to Christian paintings. Angelo da Fonseca had drawn the two paintings especially for the

Figure 130 (b) – Stained Glass – O.l. of Pilar

Seminary Chapel in 1954. His idea was that Goa being the meeting point between the East and West the middle picture could be in European style. The paintings were then sent to a German Company, P Winnen of Cologne, manufacturing stained glasses. They saw the paintings of Angelo da Fonseca in Aachen (Germany) and made the middle stained glass of Our Lady of Pilar too in Indian style (figure 130b).

Figure 130 (c) – View of the Seminary Chapel

The stained glass frames were transported to Goa, in 1961, a little before the Liberation of Goa in December 1961.

Prior to 1967, the Seminary was a monolith with all the stages of formation in one building in Pilar. Figure 131a shows the whole Seminary inmates with the Professors in 1958 at a glance: Major Seminary (Theology and Philosophy) and Minor Seminary. However, as the needs arose, these were separated, from 1968.

Figure 131 (a) – Seminary Professors and Students in 1959

PRIESTS TRAINED IN THE SEMINARY The Reorganized Society spread its activities everywhere, thanks to the priests trained and formed in the Pilar Seminary who gradually joined the ranks of the missionaries. They aimed at doing pioneering work for the socio-educational uplift of the poor and downtrodden.

In the 75 years of its existence, since 1942 to 2017 the Pilar Seminary has given the Church 490 priests who have studied in it. Out of these, 45 have already returned to receive the eternal reward in the Heavenly Father’s House, after dedicating their lives to the missions and works of the Society; 2 are Bishops and 321 are priests in active service in the Society and its missions. In recent years, the Pilar Seminary also trained a few candidates to the priesthood hailing from the Congregation of La Salette; dioceses of Bettiah, Gumla and Belgaum.

In the academic year 2017/18 the Seminary has on its rolls 117 scholastics, 12 Novices and 14 Pre-Novices. The Minor Seminary in Batim counts 64 students. The Society has opened Minor Seminary centres for recruitment of vocations in Darkhast (Tamilnadu), Kalyanpur (Karnataka), Gangarampur (Kolkata) and Valiv (Vasai, Maharashtra). The total number of prospective candidates studying in these centres is around 50.


The old Pilar Monastery housed the Novitiate for many years, until it was definitely shifted to Colem from 1991; from then on, the Monastery continues with the training of candidates before joining the Society, in the Pre-Novitiate year.

The Generalate with the office of the Superior General, which was in Pilar, was shifted to its new premises at Porvorim in 2003.


Two of the Reorganizers of the Society were Brothers. Thus, among its members, the Society has also had in all 34 Brothers of whom 10 are in active service at present; while the others have departed to receive their eternal reward in the Heavenly Father’s House, after dedicating their lives to the missions and works of the Society.

Figure 131 (e) A group of the veteran Brothers of the Society



The afore mentioned Fr. B. R. Rosario Gomes was re-elected as Superior General twice, by successive Chapters, and was at the helm of the Society up to 1949. The Pilar Monastery once again was in a bad shape and needed extensive repairs. These were undertaken under the supervision of Fr. Gomes, and the Monastery was given a face lift. He was also a good agriculturist and converted the hillock of Pilar into a coconut grove, took care of the fields around, and improved the yield of paddy for which he was awarded a golden ear of corn by the Government. He served the Society till his death in 1967, that is, for over half a century (1916-1967).


Up to 1946, the Monastery Church had a floor of hard granite stones. During World War II, Portugal remained neutral. The British Navy, part of the Allies fighting the war against the Axis powers, came quietly and sunk some German ships, anchored at Marmagoa harbour for spying. The marble flooring of the sunken ships was then retrieved from the sea by the Portuguese, and sold on auction. A lay Association of Spiritual Brothers and Sisters, organized by Bro. Henry D’Souza, a member of the Pilar Society, with the purpose of helping the works of the Society through their prayers and mite, pooled together some contributions and purchased part of the marble on auction. The marble from the sunken German ships was then fixed in the Sanctum Sanctorum of the Pilar Monastery Church (in figure 125i, parts of the marble are visible below the altars). The lower portion of the Manastery Church was later on laid with tiles brought from Bombay.

