The Church And Convent Of St. Monica
: Holy Hill, Old Goa, Panjim, Goa
This is reported to be one of the most primitive churches of Goa. The church sits atop the western side of the Holy hill or Monte Santo overlooking the Mandovi river and Divar Island. This is reportedly the very site where Alfonso de Albuquerque guided his troops to victory in 1510 and so says a plaque with the inscription placed in the 1950's. Its class was raised to a church in 1543 and it was entrusted to the care of the Franciscans. It was held in grand veneration by the public as it was here that St. Francis Xavier used to teach catechism every evening to the public who flocked together at the sound of a little bell he rang.
Its facade has the look of a fortress, having openings in its wall to visualize invaders. Its design is simple, in front of its altar lies the tombstone of Garcia de Sa, one of the early governors of Goa. It is a fine example of true "Manueline" style architecture of the early Portuguese. Its interior is simple and has five altars the main altar of which bears the image of Nossa Senhora de Rozario or Our Lady of the Rosary.
The Chapels And Altars
There are two chapels and three altars. The main altar is dedicated to our Lady of the Rosary. The church, with windows near the roof and with rounded towers giving an impression of a fortress church, is Manuline in style though Gothic influence can be seen in the rib-vault at the portico.
Cenotaph Of Dona Catarina
To the right of the main altar is a marble cenotaph commemorating Dona Catarina whose marriage with Viceroy Garcia De Sa was performed by St. Francis Xavier. The cenotaph slightly projecting from the wall is artistically decorated with carved miniature pillars and inscriptions in Portuguese and has a triangular pediment crowned by a shell moulding. The foliage and other decorations emanating from a container closely resemble those on the tombs of Gujarat, thus suggesting influence of a regional art-style.
This votive chapel was built in fulfilment of a vow taken by Afonso de Albuquerque while reviewing the battle between his forces and those of the Bijapur sultan from the same spot, on which the church stands. The vow, however, could be fulfilled only after his death, since this church was built in 1544-49.