Tribunal sessions for witnesses

Malta 1988-1990

 

 

Sessio Prima

 

 

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo octavo, die vero septima mensis Octobris (sive 7.10.1988) hora 5.30 p.m. coram E.mo ac Rev.mo D.no Josepho Mercieca, Archiepiscopo, pro Tribunali sedente in Sacello Sanctae Agathae suburbii Rabat, praesentibus et assistentibus Rev.mo Fratre Aloysio Pisani 0.C.D., Delegato Archiepiscopali, Rev. D.no Josepho Bajada, Iustitiae Promotore rite citato, Rev.do D.no Carmelo Farrugia, Notario Actuario et Rev. do D.no Can. Gustavo Barbara, Notario adiuncto, comparuit Causae Postulator, Rev.dus Frater Anthonius Sciberras M.S.S.P., qui, procurationis mandatum exhibens, petiit incohari Processum super vita et virtutibus in specie et super miris in genere Servi Dei Josephi De Piro Sacerdotis Dioecesani et Fundatoris Societatis Missionariae Sancti Pauli.

 

Tunc Archiepiscopus, Postalatoris mandato inspecto, mihi. Cancellario tradidit ut in calce huius sessionis registrarem.

 

Exinde Ordinarius, stans et tacta cruce, iuramentum prout sequitur praestitit:

 

‘In Nomine Domini. Ego Josephus Mercieca, Archiepiscopus Melitensis, in Processu Canonizationis Servi Dei Josephi De Piro Sacerdotis Dioecesani et Fundatoris Societatis Missionariae Sancti Pauli, iuro me, quavis personarum acceptatione posthabita, fideliter diligenterque impleturum munus mihi commissum, secretum servaturum tam de interrogatoriis quam de testium depositionibus ac de eis cum nemine locuturum, exceptis Tribunalis Officialibus; dona cuiusve generis, occasione Processus oblata, non accepturum. Sic Deus me adiuvet.”

 

+ Joseph Mercieca,  Archiepiscopus Melitensis;

 

Idem iuramentum detulerunt Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, Iustitiae Promotor, Notarius Actuarius et adiunctus, tacto pectore ac sese subscripsere.

 

Pater Aloisius Pisani OCD., Delegatus Archiepiscopalis

Sac. Joseph Bajada, Iustitiae Promotor

Sac. Carmelo Farrugia, Notarius Actuarius

Can. Gustav M. Barbara, Notarius Adiunctus

 

Deinde Cursor Deputatus, tactis Evangeliis, suum praestitit iuramentum:

 

“In Nomine Domini.Ego Frater Domenicus Borg MSSP, Cursor Deputatus in Processu Canonizationis Servi Dei Josephi De Piro Sacerdotis Dioecesani et Fundatoris Societatis Missionariae Sancti Pauli, iuro me Fideliter impleturum munus mihi commissum.  Sic me Deus adiuvet et haec Sancta Dei Evangelia.”

 

Frater Dominic Borg, MSSP, Cursor Deputatus.

 

Deine Causae Postulator notulam testium produxit, reservata sibi facultate alios testes producendi et inducendi, ac de calumnia iuramentum detulit ut sequitur:

 

“In Nomine Domini. Ego Rev.dus Frater Anthonius Sciberras, MSSP, in Causa Canonizationis Servi Dei Josephi De Piro Sacerdotis Dioecesani et Fundatoris Societatis Missionariae Sancti Pauli legitime Postulator constitutus, iuro me fideliter officium impleturum; nihil dictorum vel facturum quod, directe vel indirecte, veritatem ac iustitiam offendere aut testium libertatem coarctari valeat: secretum denique, iis qui in causa expedienda partem habent impositum servaturum. Sic me Deus adiuvet.”

 

Pater Tony Sciberras MSSP, Causae Postulator

 

 

Iuramento expleto, Archiepiscopus Militensis ac Delegatus Archiepiscapalis decreverunt futuram sessionem habendam die vigesima prima Octobris 1988, hora 10.00 a.m. et ideo relaserunt citationes contra Justitiae Promotorem ac testem Rev.um Patrem Aloysium Gatt MSSP ad comparendos dicta die in Aula Tnibunalis Curiae Archiepiscopali, Valletta, mandantis Notario ut illos extendat et exequendas Cursori tradat.

 

Tandem mihi commiserunt ut de omnibus in praesenti sessione gestis publicum instrumentum conficium, ac sese cum Justitiae Promotore, Notario actuario et adiuncto subscriperunt ut sequitur:

 

            + Joseph Mercieca, Archiepiscopus Melitenisis;

Pater Aloysius Pisani, Delegatus Archiepiscopalis;

Sac. Joseph Bajada, Justitiae Promotore;

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius Actuarius;

Can. Gustav M. Barbara, Notarius adiunctus;

 

Super quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis ego infrascriptus de praemissis rogatus, hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma: me subscripsi requisitus in fidem, atque meo tabellionatus signo subscriptionem meam communivi.

 

Actum die, mense, anno, loco quibus supra.

 

Ita est.

Can. Philip Calleja, Curiae Archiepiscopalis Cancellarius.

 

Tenor iurium de quibus rnentio hoc in sessione facta est:

 

1.         Nihil obstat Congregationis pro Causis Sanctorum.

2.         Postulatoris supplex libellus.

3.         Episcopi Rescriptum.

4.         Exemplar citationis contra Iustitiae Promotorem.

5.         Mandatum Postulatoris Causae.

6.         Exemplar privilegii Notariatus per actuarium exhibitum.

7.         Exemplar privilegii Notariatus per adiunctum exhibitum.

8.         Litterae patentales Cancellarii Archiepiscopalis de premissis rogati.

9.                  Interrogatoria a Justitiae Promotore exhibita.

10.       Notula testium a Causae Postulatore exhibita.

 

Ego infrascriptus Notarius deputatus accepi a Rev.mo D.no Can. Philippo Calleja, Cancellarius Curiae Archidioecesanae, omnia et singula praesentis Processus Acta primordialia ac iura in suprasctipto Instrumento contenta. In quorum fidem hanc ei dedi apocham mea subscriptione meoque signo munitam.

 

Datum die 7 Octobris, 1988                       

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius deputatus


 

Sessio Secunda of the ordinary sessions

_____________________________________________________

 

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo octavo, die vera vigesima prima mensis Octobris (sive 21-10-1988) hora 1O.OOa.m. coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopale in presenti causa canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie necnon super miris in genere Servi Dei Mons. Josephi De Piro Sacerdotis Dioecesani et Fundatoris Societatis Missionariae Sancti Pauli pro Tribunali sedente in Curia Archiepiscapali, Valletta, praesentibus Rev.o D.no Josepho Bajada, Iustitiae Promotore, legitime citato meque Notario, comparuit Postulator causae qui petiit testium examen incohari.

 

Nunc et pro semper Iustitiae Pramotor dixit nihil fieri nisi ipso praesente in quolibet actu, ac nisi adimpletis omnibus et singulis de iure, stylo praxi et consuetudine servandis et adimplendis. Deinde exhibuit plicum interrogatorium super quibus testes omnis examinandos esse; petiit pariter quod, campleto vel suspenso cuiuslibet testis examine, dictus plicus una cum depositionibus testis examinati clauderetur et obsignetur, neque operietur nisi in actu futurae sessionis seu examinis; similem clausuram et apertionem respective in principio et in fine cuiuslibet sessionis servandam ease dixit, ac institit quod, ante incohationem examinis cuiuslibet testis, eidem examinando iuramentum praestetur, alias de nullitate, etc.

 

Et tunc Delegatus archiepiscopalis, auditis Causae Postulatoris instantiis et admissis Iustitiae Promotoris protestationibus, mandavit examen incohari testis inducti et citati Patris Aloysii Gatt MSSP qui detulit iuramentum dicens:

 

In Nomine Domini. Ego, Pater Aloysius Gatt MSSP iuro me solam ac totam veritatem dicturum circa quaestiones de quibus interrogabor in processu canonizationis Servi Dei Mons. Josephi De Piro, Sacerdotis Dioecesani et Fundatoris Societatis Missionariae Sancti Pauli et religiose secretum servatu-­rum de interrogatoriis ac de responsionibus et de iis cum nemine locuturum, exceptis Tribunalis Officialibus. Sic me Deus adiuvet.

 

Ego  Pater Louis Gatt MSSP testis iuravi.

 

Quo praestito iuramento, clausis ianuis, solisque re­manentibus officialibus ac teste examinando, Delegatus archiepiscopalis aperiri iussit plicum Interrogatoriarum, ac statim diventum est ad examen dicti testis, qui ad interrogationes sibi factas, dixit et deposuit sequentia, quae ego Notarius ad dictamen Delegati archiepiscopalis de verbo ad verbum, nihil penitus addito, dempto vet immutato, eodem quo ab ipso relata sunt idiomate descripsi et registravi ut sequitur:

 

Interrogatorium suppletorium.

 

1.         In Session 62, you presented a statement marked as Document 45. Do you assume personal responsi­bility for all that is contained in the statement?

 

I declare that I have read the declaration, which I had presented on the 25th July 1987 (Doc. 45), before pre­senting it. No one influenced me as to what to say and I take the responsibility of whatever has been written.

 

2.         What was the reason why your father wanted to introduce you to the priest who prepared youths for the priesthood having in mind to send them to the Missions later on? Who informed your father about this? How many people knew about this Society at that time?

 

I had always felt the call for priesthood, but at the same time I was not sure whether to become a diocesan or religious priest, and in the case of the last with what Institute. When I was more or less 15, 16 years of age, I was going to enter the Seminary, but because of the fact that there were no financial means in the family someone suggested to my father that I enter the Society, which was being founded by Mgr De Piro. My father, on his part shared this with me. The only thing I knew about the So­ciety was that Mgr. De Piro was gathering together the youths so that he could afterwards send them to the mis­sions. I do not know how many knew about the Society.

 

3.         How did this first meeting of yours with De Piro develop?  How do you remember that that was your first meeting with De Piro? In what way did he strike you? What effect did it have on your vocation and your decision to join the Society?

 

In my first meeting with Mgr. De Piro I got the impression that he was a kind, serious and saintly man. All this attracted me from the start, strengthened me in my vocation and decided to join the Society.  In this way I could become a missionary among the indigenous.

 

4.         You also stated that the Monsignor wanted to see you every Saturday. Did he ever tell you why? What did he talk about in those visits? What did he emphasize most: the spiritual life, the school or your family?

 

I went every Saturday for some two or three months. Mgr. De Piro never told me why. On my part I think he wished me to do this so that he could come to know me and in order to prepare me to enter the Society. He used to talk to me about many things, e.g. about the family, my strength.  But he used to emphasize the im­portance of study and that I had to pay attention not to mix with boys who were not called to the priesthood, and this to take care of my own vocation.

 

5.         In these visits did he ever mention the missions to you? What were his views on the mission? What did he use to tell you?

