Vijaya Rani Girja, Maria Busty

Maria Busty is situated at the lap of Ruchela Peak, which is the tri-junction of Sikkim, Bhutan and Kalimpong sub-division of Darjeeling. The hill is opposite to Pedong. Murdung river divides Pedong and Maria Busty ridges. Maria Busty name was kept by Fr Hervagault, dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus. Since French Fathers were serving as Chaplins for British army, to Irish Catholic soldiers they were given instead of money a jungle land measuring 225 hectres of forest.

Fr Hervagault  and 12 families, newly baptized,  left Pedong and migrated to Maria Busty on 15th October 1891. They began to clear the forest and cut down trees to make area suitable for human settlement. First twelve huts were built and a Chapel. The first baptism at Maria Busty was on 1st November 1891, of Djeni Gurung by Fr Hevargault. She was given the name Jeanne in French.

Fr Hevargault designed the Church for 400 people, 64 ft by 34 ft. In 1910, for grotto of the Church a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes was brought from France and installed by Fr Hervagault. By 1920, there were 200 Catholics. The first group of  Catholics were the Nepalese followed by the Lepchas. Nine Lepcha families were from Dukka, 4 kms from Maria Busty. The Catholics attended Mass every Sunday in Vijaya Rani church, Maria Busty.

copyright © 2018 Roman Catholic Diocese of Darjeeling

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