Our Lady Ta’ Pinu: an Oasis of Hope from the Island of Gozo for the Whole World


    The 22nd of June is a busy day liturgically – Saints Thomas More, John Fisher, as well as Paulinus of Nola – and it is also the feast of Our Lady Ta’ Pinu. The story of how the Virgin Mary revealed herself to Karmni Grima is full of wonder.

    The story is first recounted in an Italian book published in 1891, La Beata Vergine Ta’ Pinu a Gozo (The Blessed Virgin of Ta’ Pinu in Gozo). Here is how the account went: On the 22nd June 1883, Karmni Grima from Gharb, ….. heard a call on her way home. …..[At] about 10.30am.  A mysterious voice called her three times: ‘Come! Come! Come!. Karmni was astounded, because at that time of the day, the fields were deserted, and no one could have possibly spoken to her. [When] she resumed her way the same mysterious voice again told her‘Come, come, today, because a year will have passed before you will be able to visit this place again’So she walked towards the chapel in awe figuring that she would see the Blessed Virgin. On approaching the chapel, …she peeped through the little aperture in the door pane but saw no-one. Recovering her composure, she entered the chapel and as she prayed, a feeling of ineffable rapture gripped her. …The same voice addressed her again: ‘Recite three Hail Marys in remembrance of the three days during which my body lay in the tomb’ – and so she did.

    In another book, this time written by the late Bishop of Gozo, Mgr. Nicholas J. Cauchi,  (Bishop of Gozo from 1972 to 2005) and entitled ‘Ta’ Pinu Shrine. The Pilgrims’ Haven’, we find: “For two years Karmni said not a word about what had happened. Then she disclosed her secret to Franġisk Portelli; [an upright] man who was renowned for his devotion to Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu. …as his heart filled with joy….. At about the same time, he had heard a mysterious voice asking him to say prayers in honour of Christ’s hidden shoulder wound caused by the weight of the heavy cross along the torturous path to Calvary.  A short time later, Franġisk’s mother was miraculously healed by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin of Ta’ Pinu. It was obvious that the matter could no longer be kept secret and rumours that Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu had given a message to two persons from the village of Gharb began to spread like wildfire.

    Let us not forget that existent documents which were written by Karmni’s spiritual director amply document the fact that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her also at her home in the village of Għarb. To this day Karmni’s home is open for all those who want there and pray.

    The powerful Maltese words used by the Virgin Mary, Ejja, which in the Maltese language is “come”, show how Our Lady wants to reach us through this magnificent Sanctuary in Gozo. This Maltese National Shrine has always been the place where many people find great spiritual support in their times of trouble. When various tempests started raging on them at this place they found the courage which only the maternal heart of Mary can give, to keep sailing until they reach Heavenly Jerusalem.

    In his homily at the Eucharistic celebration he celebrated at the Shrine Of Our Lady Ta’ Pinu on Saturday 26 May 1990, on the occasion of his first visit to our Islands, Pope St John Paul II said: At this venerable Shrine of Our Lady Ta’ Pinu, we give thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ for the loving presence and protection of his Virgin Mother which the Church in Malta and Gozo has experienced throughout its history. For centuries, the faithful of these islands have drawn near to Mary in prayer and have sought her loving intercession to aid them in their needs and to comfort them in their distress (no. 2).

    Ta’ Pinu is the place of hope because it makes us realize that we belong to the one universal family of God thanks to Mary’s cooperation in God’s salvific plan. At Ta’ Pinu we start to take seriously our important and unique mission to work and for the promotion and protection of the family and also the special gift of each and every human life. Ta’ Pinu gives us the strength to be living witnesses of God’s love as manifested in the family, in each human being born and unborn. From this Marian Sanctuary we are strengthened to be living witnesses of the God of life who never stops from showing to us his tender loving care.

    Pope St John Paul II’s brought out these reflections in his homily when he said: Mary’s cooperation in the mystery of God’s plan as it unfolded in the Incarnation of her Son invites all Christian parents and children to think about their own vocation to be cooperators in the mystery of God’s grace at work within their families. Our faith teaches us that each human life, beginning at the moment of conception, is a gift from the Creator and endowed with an infinite value in his eyes. Our faith reminds us that all human beings have been created in God’s own image and likeness and given a vocation and destiny that will find their ultimate fulfilment beyond this earthly existence, in a communion of life and love with the Blessed Trinity. Faith also teaches us that we are united with all other members of the human race in a deep moral solidarity, that our actions and choices have consequences not only for ourselves but for others, and that we shall be judged by the measure of our love and concern for the least of our brothers and sisters.

    Let us make our prayer to Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu:

    O Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of God, assumed into heaven with body and soul, who through Karmni Grima chose this place that you may shower your graces on those who pray to you, look, we beseech you, with a look of mercy upon this world full of fear and confusion, and in the same way that you saved the spouses of Cana from shame, save also humanity from every danger of both body and soul.

    Bring all humans to love each other with brotherly love. O Mother of Mercy, protect also our families on which human society is established, that they may live an honest, happy and holy life.

    Above all, I pray that you may have mercy on me who am in pain under the weight of the Cross. If it is not of any harm for my soul, help me to (determine the grace you are asking for…). If, however, it is not the will of the Lord that I may receive this grace, give me the strength to carry this burden and to unite it with the Cross of your beloved Son Jesus Christ. O Blessed Mother Mary, help me that like you I may accept with all my heart God’s will and that together with you I may say: “Let it happen to me according to your word”.

    O Blessed Virgin Mary of Ta’ Pinu, keep me under your maternal protection, that I may be certain that the trials of this life may bring me to everlasting life in my heavenly home.

    At the end of this beautiful prayer let us pray the three Hail Mary’s in honour of the three days the body of Mary remained in the tomb.


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    Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap was born in San Gwann on August 26 1972. After being educated in governmental primary and secondary schools as well as at the Naxxar Trade School he felt the call to enter the Franciscan Capuchin Order. After obtaining the university requirements he entered the Capuchin friary at Kalkara on October 12 1993. A year after he was ordained a priest, precisely on 4 September 2004, his superiors sent him to work with patients as a chaplain first at St. Luke's Hospital and later at Mater Dei. In 2007 Fr Mario obtained a Master's Degree in Hospital Chaplaincy from Sydney College of Divinity, University of Sydney, Australia. From November 2007 till March 2020 Fr Mario was one of the six chaplains who worked at Mater Dei Hospital., Malta's national hospital. Presently he is a chaplain at Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Centre. Furthermore, he is a regular contributor in the MUMN magazine IL-MUSBIEĦ, as well as doing radio programmes on Radio Mario about the spiritual care of the sick.