On 12th January 1968, 5 Maltese sisters accepted the overwhelming challenge to form a community at the service of people with disability. 50 years ago people with disability were placed at the periphery of society; financial means and knowledge of how to cater for them were also very scarce. In spite of all the doubts that they surely must have had, they rose to the occasion, convinced that the God who called them will never abandon them. The words of Jeanne Antide “God is everywhere, our neighbour is everywhere: this is enough for us”, must have echoed in their hearts and strengthened in their resolve to serve God in the person of the poor.
The director of the Home, Fr Martin Micallef wanted to celebrate this anniversary in the place where it all began – at the Dar Tal-Providence (the House of Providence) – exactly 50 years after the sisters prepared themselves to welcome the first residents. On 1st December 2017, the Sisters of Charity were given the Dun Mikiel Azzopardi (the priest who founded the Home) award as a sign of gratitude for the selfless service that the 42 sisters who have served with much generosity of heart the residents of this Home and the families who visit them.
The Mass was celebrated by the Vicar General, Mgr Joe Galea Curmi. A number of priests con-celebrated. The Vicar General began his homily by quoting the words of Pope Francis who said: “if I succeed to help one person live life in a better way, it’s enough to justify the gift of my life”… stressing that the sisters have done much more than this… During these 50 years, they have contributed much to ensure that people with disability are shown dignity and respect in society.
At the end of his thanksgiving speech Fr Martin quoted the words of St Luke who, when he recounts St Paul’s visit to Malta, says “that the people of Malta treated us with much kindness”, saying that all those who entered the Home could say the same thing about this sisters’ attitude towards them.
The chief guest of the occasion was Sr Mary Stephanos, the Provincial of Italy-Malta, who represented the Superior General, Sr Nunzia de Gori and the provincial council. Her presence was much appreciated by all the sisters especially by the sisters who are still working there. It was a great joy for all to celebrate with her this special occasion. Among the distinguished guests, there was the acting President, parliamentary secretary for the elderly and people with disability and the mayor of Siggiewi.
It was an occasion to give thanks to God for His faithfulness and goodness that have accompanied the sisters during these 50 years of dedicated and loving service.