Nuzzo Institute

Around the late 1800s, Enrico Nuzzo, in the middle of his life had the idea to help the unfortunate in society especially girls, and give them some form of education, something which was not at all compulsory in those days. He was ready to use his money for this project but did not know where to start. Maria Teresa, his cousin, had shared the same ideal with the further desire to form a Religious Institute even while she was heading a private school in Valletta. Once they met, the sharing of ideas was the catalyst for them. On the 8th April 1901 they decided to ask the Bishop permission to found an Institute for the purpose of educating and catechizing young girls.

On the 18th September 1901 Bishop Pietro Pace gave his consent and the Nuzzo Institute was born. In 1902, the building started and on the 30th April 1903, Maria Teresa, Maria Gioioso and Marianna Portelli started running the Institute, teaching Catechism, sewing and other basic primary subjects. The place became popular and very soon, more pupils made it necessary to bring in more teachers. Teresa and most of the teachers felt it would be better for them to live as a religious congregation and so on the 9th August 1903, they asked the Bishop for permission to form an order. The building is still in use and nowadays serves as their motherhouse. Nowadays, the foundress Maria Teresa's cause for Beatification is moving forward.

That same year, On the 21st of November, the feast of the Presentation of Mary, Teresa and eight others took the habit and professed their vows to become the first members of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart¨›with Teresa as mother superior. The school flourished and new classes were opened and after a while even music lessons were introduced.

A Chapel was later built on the first floor of the premises on the plan of Architect Emmanuel Borg. The corner stone was laid on the 6th July 1930 and the chapel inaugurated on the 10th June 1932 by Mons Luigi Farrugia. Bishop Mauro Caruana consecrated the altar on the 25th October of the same year. Bishop Pietro Pace, in his will, left a beautiful painting for the chapel.

Nowadays there are 9 houses in Malta giving both academic and moral instruction, caring for orphans, forming youth and doing other social work. The Daughters of the Sacred Heart have also spread out overseas, to India, Italy, Ireland, Libya , Kenya, Tanzania, South Korea and United States of America, but the Mother House of the Congregation is still the old house at Hamrun.

Our Lady Immaculate Institute.

In 1859, in Egypt, an Italian nun Sr.Katerina Troiani (recently Beatified) opened an institute for children. The Maltese Archbishop sent her a request to open a house in Malta, so soon after, with a few other nuns, she came over and in 1868 founded an institute in Bormla.

The nuns of her order came to Hamrun in 1931 and rented a couple of adjacent houses in Maitland Street where they started a school. They stayed there for six years until they felt the necessity to expand both school and convent. 1935 saw the start of the present premises built at a place that used to be called l-ghalqa tal-bocci and in 1937, the Siculo-Norman style building planned by Ugo Mallia, was inaugurated. In 1941 the government took the building over to move reformatory kids from Kalkara away from danger. In 1948 when the reformatory was housed elsewhere, the building was given back to the nuns. In 1954 the convent at the back was enlarged and in 1961 another five classrooms were built.

At first the nuns used to teach music, voice, art design, crochet and needlepoint. Later on languages were introduced especially French which was taught nowhere else on the island. After WWII, a regular curriculum was offered and nowadays covers the ages from Kindergarten to a full Secondary school course.

In the beginning they used to be known by the name tal-Egittu because of their provenance, then later people used to call them tal-Francizi because of their being the only teachers of French. Actually in 1950 the Franciscan Nuns of Egypt changed their name to a more universal one of Franciscan Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The Little Sisters of the Poor

After being asked to introduce their services to Malta in 1877, the congregation sent sisters Celestine and Anne with Fr.Ernest Lelevre from France to check the island for them. They chose a house in Pieta and returned to report to their superiors. On the 18th February of the next year the first five nuns arrived and were well received by their benefactors the brothers Galea.

The house at Pieta was fairly small and so on the 7th June two years later, they moved to large premises near St.Paul Square in Hamrun. The sisters with the elderly, walked in procession to the newly acquired house while their belongings were moved with wagons provided by the admiralty.

The premises in Hamrun was the palace built by Bailiff Blacas during the time of the Knights of St.John and was given to the nuns on perpetual lease of $100 a year by the Government. Later the congregation bought it outright from the government for the sum of $4900. The demolishing of most of the palace was necessary in the first decade of the 20th century because of the deterioration of the building. Architect Vassallo from Luqa who was a civil engineer and who had drawn the plans for the Ta Pinu church in Gozo, drew the plans for a larger and more suitable premises. At this time, after they had been in the new place for ten years, they were taking care of more than 100 elderly and sick of both sexes.

