[p.357]

Antoine de Favray, St Ignatius of Loyola and Our Lady at Manresa (1750c), FIoriana

Daniel M. Glavina

[p.358] IGNATIAN DEVOTION TO OUR LADY AND THE JESUITS IN MALTA*

Each saint, and especially each holy founder of a religious order, has been endowed by God with a proper charism. Each holy founder - and there wasn't a single one of them who did not have a special tender love for Our Lady - had a tender loving devotion to the B.V.M. within the spirit of his charism, leaving it as a special heritage to the religious members of his Order to be handed on by them from one generation to the next.

It seems right to me then, that I should first speak about Saint Ignatius' devotion to Our Lady and then to show how the Jesuits have always tried to spread this devotion to Our Lady in Malta.

Iņigo Lopez de Loyola, later known as Ignatius, more than a man of his time, was a chivalrous knight of his age. On the one hand he was a man of the world and on the other he was a man of deeply founded faith which could not but show itself in certain acts of devotion.[1] He could hold the Rosary beads with one hand and dexterously wield the sword with the other. So much so, that a little while after his conversion, when, wrecked by doubts, he narrowly missed slaughtering an unlucky Moor who on falling into conversation with him on the road, dared to deny the virginity of Our Lady.

It is not at all certain that Iņigo had dedicated any laudatory verses to Our Lady as he certainly had done to the imaginary Lady of his chivalrous dreams. Nor is it at all certain that he had written any poems in her honour, as he had done in honour of at least one saint - Saint Peter - the patron saint of his parish.

Notwithstanding all this, we are quite certain that even in the most unsettled part of his life, Iņigo always felt a great love for Our Lady. This should not surprise us. For Iņigo had been brought up from his childhood to his teenage years in an atmosphere of deep religiosity. Luckily for him, his mother, (Marina Sanchez de Licona, a pious and virtuous lady, had a great influence on her young son. From his earliest childhood she had taught him to love the names of Jesus and Mary. She used to make him kiss the holy picture of the Annunciation, a Flemish painting which still hangs below the gothic sculpture of the Pietā in the private chapel of the Castle of Loyola.[2] This early devotion to Our Lady, which was kindled in Iņigo when he was only a child, and which lay buried under the ashes during the sinful part of Iņigo's life, burst again into flame when his heart was touched by the divine grace at the moment of his conversion.

[p.359] Fortified in his spirit by the cherished memory of Our Lady holding the Baby Jesus in her arms,[3] Iņigo leaves his home to go to Monserrat taking with him only a little money, the Office of Our Lady, and a picture of Our Lady of Sorrows. Having arrived at the sanctuary of Aranzazu, he persuaded his brother, Fr Peter, who had volunteered to accompany Iņigo up to Onate, to spend a night vigil with him in prayer. The second stage of his pilgrimage was another sanctuary, that of Navarrete. Here he wanted to spend a part of the sum of money he had, (which had been given to him by the Duke of Najera, Antonio Manrique de Lara) to restore and embellish the picture of the Madonna which was in need of repair.[4]

After a tiring journey, the solitary pilgrim arrived at the Monastery of ,Monserrat. There, in front of the holy image of the "Bruneta" or Black Madonna, he got rid of the burden of his sins and there he placed his sword. Sometimes Kneeling, sometimes standing up, Iņigo spent the night between the 24th and 25th March in vigil in front of his Lady and he vowed to consecrate himself as a new Knight in the service of Christ the King. On the following day he left for Manresa.

MANRESA

The time which the penitent knight spent at Manresa was rich not only in mystic, Trinitarian, and Christological experiences, but also in Marian spiritual experiences. These experiences were so extraordinary, in fact, that a tradition was later to arise to the effect that through a special favour, Our Lady would have helped Ignatius in the writing of the golden book of the Spiritual Exercises. This tradition was later enshrined in a painting in which Ignatius is "shown at the grotto of Manresa in the act of writing, after having heard the Most Blessed Lady.[5] In 1617 Fr Muzio Vitelleschi, the General of the Society, donated this painting to the inhabitants of Manresa. Another charming painting depicting Ignatius in the same posture, was painted by Favray and up to this day, still embellishes the lovely chapel of the Old Retreat House at Floriana.