 

He always talked of the missions, and he used to ask me whether I still felt the wish for the missions. I wish to emphasize the fact that we used to meet on a Satur­day when Mgr. De Piro was very busy with confessions. They were rather short meetings. He never invited me to meet him on any other occasion. When I met him the first time he immediately accepted me, as if he had a place ready for me.

 

6.         Did he ever mention to you his work as a Director of the children’s institutes? What was he used to tell you? What impression did you have of the Servant of God as regards his work in this field? What connection did this work have with the charism of his Society?

 

Negative ad omnia.

 

7.         When you went to the Monsignor for this visit, were there other youths to talk to him about the same subject?  If yes, do you remember what they thought of these meetings?

 

When I went for these meetings, I never met any other youth who went to him with the same aim. But then when I entered the Society there were also another three new­comers. And I came to know that there were expected an­other two for the probationary period who in fact did not come.

 

8.         Since you said that the Monsignor heard confessions on Saturday afternoons, were there many people for confessions? Do you think he allowed a lot of time for confes­sions? Where did he hear confessions? What did the faithful think of him? What importance did he give to this sacrament with the members of the Society?

 

When I used to go to Mgr. De Piro on Saturdays there were always many waiting to confess to him. Since I used to talk to him in the church there were only women wait­ing. At the same time I used to hear people saying that he used to have even men for confession. I think he was considered as a good confessor. Otherwise they would not have gone to him.

 

With us members of the Society he used to emphasize the importance of this sacrament. He did this as much as he did in relation to the other acts of piety.

 

9.         Before the novitiate you had a probationary period. How long did it last? Where were you prepared for it? Who was the director?

 

In preparation for the novitiate we had a year’s pro­bationary period. This took place in the house of the Society at Xara Palace, Mdina. The Director was the Augustinian, Fr. Manwel Bugeja. During the probation­ary period we also studied literature with the Augustinian Fathers, at Rabat. During this period Mons. De Piro lectured to us twice a week. At these lectures the subject was often religions formation; together with other subjects (e.g. Chastity, Obedience etc.). He also em­phasized the missions.

 

Immediately after the probationary period, we started a year’s novitiate in the same place where the same Fr. Bugeja was director. During the novitiate all studies ceased, and the year of the novitiate was devoted to spiritual preparation.

 

I would like to note that Fr. Manwel Bugeja, OSA, was chosen Master of the Novices by Mons. De Piro. However, the novices’ investiture was carried out by Mons. De Piro. The bishop sent Fr. Furci S.J. as visitor to the house of the Society at Mdina after the same bishop appointed Mons. De Piro to be director of St. Joseph’s Institute (and of other institutes), so that Fr. Furci would investigate the state of the discipline in the House of the Society. Since Mons. De Piro could not stay at Mdina, Fr. Furci S.J. suggested to the bishop that there would be a spiritual director in the house to im­part spiritual formation to the members. Bishop Caruana entrusted Mons. De Piro to find the right person; Mons. De Piro put Fr. Manwel Bugeja OSA as Superior of the House and Master of Novices.

 

Et hora 12.00 pm., attenta horae tarditate, suspensum fuit examen dicti testis, animo illud continuandi die 28 Octobris, hora 10.00 a.m. in Aula Tribunalis Curiae Archiepiscopalis. Ad quem effectum moniti fuerunt a Delegato Archiepiscopali tum idem testis quam Justitiae Promotor, ut compareant dictis die et hora. Deinde ego Notarius eidem testi perlexi eius depositionem, data ei facultate addendi, minuendi, corrigendi, si necessarium reputaverit. Ipse eam confirmavit seque in fidem subscripsit.

 

Ego Pater Louis Gatt MSSP testis deposui ut supra.

 

Deinde idem Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et ipsius sigillo obsignatis interrogatoriis, cum testis depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de premissis instrumentum conficerem, ac sese subscripsit cum Justitiae Promotore ut sequitur:

 

Pater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Delegatus Episcopalis

Sac. Joseph Bajada, Promotor Justitiae

 

Supra quibus omnibus at singulis ut supra gestis ego Notarius, de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopalis, hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma, et in fidem me subscripsi et meum Notariatus signum apposui. Datum die 21 Octobris 1988.

 

Ita est.

 

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius.

 


 

Sessio Tertia

 

 

 

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo octavo, die vero vigesima octava Octobris (sive 28-10-1988) hora 9.45 a.m., coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscapale in praesenti causa canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Josephi De Piro pro Tribunali sedente in Aula Tribunalis Cur­iae Archiepiscopali, Valletta, praesentibus Justitiae Promotore legitime citato, meque Notario, camparuit Pater Aloysius Gatt, MSSP testis inductus et citatum, cui delatum fuit iuramentum iuxta formulam in 2a Sessione relatam, quod ille statim praestitit et sese subscripsit ut infra:

 

Ego Pater Louis Gatt MSSP testis iuravi:

 

Quo iuramento praestito, clausis ianuis solisque remanentibus Delegato Archiepiscopali , Iustitiae Pro- motore ac dicto teste, ego notarius exhibui plicum interrogatoriorum et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegatus Archiepiscopalis recognovisset clausum et illaesum, ex eius mandato aperui et statim continuatum est examen dicti testis, qui ita respondit ad quaesita.

 

9.         You also mention other priests who, though not belonging to the Society, had important responsibilities. Why was this? Who was responsible for the run­ning of the Society? How final was the Founder’s de­cision as regards the acceptance of new members, the conducting of everyday life, the discipline? Did the Founder act as head? In his opinions did he betray any weakness? What were his relations with these other superiors?

 

Mons. De Piro himself was responsible for the running of the Society and always had the last word. Fr. Manwel Bugeja OSA was local superior at Mdina and Master of the novices and he was responsible for the daily running of the house. Mons. De Piro decided what was to be done and Fr. Bugeja saw that De Piro’s decisions were executed. Fr. Bugeja OSA gave detailed reports to Mons. De Piro and once a week he discussed with him the progress of the novices.

 

At the time of our novitiate we already had the con­stitutions compiled by Mons. De Piro and approved by Bishop Mauro Caruana OSB. Fr. Manwel Bugeja lec­tured us to explain these constitutions; and he also explained to us the religious life and the vows we were going to undertake: obedience, poverty, chastity and missions.

 

Mons. De Piro acted as head; so much so that the Ma­ster of Novices referred to him extraordinary and more important affairs. Never did any occasion arise when I could see whether Mons. De Piro was weak or not.  However, his general attitude showed that he was a ser­ious and responsible person. As far as I could see and notice I always observed that Mons. De Piro and Fr. Manwel. Bugeja never had a disagreement.

 

10.       In your case it appeared that there was lack of agreement as regards the things, which you had to take with you when joining the Society. How do you explain this? What was the attitude of the Servant of God in moments like these?

 

First of all, I would like to recall that Fr. Manwel Bugeja OSA was sent to the house at Mdina to impart formation and establish order in the house. My colleagu­es and I were the first group of novices in the time of Fr. Bugeja OSA. It was for this reason that, although Mons. De Piro had told me that I did not need to take anything with me, Fr. Manwel Bugeja OSA who, as super­ior of the house and as a Friar; knew well enough what a novice needed to take with him, had asked us to pro­vide ourselves with the necessary things. He wanted to lay serious foundations and had the experience of an Augustinian Friar. Mons. De Piro recognized these needs and accepted what Fr. Bugeja OSA had suggested.

 

11.       Were there occasions when the Founder spoke to the members about the Society? Did he explain what he expected as regards the nature, aims and activities?

 

Mons. De Piro had always the missions in mind.  His first idea was to help diocesan priests to go to the missions. Later he was going to create a congregation of priests without vows to go to the missions. The Congregation of Religious did not accept this and wanted him to make the members take the vows. Several of them left because when they joined the Congregation they did not have in mind to take the vows. At the time of my novitiate he endlessly emphasized the missionary scope of our Congregation.

 

12.       You also mentioned the Founder’s lectures. What was the usual subject? Did he communicate well? Did he make good preparation? Do you think his thought was difficult to understand? What struck you most in these lectures?

 

During our probation Mons. De Piro talked to us on the constitutions and during the novitiate, on the vows. I do not think that he needed to prepare for these talks, for he was a learned person. He was not diffi­cult in his thoughts and his communication was good. Because I was still young everything impressed me; and the lectures were a complete success.

 

As regards chastity, he used to tell us about its beauty and give us directives how we should deal with temptations, as well as in our relation with women. Regarding poverty he taught us how to avoid what was unnecessary, to take care of what we had and to ask our superior what was needed.

 

With regards to obedience he would say that it should be ‘cieca’, that is, we should always obey promptly. Regarding the missions his idea was that we should go wherever our superior sent us.

 

13.       From the contact you had with the Founder, did you notice anything striking in the way he prayed, meditated, said Mass or his participation in common acts? In fact did he show his wish to share these acts with you? Did he show any special enthusiasm regarding any sacrament or some particular saint?

 

I was greatly struck by his great devotion in prayers, Mass, meditation and the other common acts. He always attended for the common acts whenever he was at our house.  At times we saw him alone praying in the chapel. Whenever he spoke to us in private he loved to talk to us about saints and holy things.

 

He was regular and assiduous in the common acts. Great was his devotion (e.g. the Eucharist, the Passion, Our Lady etc.), but his devotion never varied, whatever the subject.

 

14. You also stated that although Fr. Bugeja was res­ponsible for the formation of the students, the Found­er showed great interest in this. How did he show his attention? Do you think he was not pleased with the method of the other superiors, or did not trust enough those who helped him?

 

Mons. De Piro showed his great interest in us by talk­ing to us also individually. He did this not because he was not satisfied with the method of the other sup­eriors or because he did not trust them.  He rather took this approach because he wanted to see personally the general situation and he always approved of and con­firmed what they said.

 

15.       What were the relations between the Monsignor and Bro. Guzepp? Why do you think the Monsignor had this approach towards him?

 

Mons. De Piro held Bro. Guzepp in great esteem. After Bro. Guzepp had left for Abyssinia, great was Mons. De Piro’s praise for him and said to us, “I can now praise him because he cannot hear me.” This Bro. Guzepp was a very good man, always active and of great ability. It is certain that Mons. De Piro made a great sacrifice when he sent him to Abyssinia because he was most use­ful at St. Joseph’s Institute. Besides, Bro. Guzepp was one of the first members to join the Society.

 

Et attenta hora tardata, suspensum fuit, horn 11.45 a.m., examen dicti testis, animo illud continuandi die 4 Novembris hora 10.00 a.m. hoc in loco. Ad quem effectum rnoniti fuerunt a Delegato Archiepiscopali tam idem testis quam Institiae Promotore, ut compareant dictis die et hora. Deinde ego Notarius eidem testi perlegi eius depositionem, data ei facultate addendi, minuendi, corrigendi, si neceesario reputaverit. Ipse eam confirmavit seque in fidem subscripsit.

 

Pater Louis Gatt, MSSP.

 

Deinde idem Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigillo ipsius obsignatis interrogatoriis, cum testium depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerem, ac sese subscripsit, cum Iustitiae Promotore ut sequitur:

 

Pater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Delegatus Archiepiscopalis

Sac. J. Bajada, Promotor Iustitiae.

