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The traditional picture of Blessed Joseph Vaz is a replica of the painting in the Cathedral of Colombo (Sri Lanka). As a missionary Bl. Joseph Vaz is depicted with a CRUCIFIX in hand, surrounded by the SUN and the MOON, the MITRE and the CROSIER.  He is depicted barefoot and his skin is brown as that of his Goan countrymen. Throughout his life, right from the day of his ordination, he went barefoot. He walked as a poor man. Though it may be an uninspiring picture in priestly garb with the Bishops head gear (mitre) and staff at either side, it delivers a profound and deep meaning to the viewer.


They are based on his letter to his nephew, a deacon whom he gave salutary counsels, on request, to guide him in his spiritual life and to enable him to guide others too, in the future priestly life he was to shoulder. The moon always faces the sun, which is self-luminous. The moon has always to depend on the Sun for light. The letter, written from Kandy and dated 17th Aug 1708, touches every aspect of priestly and missionary life with different allegories referring to the Sun and the Moon and its Course. In beautiful almost poetic, language of the Renaissance, Fr. Joseph Vaz gives here what could be considered a text book of missionary and mission oriented religious life, which even today stands as testimony, a mirror, reflecting his experience of the Absolute as an absolute greatness before his own humble and broken existence. 

It gives us an insight into his own personal contact with God and his zeal for the spiritual and the temporal well-being of the flock entrusted to his care. One is stupefied to see his erudition, his vision of spiritual life, which, in every paragraph he goes on weaving like a cobweb around the Moon in its relation to the Sun, and its phases, its light, its tides, its eclipses, its orbit, its reflections, and every other aspect.  But much more accurate than his knowledge of the moon, is his vast experience of interior life, the soul of his apostolate, as a missionary committed to his flock, suffering and annihilating himself so that "they may have life and have it more abundantly". (Jn 10, 10).

In his missionary journeys through the forests and hills of Sri Lanka (Ceylon).  Blessed Joseph Vaz was constantly contemplating the Sun during the day and the Moon during the night.  These two heavenly bodies had become his inseparable guides and companions and so his spirituality too came to be centered around them.  History also records that his Father saw a star in the sky when his son Joseph Vaz was born on 21st April 1651.


The two are on his sides, apart from his body, because he humbly refused to accept the Bishopric as Vicar Apostolic of Sri Lanka (Ceylon). His hands point out to the Crucifix rather than hold the staff.

Contact: Rector (Vice Postulator - Goa)

Sanctuary of Blessed Joseph Vaz, 413 Blessed Joseph Vaz Road, P. O. Cortalim, SANCOALE - Goa - 403710-INDIA

Contact Office Tel: 00 91 832 2550263 / 2550517 e-mail: sanjovaz@blessedjosephvaz.org [www.blessedjosephvaz.org]