Fr Calcagno, quoting from the letter "Meditantibus Nobis" which Pius IX wrote on the occasion of the third centenary of the canonisation of Saint Ignatius, comments, "It manifestly refers to the tradition about which we are talking. This tradition, however, is not to be understood in the material sense i.e. by proper dictation. This would have been childish. It must be understood in the sense of a special assistance which Our Lady gave to Saint Ignatius - an extraordinary assistance quite distinct from the normal mediation with which she looks after the needs of all mankind."[6]

TWO CENTRIES OF MAIRIAN DEVOTION

Before the suppression of the Society, the Jesuits in Malta had two main centres of apostolic labour from which they reached the sister is-[p.360]-ands, namely the Collegium Melitense with the Jesuit church at Valletta, and the Retreat House of Our Lady of Manresa at Floriana.

This retreat house had been built by the zealous Novarese Jesuit, Fr Pier Francesco Rossignoli and by him it was dedicated to Our Lady of Manresa. On the main door of the house, a medallion was sculptured showing Our Lady holding the Child Jesus in her arms, with Saint John the Baptist on the right and Saint Paul on the left. An inscription cut in stone beneath it, reads "Venite filii, audite me. Ps 33.[7]

It is true that the main aim of the Spiritual Exercises is not to teach the devotion to Our Lady, but it is also true that through them one learns to nourish a filial devotion to Our Lady. Saint Ignatius used to instill in his spiritual sons a type of devotion which was at once solid and tender, - a devotion which was full of trust in Our Lady who would lead them to her divine Son, Jesus. In other words, he taught them a Marian-Christocentric devotion which is theologically very precise.

As a matter of fact, although St Ignatius himself had been favoured by God with ,mystic graces of a very high degree, whenever anyone of his religious sons spoke about visions or any similar, true or presumed graces, he would point out to him that true holiness did not consist in these things, but rather in the practice of solid virtues and obedience.

For Ignatius, Mary is the shortest and safest way which leads to Jesus. In the Spiritual Exercises, the exercitant is exhorted by diverse methods of prayer such as contemplation, the application of the senses and so on, to imitate in himself the many wonderful virtues of which Our Lady is the incomparable exemplar. The colloquys then, at the end of the meditations, which St Ignatius suggests, help the exercitant to grow in trust in the powerful intercession that Mary exercises with her divine Son.

The Ignation devotion to Mary is theologically very precise. Ignatius, without exaggerating the gifts and graces, which Our Lord had showered on his holy 'Mother, puts them in their proper perspective, and sets them in their proper order in the divine economy.

In the contemplation of the Apparition of the Risen Lord to His Holy Mother, (about which the gospels are completely silent and which Ignatius places first on the list of Christ's apparitions) he "presupposes this general principle, namely that Mary had all the prerogatives and privileges in an eminent degree as long as they did not go against her quality of a creature and a woman, and as long as they did not go against any revealed doctrine.[8]

This is precisely the type of devotion to Our Lady which the Jesuits have always sought to instil in the hearts of the Maltese in their ministries.

[p. 361] THE SODALITY OF OUR LADY

In talking about the devotion to Our Lady which the Jesuits instilled in Malta, one cannot leave out the Sodalities of Our Lady or "Congregazioni Mariane". These certainly have a special importance in the history of religious devotions both in the Society and in Malta.

The first Sodality, properly so called, was founded at the 'Collegio Romano' by Fr Giovanni Leunis for the students of his class of 1563.[9] The aim of the Sodality was that the students would live an intensely Christian life together with social assistance and charitable works. Notwithstanding the humble beginning of this Sodality, in a few years' time, with the bull Omnipotentis Dei of Gregory XIII (5 XII 1584) it became the `Prima Primaria' of all such Sodalities. Like the grain of mustard seed of the gospel, it soon grew into a big tree spreading its branches in Italy and abroad, outgrowing the limits of Europe to reach the distant missionary lands.[10]

THE SODALITIES AT THE 'COLLEGIUM MELITENSE'

The building of the Maltese college was not yet complete when on the 8th of March 1597, from a house which they had hired and modified into a school, the Jesuits passed on to the new building officially opening its doors to receive students in a more fitting and scholarly atmosphere.