During World War II, St. Paul's Home was bombed on 19th April 1942. Thirty-four of the elderly residents and two sisters lost their lives.

But after decades of use even this building started to show its age and inadequacy. In the late 1990's it was decided that it was better to demolish and start anew instead of trying to patch up.

Today's building designed by the firm Bezzina & Cole was finished in 2006 and has ample space and facilities. There used to be a beautiful chapel in the old building inaugurated in 1883 by Mons Goffredo Scerri, an extension to which was done in 1904. Now the chapel is modern and brand new, like the rest of the beautiful building. The part of 'Blacas' palace still standing was annexed and preserved with an original doorway from the inside.

Even though nowadays the sisters care for a lower number of elderly than before, expenses have skyrocketed and benefactors are needed more than ever. To top it all, to bring everything up to date it has cost them a hefty sum for the new facilities, money which they still have to pay out with interest. In days gone by, the sisters used to go out collecting moneys themselves but now they rely on grants from local and foreign institutions, companies and charities for help. A good example is the sum of $20000 given recently by a foreign Catholic charity for the purchase of 14 electrical beds for the sick and elderly. The brand new building was inaugurated in October 2006. It is being paid off through benefactors who have loaned them money interest free. At present 15 nuns take care of 50 elderly patients but the new building has capacity for more.

Manual voluntary work is also still much appreciated by the institution. The U.S. marines from a visiting ship were there a few years ago to do manual cleaning and restoration of outside furniture amongst other jobs. Students from St.Aloysius College also volunteer manual work as do a number of other groups.

Fra Diegu Institute.

After joining the Order of Friars Minor ta Giezu as a lay-brother, and taking the name of Diegu, Gioacchino Bonanno began to look for destitute girls, taking them in the shelter of a home he set up at Cospicua. In 1885 he opened another small house for them at Balzan under the care of his sister Giovanna Marmara providing for them from what he collected from benefactors.
Diegu then opened his first Hamrun shelter made up of two houses and named it Institute of St.Francis of Assisi and the buildings gave service for a number of years. Between 1898 and 1905, new premises were built in Villambrosa str. through the generosity of Marquis Joseph Scicluna for whom a bust was erected in one of the main halls. This edifice, which is still in use, has a large imposing iron gate as an entrance into a spacious garden through which the building is accessed. They also have a spacious chapel for use by residents. Nowadays, because of the size of the facilities, special parties for all the underprivileged children are sometimes organized and held here by philanthropic groups or companies.

Marija Regina tal-Qlub House

Better known in Hamrun as Sa' Karm (Mrs Carmena) Institute, was started by Mrs Carmena Borg and a Franciscan Fr.Angelo Mizzi 6th January 1938. After seeing the enthusiasm of pastor Cordina Perez to promote it, these two left the institute in his care.

The scope of this setup was the welfare of young ladies without family. These were housed there until they could either be adopted by a family or get married and form their own. The young ladies did their part by working as seamstresses and washing clothes for the services and also civilians. The institute many times provided a decent dowry through benefactors when any young lady was taking her state in life. With the pastor taking care of both its spiritual and material welfare (he financed a great part of the expenses), the Institute took on another nickname The Pastor Institute. During WWII the house took a direct hit from enemy bombing but was soon rebuilt. The Canvas depicting Our Lady that is in the little chapel, was done by Prof.Guzeppi Briffa in 1953.

Though numbers have dwindled through the years, the home nowadays still houses a number of older ladies who had themselves been welcomed and who have helped others through the process of reintegrating with community.

Hamrun can boast of being the cradle of a unique movement started by a unique priest Dun Gorg Preca. The MUSEUM or Society of Christian Doctrine had its origin in a field called Ta Luctu facing the Parish Church of St Cajetan. Here the priest met youths and catechized them. On the 7th March 1907, three months after his ordination, Father George rented a house in number 6, Fra Diegu Street where one of the first members came up with the idea of the MUSEUM name. The house lacked every comfort, even seats, but new members kept joining the group.

