The Convent of St Anthony's
The Friars |
and Church |
Padova Retreat Home
Custody of the took an important decision
in its chapter of the 1899 to build a convent and a college
in Gozo. With the approval of the Gozitan Bishop Mons
Giovanni M. Camilleri OSA, they established themselves in
the locality of Ghajnsielem.
On the 22nd
November 1899 Franciscan Minors (Ta Giezu) came to Gozo and
settled in a house called 'Ta Gliex' at Ghajnsielem in the
street St Anthony leading to the villages of Nadur and Qala.
This was the first convent for the Franciscans on Gozo.
The first Franciscan
Guardian was an apostolic Missionary Leone Ferro.
The Convent and
St Anthony's Church
On 1st August 1901 a
piece of land was donated by Rev. John Borg (canon
of the church of Saint Paul shipwreck in Valletta), Mr Mike Manweli, Mr Ruggier and Marjanna
Borg so that the Friars can build their own convent.
The mind behind the construction of the convent was that of
the custodian Anton (tonin) M. Cesal whom eventually with some
other friars decided to
ecided to eract a big church near the convent and
dedicate it to Saint Anthony of
Padova. The plans for this project were made by Fr. Joseph
commenced immediately, and eventually we had the first part of
the convent completed in January 1902. The bishop Mons
Giovanni M. Camilleri in the 15 of May of the same year
blessed a provisory chapel. In the 7 of September the Gozitan
Bishop placed the first stone. All the construction
of the church was paid by Joseph Sultana a business man from
Nadur. In charge of the building was builder Mr Wigi Vella.
He was also responsible for the design of the church.
The most expected day arrived and on Sunday of
the 28 of October, 1906 Bishop Camilleri blessed the church.
The first statue of Saint Anthony which in the present day is
alocated at the church of Ghasri, Gozo was manufactured by the
Hebrew Carmel Mallia of Hal Qormi. The present statue which is
the third one was made by the Italian sculpture Luigi Gucci
altar which today is no longer existent due to the reforms of
the liturgy made by the second Vatican Council was worked by
Mariano Spina in Sicily. We can affirm from our documents
found in our Francsican Province, that the first feast goes
back to the year 1914. An important event happened between May
1941 and April 1944 when the Miracolous Crucifix of the church
ran by the Franciscans in Valletta was brought due to the war
in this church. In the same place were the crucifix was
placed, today we have a resemblance of the same crucifix. As
time went by, their was the need of a centre, and in February
of 1981 the work began and the same centre was terminated in
the 8 of September of the same year, obviously blessed by the
minister provincial of the Franciscan Order. Part of the
convent was restructured and a house for retreats was opened.
The same house brings the name of Padova and a farmhouse was
eventually transformed in the Montepaolo hermitage.
The feast of St
Anthony opens the season of the summer feasts in the island
(click on above image to
The Padova Retreat Home
This retreat home was
established by a decision taken by the Franciscan Provincial
Chapter for 1990. For its creation, a wing of the Gozo
Franciscan Friary and the back garden were transformed to
suit this purpose. The Retreat House' is situated in Mgarr
Road and the house compromises of two floors with the ground
level offering 6 bedrooms, a dining hall and a small meeting
hall (Nazareth Hall), with a capacity for twenty five
persons. On this floor too there is another conference hall
for seventy persons. The upper floor has 7 bedrooms and a
chapel. All bedrooms have two single beds and a bathroom.
The back garden has also been landscaped to accommodate
those who want to enjoy peace and silence of the area. The
garden comprises different prayers areas and a hermitage
also used by retreatants.
The Padova Retreat House was
inaugurated and blessed by the then Minister Provincial Fr.
Raymond Camilleri ofm, on the 24th of October 1992. The
house is open to all those who are seeking "silence" within
themselves and around them, to rebuild anew their
relationship with the Lord and their brothers/sisters. The
house can be used by groups of twenty-sex or less (Priests,
Religious and Laity).