The first Fathers who were assigned to the College of Valletta came from the Continent and from Sicily where they could not but be impressed by the progress in studies and by the fruitful social apostolate which the students of the colleges of Palermo and Syracuse were showing.[11] Unfortunately, the registers of the `Collegium Melitense' were lost or some-how mislaid during the tempest which broke against the Society of Jesus even in Malta. However, we have still enough documents left to be able to affirm the existence of this :Sodality and of others as well.

After founding the first Sodality under the title of the Visitation, for the second year students of the Grammar School and after the foundation of another Sodality which went by the name of the Annunciation of the B.V.M. for the students of the Humane Letters, at a later date, three other Sodalities were erected: one that bore the title of the Immaculate Conception for the Theology students, another one was called by the name of the Purification of the B.V iM., and a third one went by the title of Christ Crucified, Our Lady of Sorrows and Saint Anne. This last one was also known as the Segreta.[12]

[p.362] Another two old Sodalities are also recorded in this context at Valletta: one for the Knights of Saint John and another one, by the name of the Assumption of the B.V.M. or of the Onorati, for the seculars.[13] These two Sodalities flourished side by side and each had a small chapel in the College until the two Oratories of the Assumption and of the Immaculate Conception were built adjoining the church of the Gesų.[14]

The Sodality of the Onorati has braved the years and is still alive to-day. It has a marvellous history and it certainly deserves a special paper on its own somewhere else.

The Knights of Saint John, as early as 1594, that is hardly a year after the definitive arrival of the Jesuits in Malta, had gathered together among themselves forming a new Sodality. The Fathers made them wait[15] for six years before yielding to their repeated entreaties. On the 13th August,- 1600 they officially received the Sodality in their College. A letter sent to the General on that year, sneaks of the number of its members, their nobility, and the generous gifts and charities which those Knights used to bestow on the poor and on other pious works.[16]

THE SEGRETA

The Sodality which was called "Segreta" or closed", was not specially reserved only to the College of Valletta. We find several others like it in Italy from where it spread to Malta, France, Germany and even to Canada.

Anyone who is cognisant of the spirituality at the old Sodality knows full well that among the members there used to be found some who were always eager for an even deeper spirituality. Now these fervent members, with the full approval of the Superiors, used to bind themselves together, and they used to lead a truly ascetical life, without sticking any placards on the walls of the college. It is in fact for this reason that these Sodalities came to be known as "Segreta" or "Closed". Indeed it is not [p.363] difficult to see why their tenour of life came to be praised, approved of, and even enriched by many indulgences by the Holy See.

The first group of these Sodalists appeared in 1581 in the Brera college at Milan. Then from Brera they spread to other colleges in Italy and overseas.[17]

THE SECRET SODALITY UNDER THE TITLE OF CHRIST CRUCIFIED,
OUR LADY OF SORROWS AND SAINT ANNE

The first time that the Secret Sociality is mentioned in Malta goes back to the 3rd October 1632 in a special conference of the Sodality of the Assumption. There it is clearly stated that this Secret Sodality had the full approval of the Rector, anti of all the Fathers of the college, and indeed, of a "notable personality of the Society of Jesus who happened to be on a visit to Malta some months previously". In that document they speak of a decision taken by the Sodality to start this secret Sodality right away.

To be exact it is worth noting that in that conference they did not speak of a fully fledged secret Sodality but of a "secret gathering of Mortification" to be held every Tuesday one hour before sunset. The first meeting was to take place two days later, exaclty on the 5th October, 1632. The secretary gives us the name of the Director of the Sodality of the Assumption, namely Fr Francis Sardo SJ, and he ends his report by saying "It (the Segreta Sodality), was very successful and its spirit and fervour was such as if it had been inspired by God Himself".[18]

Still, it is difficult to judge whether the Sodality of Christ Crucified had actually sprung from the Sodality of the Assumption or whether it was a completely new foundation of Fr Pietro Savuco.