However the tiles in front of the Ven. Fr. Agnelo’s tomb (figure 130d) seem to be the originaltiles of the Pilar Monastery.

Figure 130 (d) – Original tiles near Fr. Agnelo’s Tomb


The Koyna earthquake of 1967 damaged extensively the vault of the Monastery Church. It developed a straight crack in the middle. Thanks to the Government of India, the crack was repaired. However, above the arch of the Church, there was a painting of Mother Mary, Queen of Apostles. The painting was totally damaged by this crack and so was covered by white plaster during the above repairs. When plastering the arch again in 2003, the damaged painting was again discovered. Efforts were made to save and repaint it, but in vain. So after the restoration and renovation of the entire Church interior and the altars as well as the facade were carried out on a full scale again, at the time of the 4th centenary (1613-2O13) of the Monastery, a new painting has been mounted to replace it (figure 130 e).

Figure 130 (e) – New Painting of the Queen of the Apostles


Figure 130(f)-Adam & Eve

first human pair, sin, and are

thrown out of Eden.

Figure 130 (g) Return of the Prodigal Figure 130 (h) – Resurrection

Attached to the Atrium of the Pilar Monastery is a recent addition of a beautiful chapel for celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It has exquisite pictures in ajulejos (paintings in blue on Mosaic like tiles), depicting the entire salvation history focussing on God’s free love and the weakness and frailty of humankind (Figure 130f). Three of these pictures are shown above. The main picture depicts the classic story – the parable of the return of the Prodigal Son to the bosom of his Father, who receives him back with mercy, tenderness and feasting (Figure 130g). Such will be the entry of a sinner who repents, into the arms of the Heavenly Father, Our Creator in Heaven (Lk.15:11-32). To reconcile fallen humankind Jesus the Son of God becomes Man, dies on the Cross, rises from the dead and redeems mankind (Figure 130h).


As mentioned in Section 4 A above, in 1953, the Society had started Escola Pe. Agnelo for Portuguese primary classes with added classes in English medium for the benefit of candidates for the Seminary, especially those who were coming from outside Goa, as well as for day scholars. After various vicissitudes, after the liberation of Goa, it became an English medium school: named as Fr. Agnel School which rose to be a big educational complex in Pilar, in course of time.


From June 1962, the above mentioned Fr. Agnel School was upgraded year by year, till its first batch appeared or the SSC Board exams in March 1965. The new building for the High School at the foot of the Pilar hillock was put up in 1967, a Boarding in 1969 and Apostolic School in 1973. The Boarding continued till 1978 when the upgrading of the School to a Higher

Figure 131 (a) Fr. Agnel High School Pilar

Figure 131(b) – Fr. Agnel Hr. Secondary School, Pilar

Secondary, made it necessary to use the existing premises for it.

Fr. Agnel Degree College was started from 1991 in the premises of the Higher Secondary in shifts and in 2000 it was shifted to the premises of the Apostolic School and the latter was further shifted to a new building in Batim in the year 2002.

Figure 131 (c) – Fr. Agnel Degree College, Pilar


Figure 131 (d) Plan of Fr. Agnel Central School, Pilar

Though the Society runs elsewhere about 14 Central Schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Eucation, (C.B.S.E.), New Delhi, the latest addition to the Educational Complex in Pilar is the Fr. Agnel Central School, to be affiliated to the same. It started with K.G. classes from June 2008 and has been adding more classes every year, by putting up a new building initially, and then adding new classrooms as the need arose. In 2017-18 it has reached the 8th Standard.


In June 1978, as a remembrance of the Golden Jubilee of Ven Fr. Agnelo’s death (1927- 1977), the Society started the Bal Niketan (orphanage) in the old Pilgrim’s House and later it was shifted to its new premises at the foot of the Pilar hillock in 1979. It admits orphan boys from fifth standard. In the academic year 2017-18 it has 97 inmates on the rolls, from Std V to SSC.