 

Super quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis ego Notarius, de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopali, hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma, et in fidem me subscripsi et meum notariatus signum apposui.

 

Datum die 28 Octobris 1988

 

Ita est.

 

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius.

 


 

Sessio Quarta

 

 

 

 

Anna Domini millesimo nongentesimo octagesimo octavo, die vero quarta Novembris (sive 4-11-1988) hora 10.00 a.m., coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in praesenti causa canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Joseph De Piro pro Tribunali sedente in Aula Tribunalis Curiae Archiepiscopali Valletta, praesentibus Iustitiae Promotore legittime citato, meque Notario, comparuit Pater Aloysius Gatt MSSP testis inductus et citatus, cui delatum fuit iuramentum iuxta formulam in 2 Sessione relatam, quod ille statim praestitit et sese subscnipsit ut infra:

 

Ego Pater Louis Gatt MSSP testis iuravi:

 

Quo iuramentum praestito, clausis ianuis solisque remanentibus Delegato Archiepiscopali, Iustitiae Promotore ac dicto teste, ego Natarius exhibui plicum interrogatoriorum et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegatus Archiepiscapalis recognavisset clausum et illaesum, ex eius mandato aperui, et statim continuatum est examen dicti testis, qui ita respondit ad quaesita:—

 

16.       Can you describe the sense of discipline the Monsignor had regarding the members of the Society? With the children of the institutes? Do you think he was very strict or indulgent?

 

We had great respect for the Monsignor. He often cor­rected, but with prudence and charity. He corrected always - and all members of the Society. His disci­pline was felt by all; novices, students and professed. He never got angry, but we were inspired with awe in his presence.

 

As regards discipline, I do not know how he treated the members of the Society before they took the religious vows. As far as I know some of these left, not because of the discipline, but because when they joined the Society they did not intend to take the vows. As regards the children in the institutes I have this to say: He was very kind with them and there was lack of discipline in St. Joseph’s Institute. I do not know anything about the other institutes. By lack of disci­pline I mean that the Monsignor did not like to punish the children and they abused of his kindness. But when there were serious cases he would take serious steps and even expelled children from the Institute when this was necessary.

 

17.       Do you think that the programmed of studies and the life you led were rather hard? In what way? Who do you think was responsible for planning the way of life? Did the Founder know about this? What was his idea about this?

 

I want to explain that we had a full programmed; we were always occupied. Fr. Manwel Bugeja OSA was the master responsible for the novices and students, but Mons. De Piro himself made the programmed. Regarding our studies, Mons. De Piro sent us to the Augustinian Fathers and the Regent of the Augustinians made the programme of studies. He wanted the brothers to learn a trade and spend a year’s probation at St. Joseph’s Institute.

 

18.       You also said that the Society was poor. Then how do you explain the fact that you moved to different houses? From where did the Founder get the money needed?

 

When we moved to another house it was out of necessity because we were evicted from the house we occupied. I do not know from where the Founder obtained financial means. I know, however, that after 1923 he began publishing the Almanac and in it Mons. De Piro published the names of the benefactors of the Society. Mons. De Piro used to say that the Almanac served him to spread the idea of the Society and the Missions.

 

19.       Did the Founder and the other superiors share the same way of life with you? Or did they live apart and in better conditions than yours? How much was the Monsignor interested in your health, clothes and cleanliness?

 

The Founder shared with us the kind of life we led, with­out any difference, including the food although he was not very healthy. The same applies to the other superiors.  The Monsignor was interested in all our needs. He was like a father to us. Whenever he saw the need, he did all that was necessary for our health.

 

20.       You said that the Monsignor faced problems when he wanted to improve your situation? What type of problems was there? How did he try to solve them? What were his attitudes and reactions in moments like these?

 

Mons. De Piro’s problem was that we did not have a house for the Society. This problem greatly troubled Mons. De Piro, but he accepted all situations with resignation and calmness.

 

21.       What importance did the Founder give to the acade­mic preparation of those who wanted to become members of the Society? Did he sometimes accept some persons who had no preparation at all? Or did he think of making some preparations?

 

Before I joined the Society, Mons. De Piro asked me to produce the certificates I had obtained from the Dock­yard School. I also know that he sent other young peo­ple to St. Aloysius’ College to go on with their studies that were necessary. I also know that a student was ask­ed by the Monsignor to repeat a year.  This student did not accept and left the Society and later joined the Franciscan Minor Conventuals.

 

As a condition of studies, the Monsignor required the students to stay at St. Aloysius’ College until the fourth year. This College was at B’Kara and it was run by the Jesuits.

 

22.       Did he insist that the members should have academic preparation? Do you think that other things were sacrificed because of this? Do you think he was too strict and exacting when he insisted that you should speak Italian to such an extent that he did not answer when you spoke to him in Maltese?

 

When we joined the Society we first had a year of pro­bation. During this year we continued our study of La­tin and Italian Literature with the Augustinian Fathers. This interest in and importance of studies lasted for the whole academic course until our ordination. However, this interest in our studies did not lessen the importan­ce of other things. There was insistence that we should speak Italian but this was common practice everywhere in those days.

 

23.       Did the Founder love to keep personal contact with the members of the Society? Was this contact individual or in groups? And with the children of the institutes? What type of relations existed between you and him, in­dividually?

 

Individual personal contact took place only if a memb­er felt the need to talk to the Founder, but the latter did not take the initiative in this matter.  The idea of personal contact did not exist, for the Monsignor did not have the time. However, he talked to us in a group. As regards the children in the institutes he spoke to them individually only when this was necessary.

 

24.       Did he like to join you during recreation time? Did he show preference to some particular one? To what kind of people? Did he join you in some other activi­ties except spiritual ones, for example in your games?

 

Mons. De Piro loved very much to join us during our recreation. For him all of us were the same; there were no preferences. When there was a vacancy he chose by seniority, as long as the person concerned was suit­able for the vacancy concerned. He used to join us in our recreation, work etc. We lived like one family and he was like a father of the family.

 

25.       Did the Monsignor show interest in his mother? What were the relations between them?

 

The Monsignor showed great respect for his mother.  Every time he came to our house in Mdina he went to visit her.  She lived in the vicinity. However, he did not speak about her. He always had his meals with us, also on feast days.

 

26.       What impressed you most when the Founder conduct­ed some liturgical celebration? What do you mean when you say that he was very meticulous and serious re­garding religious ceremonies and vestments? On the other hand, was he careful and meticulous as regards his clothes and person?

 

When the Founder conducted some liturgical celebra­tion, what impressed me most were his devotion and precision. His liturgical vestments were always of the best.  During our novitiate he wanted us to learn the rites, liturgy and sacred music.

 

Apart from liturgical services he always took great care of his clothes and person. I noticed that as re­gards his clothes, although he had a wardrobe in our house, it was his mother that took care of his laundry.

 

Et attenta horae tarditatae, hora 11.45 a.m., suspensum fuit examen dicti testis, animo illud continuandi die 11 Novembris hora 10.00 a.m. hoc in loco. Ad quem effectum moniti fuerunt a Delegato Archiepiscopali tam idem testis quam Iustitiae Promotor, ut compareant dictis die et hora. Deinde ego Notarius eidem testi perlegi eius depositionem, data ei facultate addendi, minuendi, corrigendi, si necessario reputaverit. Ipse eam confirmavit seque in fidem subscripsit.

 

Pater Louis Gatt, MSSP

 

Deinde idem Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigillo ipsius obsignatis interrogatoriis, cum testium depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerem, ac sese subscripsit, cum Iustitiae Promotore, ut sequitur:

 

Pater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Delegatus Archiepiscopalis

Sac. J. Bajada, Promotor Iustitiae

 

Super quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopalis, hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma, et in fidem me subscripsi et meum notariatus signum apposui.

 

 

Datum die 4 Novembris 1988

 

Ita est.

 

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius.

 


 

Sessio Quinta

 

 

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo octavo, die vero decima prima Novembris (sive 11-11-1988), hora 10.00 a.m., coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in presenti causa canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Josephi De Piro pro Tribunali sedente in Aula Tribunalis Curiae Archiepiscopali Valletta, praesentibus Iustitiae Promotore legittime citato, meque Notario, comparuit Pater Aloysius Gatt MSSP, testis inductus et citatus, cui delatum fuit iuramentum iuxta formulam in 2 Sessione relatam, quod ille statim praestitit et sese subscripsit ut infra:

 

Ego Pater Louis Gatt MSSP testis iuravi:

 

Quo iuramento praestito, clausis ianuis solisque remanentibus Delegato Archiepiscopali, Iustitiae Promotore ac dicto teste, ego Notarius exhibui plicum interrogatorium et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegatus Archiepiscopalis recognovisset clausum et illaesum, ex eius mandato aperui, et statim continuatum est examen dicti testis, qui ita respondit ad quaesita:

 

27.       You stated De Piro experienced the happiest moment of his life on the occasion of your investiture. How can you say this? Did he ever say anything about this? What was he used to say?

 

The happiest moments of Mons. De Piro’s life certainly occurred when we had our investiture. We all noticed this when we saw him.  Also this was the largest number (four) and a few months later a fifth one joined us.  It was a time when the Society was rising on strong foun­dations.  We received our official uniform. Besides, at this time the Society obtained the Oratory at Birkirkara, where Mons. De Piro could gather and give formation to the aspirants to the Society. It was also the time when the first missionary, Bro. Guzepp Caruana, left. for Abyssinia. It was also the time when preparations were made for the building of St. Agatha’s.

 

28.       Did the Monsignor ever say why he wanted to build the House of St. Agatha? What were his plans? What pro­blems did he encounter? How did he acquire the site? From where did he get the funds? Who stopped the approv­al of the project? Why? How did you get to know this? Why did he tell you not to mention anything about this? Did he appear angry with those who created obstacles for him?

 

Mons. De Piro had the possibility of acquiring the church of St. Agatha and the fields around it. So he took the opportunity to build a house for the Society, where it could take roots, grow and develop. He obtain­ed one portion from his uncle, a baron and he bought other portions from his own share.

 

It so happened that when he prepared the plans and pre­sented them at the Curia, these plans were lost. I know this because when we asked him when the building of St. Agatha’s was going to commence, he would tell us to pray so that the plans might be found. In fact, when the Vic­ar of those days, Mons. Grech, died, the plans were found in his house. When these plans were lost Mons. De Piro was much upset, but he never got angry with anyone.

 

29.       Do you think that the Monsignor was too fond of this project?

 

Great was his interest in this project, but I cannot say that this interest was exaggerated although it was badly needed by the Society. He was always ready to ac­cept the will of God. He always felt responsible to ac­complish what God wanted from him and that is why he per­sisted in his work for the foundation and organization of the Society, even though several people including members of his family and other responsible people, suggested to him to abandon this whole project.

 

30.       Do you know why some members began to leave the Society? Was there any particular moment when this be­gan to happen?

 

In my opinion, only those who had no vocation left the Society.