SODALITIES OUTSIDE THE ,COLLEGE AND THE CHURCH OF THE GESŲ

From 1563, that is from the time of the foundation of the first Sodality at the Roman College until the time of the Suppression of the Society in 1773, the Sodalities only existed in the Colleges and in the Churches of the Society. But it seems that even in this case, every rule must have some exception. In fact, in Malta, Sodalities had been founded in the parishes of Vittoriosa, Senglea, Cospicua, Tarxien[19] and another one at the Mother [p.364] Church in Gozo in 1608 by the Jesuit Fathers during a popular mission.[20] All these Sodalities were under the direction of the Jesuits of Valletta, who used to visit them regularly, and Fr Savuco is specifically mentioned.[21]

EUCHARISTIC LIFE OF THE MARIAN SODALITIES IN MALTA

The Marian Sodalities under the direction of the Jesuit Fathers could not think it sufficient to honour Our Lady only by reciting the rosary and by celebrating her feasts or her office or by little self sacrifices in her honour, pious exercises all prescribed by rule. Above all, it was a practice held dear by the sodalists to venerate the Blessed Virgin by promoting the eucharistic worship of her divine Son, Jesus. Therefore, on Sundays and Feastdays, which they called 'days of Communion' or 'feast days', they took part in the eucharistic banquet, all in a body. Such frequent reception of Holy Communion was in those times something rather rare.[22]

'QUARANT'ORE'

The 'Quarant'Ore' devotion, started for the first time in 1556 at Macerata, whence it spread to Milan, was not an initiative of the Sodalities of Our Lady, but they soon made this beautiful devotion their own and it was celebrated several times a year in Naples, Palermo and in other Jesuit colleges.[23]

It is true that the first celebration of 'Quarant'ore' in Malta took place at the Borgo in the church of St Lawrence on 20th May 1565, in the presence of the Grand (Master Jean de la Valette and many other prelates, after an eloquent sermon of the learned Capuchin Fra Roberto da Evoli, who happened to ,be in Malta at the time of the Great Siege.[24] However. that seems to have been an isolated celebration, because A. Bonnici gives the first one to have been in 1620, basing his assertion on the decree of the diocesan synod held by Mgr Cagliares in that year.[25] From the minutes of the Marian Sodality of the Assumption it is clear that the 'Quarant'ore' adoration was already celebrated in 1604, in the Jesuit church, and one may presume that the devotion had already been practised for some years before.[26]

Accepting the petition of Fr Gerolamo Raineri SJ, made in the name of the sodalists, Rev. Fr Provincial, Pompilio Lambertenghi gave permis-[p.365]-sion for the exposition, once a year, of the Blessed Sacrament in the Oratory of the 'Onorati' with the 'Quarant'ore' adoration on the feast of Pentecost. This 'Quarant'ore' adoration since 19th May 1619 has continued to be celebrated every year by the socialists in their Oratory up to our own days.[27]

IMITATING THE VIRGIN'S CHARITY

The Maltese sodalists, like their confreres in nearby Sicily, on the example of the Blessed Virgin, held dear the works of mercy both spiritual and corporal. Let us take a few examples from their minutes. Every Sunday, four of them assigned by turn for this, used to visit the sick "in hospital" i.e. the 'Sacra Infermeria' of the Order of St John,[28] made a collection among themselves to provide food 'for the poor jailbirds', who they visited regularly.[29] The sodalists of Senglea visited the poor in order to help them and carried food to them in their homes.[30] The zeal of these sodalists so aroused the admiration of the parish priest Don Domenico Attard (1644-1660) that he permitted them anything they asked for.[31]

SODALITIES OF OUR LADY FOR WOMEN

At first it was strictly prohibited to the Jesuit Fathers by their superiors to set up Sodalities for women and to aggregate them to the 'Prima Primaria' or to admit women to the men's sodalities or even to direct sodalities set up by others![32] However, with the publication of the Brief Quo tibi of Benedict XIV in 1751, that is hardly twenty two years before the suppression of the Society of Jesus, there came about the right conditions for the erection of sodalities for women and their affiliation with the 'Prima Primaria'. In those days of rigid separation of the college students from the fair sex, it was impossible even to consider the setting up of such a Sodality not merely in the college but even in the church of the Society of Jesus. But for the wives and daughters of the 'Onorati' sodality it was different, because they, who had for so long desired to participate, were admitted into the same sodality of their husbands and fathers i.e. the Sodality of the Assumption of the B1. Virgin Mary, as soon as they were allowed.[33]

