[p.369]

Luca Garnier, The Crowning of St Teresa (1640c), St Teresa Church, Cospicua

Angelicus Busuttil

THE DISCALCED CARMELITES A NEW MARIAN ORDER IN 17th CENTURY MALTA*

MARY AND THE DISCALCED CARMELITES

Dona Teresa de Anumada y Cepeda became Teresa of Jesus in the Reform of Carmel which she had begun by founding "with the full weight of authority the convent of our most glorious father Saint Joseph in the year 1562, ... when the Lord was pleased that some of the sisters should take the habit on Saint Bartholomew's Day."[1] Yet, though this great Spanish thus began her own Order of the Discalced Carmelites within her own city of Avila on the 24th of August 1562, she was inspired to do so by the rich spiritual traditions of Carmel, as manifested in the long and chequered history of the Carmelites from their cradle on the slopes of Mount Carmel.

St Teresa of Jesus had lived as a carmelite nun at the Convent of the Incarnation outside the walls of Avila for over a quarter of a century, so that her own experience and knowledge of existing traditions filled her with the heremitical spirit, the Elianic spirit and, above all, the Marian spirit of Carmel.[2] That St Teresa was imbued with this Marian spirit is evident in all her writings, wherein she refers to the Virgin Mary as Mother, Lady, Queen, Empress, Heavenly Prioress of the Order, and to the Scapular as Our Lady's habit in Mary's own Order, so that she does not hesitate to declare that she had undertaken the great work of the Carmelite Reform for the greater glory of the Virgin Mother and Queen.[3]

The new Constitution of the Discalced Carmelites - as their official name of Discalced Brothers of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel clearly shows to all - emphasise all this in chapter 3 of Part I, entitled: "The Blessed Virgin in our life". The Constitutions declare that the Order's dedication to Mary's love and service form a special bend with Our Lady which pervades the Order's communities and stamps the life of their members with a distinctly Marian character. This was a characteristic of the Carmelite Order from its very beginning, a characteristic which remained so throughout the centuries, so much so that the Holy Parents of the Carmelite 'Reform, Teresa of Jesus and John of the Cross, treasured this commitment to Mary and strongly reaffirmed it. For these two Reformers, Mary is the perfect Model of prayer and surrender of self on our pilgrimage of Faith, inseparably united with her Son in the sorrows and joys of His Paschal Mystery; and consequently, Mary is the perfect model of all their teaching on the religious and spiritual life.[4]

[p.371] THE DISCALCED CARMELITES IN MALTA

The above is briefly mentioned, because the Discalced 'Carmelites are the only Marian Order that set foot in Malta in the early 17th Century, and then, up to the end of the 18th Century, played an important role in the spreading of the devotion to Our Lady, not only in the Maltese Islands but also in far off lands, for the Order's first Monastery in 'Malta was to become an International Missionary College, catering for the evangelisation of the East, from Asia Minor to Mespotamia and even to Malabar in India.[5]

Indeed it was for this purpose that the Teresian Reform of Carmel came to make its first foundation in ,Malta, The then Head of its Italian Congregation, Fr Paul-Simon of Jesus-Mary (Rivarola), with his farsighted and practical mind, decided that the Order should put foot in Malta as a stepping stone towards its Missions in the Near East. As a port of call in the hands of the Knights of St John the Baptist, 'Malta offered a unique opportunity not to be missed. Apart from the Missionary College in Rome, generally known as "St Pancratius" from the adjacent old Roman Basilica at the Gianicolo, the Order had a College in Belgium at Louvain for the training of underground pastoral work towards the re-evangelisation of the northern parts of Europe; but, an international college in the very heart of the Mediterranean on the route of many christian fleets was deemed to be in need for the training in oriental languages of the missionaries to the East.[6]

Fr Paul-Simon obtained the patronage of the Pope himself, Urbanus VIII, and of the Catholic King of Spain, Ferdinand III, for his project; then he approached the Order of St John through two emissaries he sent to Malta in October 1625, namely the Frenchman Fr Theodosius of the Holy Spirit and the Spaniard Fr Joseph-Angelus of the !Mother of God. With the help of the Bishop of 'Malta, Fra Balthasar Cagliares, they succeeded in obtaining the required consent from the Grand Council of the Knights of St John under Grand Master Antoine de Paule.[7] Bishop Cagliares, together with his family - especially his sister Ursolica - was to be the greatest benefactor of the Discalced Carmelites. The Public Deed published at the Bishop's Curia in Valletta on the 11th of December 1625 shows that the Bishop himself, out of his own resources, bought an extensive site from Fra Claudio Decosse and other private owners at Bur-Mula and then donated this site, with few houses and large adjoining or-chards, to the Discalced Carmelites. Here they "could build a Monastery and a Church dedicated to the honour of God and to the Most Blessed Virgin 'Mary and St Teresa, and for the purpose of their engaging in [p.372] divine worship and the spiritual welfare of the people in these Islands.[8]

