[p.301]

Melchiorre Gafà, Our Lady of the Rosary (1660c), St Dominic's Church, Rabat, Malta

Photo: Joseph A. Vella,
 F.R.F.S., A.F.I.A.B.

[p.302] Philip Mallia

THE DOMINICAN ORDER AND THE BLESSED VIRGIN IN MALTA

TILL THE END OF THE 18th CENTURY

During the first International Marian Congress, held in Rome in 1904, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Dogmatic Definition of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the Master General of the Dominican Order, the Ven. Fr Hyacinth M. Cormier OF, started his address with the following words: "The love of St Dominic for the Virgin Mary is known throughout the world and the first Dominican Friars were so much like him in their love of Mary that they were not called Friars Preachers but Friars of Mary".[1]

Fr Humbert Clerissac OP, the well known orator, explained in a couple of words the intimate relation between the Dominican Order and the Holy Mary: "The Dominican Order is proud not only because it is under the special protection of the Virgin Mary, but also because it has the privilege of being a creature of Her prayers."[2] In fact, the Holy Virgin, more than once, has called the Dominican Order Ordo Meus and the Dominicans from their very beginning recognized the Virgin Mary as their Mother, their Queen and their Advocate. Proof of this is found in the first book of the Vitae Fratrum written by Gerard de Frachet in 1257 and in the Life of St Dominic written by the Saint's successor, the Blessed Jordan from Saxony OP (1222-37).[3]

When the first Dominican Friars started to spread throughout the world they carried with them the flame of the love of Mary which they had inherited from their Father Dominic. Wherever they went they dedicated their churches to the Holy Virgin, as it was their custom, and introduced new devotions and prayers, amongst which the chanting of the Salve Regina. They were the most constant propagators of this beautiful antiphon, in fact, every evening, after Compline, they chant the Salve and, at the words Eia ergo advocata nostra, one of the fathers goes around blessing the community. In the same way, they all gather around their dying brothers to chant the Salve Regina.[4]

THE DOMINICANS IN RABAT
OUR LADY OF THE GROTTO (IL-MADONNA TAL-GĦAR)

The Dominican Fathers came to Malta from Sicily about the year 1450, although some Maltese had already joined the Order some of these later had even been elected bishops.[5] When the Dominicans arrived here [p.303] they went to live in Rabat near a cave where it was said that the Holy Virgin had appeared to a hunter and where a certain Mattew Curmi between 1457 and 1459 had built a small chapel in honour of Our Lady of the Grotto.[6]

Our Lady of the Grotto, Rabat, Malta

On the 15th March 1462, the Council of the University unanimously decided to ask the Pope to have the small church of S. Maria tal-Għar given to the Dominicans who had already endeared themselves Lo the people. The Maltese had greatly appreciated the work done and the sacrifices endured by Fr Zurchi OP and his brothers.[7] Thus, the Holy Grotto became the birthplace of the Dominican Province of Malta, and, thanks to the hard work of the Dominican Fathers, it soon developed into a new centre of devotion towards which the Maltese soon started to flock to pray, to implore and render thanks for graces received. Here, in a short time the Dominicans built a big church dedicated to Our Lady of the Grotto and [p.304] turned the cave into a sanctuary; on the altar of which, they put a bas-relief of Our Lady and Child carved in Malta stone. Later on, it was substituted by another one carved in alabaster.

G.F. Abela, the well known historian, wrote in his Descrittione di Malta: "The crypt known as St Mary of the Grotto was always kept in high esteem and devotion in the past and is still and will always be kept in the same way."[8] The chroniclers of the Rabat priory F.M. Azzopardo OP, V.M. Zammit OP, L. Caruana OP and J.M. Xuereb OP, describe the numerous graces obtained through the intercession of Our Lady of the Grotto as witnessed by the great number of donations "ex voto" which helped the fathers to build, enlarge and embellish their church.

