The first donation which was contributed to Dun Mikiel Azzopardi’s vision was a miracle which kept repeating itself over the years.
Fr Lino Cardona who has been involved in Dar Tal-Providenza since 1974, retold the story of how Dun Mikiel Azzopardi, the founder, received the first generous donation which led to the founding of Dar Tal-Providenza.
Fr Cardona was interviewed on 103 Malta’s Heart on his work and memories of the first home in Malta that offered residential services to persons with disability.
The project started off Dun Mikiel Azzopardi’s wish who during the course of his pastoral work had discovered that persons with disability were living in a deplorable state. At the time, persons with disabilities were often ridiculed in public or sent to a hospital which was ill-equipped for their needs. Dun Mikiel also felt that various families with a disabled member had an urgent need to find people who offered them solace.
During Is-Siegħa tal-Morda – a programme hosted by Dun Mikiel on Rediffusion, he shared his vision. On his way home, a woman whose name remained unknown for many years, gave him the first donation for the project. This happened 55 years ago.
Fr Cardona remarked that Dun Mikiel never disclosed the name of the woman who made the first donation of Lm 100 possibly because she wanted to remain anonymous. It was only recently that her nephew came forward and revealed that it was Agnes Coleiro, a pharmacist, who had made the donation. Fr Cardona noted that Mgr Annetto Depasquale was one of Coleiro’s nephews, adding that he would not know if the bishop was aware that his aunt had made the first donation.
The priest who started his pastoral work at Dar Tal-Providenza by celebrating mass at the chapel twice or three times a week recalled that Dun Mikiel described the first donation as the first miracle.
Speaking during the same interview, Fr Cardona recalled when Mgr Lawrence Gatt was appointed as Dar Tal-Providenza’s director might not have understood what Archbishop Ġużeppi Mercieca meant when he told him that he was entrusting with the treasure of the archdiocese. Mgr Gatt who was rector of the seminary at the time and succeeded Dun Mikiel Azzopardi as director. The treasure is Dar Tal-Providenza, Fr Cardona remarked.
‘Many people have benefited since Dar Tal-Providenza opened its doors,’ he said, underlining that the residential home is a treasure for the Church in Malta.