Wirt Ghawdex restoration of Madonna Tal-Karmnu niche
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As part of its 30th anniversary celebrations, Wirt Ghawdex has said that it wanted to contribute in the preservation of some part of the heritage in a local community. It was decided that, in conjunction with the Kercem Local Council, the much needed maintenance work on the niche of the Madonna Tal-Karmnu (Our Lady of Mount Carmel) located at Triq Qasam San Gorg, limits of Santa Lucija and its immediate surrounding area, would be undertaken.
Wirt Ghawdex took up the cleaning and minor repairs of the niche and pedestal and the professional restoration of the statue which was carried out by restorer James Licari.
The Kercem Local Council rehabilitated and enhanced the surrounding area with rubble walls, greenery, a replica of a water fountain which used to stand nearby, and by putting up a brief history of the niche.
The statue of the Madonna tal-Karmnu shows the Blessed Mary holding baby Jesus on her right arm. Both Madonna and baby Jesus hold a scapular, towards which there still exists a great devotion locally. Originally, the statue stood by itself on a stone pedestal.
The elements had their toll on the statue until, about a hundred years ago, a niche enclosing the statue – thus preserving it from more damage – was built on top of the pedestal.
It is said that the statue was commissioned as a sign of thanks from the local community for the deliverance from plague.
The two Latin inscriptions on the pedestal render the following meanings: ‘His Excellency Archbishop Francesco Saverio Caruana, on 20 August 1837, decreed that 40 days indulgence would be conferred on whoever recites the Salve Regina in front of this statue.’ And ‘Celest Cassar has erected a niche for this statue of the Madonna tal-Karmnu and has always maintained and kept it lit, all at his own expense.’ Joe Zammit Ciantar.
The Kercem Local Council together with Wirt Ghawdex representatives, the Minister for Gozo, Giovanna Debono and the Minister of Justice, Dialogue and the Family, Dr Chris Said, formally inaugurated the works carried out on the niche of our Lady of Mount Carmel in Kercem, Gozo. This event took place as part of the celebrations of Jum Ta’ Kercem 2013.