 

When someone wanted to leave, the Monsignor would, first of all, tell him to think it over very carefully. If the person concerned still thought of leaving, he would be separated from the others not to cause them any harm.  When he was ready to leave, he would give him all he needed and afterwards he went on helping him; he kept good relations with those who left.

 

31.       Why do you think that there were some who discouraged you from remaining in the Society? How did the Founder react to this fact and with these persons?

 

Those who wanted to discourage us from remaining in the Society told us that the Society would not survive aft­er the Monsignor’s death.

 

The Monsignor learnt about all this, but he never got an­gry with these people. He would say that the Society would get bigger after his death. When once we informed him ab­out what we heard, the Monsignor told us: “If you leave, I will start again from the beginning.”

 

32.       Whose idea was it to separate the members who intend­ed to leave from the other members? What was the aim be­hind it? Did the Founder know about this?  Did he agree? How did he treat these members? Did he offer some help when they left? What kind of help?

 

lam provisum cf. No. 30.

 

33.       Can you explain better what kinds of problems the Monsignor had with the members of his family? Was there any trouble between them? What kind of trouble and why did it arise?

 

I also know that some of the members of his family believed that he was wasting their money on the Society. Because of this they did not cherish the Society. In fact after the Monsignor’s death it became clear that he spent only from his share for the Society and he never touched their shares. In fact the same members of his family paid the succession duties for the Monsignor’s share after his death.

 

34.       You said that the Founder was greatly interested in the Heroic Act for the souls of Purgatory. What did this act consist of?

 

As far as I know, the heroic act consists in offering all your good acts for the souls in Purgatory.

 

35.       What, in the Founder’s sermons, did you find strik­ing? What was his favorite subject in his sermons? What language did he speak? Do you think that in his ser­mons he reached the people? What, do you think, impres­sed them most? Do you know whether there are still manu­scripts of his sermons? Where?

 

In his sermons he often mentioned the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ as well as the devotion to the Vir­gin Mary and the need of her protection. He preached in Maltese except on some special occasion. The people en­joyed his sermons and they were most impressed when he enthused them for the devotion to our Lady.

 

There are still manuscripts of a collection of his ser­mons. Besides, there still exist the notes taken by a certain novice during the lectures of the Founder.

 

36.       How did you get to know that the Founder discussed the founding of the Society with his Superiors and Spi­ritual Director? Did he ever mention how he came by this idea and how he started?

 

I never discussed this item with the Founder, and what I said about this in my evidence I learnt from the literature I read on the Founder.

 

37.       Do you know why the Founder thought of resigning from the Cathedral Chapter and other activities? Why did he remain? Why did he not take the religious vows?

 

I heard about this from one of our priests. He learnt from the Founder himself that Mons. De Piro wanted to resign from the Cathedral Chapter and other activities to live with us a religious life. He also intended to go to the missions of Abyssinia and take with him two members, Fr. Guzepp Spiteri and Bro. Girolmu Gatt. How­ever, he died before he could accomplish this.

 

He wanted to go to Abyssinia to have firsthand knowledge of the situation there and consider the possibility of opening a house there.

 

38.       What part did De Piro play in the founding of the Congregation of Sisters with the missionary charism? Why did these efforts fail?

 

This Congregation was just being founded. He worked hard for them to get approval. In fact later on, it became “The Congregation of Jesus of Nazareth”. He is not the Found­er, for the foundress is Miss Curmi. It was Mons. De Piro’s idea that this should be a missionary congregation forming a branch of our Society. His idea was not accomplish­ed because of his death.

 

39.       What do you think was the reason why De Piro was given the running of so many institutes of children? Do you think that he himself looked for these responsibilities? If yes, why?

 

I know that Mons De Piro used to go to help Fr. Gorg Bugeja at St. Joseph’s Institute. I believe that he wished to become Director of this Institute so that he might find there vocations for the Society.  In fact we had several vocations from this Institute. The Ecclesiastical Authorities on their own initiative entrusted the other in­stitutes to him. His aim in the running of these institutes was the spiritual and civic formation of the children.

 

Et attenta horae tarditatae, hora 11.45 a.m., suspensum fuit examen dicti testis, animo illud continuandi die 25 Novembris hora 10.00 a.m. hoc in loco. Ad quem effectum moniti fuerunt a Delegato Archiepiscopali tam idem testis quam Iustitiae Promotor, ut compareant dictis die et hora. Deinde ego Notarius eidem testi perlegi eius depositionem, data ei facultate addendi, minuendi, corrigendi, si necessario reputaverit. Ipse eam confirmavit seque in fidem subscripsit.

 

Pater Louis Gatt, MSSP

 

Deinde idem Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigillo ipsius obsignatis interrogatoriis, cum testium depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerem, ac sese subscripsit, cum Iustitiae Promotore, ut sequitur:

 

Pater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Delegatus Archiepiscopalis

Sac J. Bajada, Iustitiae Promotor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopali, hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma, et in fidem me subscripsi et meum notariatus sigillum apposui.

 

Datum die 11 Novembris 1988

 

Ita est.

 

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius.

 


 

Sessio Sexta

 

 

 

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo octavo, die vero vigesima quinta Novembris (sive 25-11-1988) hora 10.00 a.m., coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in praesenti Causa canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Josephi De Piro pro Tribunali sedente in Aula Tribunalis Curiae Archiepiscopali Valletta, praesentibus Iustitiae Promotore legittime citato, meque Notario, comparuit Pater Aloysius Gatt MSSP testis inductus et citatus, cui delatum fuit iuramentum iuxta formulam in 2 Sessione relatam, quod ille statim praestitit et sese subscripsit ut infra:

 

Ego Pater Louis Gatt MSSP testis iuravi:

 

Quo iuramento praestito, clausis ianuis solisque remanentibus Delegato Archiepiscopali, Iustitiae Promotore ac dicto teste, ego Notarius exhibui plicum interrogatorium et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegatus Archiepiscopalis recognovisset clausum et illaesum, ex eius mandato aperui, et statim continuatum est examen dicti testis, qui ita respondit ad quaesita:

 

40.       Did you notice any change in these institutes when he was directing them’? Where did he get the means? How did he get on with the children and those in charge of them? Which aspect did he emphasize most in the for­mation of the children?

 

I know certain institutes were enlarged, but I cannot give details about the changes and progress in these in­stitutes. Money was obtained from collections and bene­factors. He was fatherly with everyone but he insisted most on the spiritual formation of the children.

 

41.       What were the relations between the Founder and the members of the MUSEUM who also had the teaching of catechism in Birkirkara? Do you know of any problems in this respect?

 

The Oratory in the parish of Birkirkara was far from the centre where members of the MUSEUM used to teach catechism.  So, there were no problems. Besides, I also know that on special occasions, as at the Sun­day Mass, they worked together.

 

42.       Can you give further information about what the Servant of God told you about the problems in Gudja? How and to what extent was he involved?

 

I never heard anything about this from the Servant of God.

 

43.       Do you know whether he was in the Senate as a po­litical representative or as a representative of the Clergy? Who chose him? And why?  In what way did he ac­complish this task? Did he contribute to the Maltese Society in any way?

 

Mons. De Piro was chosen by the Archbishop to represent the Clergy. I do not know why the Archbishop chose him. His aim, as member of the Senate, was to defend the rights of the Church and prevent abuses. I do not re­member if as member of the Senate, he ever made par­ticular contribution to the Maltese Society.

 

44.       Do you know if the Founder suffered from some par­ticular illness? How did he react to his sufferings? Was he much preoccupied? Did he show that he was afraid of death?

 

I know that before the foundation of the Society, he contracted tuberculosis and spent two years in Switzer­land from where he returned healed. During the time I was in the Society he was always in good health, but I know that once he had a breakdown and his doctor order­ed him to go abroad to rest.  He left Fr. Guzepp Spiteri in charge.

 

After his sudden death I heard that he had the first signs of kidney trouble.

 

Mons. De Piro never made reference to illness or suffer­ing, but his general attitude was of one always resigned to the will of God.

 

45. How do you describe the reaction of people to the news of De Piro’s death? How did the people behave during his funeral?

 

All the newspapers wrote about him. He was very well known because of the positions he occupied, but, above all, because he was director of five institutes. Many people who realized that by his death they lost a person who was kind to everyone mourned him.

 

His funeral was very private up to the gate of the Ce­metery. In the Cemetery it was a solemn funeral. The Governor General, members of the Cathedral Chapter and of Parliament, relatives, a great number of priests and monks, the children of the institutes, and many people attended. The Archbishop, Dom Mauro Caruana OSB was abroad and the Vicar General conducted the service. In his will, Mons. De Piro made it clear that he did not want a solemn funeral. When I said that there was a solemn funeral at the Cemetery, I did not mean that it was organized. I only mean that the spontaneous attendance of so great a number of people gave an atmosphere of great solemnity to the last part of the funeral, that is, that part in the Cemetery.

 

After some time the Society asked, and was granted, the permission to take the remains of Mons. De Piro from the Addolorata Cemetery where he was buried, to the crypt prepared on purpose beside the Chapel of St. Agatha in the Central House of our Society. This transport took place as follows. First there was a private transport from the Cemetery to the chapel of St. Agatha in Mdina. The solemn transport, led by Archdeacon Mons. Apap Bologna, left for the Chapel of St. Agatha in our Central House, where Mass was celebrated for the repose of his soul. A large number of priests and religious took part in this solemn transport.

 

Et sic absoluto praedicti testis examine, de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopalis ego Notarius alta et intelligibili voce testi perlegi integram depositionem, data ei facultate addendi, minuendi, corrigendi, si necessarium reputaverit. Ipse eam ratam habuit et confirmavit his verbis:

 

Iuro me veritatem tota in mea depositione dixisse et confirmo omnia quae superius deposui.

 

Pater. Louis Gatt MSSP

 

Dimisso autem teste, Delegatus Archiepiscopali mihi mandavit expediri citationem contra testem inductum Josephum Tonna ut examini se subiiciat, et contra Iustitiae Promotorem ut assistat die nona Decembris, anno millesimo nonogentesimo octogesimo octavo, hora 10.00 a.m. in hoc loco habendae.

 

Deinde idem Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigillo ipsius obsignatis interragatoriis, cum testium depositionibus, rnandavit mihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerem, ac sese subscripsit cum Iustitiae Promotore, ut sequitur:

 

Pater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Delegatus Episcopalis

Sac. J. Bajada, Iustitiae Promotor

 

Super quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis ego Notarius de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopali hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma, et in fidem me subscripsi et meum notariatus signum apposui.

 

Actum die 25 Novembris 1988

           

Ita est.

 

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius.

 


 

Sessio Septima

 

 

 

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo octavo, die vero nona Decembris (sive 9-12-1988) hora 10.00 a.m., coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in praesenti causa canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Josephi De Piro pro Tribunali sedente in Aula Tnibunalis Curiae Archiepiscopali Valletta, praesentibus Iustitiae Promotore legittime citato, meque Notario, comparuit Dominus Joseph Tonna testis inductus et citatus, cui delatum fuit iuramentum iuxta formulam in 2 Sessione relatam, quod ille statim praestitit et sese subscripsit ut infra:

 

Ego Joseph Tonna testis iuravi:

 

Quo uuramento praestito, clausis ianuis, solisque remanentibus Delegato Archiepiscopali, Iustitiae Promotore ac dicto teste, ego Notarius exhibui plicum interrogatorium et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegatus Archiepiscopalis recognovisset clausum et illaesum, ex eius mandato aperui, et statim diventum est ad examen dicti testis, qui ita respondit ad quesita:

 

Personalia.

