Stepping inside the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, visitors are transported to a world of elegance and grace. The walls, adorned with over 200 unique tiles and moulded bricks, create a tapestry of colour and texture. The interior of the church is a symphony of beauty, with gothic arches decorated with enchanting terracotta work depicting garlands, flowers, beads, and more. The windows, too, are a feast for the eyes, ornamented with small brick pillars connected by hollow flower work, which serves the practical purpose of reducing the impact of the hot weather.
The true gem of this church is the main altar. Its 45-foot gothic facade showcases the Christian doctrine of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with God holding his son, Jesus, by the hand and the Holy Spirit surrounded by angels. The altar is a masterpiece of stucco work, featuring figures of saints, angels, St. Joseph, and the Mother of Sorrows, all meticulously crafted and a true tribute to French artistry. 153 depictions of angels can be found throughout the church, adding to the celestial ambience.
The history of this church is as rich and captivating as its architecture. It was built by Mary Anne, a French Anglican lady who, after suffering from a serious ailment that doctors couldn't cure, prayed for nine days to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the advice of three Roman Catholic ladies. Miraculously, her prayers were answered, and she was cured of her illness. To thank God, she donated 2,000 Francs to construct the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Idaikattur. The church was Fr. Ferdinand Celle SJ's vision; he had hoped to build a larger church to accommodate 1000 people but lacked the funds and local support. Mary Anne met Fr. Ferdinand during his trip to France to collect money, and at her request, the church was built in the same style as the Rheims Cathedral.
Idaikattur Church is not only a place of religious significance but also a place of stunning beauty. Visitors are treated to an experience that transcends time and space, a harmonious blend of history, art, and spirituality. Whether you're a devotee or simply an admirer of architectural wonder, the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a must-visit destination on your tour to Madurai or Sivagangai. Bask in the glory of this magnificent cathedral, and be forever enchanted by its beauty and grace.