THE SODALITIES DURING AND AFTER THE SUPPRESSION

The papal brief Dominus ac Redemptor of 16th August 1773, with the exception of White Russia where the Czarina Catherine II had prohibited its promulgation, suppressed the Society of Jesus involving with it about 2,500 sodalities of Our Lady all over the world.[34]

Hardly had four months elapsed from the brief of suppression, when on 14th November following another papal document permitted the re-[p.366] suscitation of the Marian sodalities without Jesuit directors. Many bishops, remembering the good that the sodalities had done in the Church, availed themselves of this faculty and the sodalities grew immeasurably reaching the number of eighty thousand. from the suppression up to 1948, when with the publication of the Apostolic Constitution Bis Saecularis of Pius XII which sought to give them another shape. "It would have been a miracle, if this evolution would not have damaged the authentic spirit."[35] It was indeed the case of saying that it would have been better if they had not been resuscitated, because with the Bull Sollecitudo Omnium Ecclasiarum of Pius VII (7th August 1814) which restored the Society of Jesus, the Marian sodalities would once again have themselves been established with the true Ignatian flame of before.

The new Marian sodalities increased also in Malta, but much later, on account of the social and religious upheaval brought about by the short but despotic French domination and the successive political situations of the Island.

Among these new sodalities, aggregated to the 'Prima Primaria' of the Roman College, there must be singled out as first in time that of the Assumption of the B.V.M. erected 6th April 1838 in the Greek Parish of Our Lady of Damascus.[36] Others followed it until there were one or more in every parish. In Valletta alone twenty four were erected and in Senglea there were six. But it was an out of season flowering. Like roses they budded and opened but unfortunately they were soon withered. Few of them resisted the wear and tear which time brings to bear on everything.

THE SATURDAY AND THE MAY DEVOTIONS TO OUR LADY

Another devotion which the Jesuits, on the example of their Holy Founder, tried to spread among the other pious practices dear to Christians, both by the spoken and the written word, there was that of Saturdays dedicated to Our Lady.

When St Ignatius, not yet ordained priest and suspected of heresy, was interrogated by the Vicar Figueroa on behalf of the Inquisition, whether he observed the Saturday devotion, he replied, "I recommend a special devotion to Our Lady on Saturdays, and I know of no other observances for Saturday. [Moreover, in my country there are no Jews."[37] According to a note in a collection of the 18th century among other documents, it was the Jesuit Fathers who introduced into Malta this Saturday devotion including the singing of Lauds and the litanies in front of a painting of the Madonna enthroned on an altar and adorned with flowers and lights.[38]

The devotion of the month of May must certainly be more efficacious since it takes place for a whole month with exercises of solid piety in honour of the ,Holy Virgin Mary. We have, however, to be exact about this devotion, introduced by the zeal of a small group of Jesuit Fathers: we are [p.367] referring to the devotion in its present form; since exercises in honour of the ,Madonna in the first days of the month of flowers were already known in the Middle Ages. It is also well known how St Philip Neri used to gather his youths in the month of May in front of an image of the Madonna and to recommend to them that they offer to her the first flowers of spring, as a symbol of the flowers of virtue in their heart. Moreover, we know from the memoirs of Fr Absalomi SJ, that in the last years of his life (he died in 1715) he used to go every evening of the month of May to the royal church of Santa Chiara in Naples to listen to the hymns sung in honour of the B.V.M. and to receive the Benediction of the Bl. Sacrament.[39]

It seems that this lovely devotion of the month of May in its present-day shape had its origin in the Roman College from Fr Lalomia towards the end of the 18th century. This zealous religious wished to put up a de-fence against the immorality which started to show itself among the students ,he made a vow to consecrate the month of flowers to the Madonna.[40] In class, at the end of the last lesson of the evening session, an image of the Virgin was put up and decorated with fresh flowers and lights, in front of which was recited the rosary by the whole body of pupils, a short consideration and an example were read, and an act of manifestation and an ejaculatory prayer to be repeated the next day were fixed upon. The month came to an end by the consecration of the heart to Mary.