The devotion of the Maltese towards Our Lady of the Grotto reached its climax on the 2nd June 1957, when H.G. Mgr M. Gonzi, Archbishop of Malta, on behalf of H.H. Pope Pius XII, crowned solemnly the old alabaster image of Our Lady in front of the representatives of the Ecclesiastical and Civil Authorities, religious communities and a huge crowd of people.[9]

THE DOMINICANS AT VITTORIOSA
IL-MADONNA TAL-KANDLORA

In the beginning of the 16th century there were several churches at Vittoriosa, beside the parish church of St Lawrence. Same of the inhabitants, who were great devotees of the Virgin Mary, as far back as 1445 had formed a society with the aim of promoting the veneration of the Virgin Mary. Seeing the great devotion that the Dominican fathers had towards the Mother of God, they had decided on the 12th October 1527 to offer the church in which they had established themselves, to these fathers. Their offer was readily accepted and, in less than four months, on the 4th February 1528, the Dominicans took possession of this church. This church was situated where today stands the church known as "Tal-Lunzjata".[10]

There was also in those days another church dedicated to the Nativity of Our Lady. This was situated at Fort St Angelo in which there was a small painting on wood of the Madonna and Child. This painting was covered with silver and adorned with pearls and precious stones. In order that it could be more in the reach of the population, it was later transferred to the parish church of St Lawrence. Owing to the fact that during the celebration of the feast of the Purification of Mary, candles were blessed and distributed to the population at this church, this image came to be known as the Madonna tal-Kandlora.

When in 1530 the Emperor Charles V gave the Maltese Islands to the Knights of St John, these established themselves at Vittoriosa and chose the parish church of St Lawrence as their conventual church. In consequence, the parish priest of the time, the Rev. Filippo de Guevara, moved to the church of the Dominican Fathers where he took with him the image of the Madonna tal-Kandlora. In the meantime, the Dominicans were building a new church, and when it was completed, on the 29th Nov-[p.305]-ember 1538, they gave one of the chapels to the Confraternity of Our Lady 'Tal-Kandlora' which in those days had become almost extinct.[11] This gave new life to the confraternity and the devotion and veneration of Our Lady 'Tal-Kandlora' was re-awakened with new vigour. This devotion increased even more when about nine months later a rumour was spread that the painting of the Madonna had miraculously started shedding tears.

During the Great Siege, the knights together with the population of the island put their trust in Our Lady of the Kandlora and prayed very hard. The Virgin Mother heard their prayers: "In Thee have our fathers hoped; they have hoped, and Thou hast delivered them" Ps. 21,5; and the 8th September, the anniversary of the virgin birth of Our Lady, the victory of the knights over the Moslems followed. Everybody acknowledged that the victory was a real miracle. Fr F.M. Azzopardo OP, about the year 1670, wrote in the annals of the Church and Priory of Our Lady of the Grotto, that it was through the intercession of Our Lady "Tal-Kandlora" that the knights were able to overcome the forces of the Moslems.[12] To commemorate this victory and as a sign of thanksgiving, every year, on the 8th September, the miraculous painting of Our Lady used to be taken in procession around the main streets of Vittoriosa.

During the Second World War the painting unfortunately was destroyed by German bombs, but when the church was rebuilt, R. Bonnici Calì made a facsimile which is still venerated on one of the altars of the new church.

THE DOMINICANS IN VALLETTA
ST MARY OF PORTO SALVO

When after the siege of 1565, Grand Master La Valette started to build the city which was later to bear his name, the Dominican Fathers used to come from the priory of Vittoriosa to look after the spiritual needs of the thousands of labourers who were building the bastions. When his successor, Fra Pietro del Monte, in 1569, started distributing the land for the building of houses, the prior of Vittoriosa, Fr Damian Taliana OP asked the Grand Master to give him a piece of land whereon to build a church and a decent priory. The Grand Master gladly acceded to his request and gave him a plot free from all burthens.[13]

The Fathers lost no time; they started by building a small house and a chapel which they dedicated to Our Lady of Porto Salvo; a new title for Malta which was surely imported from Sicily where there are many [p.306] churches bearing this name. Soon many seafaring people started to attend the church. On one occasion, a captain of one of the Order's galleys, Fra Mathurin d'Aulx de Lescout, called Romegas, offered to the Dominican fathers fifty scudi which he had collected from weekly collections among the men of his galley to have a mass said in honour of Our Lady of Porto Salvo and to have two tombs reserved for them in the church which the Fathers were building. Moreover, the above-mentioned Romegas offered another fifty scudi as a personal contribution towards the building of the main aisle.[14]