This site at Bur-Mula was situated in the limits of the old parish of Vittoriosa, where a new city was to be developed and is today known as Bormla or Cospicua. Temporary alterations were immediately carried out to the already existing buildings on this site, especially for setting up a provisional chapel. Bishop Cagliares himself celebrated the first solemn High Mass on the Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany of the following year 1626.[9]

The new House at Cospicua was at first under the jurisdiction of the Roman Province, but in the same year 1626, it passed to the new Neapolitan Province, and three years later to that of Sicily, till in the General Chapter of the Order held in 1632, the Cospicua Priory became the sole and exclusive responsibility of the Definitory General, in order to begin to fulfil its mission as an International Missionary College. At this General Chapter, Fr Paul-Simon of Jesus-Mary was elected to serve his second term as Superior General and he saw to it that the Holy See would con-firm the erection of this College in Malta and approve all the necessary provisions decided upon by the Chapter General of the Order. The result was the Papal 'Bull of Urbanus VIII "Decet Nos" issued on the 2nd of March 1633. By this time, it appears that the construction of the new church and monastery was brought to a happy conclusion,[10] as is recorded to posterity on the interior facade of the church above the High Altar.

TH'E CHURCH AT COSPICIUA

Conscious of their obligation to dedicate their church to the Virgin Mary as well as to St Teresa, the Discalced Carmelites chose as a subject of the titular painting of the church above the High Altar the rapture of St Teresa on the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady in the year 1561 at the Chapel of the Santisimo Cristo in the Dominican Church of St Thomas.[11] In this painting, masterly executed by Fra Luca Garnier, Our Lady dominates the whole scene as she places the very beautiful gold collar round the Saint's neck as a sign of Her protection over the Reform.[12] Saint Joseph has his special place in this titular painting. He is seen helping to put upon Teresa the garment of great whiteness and brightness she mentions in the description of this vision. And, indeed, from the Acts [p.373] and the Chronicles of the Monastery at Cospicua, one can see that the devotion to St Joseph and to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel were the two main pillars of the Fathers' pastoral work amongst the lay people, reflecting the trend of popular devotions of the time throughout the christian world, and, in a very special way, the main devotions of the Teresian Reform. Many are the Acts referring to the foundation of Masses on Wednesdays and Saturdays, as well as on the Feast days of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and of St Joseph.[13] While the two side chapels nearest to the Main Altar were from the very beginning dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and to St Joseph. The titular-painting of Our Lady in this Chapel is attributed to Preti, whilst that of St Joseph to his school.[14]

From the Acts of the Conventual Chapter held on the 6th of July 1693, it is quite clear that the picture of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was a new one to replace an older one, which was deemed of little artistic value.[15] The Acts and Chronicles of the Cospicua Monastery, give abundant information attesting how the side chapels of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and of St Joseph were constantly enriched and redecorated throughout the 17th and 18th centuries.[16]

In fact, it was during the eighteenth century that two large lateral pictures were added to each chapel, all four showing Our Lady as Mother of God and Carmel. Those in the chapel of St Joseph are the work of Enrico Arnaud and depict the scenes of the Birth of Christ and the Adoration of the Magi, whilst those in the chapel of Our Lady are the work of Rocco Buhagiar and are meant to show the special protection of the Virgin Mary on all those who wear with devotion the Brown Scapular of Carmel.[17]

The other side chapel dedicated to Our Lady is on the right as one enters the church. It is dedicated to the Presentation of the Most Blessed [p.374] Virgin, linked with the special devotion of St Teresa towards this Feast of Our Lady and her explicit desire that this Marian Feast be solemnly celebrated every year in Discalced Carmelite Houses.[18] The painting on the Altar of this chapel was donated to the Fathers by a devout benefactor in the year 1694. This same benefactor donated other pictures, and the Fathers decided upon a re-allocation of the main paintings in the Church, as is clearly shown in the Acts of the Conventual Chapter of the 8th of August 1694.[19]