Figure 131 (e) – The Fr. Agnel Niketan – Orphanage in Pilar


To tap the musical talent of the youth, the Pilar Music School was opened in July 1979. It has been training students to appear for the examinations of the Trinity College of Music, London. It teaches the following instruments: Key Board, Guitar, Violin, Drums, Piano,

Trumpet, Tabla, Harmonium, and Sitar. It also trains the students in Hindustani vocals and Bharat Natyam. Figure 131 (f) – The Pilar Music School

branches have been opened in Porvorim, Margao and other places. A Pilar Music Academy caters to the functioning of these music schools. Students of the Bal Niketan, Aostolic, School and Minor Seminary as well as day scholar frequent these music classes imparted to them in a separate building at the foot of the Pilar hillock.


Students in the Seminary as well as in the different educational institutions are encouraged to develop their talents as well to love nature, the environment and its beauty. In this sense, an attraction to tourists, students from other schools and colleges and pilgrims, as they go around the Major Seminary, the gardens in front of the Seminary with lawns, a Spirituality garden, and a beautiful garden of Cacti plants are atreat to the eye, especially when in bloom.

Fr. Max Gonsalves, Professor of the Seminary, originally planned and started this cacti garden. Since then, these gardens are maintained and cared for by the students by themselves. The students also go to the fields at the time of plantation and take part in the transplantation of the rice saplings and at harvest time too they take part in gathering the produce of the fields so that they accustom themselves to all sorts of manual works side by side with their theological studies and intellectual pursuits.

Figure 131 (g) – Two varieties of Cacti in full bloom are shown alongside

In the corridors of the Seminary and in the Refectory, there are a variety of Paintings, which also are an attraction to all.


The Konkani Weekly “Vauraddeanho Ixtt” (in short “V. Ixtt”), meaning “The Workers’ Friend”, was founded by secular priests of the Archdiocese in 1933 under the leadership of late Fr. Joao Francisco Fernandes from Colva, but after ten years its publication was running into huge debts. Therefore, in 1943, the Patriarch-Archbishop D. Jose da Costa Nunes, transferred the publication to Pilar and gave it to the Society as an organ of its propaganda, as a means of spreading the devotion of Fr. Agnelo and as a channel to educate the working classes towards their rights and duties in the light of the social teachings of the Church.

Figure 132(a) The V.Ixtt

The Re-organizer, Fr. C. Rodrigues, who at the behest of the Society,

had taken up the management of the Press and the publication of V. Ixtt into his hands from 1943, in order also to reach out to the English speaking benefactors of the Society, in and outside Goa, started a monthly magazine “India” from December 1950.

Another member of the Society, Fr. Sergio Mascarenhas started another

Figure 132 (b) – A Cover of India magazine

monthly youth magazine, the “Call” in 1967. To avoid duplication, however, the last two magazines were amalgamated into ‘Fr. Agnelo’s Call’ in 1975.

Figure 132 (c) – Covers of amalgamated ‘ Fr. Agnelo’s Call’

Since 1954 the Portuguese Government began censuring all newspapers in Goa.

It was made compulsory to submit to the censure department a proof copy before its

publication; and so the V. Ixtt had a tough time when even the liberal social teachings of the Popes and other liberal articles were censured and ordered to be deleted. Thus, at the last moment, new material, acceptable to the officers, had to be arranged in order to bring out the Weekly in time.

On 12th August 1961, prior to the liberation of Goa, the Portuguese Governor of Goa ordered to suspend for three months, the publication of the V. Ixtt. The reason given was that the V. Ixtt was not defending Portuguese interests and that the Press Notes released by the Portuguese Government from time to time were not published in the weekly. These press-notes generally contained false propaganda against the Indian Government and the Indian Union. Goans in Bombay and well-wishers of the Society held protests against these censure measures and against the suspension imposed on the V. Ixtt, with the result that the suspension was removed within a month. However, the V. Ixtt, did not resume its publication until 12-11-1961, a little before the liberation of Goa, which took place on 19th December 1961.