To Fr Annibale Dionisi SJ, should go the merit of having, so to say, codified, the elements of the devotion already practised in the Sodalities of Our Lady and of having fixed the method by means of his precious booklet which he had printed at Parma in 1725 entitled: Il mese di Maria o sia it meses di Maggio consacrato a Maria coll'esercizio di varj fioretti di virtu. By means of this booklet of Fr Dionisi and through the efforts of several Jesuit Fathers (with their booklet) the May devotion in this form spread ever more widely and from their schools it was taken over in religious houses, in families, and was made known also elsewhere.[41]

The pious and learned Jesuit, Fr Alphonse Muzzarelli, is equally meritorious in this respect, he who with his apostolic zeal earned the admiration of nearly all the Bishops of Italy. It is due to him, in fact, that the devotion of the Month of May was accepted by them readily and enthusiastically and started being held in their dioceses. He is the author ,of many learned books, but it is his booklet on the (Month of May which, though modest in size, went through many editions and fostered more and more this devotion, making it popular in the whole of Italy from where it spread beyond the borders, to France, Belgium, Germany and in the countries of Europe and beyond it.[42]

THE DEVOTION OF THE MONTH OF MAY IN MALTA

When we come to speak of the origins of the devotion of the Month of May in Malta, we must go back many years in time. This loving devotion had not yet become popular in Italy through the untiring labours [p. 368] of Fr Muzzarelli when it had already established itself in Malta, thanks to a holy religious, Fr 'Domenic Calvi who had spent many years teaching in the Collegio (Romano, as well as in other colleges, where, as he himself informs us, he was wont to exhort his pupils to practise this devotion with great spiritual profit to themselves.

In all probability, Fr Calvi arrived in Malta in June 1753, to receive from the hands of Fr Pier Francesco Rossignoli, who had built it a few years before, the charge of the House of Spiritual Retreats in Floriana. In the meanwhile, Fr Rossignoli had been assigned by his Superiors to teach Philosophy in the University of Fermo. He left Malta on the 10th June 1753, after having spent years as founder and first director of the House of Our Lady of Manresa.

Fr Calvi, who no less than his predecessors led a remarkably virtuous life, came to Malta with the strong resolve to popularize in our midst the devotion of the Month of Mary and the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It was through the Spiritual Exercises that he succeeded in his in-tent, both among the clergy and among the laity. Fr Termanini SJ, writing in his book on La vita e virtu del sacerdote Domenico Maria Saverio Calvi (Parma, 1796), says that Fr Calvi introduced the practice of the Month of May in 'Malta. The missionary, Fr Lalomia, in his booklet Mese di Maggio tells us of the great spiritual fruits that Fr Calvi used to gather with his Marian apostolate.[43]

THE ANGELUS BELLS IN MALTA

A short, but very beautiful devotion, is the recitation of the salutation by which the Angel of the Lord greeted Mary: a devout prayer in honour of the Incarnation of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and of His Holy Mother.

When St Ignatius was still in his country, but about to set out for Venice, he asked the Governor, among other things, that the bells should ring three times the Ave Maria: in the morning, at noon, and in the evening, so that the people could pray, as was the custom in Rome.[44]

It was not the Roman bells that made an impression on St Ignatius but the fact that they reminded him of the august mystery of the Incarnation, so full of spiritual sweetness.

We are not quite sure whether it was this episode in the life of St Ignatius, or some other devout inspiration, that prompted one of the Fathers of the Jesuit College in Valletta to ask the Ecclesiastical Authorities to sound the bells at the Angelus. His request was granted and for the first time in Malta the Angelus bells pealed out from the belfry of the Church of the Gesų in Valletta.[45]

This devout custom spread in all the diocese, which then included both Malta and Gozo. From that day onwards, our bells have spread on the waves of the air the harmony of that prayer, in towns and villages and in the countryside. They will go on. inviting us to salute the Virgin Mary with the prayer of the Angelus.