Besides the two side chapels dedicated to Our Lady mentioned above, in the year 1771 a certain Francesco Ferranti gave to the Monastery a small 'anonymous painting of the Madonna della Pietą, an oval shaped picture of great beauty, which the Fathers placed as a "sottoquadro" on the altar of the chapel of St John of the Cross, the second one on the left as one enters the church.[20] This picture of Our Lady attracted the devotion of the faithful, who flocked to venerate it and to pray before it, so much so that later on, in the 19th century, a Sodality of Our Lady of Mercy was set up in its honour.[21]

However, in keeping with the two 'main devotions the Discalced Carmelites spread on the Island, that towards Our Lady of Mount Carmel and that towards Saint Joseph, the first Confraternity to be set up in the Cospicua Church was the Veneranda Confraternitą Della Buona Morte eretta nella S. Ven. Chiesa di S. Teresa dei Carm. Scalzi sotto it titolo di San Giuseppe e sotto la protezione di Maria Verpine del Carmine. In the Book of Regulations and Statutes of the same, the origin, progress, title and motives are illustrated in full details.[22] It was first set up in the year 1780, when various pious persons, in their devotion to Saint Joseph as Patron of the Dying, manifested their desire to aggregate themselves in a Confraternity. The request was presented to Can. Albino Fortughes at the Curia in Valletta, and the Decree for the erection of the said Confraternity was issued on the 24th of 'May 1780. With the Rescript of the 14th of August 1784, Pope Pius VI gave special indulgences to its members upon certain conditions, It is clearly stated [hat from the very beginning the title of the Confraternity was that of S Joseph and the "Buona Morte", but soon the Fathers and the members thought it fit to add the title of the Most Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel, in order to be able to aggregate it to the Archconfraternity of Our Lady of 'Mount Carmel in Rome, so that its members would benefit from "the immense spiritual goods" of the said Arch-confraternity because "the aim of this Confraternity is the Glory [p.375] of God, the cult towards the Blessed Virgin, the devotion towards St Joseph, and the good of Souls".[23]

The Statutes of this Confraternity go into great detail as to the manner of dress, the number of meetings, the dependence from the Monastery Community, the contributions to be made, the various officials, especially the Spiritual Director ,who had to be elected every year from the Discalced Carmelite Fathers and to be confirmed in his office by the Chapter of the Community, which always had the last say in the matter.[24] In fact, this Confraternity flourished in an astonishing manner, as the list of members manifests.[25] It seems that this success encouraged the Fathers to set up the Confraternity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel proper. Preparations seem to have begun in the last years of the 18th century, because it was in 1802 that the permission from the Superiors General in Rome reached Malta.[26]

Another Marian devotion in conformity with the trend of the christian way of life at the time all over Europe was that of Our Lady of Sorrows. This devotion seems to have grown up around the picture of the Madonna della Pieta mentioned above, so much so that the same benefac tor, who donated the said Icon of Our Lady, gave the Cospicua Monastery the sum of .one hundred scudi for the annual solemn celebration of the Feast and '"Settena" of the "Addolorata", a foundation approved by the Fathers in the Conventual Chapter of the 29th January 1779.[27] This devotion flourished so much that there still exists in the Cospicua Archives a register of the mid-19th century, showing the way in which the two Feasts of the "Vergine Addolorata" had to be celebrated annually and setting down in detail the administration of the foundations and income of the same.[28]

THE PRIORY

Great as the influence of the Discalced Carmelites on the inhabitants of these Islands may have been, it must be remembered that their pastoral ministry in church was restricted to a bare two hours in the morning, besides the hearing of confessions in the early hours of the afternoon on Saturdays and some other rare occasions. For their main activities had to be teaching and prayer.[29] The Superiors General in Rome made it a point to preserve the Cospicua Priory as an International Missionary College, devoted to study and prayer. It was for this reason, amongst others according to the mentality of the time, that no Maltese recruit was received as a novice directly in Cospicua. Any Maltese recruit to the Order had to undergo his Noviciate in the Roman Province or in another Province of the Order, from where he would be posted to other places but Malta and eventually return to the Island in his old age. The main reason was to have in Malta a Community made up of members from the main European [p.376] Provinces, thus giving the College an international setting.