The Xaverian Press – and the publication of V. Ixtt and others magazines and books – had been so far functioning from the ground floor of the Pilar Monastery till 1963; meanwhile, a part of the Pilar hillock in front of the Monastery was cut and a new building was put up there at the circular turn of the road.

This building was inaugurated by Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India on 23rd May 1963, during his maiden visit to Goa after its liberation.

The whole Printing Press machinery and workers were then shifted from the Monastery to these new premises and the new building was named the “Xaverian Press Training School”

Figure 132 (d) – Prime Minister Nehru coming out after

Inaugurating the building on 23-5-1963

However, new technology in Printing has made the Society to shift, from 1991, to Computer Courses in Printing Technology. Hence the Pilar ITI for Training the youth for vocational Courses have been put up in this building, which has since been named “Amruthsthan – Pilar ITI”.

Figure 132 (e) – Other Pilar Publications in Konkani, English, etc


As soon as the II Vatican Ecumenical Council promulgated the Declaration Nostra Aetate and opened the doors to dialogue with other religions, the Pilar Seminary which was already teaching subjects of Indian Philosophy, Hinduism and Indian Church history, launched, in September 1965 in the new direction by inviting the noted Hindu Konkani poet Bakibab Borkar to address the seminarians on his understanding of Christianity. The Seminary excursion in 1966 was promoted in the same spirit of dialogue by visiting the Hindu Partagali Math in Canacona. The Seminary offered the Swamiji of Partagal a copy of the Hindi version of the Bible and a Marathi “Life of Christ”. The Swamiji, on his part, offered the Seminary two volumes of the English version of the Bhagwad Gita.

In 1966, the Sat Guru of Beas in Amritsar visited Pilar and presented to the Seminary nine books on the spiritual path followed by the Sikhs in pursuit of the Truth. The title of one was ‘Light on Sant Math’’. These contacts of Dialogue went on year by year. On 15th August 1975, Additional Judicial Commissioner Mr Justice K. N. Sukhla, presided over the Independence Day celebration at Pilar Seminary and attended the Mass celebrated in Indian rite. He remarked that he felt ‘very much at home’ during the liturgy.

People of all walks of life participated in the inter-religious prayer meeting held a Clube Nacional at Panjim on 14th August 1976, organized by the Pilar Seminary, to promote communal harmony and to pray for the welfare and prosperity of our Nation; a renowned Sanskrit scholar Malharrao Sardessai gave a meditation on the Upanishads, Dr. Z. A. Qasim, then Director of National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), read from the Quran and Brigadier A. Inocencio Monteiro read excerpts from the Bible. The press hailed the initiative and gave it wide coverage.

Figure 132 (f) Rangoli at such inter-religious meeting

After this every year, inter-religious meets were held in Pilar and other places, where Hindus, Muslims and Christians shared their religious experiences, prayed together and shared a common meal. From 1988 for several years a three-day Live-in

Figure 132(g) – A group of Participants in the Inter-Religious Meeting

Figure132 (h) – Inauguration of a live-in dialogue program

Program was held under the leadership of late Fr. John Pereira, Professor of Pilar Seminary, in which prominent citizens of all faiths and walks of life took part. This led to the formation of a Solidarity Forum (Sarv Samanvay Manch) in order to diffuse communal tensions as the participants come to know and value one another’s faith better, which also strengthens one’s own faith and values.

Prayer meetings are also held, with the consent of the institutions’ authorities in various Colleges and Schools in Goa by the Solidarity Forum from time to time. These prayer meetings bring all communities of students and teachers together, irrespective of caste or creed.

An evening of Christmas for Dialogue in December and a Harvest Festival in September are regular features at the Pilar Seminary for students and people of goodwill from the villages surrounding Pilar, to come together and present their open air creative programmes.