From Fra Diegu Street, the Branch moved to Qormi Road and after that in Broad Street, with Emidio Callus as the Superior and by 1923 they had changed premises four times. It is probably in Broad Street or in Qormi Road that the Founder of the Society began weekly Wednesday meetings. At their last premises, the owner decided to sell, so Fr.George found another house in Villambrosa Street, which became the Hamrun Branch. The superior at the time was Franceso Zammit.
In 1939, Father George chose five members from the Branch to open a MUSEUM in Pieta. They remained there until the war broke out. During the war, as the Villambrosa Branch became a home for refugees, meetings were held at the Church of Porto Salvo,and later on lessons were also held at the Parish Oratory until the Branch opened again at the end of the war. Members also used to teach catechism at the Egyptian Sisters' premises.
During the 1970s, land was acquired for new premises on a field called Ghalqa tal-bocci and the new centre was inaugurated on 20th September 1980 by Archbishop Joseph Mercieca. This centre is now called Hamrun centre #1.

As early as 1916 the members felt the need to have two separate branches in Hamrun. Branch #2 was opened in a house on St.Cajetan Street. Fr.George spent lots of time here writing some of his books. Before the onset of WWII, the owner wanted the house back, so the members had to move to another on Barbara Str., however during the War, due to the danger from air-raids, the teaching of catechism in this centre had to stop. Member meetings though, still continued at the other branch in Hamrun. Meantime, the house on Barbara Str. was occupied by refugees who continued to live there even when the war ended so the members used to teach children in two chapels and attend meetings at the other centre.

Struggling financially and physically, they at last bought a vacant house in St.Cajetan Street in September 1964. All members helped and on the 17th January 1965 the Hamrun centre #2 was reopened and blessed by pastor Fr.Matthew Chircop. Emanuel Bianco was chosen as the first superior. In 1973 a chapel was built on the second floor. Some reconstruction and alteration took place between 1979 and 1983.¨›As the house and alterations were not found to be adequate, on May 1998 work was started on tearing down the old building. Architect Joseph Saliba drafted a plan and the architect Noel Debattista took over the job of the building also helping the members throughout all the construction itself. The entire building was completed and opened on the 24th October 1999 and blessed by the parish priest Fr.Paul Fenech. In May 2004, the Superior General Victor Delicata appointed Vincent Lia, a member from the same centre as a superior of Hamrun centre #2.

The history of the site of the main headquarters and chapel of the Saint Gorg Preca society, goes back more than 200 years.

At the beginning of the 19th century a cemetery was built on this Blata l-Bajda spot where the road from Porte des Bombes splits into two, right at the corner. The purpose of this cemetery was to take the victims of the plague, which during that century visited Malta, a number of times. When the Blata l-Bajda underpass was constructed in the early 1950s, part of the cemetery was dismantled and all the bones were exhumed to be reinterred at the Addolorata cemetery.

The plot was given in perpetual lease to Saint George Preca's society M.U.S.E.U.M. and work on the foundations started in August of 1954. On the 2nd October of that year, the corner stone was laid and blessed by Archbishop Mons Mikiel Gonzi in the presence of Dun Gorg, local priests, dignitaries and members of the society.

In his plan, Chev.Guze DAmato had the foresight to include an underground car park with 12 spaces for cars. This can be accessed from St.Joseph road and was something quite unique in a project of that time. Behind the chapel is an auditorium that can fit 2000 people.

Many volunteer members of the society gave their time in the raising of this complex backed by generous donors who financed the project. The chapel itself started to be built only when the headquarters were ready and its corner stone was laid on the 23rd February 1958 by Archbishop Gonzi.

Lega - Azzjoni Kattolika

Another catechism teaching organization (Catholic Action Movement), which used to have vast numbers attending, separate meeting places for the two sexes and also different sections for children, youth and adults, had branches in Hamrun. Nowadays the numbers have dwindled from the solid attendance.

1st Hamrun Scout Group

Instituted in 1908 and recognized in 1913 this Scout Group is one of the very first constituted in Malta. Its motto is: 'Forward Hamrun' and since its inception has never been disbanded. During the war, the Hamrun Group served the country by doing air-raid demonstrations and also coast watching around the island. In 1968 the Group officially inaugurated the old train station as its new headquarters. In the same year it was honoured with the Coat-of-Arms of the Duke of Argyll whose tartan the group was now entitled to wear.

The 1st Hamrun Scout Group consists of:
A Beaver section for ages 5 to 7
A Cub section for ages 7 to 11
A Troop section for ages 11 to 15
A Rover crew for age 18 and up.
It even boasts of a bagpipe band.