The untiring Fr Taliana, after less than two years, was also able to obtain Apostolic Letters dated 2nd July 1571 from Pope Pius V, a Dominican Pope, who incidentally had also contributed a great deal for the building of the new city. In these Apostolic Letters it is stated: "The above mentioned church which was being built in honour of the glorious Virgin 'Mary known by the popular title 'Del Porto Salvo', on account of the great number of seafaring people who go to their chapel ... and at the same time, wishing to provide for the spiritual welfare of all those who live in the same new city, we forthwith establish and proclaim the said church as a chief parish of the whole of the new city and of everyone that live in it both Maltese and foreigners."[15] At the same time, he also granted an indulgence of seven years and seven quarantines to all those who visited the church on its feast day which, in those days, used to be celebrated at the beginning of September.

This church was built on a plan prepared by the well-known Maltese engineer and architect Girolamo Cassar. Apart from the main altar, there were another twelve altars, five of which were dedicated to Our Lady under different titles. These were: the Rosary Madonna, Our Lady of Graces, the Pieta, Our Lady of Itria and the Blessed Virgin of the Miracles. The last of these Marian titles had many devotees. The picture of Our Lady 'Tal-Mirakli', painted on wood, about 10" by 15", was transferred to the Dominican church in Valletta by a decree of the Holy Office dated 16th May 1593. It is said that the picture was, originally, brought to Malta from Rhodes by Leonardo IMiriti, who was the chief medical practitioner of the Knights of St John. When Doctor Miriti deid, the said picture was inherited by his daughter who, together with her husband Girolamo Garibbo, not only decorated the chapel where the picture was venerated, but also contributed for all the expenditure involved in the celebration of its feast on the 15th August.[16]

THE GREATEST CONTRIBUTION OF THE DOMINICAN ORDER
THE HOLY ROSARY

It is a well known fact that the greatest contribution made by the Dominican Order towards the propagtaion among Catholics of the devotion to the Holy Mary, Mother of God, is the wonderful work spread all over the world through the sons of St Dominic, namely the Holy Rosary or, as it was called at the beginning, the Marian Psalter.

[p.307] Pope Paul VI, in his Adhortatio Apostolica, Marialis Cultus, dated 2nd February 1974, from among all the prayers which, from time to time, the Catholics devised in honour of the Blessed Virgin, chose only two: the Angelus and the Holy Rosary. "For different reasons we nevertheless feel it is opportune to consider here two practices which this Apostolic See has concerned itself on various occasions: the Angelus and the Holy Rosary …… " Regarding the Rosary, the said Pope states: "To this, our
predecessors have devoted close attention and care. On many occasion§ they have recommended this frequent recitation, encouraged its diffusion, explained its nature, recognised its suitability for fostering contemplative prayer - prayer including both praise and petition - and recalled its intrinsic effectiveness for promoting christian life and apostolic commitment".[17]

For these reasons Pope Leo XIII in one of the many Letters which he wrote about the Rosary, stated: "In the course of time, the Popes have always opened wholeheartedly the fountain of grace to all the members of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary and to all those who recite the Rosary with devotion.[18] Mary herself has shown us how very dear to her Immaculate Heart is the Rosary: at Laus (France) in 1664; at Lourdes (France) in 1858; at Fatima (Portugal) in 1917 and at Banneux (Belgium) in 1933.

Without entering into the merits 'of whether it was St Dominic or not the founder of the Holy Rosary, it is certain that the Dominican fathers gave it its present form. They were its greatest promoters and they were the founders of its Confraternities. I need only mention here Fr Alan de la Roche OP (+1475), who with the courage of a true apostle travelled throughout the whole of Europe, especially France, Germany, Saxony, Belgium and Holland. Wherever he went, he preached and proclaimed the beauty and power of the Rosary. In Louai (France) in 1470, he established the first Confraternity which he called 'Confraternity of the Holy Mary and St Dominic. It was also this same Friar who wanted that all similar Confraternities were to unite themselves in one Archconfraternity approved by the Holy See.[19] It is also worth mentioning another Dominican, Fr James Sprenger OP who, in August 1475, established at Cologne (Germany) the first Confraternity of the Rosary as already conceived by Fr de la Roche. This Confraternity was approved by Pope Sixtus IV on the 8th September 1475 and confirmed by the same Pope in May 1478, who endowed it with many privileges and indulgences. On the 6th October 1520, the Confraternity received another papal approval given to it by Pope Leo X.[20]

