Of all the churches in Goa, the most ostentious and notable for its excellent architecture is that of St Anne. It was reconstructed by Mons Francisco do Rego with his own funds and with the contributions of some villagers. Unfortunately he could not complete the task thus the onus befell on Fr Antonio Francisco da Cunha for its completion which he did 1965. The main altar is consecrated to St Anne.
There is a belief that the main altar is pledged to this beloved Saint due to certain reasons as narrated By Fr F de Souza in his ‘Oriente Conquistado’ – In the island of Goa (Tiswadi) in the year 1577 some devotees purchased the site which came to be known as ‘Quinta de Sant Ana’ where every week the students of ‘Colegio de S Paulo’ used to indulge themselves in some leisure activities.
The priest who was residing at the local was entrusted for the conversions of the villagers of Moula and Talaulim decided to construct a small hermitage though he failed to consecrate the same in honour of any known saint.
However a ‘Gaokar’ Bartalomeu Marchon said that he saw an old woman coming down the hill with a walking cane and a hat and claimed that the hermitage was her abode and wanted to set her residence therein.
Not knowing the name of this lady the priest propagated in the village this reported instance. On hearing about this incident, an old Brahmin lady, claimed that when she was seriously ill the same old lady appeared to her in her dreams and held her hand to rise from her stricken bed and said that her name was Anne and wanted a house in the village.
The result of this dream was her miraculous cure and subsequent conversion which precipitated the priest to avow that the glorious St Anne had to be revered in theta village as such the Church was consecrated to St Anne.
The festivity of St Anne which falls on July 26 is celebrated throughout Goa, but more with aplomb in the tiny village of Talaulim (near Goa Velha) where it is known as ‘Touceachem Fest’ (Cucumber Feast). It is a recorded fact that though the Portuguese introduced their Christian festivals to Goa, Goans with their characteristic ingenuity modified these festivals to befit their seasons without altering the dates.
The ‘Touceachem Fest’ is a well attended festival by people of all walks of life and communities who beseech the venerable saint with various offerings to comply with their most ardent wishes. The most common ones being: ‘Senhora, Tomai Colher, dai me mulher’ – pertinent to the bachelors who pledge with a wooden spoon to appeal for a wife; the females intone – ‘Senhora, tomai urido (Dhal type – phaseolus max) dai me marido’; the newly weds supplicate – ‘Senhora, tomai pepino (cucumber) dai me menino’. Devotees say that the boons in most of the cases are granted.
It is notable to mention that the Church of St Anne follows the Indian architecture amalgamated with Western propensities to adopt the 5×5 scheme appropriate the Indian way to a grand temple but modifies the proportions of the pilasters according to the native flavour, forsaking the European fixedness, while molding the shafts in consonance to the rural needs.
The Church of St Anne at Talaulim can be termed as the master-piece of the Indian Baroque style. It is poignant to note that this admirable church is in a fairly derelict state at the present time.