The Pilar Seminary Museum, is also a step in the promotion of communal harmony, where one can see and appreciate the multi-religious millennial culture of Goa in the form of real artefacts, collected mostly from around the Pilar hillock (See details in Chapter 13).


In order to foster dialogue among members of different Christian denominations, mostly working or settled in Goa, an Ecumenical meeting is also held with the participation of priests and lay people of these denominations and the Pilar Seminary staff and students, in the second half of January every year.

Figure 132(i)- Ecumenical meeting


Students and priests of the Pilar Society / Seminary have often participated in relief operations in calamities as the 1977 Cyclone when 18 feet high tidal waves hit coastal Andhra, the water penetrating as far as 4 kilometres inside thickly populated areas. Thousands of people died and corpses were found high up on the trees, which the victims had climbed to escape the fury of the cyclone.

Figure 132(j) – Pilar joins in relief work in earthquake hit Bhuj villages

When Kutch region in Gujarat was tumbled down by a terrible earthquake in 2002, the Rector

of the Seminary with Professors and students took part in the relief program, living with the people for over a month, to help in the reconstruction of the devastated houses and in rehabilitation of the displaced populations, especially in the villages of Bhuj.

Again in 2004, when the Tsunami hit the Bay of Bengal, a batch of students of the Pilar Seminary, accompanied by a Professor sailed as far as Hutbay, the last of the Andamans group of islands

and to Campbell Bay, the last of the Nicobar group, to take part in the relief services.

Figure 132 (k) –The Hutbay group


Today, the apostolate of the Society has extended to all the corners of India.

Figure 132 (l) – The Nicobar group with Sisters of different Congregations helping in the relief works

It has 112 Communities spread in 4 Provinces of Delhi, Goa, Mumbai and Kolkata and the Agnel Region in India and has opened a few units abroad in Rome, UK, USA, Germany, Austria and Nepal, Mauritania and Figure 132 (m) – Map of India

Projecting te 4 Provices

Australia. On 30th September 2010, Pope Benedict XVI has granted the Society the canonical status of Pontifical Right.


It was the cherished vision of the Reorganizers that the Society should redouble itself by having its own branch for women associates. They tried it in 1942, but did not succeed then. The General Chapter of 1975 in which three Reorganizers participated (namely Fr. C. Rodrigues, Fr. F. Sequeira and Fr. F. Albuquerque), gave the vision a momentous push. The dream was finally realized in 1988, when five candidates made their first profession, after having undergone intense training for several years in the missions. As associates, they work in the missions of the Society, but in terms of Canon Law, they have their own independent administration. Recently, they have been recognized as a Society of Apostolic life and what was so far known as the “ Pilar Sisters Association”, was raised on 13th May 2017, to the ”Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of PIlar”. Their Generalate is situated at Orgao

Loutolim, Goa. Their total membership has come to 52 professed Sisters spread out in 15 mission communities, in different parts of India, with some more candidates Figure 132 (n) A group of Pilar Sisters in front of their Generalate in Loutolim.

undergoing training as novices and postulants.

1 This drawing is taken from a book with illustrations, written by Lobo Mendes, a Portuguese Cartographer.

2 Lucio Vaz, O Convento do Pila e Mons. Lucio Vaz, p VII

3 Cfr. D. A. S. Valente, Officium, Livro de Portarias No 13 p 95, Paco Patriarchal, Panjim

4 Mensangeiro do Coracao de Jesus, Lisbon, Feb 1897, No 191, pp 121-122

5 Lucio Vaz, op cit. pp xxviii-xxxviii

6 Fr, Aloysius G. Rego, Secrets to Share in the Life of Fr. Agnelo, Borkar Printers, Margao, 1984, p 11, 50-51

7 Admitted in 1916, Fr. Gomes was the only survivor of the old Society who after serving in it for 23 years, continued with the Reorganizers, and was in the Society for 27 years more, till his death in 1966 – a total of 50 years of service.