 

 I am Mr. Joseph Tonna, son of the late Francesco and Giovanna née Micallef born at Rabat on the 29th March 1905, pensioner and practicing Catholic.  I reside at Rabat, Malta.

 

1.         You say that you know Mons. Giuseppe De Piro. At the time you knew him, was he already a Monsignor? Do you know why he was made a Monsignor: because he had made some particular contribution to the Diocese or simply as an honour? Do you think he tried hard to ob­tain this rank? Did he show that he was proud of it?

 

2.         Do you know whether he had some special duty or work in the Chapter? Did he conscientiously carry out his duties as Monsignor?

 

3.         At the beginning of your statement you said you knew Mons. De Piro because you come from Mdina. How old were you at the time? How much contact had you with the Monsignor? How long did this contact last?

 

I have always known Mons. De Piro as monsignor.  This title did not make him proud. I cannot give any more details, but he deserved to be a monsignor. At that time I was only eight years old and my contact with him last­ed for four years, until I was eleven. After this I lost all contact with him.

 

4.         What were your contacts with his family? What was your father’s work with the De Piro family? Did your father ever mention the Monsignor? What was he used to say?

 

I did not have any contact with the family of the Monsignor. It was my father who had contact with them, as he was the carpenter of the De Piros. Most of what I know about the Monsignor I learnt from my father. He always had a good word for him. He used to say that Mons. De Piro’s mother used to say that her son, the Monsignor, gave all he had to the poor.

 

5.         Do you remember what type of family was that of the Monsignor: class, sociable, brothers and sisters, many illnesses, etc? Did the Monsignor live in their house? Do you know if the Monsignor suffered from some parti­cular illnesses? How did he get on with the members of his family and relatives?

 

My father used to say that the family of Mons. De Piro was an exemplary family. They were noble but they mixed with the people. During the time I knew him I do not re­member that I heard about illnesses in the family or that the Monsignor suffered from some illness. I do not know how he got on with the members of his family and the relatives.

 

6.         Was there any particular reason why you mention the fact that De Piro’s sister often stopped to talk with your mother when arriving by train? Did she talk about the Monsignor? Do you know where she came from?

 

Mons. De Piro’s sister used to call at our house to have a short rest before proceeding to her mother’s house. She used to come from her Attard residence. I do not know what the subject of their conversation was.

 

7.         You say that you used to attend for catechism in the first house of De Piro’s Society? This means that the Monsignor had already founded the Society when you were still a child. Do you know how, why and when the Monsignor founded this Society? About the type of Society it was?

 

8.         Can you give further information, from what you personally used to see and hear, about this Society: how many were the members? From where did the Monsignor get the funds? Difficulties and problems he encountered? Who created these problems? What type of houses were the first house and the others they moved to? Etc., etc.?

 

The Monsignor had already founded the Society when I used to attend for catechism. All I know about the Socie­ty is that they used to teach us catechism. I remember that this place was a big house and included the living quarters of the members. I cannot give further details.

 

9.         Do you know if the Monsignor stayed and lived at the house of Mdina? If in the affirmative, did you ever see his room? Can you describe it? If in the negative where did he stay, and why? How did you get to know this?

 

I know nothing about this.

 

10.       As far as you can remember who had started the ca­techism classes in the House of the Society? Do you know whether this was the idea of Mons. De Piro? (How do you know this?) What was the aim of the person who started them?  Was the teaching of catechism the aim of the Society? Who were the teachers?

 

I do not know who started these catechism classes. I know that they always existed at that time. At Mdina, where I resided, there were no other places for cate­chism; children came also from Rabat. We were taught by the members of De Piro’s Society, and I guess that the teaching of catechism was the main aim of the Society.

 

11.       Did the Monsignor teach catechism? Or did he organise the classes? Do you know if he organised similar lessons in some other place? Or if he ever wrote some­thing about the teaching of catechism?

 

The Monsignor did not take any classes, for Fra Guzepp Caruana was responsible for the teaching of catechism. I do not know whether the Monsignor organized similar lessons in other places, or whether he ever wrote something about the teaching of catechism.

 

12.       Do you think it was he who selected those respon­sible for the teaching of catechism? What qualities do you think he expected in those he entrusted with this task? For what reason, do you think, he used to ask you questions when he visited you?

 

I believe it was the Monsignor who chose the teachers of catechism; he saw to it that they were suitable for this work. He used to ask us questions to see how we were progressing and not because he did not trust Bro. Guzepp.

 

13.       Did he appear to like hearing confessions? Do you know if he heard confessions in some other place as well? How do you know this? Did you ever see him hearing con­fessions in some other place? Did he have many people for confessions? Did he show any preference to some section of people in particular?

 

14.       Did children seem to prefer him for confession? Was there any particular reason why you preferred him? What area did he like to stress most: sin, punishment, God’s love and mercy, courage?

 

All I know is that on Saturdays when he was at the house for catechism he stayed to hear confessions. I do not know any more details. We children used to confess according to our turn and if it was our turn, we confessed to the Monsignor.

 

15.       Apart from confessions, did the Monsignor like to mix with you children? What was his favourite subject when he talked to you? Did he ever join you in play­time? If not, what do you think kept him back?

 

16.       Do you know if, at the time of your childhood and even later, the Monsignor had some other occupation.  And what was it? Do you know if he undertook this task out of his own free will or did someone else order him? Who? How did he accomplish it? How did you get to know about this?

 

The Monsignor did not mix with us children. I do not know why, but I do know that the Monsignor was very busy. I knew that Mons. De Piro was in charge of St. Joseph’s Institute.  Later, from what I heard and read, I learnt that he had a lot of other work.

 

17.       Do you know why he used to come to Mdina? How long did he stay? Where was he used to go and where did he sleep: at the house of the Society or with his family?

 

18.       Did he show interest in his family? In the members of the Society? Did he attend at the Cathedral?

 

He used to come to Mdina because of his mother and family. He showed interest in the members of the Society — he was the Founder ; He also attended the services at the Cathedral. I cannot give any further details.

 

l9.        You mentioned the aspirants and the ‘chosen’. What aspirants and ‘chosen’ were these’? Did these youths come from the same catechism classes? Were they therefore considered to have the vocation to become members of the Society? Did this mean that the Monsignor had formed these catechism classes with the intention of raising vacations for his Society?

 

These aspirants and the chosen ones were better children than the others. They had a little more formation, and at times he allowed them to give a lesson. This choice was made by Bro. Guzepp, but I believe Mons. De Piro knew about such an arrangement. Perhaps there was the idea that these would become members of the Society later on. I cannot supply further details.

 

20.       How old were these aspirants? Did they live in the house of the Society? Do you know if and where they went for their studies?

 

These were selected when they were about eleven years old. They did not live in the house of the Society and they attended only for catechism. They were not sent to any particular place for studies. These were different from those youths who joined the Society with the inten­tion of becoming members later on.

 

21.       And why do you think that these appeared to join and leave the Society often? Do you know the reason? Did you get to know this later?  Or, did you already notice it and hear about it? In fact did you ever hear anyone talk about this? If yes, what kind of talk was it? Did you ever hear the Monsignor mention anything about this?

 

I believe that those youths who joined with the inten­tion of becoming members often used to join and leave for the simple reason that they did not have the vocation.

 

This is only what I thought and I never heard anything to substantiate it; the Monsignor himself never made any reference to this.

 

22.       Do you know why those who studied for the priest­hood were not much involved in the teaching of cate­chism? Are you here referring to the aspirants? Or were there others? Can you explain more clearly (students, aspirants, novices, priests)? Do you think this was some idea of the Monsignor? What makes you think this?

 

I do not know why those who were studying for the priest­hood did not take part in the teaching of catechism, perhaps because of their studies.

 

By the word ‘aspirants’ I mean those who attended St. Augustine’s school with the intention of remaining in the Society of Mons. De Piro.

 

By the word ‘novice’ I mean those who intended to become religious.

 

By the word ‘students’ I mean those who studied to be­come priests.

 

By the word ‘priests’ I mean those who were preparing for the ordination.

 

I do not know whether it was Mons. De Piro’s idea that those who studied for the priesthood did not take an active part in the teaching of catechism.

 

Et attenta horae tarditatae, hora 12.00 suspensum fuit examen dicti testis, animo illud continuandi die 16 Decembris, hora 10.00 a.m., hoc in loco. Ad quem effectum moniti fuerunt a Delegato Archiepiscopali tam idem tes­tis quam Iustitiae Promotor, ut compareant dictis die et hora. Deinde ego Notarius eidem testi perlegi eius depositionem, data ei facultate addendi, minuendi, corrigendi, si necessario reputaverit. Ipse eam confirmavit seque in fidem subscripsit.

 

Joseph Tonna, testis.

 

Deinde idem Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigillo ipsius obsignatis interrogatoriis, cum testium depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerem, ac sese subscripsit, cum Iustitiae Promotore, ut sequitur:

 

Pater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Delegatus Archiepiscopalis

Sac. J. Bajada, Promotor Iustitiae

 

Super quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis, ego Notarius de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopali hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma, et in fidem me subscripsi et meum notariatus sigillum apposui.

 

Datum est die 9 Decembris 1988

 

Ita est.

 

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius.


 

Sessio Octava

 

 

 

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo Octavo, die vero decima Sexta Decembris (sive 16-12-1988) hora 9.45 a.m., coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in praesenti causa canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Josephi De Piro pro Tribunali sedente in Aula Tribunalis Curiae Archiepiscopali Valletta, praesentibus Iustitiae Promotore legittime citato, meque Notario, comparuit D.nus Joseph Tonna testis inductus et citatus, cui delatum fuit iuramentum iuxta formulam in 2 Sessione relatam, quod ille statim praestitit et sese subscripsit ut infra:

 

Ego Joseph Tonna testis iuravi:

 

Quo iuramento praestito, clausis ianuis, solisque remanentibus Delegato Archiepiscopali, Iustitiae Promotore ac dicto teste, ego Notarius exhibui plicum interrogatorium et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegatus Archiepiscopalis recognovisset clausum et illaesum, ex eius mandato aperui, et statim diventum est ad examen dicti testis, qui ita respondit ad quaesita:

 

23.       Do you know if, besides these members, there were others who stayed somewhere else? If yes, where and what was their work?

 

I know nothing about this.

 

24        You also mention Bro. Guzepp. Who was he and what do you know about him? What were the relations between him and Mons. De Piro? Why do you call him Brother? Does this mean that besides priests there were also brothers in the Society? Were there many of them, and what was their work? How did the Monsignor get on with them?