Yet this state of affairs contributed to the popularity of the Fathers at Cospicua amongst the Knights of St John drawn as they were as well from the main European countries. Many of the Fathers were confessors and spiritual directors of the Knights, as well as, at times, of the Grand Master himself, whilst serving as Consultors to the Inquisition. This explains the building in 1681 of an adjoining Oratory and some rooms by Knights and Conventual Chaplains for their spiritual retreats and retirement from the outside world; Grand Master Fra Gregorio Caraffa himself contributed five hundred scudi for the same purpose.[30] The Discalced Carmelites, as well as the Capuchin Friars, were freely given food and medicines during their sickness and were visited by the physicians and surgeons of the Hospital.[31] It is most certain that they always tried to do their best to imbue the Knights with the Marian spirit of Carmel.

Regrettably enough we cannot draw up a list of the learned publications of the lecturers at the Cospiclua College, but these seem to be quite a number when one considers the means they had at their disposal at the time.[32] Here we have to single out the Marian work of the Frenchman Fr Isidor of St Joseph, who took the vows among the Discalced Carmelites in 1662 and was later assigned to the Cospicua College: his Bouquet sacre de la Bienheureuse Vierge Marie de Mont Carmel was reprinted several times.[33] Many of these lecturers distinguished themselves in other assignments throughout Europe and the East serving the Order in various fields and diffusing everywhere its Marian devotions. And here we have to mention the work of a Maltese recruit to the Order at Cospicua that led to the final reclamation of the biblical cradle of the Carmelite Order in Palestine and thus contributed so much to the worldwide devotion of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.[34]

Raffaele Calleja was born in the city of Valletta on the 30th of December 1772. His parents, Pio and Ursola, were happy to see him baptised at the church of St Paul Shipwrecked and to have as his godparent the Illustrious Fra Giulio Ferdinando Biancone, Conventual Chaplain of the Knights. At the age of 20 years, he joined the Discalced Carmelites at Cospicua, where on the 14th of April 1793 he made his religious profession under the name of Julius of the Redeemer. Sent to the Roman Province for his studies, he was immediately noted for his great humility and saintly way of life, as well as his ardent devotion towards Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The Superiors General in Rome could not find a better man for the redemption of Mount Carmel from the Saracens, when, at the end of the 18th century, they wanted to do any sacrifice to reclaim the Marian cradle of the Order, after having redeemed it and lost it more than once.

[p.377] The first attempt of reclamation of the Holy Mount was successfully made in 1631 by the Spaniard Fr Prosper of the Holy Spirit through the good offices of the French Ambassador to the Turkish Sultan. But all was lost again a few years after his death, and all further attempts proved useless throughout the latter half of the 17th century and the 18th century.

For this reason, Fr Peter Alexander of St Margaret, Superior General of the Discalced Carmelites, called the Maltese Julius of the Redeemer and asked him to do his best to accomplish in a permanent manner the reclamation of Mary's Holy Mount for the Order. It was in the first years of the 19th century that this humble religious arrived at St John of Acre and succeeded to redeem the House at Haifa, but the Pasha of Acre refused in a most adamant way to give him the Holy Mount. Yet, after twenty four years of patient diplomatic work amidst great personal sacrifices and poverty, he finally succeeded in redeeming Mount Carmel itself from Pasha Abdalla of Acre. With the help of others, who then arrived to give him aid and encouragement, he saw to the blessing of the first stone of the Basilica of Our Lady which still stands there to this day. This blessing took place on the 5th of July 1827, whilst the solemn opening of the completed church took place on the 12th of June 1836.[35]

Fr Julius was the first of a long list of Maltese Discalced Carmelites who tried their best to develop the devotion of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on the Holy Mount itself, most of them having a good knowledge of the Arab language, besides Latin, Italian and English, throughout the 19th and 20th centuries up to the present day.[36] A fellow Maltese who came in contact with the Discalced Carmelites community at Cospicua in the latter half of the 18th century was the human instrument in the hands of God to establish anew, up to this time, one of Mary's most renowned Thrones of Grace is the Catholic Church, namely the Sanctuary-Basilica upon Mount Carmel, the cradle of one of the most known and spread Marian devotions throughout Christianity.[37]

Though some of the sources have been lost in the bombing suffered by the Cospicua Monastery during the last World War, yet, if one were to undertake a much more detailed study of the remaining available sources in Malta, Rome arid places, which may have had connections with the Cospicua Priory, a better outcome will result from his research. Nevertheless, I have tried to do my best in order to give an outline of the Discalced Carmelite Fathers' devotion to Mary in the 17th and 18th centuries in Malta and their contribution to the Marian devotion in the Church at large. There remains to mention the presence, also at Cospicua, of the Nuns of the Carmelite Reform of St Teresa, at their Convent of St Margaret Virgin and Martyr.