From then onwards, this Confraternity triumphantly spread itself throughout Europe, South America and wherever the Friar Preachers car-[p.308]-ried out their apostolic and pastoral work. Wherever the Confraternity was established, the devotion towards the Blessed Virgin increased. For this reason, the Holy See, from the time of Pope Pius V, established that all such Confraternities were to be founded only by the authorisation of the Master General of the Dominican Order,[21] because, as Pope Leo XIII stated in the Apostolic Constitution, Ubi Primum, dated 4th October 1898, "The Dominican Order dedicated itself, from the very beginning, to the diffusion of the devotion of the Virgin Mary; it was this Order that established and spread throughout the world this Confraternity of the Rosary and therefore everything that has anything to do with it, belongs to this Order as if it were its own inheritance.[22]

The Dominican Fathers, along with the members of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary, used not only to celebrate with great solemnity, on the first Sunday of October, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, including a procession along the main streets of the town where they were established, but also, they held similar processions within their churches on the first Sunday of every month. Furthermore, during the middle of the 17th century, after the victory of Louis XIII over the Calvinists and the Huguenots, the Dominican Fathers of Toulouse (France) started the devotion of the Fifteen Saturdays in preparation of the said feast.[23] Blessed Augusto Bartolo Longo, a very zealous dominican tertiary, helped by Fr A. Radente OF, managed to spread this devotion in various parts of the world.[24] One may add here that, after the apparitions of Our Lady to Bernardette Soubirous (Lourdes), the Spanish Dominicans introduced the devotion of the month of October as a special month dedicated to the Rosary.[25] This particular devotion received the approval of Pope Leo XIII and had extensive spreading throughout the world.[26]

In 1635, Fr Timoteo Ricci OP, together with Fr Petronio (M. Martini OP founded at Bologna the Union of the Perpetual Rosary. Its members promised to say everyday for a whole hour the Rosary.[27] Later, in 1825, at Lyon (France), a dominican tertiary, Pauline M. Jaricot, founded the Union of the Living Rosary. The members of this union were distributed in groups of fifteen. Each one of them had to recite, every day, a decade of the Rosary assigned to him every month, in order that between them they [p.309] formed a full Rosary of fifteen decades.[28] In 1900, Fr Ignatius Body OP introduced this practice among children.[29]

The merits which the Dominican Order won in such a field were so great that the Popes, as far back as 1576, gave the Dominican Fathers and their tertiaries the privilege, whenever it is permitted by the Liturgy, to say every Saturday a special votive mass of the Rosary known as the Salve Radix Sancta.[30]

THE DOMINICANS AND THE CONFRATERNITY OF THE ROSARY

The great victory of the Christian Forces over the Turks at Lepanto in 1571, rekindled the devotion towards Our Lady of the Rosary. It aroused greater interest in the Confraternity of the Rosary. It was all too evident that the christian forces, which the venerable Pope Pius V had man-aged to gather under the command of Don Juan of Austria, had been under the special protection of the Blessed Virgin otherwise it was very difficult how they could have managed to obtain a victory over such overwhelming Moslem forces.

The prayers of the Pope and all the Catholic world made up for the lack of the material resources. In fact, the Pope ordered all Confraternities in Rome, to take part in a general procession on the first Sunday of October - the day which the Confraternity of the Rosary at Santa Maria sopra Minerva used to celebrate its feast - in order to pray for the victory over the enemies of the Church. When the procession reached its climax, the Pope, as if inspired from heaven, was heard to exclaim: "We have won! We have won!" The victory was indeed deemed to be a miracle; and when the knights returned home after the battle, they started to spread and encourage the recitation of the Rosary and the foundation of the Confraternity of the Rosary wherever it had not, as yet, been established.[31]