 

I do not know much about Bro. Guzepp. It was said that he came from Cospicua. I know that he was much trusted by Mons. De Piro and he was in charge of the house of the Society at Mdina. I know about only one priest who was member of the Society and left.  He went to some place to act as assistant parish priest. There were several brothers, but I do not know what their work was.

 

25.       Do you remember the Monsignor taking part in some celebration when you were still a child or even later? Where? How were you affected?

 

At times I saw the Monsignor perform divine service. I was attracted to him not only during the service but always, for he was affable and humble.

 

26.       Among other things you said: “…when the cassock came”. What did you mean by this? Was there any time when the members of the Society did not wear the cassock”?  Do you remember the year when they first dressed the cassock, and who was the Bishop at the time? Do you remember how the cassock was at that time? Do you know why they started to wear the cassock? What was the Monsignor’s idea about this?

 

At first the members of the Society wore plain clothes, a black suit. At the time I attended for catechism they still wore plain clothes. Later they wore the cassock and a black sash.

 

27.       You said that at Christmas and Carnival they or­ganised some activities and also gave you prizes. Did the Monsignor attend on these occasions? Did he share the fun? Who procured the money?

 

As far as I know the Monsignor was never present on these occasions. I do not know who provided for these expenses.

 

28.       You also state that De Piro was not often at the house. Where, therefore, would he be? Do you know if he had other work to do in some other place? What was it, and where?

 

At that time I only knew that the Monsignor was not at the House often, but I did not know where he used to be.

 

29.       How is it that you received the first Holy Communion from Fr. Gorg Preca of the MUSEUM, in the Chapel of the Society? How did Fr. Gorg get into this? And was not the Monsignor present?

 

I cannot say anything about this except that the Monsignor was not present.

 

30.       What were the relations between De Piro and Fr. Gorg Preca? Were they friends?

 

I do not know anything about this.

 

31.       Was the Monsignor a devotee of the Eucharist? Did you ever see him saying Mass? Can you explain his attit­ude in these circumstances?

 

I never saw him saying Mass, although at times I saw him during services. But I know nothing about the rest.

 

32.       You are of the opinion that Mons. De Piro was most charitable. What makes you say this? Did you have first hand knowledge of this or from hearsay? In both cases can you mention some examples? How do you know this since “… he liked to help people without showing it”?

 

33.       You also mention a certain Wenzu Grixti and add that the Monsignor “as usual” slept “on blankets laid on the floor”. Did he give both his mattress and clothes to the poor? How and when did you get to know about these things? Was there someone else who knew about them? Details.

 

I know that Mons. De Piro was very charitable, from my rather and from a certain Wenzu Grixti. These knew the Monsignor very well.  Wenzu Grixti was a servant with the De Piro family, and thus he knew certain details about the family.

 

34.       You also state that the Monsignor was a saintly person. “Everyone thought this of him”. Give the reasons that make you believe that De Piro was a saint. And what did people say? All this occurred when you were still a child; during his lifetime or after his death? What was the reason why they believed this?

 

I was struck by his smile and affability and these made me feel that he was a saint. During his lifetime and after his death people regarded him as a saint because of his humility and general behavior.

 

35.       Did you ever hear the Monsignor preach? More than once? What was the subject of his sermons? What impres­sed you most?

 

I never heard the Monsignor preach.

 

36.       “The Monsignor was a different type”? How do you describe the Monsignor? Was he odd? Introvert? Shy? Did he dislike mixing with people? Why do you think that he “seemed less popular” than his brother?

 

When I say that he was “of another type,” I mean that he was completely dedicated to his Society and his other projects. He seemed to me less popular than his brother because, owing to his numerous activities, he did not have the time to mix with people. He was also a very humble person.

 

37.       How did the Monsignor get on with his brother Fr. Santin? Where did this Fr. Santin reside and why? Did they often meet? Do you think they were close?

 

Fr. Santin resided in the Cathedral square and mostly in St. Paul’s Bay. I know nothing about the rest.

 

38.       You state that at times De Piro appeared on the feast of St. Joseph. What do you think was the reason why he attended for this feast? Did he have some spec­ial devotion towards this saint? Was he a devotee of other saints? Which ones?

 

The De Piro family were all devotees of St. Joseph. I believe that, like them, Mons. De Piro was a devotee of St. Joseph. I do not know whether he had other de­votions.

 

39.       As far as you know was he ever involved in party affairs at Rabat or some other place? Give details.

 

I do not know that he ever was involved in ‘parties’, and I know that he never frequented any club.

 

40.       Why did the Monsignor go to Qrendi? For holidays? Reasons of health? Some other reason? How do you know this?

 

All I know is that he loved to go to Qrendi where he had a house.

 

41.       Did this Wenzu Grixti ever tell you something else about the Monsignor? If yes, do you remember what he used to tell you?

 

Wenzu Grixti used to talk only about the charity of Mons. De Piro and added that he never informed Mons. De Piro’s mother about this, not to upset her.

 

I have nothing else to add to the above statements.

 

Et sic hora 10.30 a.m., absoluto praedicti testis exami­ne, de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopali ego Notarius alta et intelligibili voce testi perlegi integram depositionem, data ei facultate addendi, minuendi vel corrigendi si necessario reputaverit. Ipse eam ratam habuit et confirmavit his verbis:

 

Iuro me veritatem tota in mea depositione dixisse et confirmo omnia quae superius deposui.

 

Joseph Tonna, testis;

 

Dimisso autem testi, Delegatus Archiepiscopalis mihi mandavit espediri citationern contra testern inductum Seraphinum Fenech O.F.M. Conv. ut examini se subiiciat, et contra Iustitiae Promotorem ut assistat die 23 Decembris 1988.

 

Deinde idem Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigillo ipsius obsignatis interrogatoriis, cum testium depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerem, ac sese subscripsit, cum Iustitiae Promotore, ut sequitur:

 

Pater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Delegatus Episcopalis

Sac. J. Bajada, Promotor Iustitiae

 

Super quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis, ego Notarius, de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopalis hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma, et in fidem me subscripsi et meum notariatus signum apposui.

 

Datum die 16 Decembris 1988.

 

Ita est.

 

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius.


 

Sessio Nona

 

 

 

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo octavo, die vero vigesima secunda Decembris (sive 22-12-1988), hora 9.15 a.m. coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in praesenti causa Canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Josephi De Piro pro Tribunali sedente in Domo Christi Sacerdos, B’Kara, praesentibus Iustitiae Promotore legitime citato, meque Notario adiuncto, comparuit Rev. D.nus Pater Seraphinus Fenech, O.F.M. Conv, testis inductus et citatus, cui delatum fuit iuramentum iuxta formulam in 2 Sessionem relatam, quod ille statim praestitit et sese subscripsit ut infra:

 

Ego Pater Seraphinus M. Fenech, 0.F.M. Conv. testis iuravi.

 

Quo iuramento praestito, clausis ianuis, solisque remanentibus Delegato Archiepiscopali, Iustitiae Promotore et dicto teste, ego Notarius exhibui plicum interrogatorium et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegatus Archiepiscopalis recognovisset clausum et illaesum, ex eius mandato aperui, et statim diventum est ad examen dicti testis, qui ita respondit ad quaesita:

 

Personalia:

 

I, Fr. Serafin Fenech, son of Carmelo and Evangelion Sapiano, was born at Rabat, 3 November 1908.  My residence is Domus Cleri, B’Kara.

 

1.         What did you mean when you said that you knew Mons. De Piro directly? When was this? For how long were you close to him? What was your connection with him? What connection did the Monsignor have with Rabat at the time you knew him?

 

I was an altar boy at the Cathedral, 1919 - 1924. I was close to him about five years. He had connections with Rabat and St. Agatha. The latter belonged to the parish, but it was in his charge. I knew him most at the Cathedral.

 

2.         You mention the Society of Mons. De Piro. Do you know how, why and when did the Monsignor found the Society? What type of Society was it?

 

I do not know anything about what type of Society it was.

 

3.         Can you give us further information, obviously from what you saw and heard personally, about this Society?  How many were the members?  What type were they?  From where did the Monsignor acquire the means when he was faced with difficulties and problems? Who created these problems? What type of houses had he? Etc. etc.

 

No, I did not hear anything about this Society.

 

4.         Do you know if the Monsignor lived in the Mdina House? If yes, did you ever see his room? Can you des­cribe it? If not, where did he live, and why? How did you get to know this?

 

I do not know that he lived in the House at Mdina. I know his mother. I do not know if he lived at Mdina. I think that he lived most at St. Joseph’s. I do not know if he always lived at Mdina. I remember that at times I saw him wearing the vestments of Monsignor leaving his mother’s house for the Cathedral.

 

5.         Do you know why at times he came to Mdina? How long did he stay there? Where did he go, and where did he sleep?

 

He used to come to Mdina to say Mass at the Cathedral. I have no other information.

 

6.         Did he show interest in his family? In the members of the Society?

 

I have no information.

 

7.         What did the people and Monsignors think about the future of the Society?

 

I do not know. (I have no information).

 

8.         Do you know if there were many who wished to join the Society? What type of people would these be? Did they remain? How do you know this? Why?

 

I have no information.

 

9.         You state that you used to go for catechism at Xara Palace, from Rabat. As far as you know, who had started the catechism classes in the House of the Society? Do you know whether this was the idea of Mons. De Piro? How do you know this? What was the aim of those who started them? Was the teaching of catechism the aim of the Society? Who were the catechists?

 

10.       Did the Monsignor teach catechism? Or did he organise the classes? Do you know if he organised similar lessons in some other place? Did he ever write something about the teaching of catechism?

 

All I know is that there were Bro. Guzepp and some other members of the Society. Besides, I also know that some of the first members of the Society used to go to St. Augustine’s Priory for their studies. I have no other information.

 

11.       At the time you knew De Piro was he already a Monsignor? Do you know why he was appointed a Monsignor?  Because he had made some particular contribution to the Diocese?  Or simply as an honour? Do you think he himself worked for this office? Did he seem to be proud of this office?

 

12.       Do you know if he held some office in the Chapter? Did he perform well his duties as Monsignor?

 

At the time I knew him he was already a Monsignor. I do not know why he was appointed a Monsignor. It is certain that he was not proud of this position. He was Dean of the Chapter and Rector of the Seminary at Mdina. I can’t explain how he performed his work.

 

13.       You say that he was “… dignified and polite in his behaviour and he always showed that he knew how to be­have.” Can you explain this better with some examples?

 

About this I have nothing to add, as I did not see him often.

 

14.       You also state “… wherever he was you would never see him chatting. He was very serious.” How would you des­cribe the Monsignor? Do you think he was of a strange character?  Timid? Shy? Didn’t he like to mix with people? Why, do you think, did he adopt this attitude?

 

As I used to see the Monsignor at the Cathedral in con­nection with his duties he did not stop to chat or in­dulge in small talk with the others.

 

15.       You say that he did not correct you altar boys, nor did he get angry with you? Was he the type of person who was very tolerant? Was he not a disciplinarian? Why do you think he did not correct you? And did he treat other children in the same way?

 

All I can say is that the Monsignor did not get angry easily with us children.