* Particular Abbreviations
ARSI: Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu.
AOV: Archives of the "Onorati", Valletta.

[1] Pedro Leturia SJ, El Gentilhombre Iņigo Lopes de Loyola en su Patria y en su siglo, Montevideo 1933, 25 ff.

[2] Idem. Confer also L. Reypens, The Jesuit Devotion to Mary" in Ignatiana, No 10, Ranchi 1956 and K. Rahner, SJ, P. Imhof SJ and H. Nils Loose, Ignatius von Loyola, Freiburg in Breisgau 1978, 31st illustration in the Index, same collection.

[3] S. Ignazio di Loyola, Autobiografia e Diario Spirituale, Traduzione di F. Guerello SJ, Florence 1959, 65.

[4] Ibid., 70.

[5] F.S. Calcagno SJ, Ascetica Ignaziana, Turin 1936, Vol. I, 8-9.

[6] Idem.

[7] NN (Pier Francesco Rossignoli SJ), Relazione delta pia Casa in Malta per gli Esercizi Spirituali di S. Ignazio..., Naples 1753, 18. This publication includes also an account of the honours bestowed 'upon the sacred remains of St Calcedonius, Martyr, given to the chapel of Manresa House by H.H. Pope Benedict XIV as well as of the various extraordinary graces obtained through the intercession of this martyr.

[8] F.S. Calcagno, op. cit., Vol. III, 255.

[9] Emile Villaret SJ, Les Congregation Mariales - Des Origines a la Suppression de la Compagnie de Jesus (1540-1773), Paris 1947, Vol. I, 37-57.

[10] Ferdinando Bertone SJ, I Gesuiti alla Corte di Pechino (1601-1813), Rome 1969, 240. In this work one can notice an identical approach between the Sodality established by Fr Matthew Ricci SJ on the 8th Septembr 1609 in China, and the Marian Sociality of Valletta Malta.

[11] ARSI, Sicula Hist. 1555-1610, 45r. Here there is a description of the activities carried by the Sodalities of Palermo on behalf of prisoners, young girls exposed to dangers, etc. The apostolic activities of other Marian Sodalities must also be borne in mind, although no specific mention is made about them. Confer also Note No 10.

[12] AOV, Reg. VI, Volume in cui vengono collegate le patenti spedite a favor di coloro the erano escolari nelle scuole del collegio de'PP. Gesuiti nella Valletta ed a vista di dette lettere s'accettano con fratelli nella Congregazione dell'Assunta nell'Or.o contiguo alla Ven. Chiesa del Gesų, passim. For the erection of the Sodality of the Visitation, Confer Ibid., 4r; for that of the Immaculate Conception, Confer Ibid., 115r; for the Sodality of the Purification and its aggregation to the 'Prima Primaria', which took place on the 6th January 1690 and the other Sodality of the Holy Crucifix, confer a letter sent by Mr F.M. Sgambati, of the `Prima Primaria' on the 3rd October 1821, to Mr Nicholas Stieni. All this documentation is preserved in the abovementioned Archives of the Onorati.

[13] ARSI, Sicula His. 1555-1610, 196r; Vincenzo Bonello, "Gli Onorati di Valletta" in Melita Historica, Vol. V, Malta 1969, 107-113.

[14] That the two Sodalities existed contemporaneously from the very year of their erection results from the History of the Sicilian Province quoted in the previous note as well as form a small Registro Mortuario forming part of the Onorati Archives. A. Ferres is incorrect when he states that the Sodality of the Onorati was established for the Knights of St John (A. Ferres, Descrizione Storica delle Chiese di Malta e Gozo, 194).

[15] ARSI as quoted in Note No 13, where among other things one reads the following: "Hoc anno (1600) tandem Sodalitium ex Equitibus diu efflagitatum (res a Nostris ex industria differebatur) in n.ro Collegio felicibus auspiciis erectum est: haec dies fuit Nonis Augusti".

[16] ARSI, as in Note No 13.

[17] E. Villaret, op. cit., 417.