The Dominican Order, perceiving the new importance that was then being given to the Rosary, did its best to propagate still more the confraternity throughout Spain, Portugal, France and Italy. The Dominicans in Malta did not lag behind. At Vittoriosa, where, since 1547 there was already a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, a Confraternity had already been in existence at the time of the Battle of Lepanto. This is attested by a number of donations made in 1572.[32] At Rabat, the Confraternity of the Rosary was instituted about two years after that of Vittoriosa, but since 1536 there was already a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Salterio, where they used to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary with great pomp.[33] At the time, the Dominican Fathers of Valletta had hardly started the building of their church of S. Maria del Porto Salvo, when the Knights of St John as soon as they established themselves in the new city, with the approval of the Grand Master Fra Giovanni Evesque de la Cassiere, asked the Dominican fathers to establish in their church the Confraternity of the Rosary. The Fathers, at a meeting of the Conventual [p.310] Council held on the 24th October 1576, acceded to their demand.[34]

These three confraternities soon became very popular, but while those of Vittoriosa and Rabat were open to everyone, that of Valletta was limited to knights, ecclesiastics, nobles and graduates. Among the many devotions these confraternities practised all the year round, the solemn pro-cession held on the first Sunday of October, feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, was the main one.

In 1615, the Prior of the Valletta Community, Fr G.B. !Ruggiero OP, in order to increase furthermore the devotion towards Our Lady of the Rosary among the parishioners and devotees, made a wooden statue of Our Lady holding her Child Jesus with the Rosary beads in their hands. This statue, thought to be the first of its kind in Malta, was made by Giuseppe Mazzeo de Rizzini.[35] At this procession, for many years, besides the members of the community and the local confraternity, members of other confraternities of Our Lady established in Valletta, used to take part in full strength. The bishops themselves, used to walk after the statue followed by a great number of devotees. This statue, together with the old painting of St Dominic at present kept in the sacristy of the church, were carried in general processions ordered by Bishops or Grand Masters on the occasion of national calamities, such as that of the 29th March 1658, ordered by Bishop M.J. Balaguer de Camarasa after a series of earthquakes had spread panic among the population.[36] The Rabat Confraternity, in 1661, brought from Rome a statue of Our Lady of the Rosary carved by the well-known Maltese sculptor Melchiorre Gafà. This beautiful statue more than once was used as a model for a number of other statues of Our Lady scattered all over the Island. Vincenzo Bonnici, in 1864, made another statue of Our Lady of the Rosary for our confraternity in Vittoriosa, which was so beautiful that at an exhibition held in that same year won the first prize.[37]

In 1574, the General Chapter held in Barcellona had ordered that all the Provincials, the Priors and the Preachers of the Order were to en-courage and promote by all means the institution of the fraternity of the Holy Rosary, inherited from their father St Dominic in honour of the Virgin Mary Mother of God, for the health of the faithful and to dispel from amongst us the menace of heresy.[38]

Proof of how faithfully the Dominican Fathers complied with this order, is the fact that through the sustained endeavours of these fathers, the Confraternity of the Rosary, during the 16th and 17th centuries, was already established in almost all the parishes of Malta and Gozo, while the chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary occupied a prominent place in the parish churches. According to Fr M. Fsadni OP, who gathered his information from the Acts of the Pastoral Visitations of Bishops Gargallo and Cagliares, till the year 1620, the Confraternity of Our Lady of the Rosary was [p.311] already established in these parishes: in 1578 at St Mary's church in the Castello of Gozo; in 1585 at Siġġiewi; in 1588, at Żebbug, Birmiftuħ and Żurrieq; in 1593, at Birkirkara; in 1595 at Attard, Mellieħa and Naxxar; in 1596 at Kirkop and Imqabba; in 1597 at Tarxien; in 1598 at Senglea; in 1600 at Żejtun; in 1601 at Safi, Qormi and Lija; in 1602 at Cospicua and Mosta and about 1615 at Għargħur.[39]

I conclude with the account given by one of the first biographers of St Dominic, Fr Theodoric of Apoldia OP (1290), describing the vision granted to our Father, on which rests the claim of the Order to be regarded as Mary's inheritance and possession: "Our Father was rapt in spirit unto God. And he saw the Lord with the Blessed Virgin standing at His right hand; and looking about him, he saw religious of every Order standing be-fore God; but of his own he did not see any one. Then he began weeping bitterly; and he dared not draw nigh to Our Lord or to His mother; but Our Lady beckoned to him with her hand to approach. He came therefore, and fell prostrate before them, weeping bitterly. And the Lord commanded him to rise; and when he was risen, He said to him: 'Why weepest thou thus bitterly?' And he answered: 'I weep because I see here religious of all the Orders except my own. And the Lord said to him: 'Wouldst thou see thine own?' And he trembling said: 'Yea Lord.' Then the Lord placed his hand on the shoulder of the Blessed Virgin, and said to the blessed Dominic: 'I have given thine Order to my Mother', Then he said again: 'And wouldst thou really thine Order?' And he replied: 'Yes Lord'. Then the Blessed Virgin opened the mantle in which she seamed to be clothed, extending it before his eyes, so that its immensity covered all the space of the heavenly country; and he saw under its folds a vast multitude of his children. The Blessed Dominic fell down to thank God and the Blessed Mary; and the vision disappeared . . . [40]