[p.378] Some Knights had built a small Chapel dedicated to this Saint on the heights of Burmula now known as ix-Xagħra ta' Bormla and from the Con-vent itself ix-Xagħra ta' Santa Margarita. Some pious women lived in nearby houses in the 17th century and the first years of the 18th. Two zealous priests, Don Pietro Saliba and Don Antonio Barbara, obtained the required permission from Rome to establish therein an encloistered Convent of Nuns professing the Rule of St Teresa of Jesus as Discalced Carmelites. They collected money for the purpose from all over Malta in order to build the convent and church from the existing buildings. Grand Master Ant. Manoel de Vilhena himself helped at the Exchequer's expense to complete the building by contributing to the construction .of the dormitory.[38] The whole construction was certainly completed by the year 1730.[39]

In their devotion and filial love to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Discalced Carmelite Nuns saw to it to remove the older titular painting of St Margaret from above the main altar, in order to place a new one, the work of Francesco Zahra who died in 1765, depicting Our Lady of Mount Carmel together with St Margaret and the two Reformers of Carmel. This picture still adorns the high altar.

Both churches were solemnly consecrated by Bishop Labini in 1787, that of the Fathers on the 18th of March, whilst that of the Nuns on the 28th of October.


* Particular Abbreviation: ACDC: Archivum Carmelitarum Discalceatorum, Cospicuae.

[1] E. Allison Peers, Complete Works of St Teresa, London 1946, Vol. 1, 249, 4.

[2] Ottilio Rodriguez OCD, History of Tersian Carmel, Darlington 1979, 10-15.

[3] Fr Thomas OCD and Fr Gabriel OCD, St Teresa of Avila, London 1963, Chapter 9 which gives more than eighty references to St Teresa's writings on Our Lady.

[4] Constitutiones Fratrum Discalceatorum Ordinis B. Mariae Virginis de Monte Carmelo, Rome 1981, 21-23.

[5] Silverius of St Teresa OCD, Carmel's Missionary Spirit, Oklahoma 1952, 24.

[6] John Leone OCD, Short Historical Survey St Teresa's at Cospicua in retrospect - 1975, unpublished manuscript.

[7] Louis de St Therese OCD, Annales de Carm Dechauses de France, Vol. II, 812. It is stated that some members of the Grand Council of the Order of St John opposed the idea of having `just another Religious Order on the Island', one French member went so far as to propose to evict the Calced Carmelites from their Monastery in Valletta in order to give their house to the Discalced a proposal refused most vehemently even by the two Discalced emissaries. Finally, all agreed to grant the required consent, the Grand Master himself being most favourable.

[8] This deed was recorded by Notary Pietro Paolo Vincella (Cospicua Priory Archives, Loose Manuscript, Foundation, p. 4; A. Ferres, Descrizione Storica delle Chiese di Malta e Gozo, 385). Bishop Cagliares has always been considered as the first great benefactor of the Discalced Carmelites in Malta. His portrait is still held in great esteem at the Cospicua Monastery.

[9] ACDC, Loose Document of Foundation, p. 8.

[10] Arthur Bonnici, History of the Church in Malta, Vol. II, 43. The year on the interior facade of the church is MDCXXXII. Various acts of the Conventual Chapters of 1641 and 1642 refer to the church as already completed.

[11] E. Allison Peers, op. cit., Vol. I, 230-231.

[12] This rapture of St Teresa of Jesus took place in the Dominican church at Avila. The vision of Our Lady and St Joseph clothing the saint in a garment of great whiteness and brightness, and throwing around her neck a very beautiful gold collar, to which a most valuable cross was attached, whereby they meant to manifest their deep appreciation for her work in the Reform of Carmel, has inspired many artists. In artistic circles, its representation on canvas is normally called the Crowning of St Teresa.

[13] The Acts of various Conventual Chapters give details of such bequests.

[14] Bernardo de Domenicis, in his Life of Preti, p. 104, refers to Preti's painting at Cospicua's Monastery which represented Our Lady of Mount Carmel together with St Elias. Regarding the painting of St Joseph confer Ferres (A. Ferres, Descrizione Storica, 305).

[15] ACDC, Acta Capitulorum Conv. Sanctae Matris Theresiae Melitae ab anno 1661 ad 1796 -- Vol. II, p. 79.