[18] AOV, Reg. II, Volume delle Consulte tenute da Confratelli sotto titolo della B.ma Vergine Ass.ta intitolata degli Onorati dal 1604 al 1650 coll'Indice del(l)'Officiali eletti contemporan.te, N. II, 40r. This register, measuring 15 x 202 cm., is divided in two parts. The first part, consisting of three plus sixty four folios, gives the records of the consultations, while the second part, consisting of eighty four folios presents a list of elected officers with the date of their election.

[19] For the Sodalities of Senglea confer Note No 21 and Vice. Borg, "Marian Devotions in Malta - Section One" in this same publication under 'Purification'; for Vittoriosa, Ibid., under `Assumption'; for Cospicua, Ibid., under 'Assumption' and above, Note No 12, Reg. VI, 115r; for Tarxien, confer Mr Sgambati's letter quoted in the same Note as well as Vine. Borg, op. cit., under 'Succursus - Immaculate Conception'. Another Sodality is recorded at Żabbar, though it seems to have had a short life (Confer, Ibid.. under 'Annunciation' and "Our Lady of Trapani", 200). Regarding the Sodalities at Gozo confer Note No 20.

[20] P. Mallia SJ, Il-Giżwiti, Malta 1970, 45. On page 46, we read that a Sodality for prisoners was also erected. Though Fr Mallia does not quote his sources, he has assured the author of this paper that his work is based on documents to be found in the Archives of the Society of Jesus at Rome.

[21] Senglea Parish Archives, Memorie Ecclesiastiche dell'Invitta Cittā Senglea scritte in diversi tempi e circostanze da persone informate dal tempo di sua Fondazione sino al presente. Raccolte in questo volume per cura di N.N. nell'anno 1786, 9r, 99r, if. This copy was made by Dr Demajo in 1910. The original copy has been lost.

[22] AOV, as quoted in Note No 18, Reg II and 7r.

[23] E. Villaret, op. cit., 448.

[24] G. Bosio, Dell'Istoria della Sacra Religione, Naples 1684, p. III, Book 24, 521. I take this opportunity to thank the Rev. Can. Dean A. Zammit Gabaretta who, very gently, transcribed this page for me.

[25] Arth. Bonnici, History of the Church in Malta, Vol. II, Malta 1968, 65. Confer also Ms. quoted in Note No 18, 1r.

[26] AOV, Reg. II, quoted in Note No 18, 1r.

[27] Ibid., 15r.

[28] Ibid., lv.

[29] Ibid., 10r.

[30] Manuscript quoted in Note No 21, 99r if.

[31] Idem.

[32] E. Villaret, op. cit., 271.

[33] AOV, Registro Proposte, passim.

[34] L. Paulussen SJ, "God works like that" in Progressio, Supplement 14, Rome 1979, 35. Regarding the precarious circumstances in which the Jesuits found themselves, confer W.V. Bamgert SJ, A History of the Society of Jesus, St Louis 1972, 413 ff.

[35] L. Paulessen SJ, op. cit., 25 ff.

[36] ARSI, Registro Generale di tutte le Congregazioni Mariane, 1432r, No3422.

[37] Among other sources confer G. Cassar Pullicino, "Il-Ġiżwiti f'Malta fis-Seklu XVII" in Il-Ħbiebna, Malta 1983, 78.

[38] Fontes Narativi de Sancto Ignatio de Loyola et de Societatis Iesu Initiis, Vol. I, Rome 1943, 174.

[39] G. Albers, Blumthenkrdnze, IV, ff; E. Campana, Maria nel Culto Cattolico, Vol. I, Turin 1933, 467 42. ff.

[40] E. Campana, op. cit., 484.

[41] Ibid., 479.

[42] Ibid., 499.

[43] Ibid.. 483-484. I have also verified this from short notes, which years ago, I have been given from ARSI.

[44] S. Ignazio di Loyola, Autobiografia e Diario Spirituale, 139.

[45] From the records of a consultation held by the Sodalists on the 5th February 1606 at their Oratory, it is all too evident that the custom, to ring the Angelus bell at sunset from the Jesuit church at Valletta, was already established (AOV, Volume II delle Consulte 1v).