[1] G.M. Cormier OP, "Vincoli tra la devozione di S. Domenico verso Maria SS.ma e la fondazione dell'Ordine dei Predicatori" in Atti del Congresso Mariano tenuto in Roma l'anno 1904, Rome 1905, 116.

[2] Humbert Clerissac OF, Pro Domo et Domino, Florence 1919, 233.

[3] Gerard de Frachet OF, Vitae Fratrum, Lib. I, Cap. 1 in Monumenta Patrum Praedicatorum Historica (1896).

[4] Emilio Campana, Maria nel Culto Cattolico, Vol. I, Turin-Rome 1933, 792-793. Paul Galea OF, "Pre-Dominican Malta" in Scientia, Vol. IX, Malta 1943, 129-132.

[5] Paul Galea OP. “Pre-Dominican Malta” in Scientia, Vol. IX, Malta 1943, 129-132.

[6] Mikiel Fsadni OP, Il-Madonna tat- Għar; Il-Knisja, il-Kunvent u s-Santwarju, Malta 1980, 6; Pawl Galea OP, Sidtna Marija tal-Għar il-Cripta, il-Knisja u l-Kunvent, Malta 1942, 16.

[7] NLM, Ms. Univ. 11, 144v; Mikiel Fsadni OP, Il-Madonna tal-Għar, Santwarju Mirakuluż, 7th Edition, Malta 1957, 8-9.

[8] Gio. F.co. Abela, Della Deserittione di Malta, Malta 1647, 48.

[9] Mikiel Fsadni OP, op. cit., 33.

[10] Mikiel Fsadni OP, Id-Dumnikanifir-Rabat u fil-Birgu sa 1-1620, Malta 1974, 73; Arch. Dom. Rabat, F.M. Azzoppardo OP, Descrittione delli tre Conventi che l'Ordine dei Predicatori tiene nell'Isola di Malta, Vol. II, p. II, 1r-v.

[11] NAM, R 202/3, Niccolò de Agatiis 1536-39 if. 196-197 - 29 Novembre 1538: Pro Confraternitate Candelorae contra fratres Conventus Annuntiatae; Mikiel Fsadni OP, Id-Dumnikani fir-Rabat u fil-Birgu sa l-1620, 88-89.

[12] Arch. Dom Rabat, F.M. Azzoppardo OP, op. cit., 12r; Andrew P. Vella OP, "Il-Madonna tal-Kandlora miquma fil-Lunzjata tal-Birgu" in Ir-Rużarju, Vol. II, No 3, 7-12; Andrew P. Vella OP, Storja tal-Knisja tal-Lunzjata, Malta 1966, 16; Rafel Bonnici Calì, "Il-Madonna tal-Kandlora miqjuma fil-Lunzjata tal-Birgu" in Ir-Rużarju, Vol. III, No 3, 18-19; "Il-Madonna Omm il-Birgu" in Ir-Rużarju, Vol. V, No 4, 13-14; A. Ferres, Descrizione Storica delle Chiese di Malta e Gozo, Malta 1866, 287-289.

[13] NAM, R 4/2, Not. Placido Abela, 1567-79, ff 492-493 - 19 aprile 1571: Pro Conventu Ord. Praed. sub titulo S. Mariae Portus Salutis fundato in Civitate Vallettae.

[14] Mikiel Fsadni OP, Id-Dumnikani fil-Belt 1569-1619, Malta 1971, 12.

[15] Pius V. "Ex Debito Pastoralis Ufficii", 2nd July 1571, in Bullarium Ord. F. Praedicatorum, Rome 1733, Tom. V, 280-282; Archivum - Rome, Vol. XI, 14920.