[16] ACDC, Cronache del Convento, p. 20. The register for the expenses incurred during the years 1701-1703, enlist payments made during the eleventh week for the allocation and painting of the niche of Our Lady signed by the Prior on the 14th October 1703. Typical of the mentality of the times when popular devotions presented an alternative to the liturgical celebrations proper, the Monastery Inventory of 1717 mentions the silver Reliquary for the relic from St Joseph's mantle and a replica of the ring of the Virgin's Betrothal, which were held in high esteem. The Fathers, on this account, thought it fit to make this Reliquary identical with that enclosing the rib of St Teresa of Jesus, which was officially authenticated (ACDC, Cronache del Convento, p. 59).

[17] The lateral pictures in the chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, as well two others on each side of the high altar and other decorations in church, were paid from the funds made available to the Monastery by the Ximenes family, because the Spaniard Fr Philip-Mary of St Nicholas, elected Prior of Cospicua on the 17th of April 1785, was for many years the confessor of the Prince of the Island, Grand Master Don Francisco Ximenes de Texada, and his family as well as of other Knights of the same nationality.

[18] E. Alison Peers, op. cit., Vol 1, 364‑365. It was the 21st of November 1575 at Seville that Gracian was presented with the Brief of Nuncio Ormaneto appointing him as Visitor to the Calced in Andalusia and Superior of the Discalced Carmelites, a Brief St Teresa was hopefully longing for.

[19] ACDC, Acta Cavitulorum Conv. Sanctae Matris Theresae Melitae ab anno 1661 ad 1796 - Vol. II, p. 83.

[20] ACDC, Cronache del Convento, p. 88 - July 1771.

[21] ACDC, Libro della mensualitą dei Congregati nella Pia Unione sotto il Patrocinio della B.V. Maria di Pietą eretta nella Conventuale Chiesa dei RR. PP. Carmelitani Scalzi, the si commincia dal mere di giugno 1844, and following registers.

[22] ACDC, Regolamento e Statuto della Confraternitą, pp. 1-3 in the Cospicua Archives.

[23] Ibid., p. 4.

[24] Ibid., p. 13.

[25] ACDC, Registers of the members to the said Confraternity.

[26] ACDC, Atti Capitolari del Convento di S. Teresa dal 1796 at 1849 - Vol. III.

[27] Idem.

[28] ACDC, Libro contenente il modo da fare le due feste in onore della Vergine Addolorata: Introito ed Esito della Procura della Vergine Addolorata.

[29] ACDC, Book of Visitations, wherein the Superiors General on Canonical Visitations to the Cospicua Priory again and again emphasise and enforce these regulations.

[30] Achille Ferres, Descrizione Storica delle Chiese di Malta e Gozo, 304-5, as well as ACDC, Cronache del Convento.

[31] Cfr amongst others, Arthur Bonnici, History of the Church in Malta. Vol. II, 120 and 126.

[32] John Leone OCD, Short Historical Survey - St Teresa's at Cospicua in retrospect - 1975, and his references to Bibliotheca Carmelitana Vol. I and II - Wessels.

[33] Wessels: op. cit., Vol. II, 201.

[34] Cfr. Circular Letter to the Order by Superior General Guglielmo di San Alberto, published in Analecta OCD. 1931, Vol. IV, 201-4. Vide also above mentioned Historical Survey by John Leone OCD and special article by Cyril Borg OCD, in Il-Messaġġier Terezjan, 1963 -Vol. VII, 102-108.

[35] It seems that it was willed by Providence that little Malta would be such instrumental in fostering the devotion to the Holy Mount of Carmel, for the new church was blessed by another Maltese, the Franciscan Francis-Mary from Malta Custodian of the Holy Land at the time.

[36] There is a long list of Maltese Discalced Carmelites who lived for years on the Holy Mount of Carmel, but we have to mention the lay Brother Luigi of St Joseph (Poggi) born at Cospicua, who, in the first years of this 20th century, painted and redecorated the Sanctuary-Basilica on Mount Carmel in a magnificent way.

[37] Marialis Cultus, the Apostolic Exhortation of Paul VI, No 8.

[38] Ach. Ferres, Descrizione Storica delle Chiese di Malta e Gozo, 312-3, as well as Arth. Bonnici, History of the Church in Malta, Vol. II, 47, 122.

[39] It is interesting to note that Abela-Ciantar calls the Nuns' Convent 'Casa di Maria': "Chiesa di Santa Margherita V. e M. col Monastero intitolato Casa di Maria, di Monache dell'Istituto di S. Teresa", (Abela-Ciantar, Malta Illustrata. Malta 1780, 333).