 

16.       Do you know the reason why he did not often say Mass at the Cathedral? And why did he delegate others to say the Conventual Mass in his place?

 

17.       Do you know if, during your childhood and also lat­er, the Monsignor had some other work?  And what was it? Do you know if this was his own choice, or if he was or­dered to do it by others? How did he perform it? How did you get to know this?

 

I think that the reason for this was his work in one of the Institutes he had in his charge. I have no other information about this work.

 

18. You mention the great devotion with which Mons. De Piro said Mass. Can you explain more clearly? Was he de­vout because he spent a longer time than the others to say Mass? Did you notice him making preparation before the Mass and thanksgiving after it? In what way?

 

19.       Did he seem to like hearing confessions? Do you know if he heard confessions in some other places? How do you know this? Did he have many people for confession?  Did he show any preference to some section of particular people?

 

20.       Why did you not wish to serve him at Mass? What do you mean when you say that you considered him to be “ a little scrupulous”? And this only at Mass? Did you ever see him administering other sacraments? How did he act?

 

I noticed that the Monsignor was most recollected when say­ing Mass, so much so that we altar boys tried to avoid serving him because he took a long time saying Mass.  When I said that the Monsignor was somewhat scrupulous I meant that he took a long time to say Mass. I did not see him administering other sacraments.

 

21.       Did children seem to seek him for confessions? Was there any particular reason why you children sought him? What did he stress most: sin, punishment, the love and mercy of God, courage?

 

I have no information about this.

 

22.       Did you ever hear the Monsignor preach? More than once? What did he preach on? What impressed you most?

 

I have no idea that I heard him preaching.

 

23.       Did you observe him while praying? How do you des­cribe his attitude at such moments?

 

I do not remember.

 

24.       Do you remember what type of family the Monsignor had? Social class, sociable, brothers and sisters, prone to illness? Did the Monsignor live with them at home? Do you know whether the Monsignor suffered from some parti­cular illness? How did he get on with his family?

 

I do not know his family.

 

25.       You say that his mother loved to say: “Look, here comes my beggar!” Did she sometimes say this when you were present, or did you hear someone else say this? Do you know why she used to say this? And from where, and when, did you get to know this? Details please.

 

All I know is that when I was already a friar I heard peo­ple saying that his mother used to refer to him as her beggar. This was due to the help he sought for the child­ren who were in his charge.

 

26.       You say that the Monsignor was very careful not to spend money for himself so that with the money saved he could feed the children. What children were these? What connection was there between the Monsignor and these children? How was he used to help them?

 

27.       You mention Ganni Calleja who was a tailor at St. Joseph’s Institute. Was there some connection between the Servant of God and this Institute? What was it? Do you know what was the task of the Monsignor in this Institute? How did you get to know this?

At this time he was Director of St. Joseph’s Institute at Hamrun. I think he had other duties in other places.

 

28.       Did this Ganni ever refer to the way the Monsignor treated these children, the priests and other people who worked at St. Joseph’s?

 

I have no further information about this.

 

29.       You say that the Servant of God was charitable. What makes you say this? Did you yourself see this or did you hear others talk about this? Do you know if he treated others as he treated you? After your recovery do you know if he again tried to contact you?

 

I have no other information to add to what I have al­ready said.

 

30.       When did you learn that he had other institutes in his charge? Do you know which they were? And what was his work in these institutes?

 

All I know about his work in other institutes consists in what I read about it later on.

 

31.       You say that you do not remember anything about the death of the Monsignor. Don’t you remember in what way people could have reacted? Or if something appeared in the newspapers? Don’t you remember anything about the funeral and when he was buried?

 

I cannot say anything about this because I was abroad.

 

32.       You say, however, that you well remember the trans­port of his remains from the Addolorata Cemetery to the house of St. Agatha. Do you know who made the request for this transport? When, and why? Do you know if, among those who accompanied him, there was some bishop and diocesan clergy? If not, do you know why?

 

I only know that when the remains were transported from the chapel of St. Agatha, which is close to the Mo­nastery of St. Benedict, Mdina, to St. Agatha’s, in Rabat, which was already in the hands of the Society, there was the Cathedral Chapter and other priests, led by the Arch­deacon Apap Bologna, and I took part.

 

33.       You mention the house of St. Agatha in Mdina. Can you tell us something about how and when and who built this house?

 

Omittitur.

 

34.       Do you remember when it was that you met Fr. Joseph Spiteri? Do you remember for what particular occasion he was referring when he told you he had put salt when the Servant of God died or before he was transported? It ap­pears that you saw the open coffin. When was this? Does this mean that the remains were exposed? Could his re­mains be seen? And what can you say about them?

 

On the day of the transport and before the final burial they opened the coffin and I could see that the body of the Monsignor was fairly conserved, although some years had passed. His clothes were well conserved. I do not remember if it was on that day or before that Fr. Guzepp Spiteri, himself one of the first members of the Society, had told me that he had put some salt in the coffin lined with zinc to conserve the corpse.

 

35.       Did you still hear something about the Servant of God from the regular and diocesan clergy? From the people?

 

I did not hear anything in particular about him.

 

Et sic hora 10.30 a.m. absoluto praedicti testis examine, de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopali ego Notarius alta et intelligibili voce testi perlegi integram depositionem, data ei facultate addendi, minuendi vel corrigendi si necessario reputaverit. Ipse eam ratam habuit et confirmavit his verbis:

 

Pater Seraphinus M. Fenech, O.F.M. Conv.

 

Dimisso autem testi, Delegatus Archiepiscopalis mihi mandavit expediri citationem contra testem inductum Rev. Frater Paulum Spiteri O.S.A. a examini se subiiciat, et contra Iustitiae Promotorem ut assistat die 13 Januari 1989, hora 10.00 a.m. in Domo Cleri “Christus Sacerdos” Birchircarae.

 

Deinde idem Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausum et sigillo ipsius obsignatis interrogatoriis, cum testium depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerem, ac sese subscripsit, cum Iustitiae Promotore, ut sequitur:

 

Pater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Delegatus Archiepiscopalis

Sac. J. Bajada, Promotor Iustitiae

 

Supra quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis, ego notarius adiunctus de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopalis hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma, et in fidem me subscripsi et meum notariatus sigillum apposui.

 

Datum die 23 Decembris 1988

 

Can. Gustavus M. Barbara, Notarius Actuarius adiunctus.


 

Sessio Decima

 

 

 

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo nono, die vero decima tertia Januarii (sive 13-1-1989) hora 9.30 a.m., coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in praesenti Causae canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Joseph De Piro pro Tribunali sedente in domo cleri “Christus Sacerdos” B’Kara, praesentibus Justitiae Promotore legitimo citato, mequo Notario, comparuit Rev. Frater Paulus Spiteri. OSA, testis inductus et citatus, cui delatum fuit iuramentum iuxta formulam in 2 Sessione relatam, quod ille statim praestitit et sese snbscripsit ut infra:

 

Ego Frater Paolo Spiteri testis iuravi.

 

Quo iuramento praestito, clausis ianuis, solisque remanentibus Delegato Archiepiscopali, Iustitiae Promotore et dicto teste, ego Notarius exhibui plicum interrogatorium et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegatus Archiepiscopalis recognovisset clausum et illaesum, ex eius mandato aperui, et statim diventum est ad examen dicti testi, qui ita respondit ad quaesita ei proposita:

 

Personalia:  

 

I am Brother Paul Spiteri O.S.A., pro­fessed religious, born 21st October 1910, at Hamrun, son of the late Salvatore and Mary née Agius, and now stay­ing at the Domus Cleri, “Christus Sacerdos”.

 

1.         How old were you when you were admitted to St. Joseph’s Institute? Do you remember the year? What was the scope of this Institute? How long did you stay there?

 

I entered St. Joseph’s Institute when I was eight or nine years old, about the year 1919. I stayed there for about six years. The aim of the Institute was to gather orphans or children with no family and prepare them for life.

 

2.         Do you remember the year when Mons. De Piro took over? What was his position in the Institute? Did he bring with him other members of the Society? Do you know if the work of the Society included the orphans? How do you know this?

 

When I had been for a year and a half at the Institute, De Piro took over the Institute as its Director. He did not bring with him any members of the Society. It was not the aim of the Society to take care of orphans, but in fact even when I was still there they began to take care of the Institute as they still do today. I know all this from what I saw and observed.

 

3.         What criteria did the Monsignor adopt to admit child­ren in St. Joseph’s Institute? Did he get recommendations from others? From whom?

 

I do not know how to answer this question.

 

4.         You state “… there was a great improvement when the Monsignor came to the Institute”. Can you explain what were these improvements, and if the Monsignor was really the author of such improvements? Do you think that your food and living conditions differed from those of the other children at that time?

 

There was all round progress in the Institute: in food, clothes, better attention and better sanitation; in school teaching and trades; in religious life and care. There was no difference between our upbringing and that of other children who had their own families. I have no doubt that these changes for the better were really due to the dedi­cation of Mons. De Piro.

 

5.         Did the Monsignor live in the Institute? Did he plan the daily programme for everyone? Did he join you in your activities? Did he share the same meals with you?

 

Mons. De Piro resided at St. Joseph’s Institute but he spent a day or two at the house of the Society in Strada Celsi, Mdina. Mons. De Piro delegated a certain Dun Karm and Fr. Wistin Grech, together with certain brothers, all members of his Society, to take care of the children and the programme. I do not know who planned the programme, but they certainly saw to it that the programme was fol­lowed. Mons. De Piro, however, supervised our work and activities. Sometimes he dined with us and had the same food as we had.

 

6.         You said that the Monsignor encouraged and insisted on the teaching of school subjects as well as trades. Had this system already existed before he took over? When he came was any difference noticed? In what sense? Did he speak to you about the importance of studying? Of work? Do you think you were brought up well enough so that, like other children, you could fend for your­selves when you left the Institute?

 

This system of schooling and trades had already existed before Mons. De Piro took over, but he improved it by employing more instructors to teach the trades that there were, and bought new machinery. Mons. De Piro used to en­courage us, but he left the school teaching and trades to the instructors. We had enough good upbringing and pre­paration so that, when we left the Institute, we would be able to lead a normal life.

 

7.         Did the Monsignor like to mix with you, children? When was this most likely, and in what way? Did you notice any change in recreational activities when Mons. De Piro joined you? Did he personally organize the recreational activities you mention? Did he share these moments with you?

 

Mons. De Piro liked to join us children in our activit­ies. He often approached the place where we were. In his time occasions for recreation increased and he would be present with us. He also improved this to perfection, and in St. Joseph’s Institute there was an atmosphere of joy.

 

8.         You also add that at times you went to the house of the Monsignor’s mother at Qrendi. Did he take you there to clean the house? Did the Monsignor show interest in his mother? How did he get on with her?

 

At times Mons. De Piro took us to his house at Qrendi and also to his house at Mdina, to clean. He was interested in his mother and she loved him very much and provided him with financial help for the Society he was founding.   In his mother’s house at Mdina, Mons. De Piro had all the comforts: he also had a private chapel but I do not know if he said Mass in it. In fact rarely did Mons. De Piro stay at his mother’s house at Mdina; as a rule he slept either at St. Joseph’s Institute or in the house of the Society in Strada Celsi.