[16] Mikiel Fsadni OP, Id-Dumnikani fil-Belt 1569-1619, 20-54.

[17] Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation "Marialis Cultus" dated 11th February 1974.

[18] Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter "Diuturni Temporis".

[19] Alan de la Roche OF, Opus Aureum de Psalterio Christi ac Mariae eiusque Confraternitate compiled by Andrew Coppenstein OP, Maiorica 1699; Thomas M. Leikas OF, Rosa Aurea: De Sacratissimo B.V.M. Rosario eiusque Venerabili Confraternitate, Dulmen in Westphalia 1886, 81-88.

[20] Sixtus IV, "Pastoris Aeterni vices", 30th May 1478: Leo X, "Pastoris Aeterni", 6th October 1520. Confer: Acta S. Sedis necnon Magistrorum et Capitulorum Generalium S. Ord. FF. Praedicatorum, Lyons 1891, Vol. I, Pars III, 587-588 and Pars I, 1-4, 26-33.

[21] Julius III, "Sincerae devotionis", 24th August 1551; Pius V, "Interdesiderabilia", 29th June, 1569;

Paul V, "Cum olim", 20th September 1608; Alexander VII, decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites given on the 9th April 1661; Innocent XI, "Nuper pro parte", 31st July 1697; Benedict XIII "Pretiosus", 26th May 1727; Benedict XIV, decree of the Sacred Congregation of Indulgences given on the 26th August 1747; another decree given by the same Congregation on the 11th April 1864; Leo XIII, "Ubi Primum", 4th October 1898.

[22] Leo XIII, Apostolic Constitution, "Ubi Primum". Confer also L.J. Fanfani OP, De Con fraternitatibus Aliisque Associationibus Ordini FF. Praedicatorum Propriis, Rome 1934, 192.

[23] L.j. Fanfani OP, Il Rosario: Storia, Legislazione e Pratiche, Rome 1908, 127.

[24] Reginaldo Jannarone OP, "Il Santo Rosario" in Temi di Predicazione Nos 15-17, Naples 1959, 116-224.

[25] Emilio Campana, op. cit., Vol I, 511-512; Acta S. Sedis necnon Maaistrorum et Capitulorum Genera lium etc., Vol. II, Pars I, 574-577.

[26] Leo XIII, "Supremi Apo.stolatus". 1st September 1883; Acta S. Sedis necnon Magistrorum et Capitulo rum Generalium etc., Vol. II, Pars II, 503-509.

[27] L.J. Fanfani, Il Rosario etc., 106 107; Emilio Campana, op. cit., 691.

[28] L.J. Fanfani, op. cit., 119-121.

[29] Ibid., 277.

[30] Ibid., 143-148; Acta S. Sedis nec non etc., Vol. II, Pars IV, Appendix No V, 1281.

[31] Alban Butler, The Lives of Saints,London 1936, Vol. V, 68; E. Campana, op. cit., 408-409.

[32] M. Fsadni OP, Id-Dumnikani fil-Belt 1569-1619, 90-91.

[33] M. Fsadni OF, Id-Dumnikani fir-Rabat u fil-Birgu, 116-117.

[34] AOM, Ms 454, Liber Bullarum MM Fr. Alofii 6Pignacourt an 1501-1602, 269r: Supplicatio super admissionem translationis Confraternitatis Misericordiae.

[35] Arch. Dom. Vallettae, Libro Esiti Straordinari ed Ordinari 1614-31, 22r; Libro Introiti Spirituali 1614-31, 12r.

[36] Arch. Dom. Rabat, F.M. Azzoppardo OP, op. cit., Vol. II, P. III, 92v.

[37] M. Fsadni OP, II-Madonna tal-Għar, il-Knisja, il-Kunvent u s-Santwarju, 20; Id-Dumnikani Maltin fi Żmien il-Gwerra, 105.

[38] "Acta Capitulorum Generalium Ord. FF. Praedicatorum" in Monuments Ord. FF. Praedicatorum Historica, T.X. 175-176,

[39] M. Fsadni OP, Id-Dumnikani fir-Rabat u fil-Birgu, 273-293.

[40] Francis Raphael Drane OSD, The Spirit of the Dominican Order, London 1910, 164-165.