 

9.         What was the type of the Monsignor’s family? How and when did you get to know this?

 

Mons. De Piro’s family was noble, rich, quiet and poli­te. They got on very well with one another although I sometimes heard that some of them at times complained about the financial help that his mother gave to the Monsignor for his Society.

 

10.       You state that the people of Qrendi referred to the Monsignor as a saint. In those days did this strike you? What did you think about it? Do you know why people said this? And did these people know Mons. De Piro only from his irregular visits? Or did he have other contacts with them? If yes, explain.

 

The people of Qrendi regarded Mons. De Piro as a saint, and I felt the same. The reason was that he was humble, quiet, and affable and always had a smile on his face. I know that Mons. De Piro conducted some religious servic­es at Qrendi, but I do not know how and how often. Besides, the family had a house in Qrendi, which he sometimes visited.

 

11.       Can you tell us if, besides his work in the Institute the Monsignor had some other work? What was it? Did you know about it at that time? Was he in charge of other in­stitutes and, if yes, which? Did he choose to do this work or did someone else order him? Who? Do you know how he performed it?

 

I know that Mons. De Piro, besides being Director of St. Joseph’s, was also a Dean of the Cathedral and held some office at the Curia, but I do not know what this was. He was also director of the Institute at Zabbar and of an­other one at Ghajnsielem in Gozo, where he also formed a brass band. He was entrusted with this work by the bishops and he performed it with great attention.

 

12.       You state that the Monsignor was always serious; very rarely did you see him chatting and he was a disci­plinarian; he also inspired you with awe. How do you des­cribe him?  Was he strange, uneasy, shy? Did he dis­like mixing with people? Why did he behave in this way?

 

Mons. De Piro was neither strange, nor timid, nor shy.  Nor did he keep away from people, but at the same time his personality did not encourage familiarity, but at the same time it did not hamper his affability with peo­ple. My impression of him was that he was not a man of the world.

 

13.       What did you mean when you said that “… he maintained discipline without saying a word”? Did you children seek his presence, or were you afraid of him? How did he treat you? Can you give some examples?

 

We children used to like to be near him and when he came near us we were overjoyed. He treated us well and he heartily welcomed all those who needed to talk to him.

 

14.       You also state that the Monsignor was “… well known for his goodness”. What did you mean by the word “good­ness”? What kind of people knew about this, and how did they get to know it? In what parts of Malta?

 

15.       When did your mother tell you all this? Were you already at the Institute at that time? And from where do you think he obtained the means to help people? How do you know this?

 

By the word “bonta” I meant that Mons. De Piro was a very charitable person. I know this from my own per­sonal experience when he was of great help to my moth­er. I also know that he helped many other people, not only from Hamrun, but also from all places. Apart from what I saw with my own eyes, I heard about his good­ness and kindness from other people who received bene­fits from him. I do not know from where he acquired the means.

 

My mother told me about the help she had from Mons. De Piro at the same time when I was at the Institute.

 

16. In fact do you know from where the Monsignor ob­tained the means to improve the running of the Institute?  How did he get the needs that were lacking? Did he him­self buy them, or did he find people who provided them out of a sense of charity? Did he ever speak to you about providence? Did you ever see him out of sorts in moments when the Institute was going through a difficult period?

 

I do not know how Mons. De Piro procured the means to keep going. Mons. De Piro either bought the things needed for the Institute, or received them as donations. He trusted in Providence and when the Institute went through a period of need, he was not upset. Once we did not have any food.  He told us to pray to St. Joseph and at that very moment a benefactor brought us a cartload of vegetables.

 

Et sic hora 11.15 a.m. suspensum est examen dicti testis,attenta debilitate eiusdem testis, animo illud continuandi die vigesima Januarii hoc in loco. Ad quem effectum moniti fuerunt a Delegato Archiepiscopali tam idem testis quam Iustitiae Promotor, ut compareant dictis die et hora.. Deinde ego Notarius eidem testi perlegi eius depositionem, data ei facultate addendi, minuendi, corrigendi, si necessario reputaverit. Ipse eam confirmavit seque in fidem subscripsit.

 

Frater Paolo Spiteri.

 

Deinde idem Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigillo ipsius obsignatis interrogatoriis cum testium depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de praemissis instmumentum conficerem ac sese subscripsit cum Iustitiae Promotore ut sequitur:

 

Pater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Delegatus Episcopalis;

Sac. J. Bajada, Promotor Iustitiae;

 

Super quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis, ego Notarius de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopalis hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma, et in fidem me subscripsi et meum notariatus sigillum apposui.

 

Datum die 13 Januarii, 1989.

 

Ita est.

 

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius.


 

Sessio Decima Prima

 

 

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo nono, die vero vigesima Januarii (sive 20-1-1989) hora 9.20 a.m. coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in praesenti causa canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Joseph De Piro pro Tribunali sedente in domo Cleri “Christus Sacerdos”, B’Kara, ab aegritudinem testis, praesentibus Justitiae Promotore legittime citato, meque Notario, comparuit Frater Paulus Spiteri 0.S.A. testis inductus et citatus cui delatum fuit iuramentum iuxta formulam in 2 Sessione relatam, quod ille statim praestitit et sese signavit ut infra:

 

Ego Frater Paulus Spiteri testis iuravi:

 

Quo iuramento praestito, clausis ianuis, solisque remanentibus Delegato Archiepiscpali, Iustitiae Promotore ac dicto teste, ego Notarius exhibui plicum interrogatorium et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegatus Archiepiscopalis recognovisset clausum et illaesum, ex eius mandato aperui et statim diventum est ad examen dicti testi qui ita respondit ad quesita:

 

17.       You state that the Monsignor helped several poor people and to each of them he gave something. Did you hear about this or did you yourself actually see them? Did they come on any particular day? From where, do you think, did he obtain the funds?  From his own pocket? Why did he turn to his mother for help? Do you know how his mother reacted in such circumstances? Do you know if this thing ever brought about some conflict with the other members of the family? How do you know all this?

 

I know that Mons. De Piro used to help my sister and I saw him also helping others. Besides, I heard about other cases. People came everyday. The money needed was partly his own.  His mother, who was of great help to him, also contributed, besides all that coming from Pro­vidence. I heard that there was some misunderstanding between Mons. Giuseppi De Piro and his brother Fr. Santin because of the help that their mother gave to Mons. Giuseppi De Piro.

 

The people referred to Mons. De Piro as “Father of the poor.”

 

18.       Do you know how old you were when you spoke to Mons. De Piro about your vocation to join his Society? How did you get to know about this Society, and what did you know about it at that time? Was it well known by people? Did the Monsignor himself talk to you about it and what did he have to say? What was your idea of it? And what made you join it?

 

When I told Mons. De Piro about my wish to join the Society he had founded I was about 16 years old. I got to know about the Society from the brothers that were at the Institute of St. Joseph. I had a good opinion of the Society. Mons. De Piro never spoke to us about the Society. It was most known at Rabat and Mdina. I do not know what caused me to join it, although I liked the habit of the members. When I spoke to Msgr. De Piro about my wish, he was very pleased and encouraged me.  He used to talk to me about the Society everyday.

 

19.       Can you give us further information, obviously from what you personally knew at that time, about this Society?  What kind of members they were, their number, how many and what kind of houses he had/ from where did he get the means to maintain the members?  Some difficult­ies and problems he faced. Who originated these problems?  Etc., etc.?

 

I remember that the members of the Society wore a cas­sock, a sash, a cross and a rosary. When Mons. De Piro spoke to me about the Society; he used to tell me that he wished it to grow. I remember that there were about nine members. At this time the Society had a house in Strada Celsi, Mdina. Most of the members came from St. Joseph’s Institute and there were also some priests who joined the Society. Some members left, but I do not know why. I do not know from where he obtained the financial means.

 

20.       What did you mean when you said that the Monsignor “… did not show eagerness and enthusiasm” when you let him know your desire to join the Society? Was his react­ion to others similar? Why?

 

I would like to correct my statement, and maintain what I said in No. 18: “He was not pleased when I told him I was going to leave the Society.” Mons De Piro was delighted whenever someone showed the desire to join his Society.

 

21.       Was the Monsignor eager for vocations? What was his approach? From where did the vocations come? You say that his method was to talk to you individually. How often? What did he discuss with you? What did he insist on most?

 

When I was a boy at the Institute, Mons. De Piro did not talk to us about the vocation. I think that in other places he worked hard for vocations, but this is only what I think. As regards the time when I was at the Institute, I refer to No. 18. When I was at Mdina he used to talk to us at times together and sometimes in­dividually. He used to talk to us about the Society and poverty.

 

22.       In fact do you know others who wished to become members? Were they many? Did they remain? If not, do you know why?

 

I know of others who wished to join the Society. I know that, when I was there, six joined and remained. There were others who joined and then left. I know some who left the Society after having studied for the priest­hood and were even ordained. We used to say jokingly that “they were thieves” because they left after having received all they needed from the Society.  There were four of these.

 

23.       When did the Monsignor delegate Fr. Joseph Spiteri to take care of them? How many of you felt the vocation at that time? And why did the Monsignor cease to be in charge of you? Was this the first time that the Monsignor delegated someone else to be in charge of the vocations? After this, did the Monsignor still meet you personally?

 

When Mons. De Piro delegated Fr. Joseph Spiteri to take care of us I had been at Mdina for about three years. I do not know how many of us were there. Mons. De Piro de­legated Fr. Joseph Spiteri because of his other commit­ments.  However, the Monsignor still met us personally and regularly. Fr. Manuel Bugeja O.S.A. had done this work before Fr. Joseph Spiteri.

 

24.       Before you joined as a pre-novice, had you met the Monsignor? If yes, do you remember the subject of your conversation? Did he concern himself with the pre­paration that you had received?

 

lam provisum. Before I joined as a pre-novice, Mons. De Piro had insisted with me on prayers and studies. He also wished that I should become a priest in his Society. I remained in the Society for six years. After this per­iod, Mons. De Piro told me to join the mission in Abyssinia. Neither my mother nor I liked this. Although at the time he did not insist, I realized that sooner or later he would send me there. I therefore left the Society. The Monsignor was very sorry. He guessed why I wanted to leave and he told me so. I told him that I was afraid. When I left the Society, at first I thought of joining the Navy. I was still immature. Later I decided to be­come an Augustinian brother. When I informed Mons. De Piro about this, he was very happy, especially because he saw that I still had the vocation and he gave me a good tes­timonial for the period I was in his Society.

 

 

Et sic hora 11.30 a.m. suspensum est examen dicti testis, attenta debilitate eiusdem testis, animo illud continuandi die sexta Februarii 1989, hoc in loco. Ad quem effectum moniti fuerunt a Delegato Archiepiscopali tam idem testis quam Iustitiae Promoter, ut compareant dictis die et hora. Deinde ego Notarius eidem testi perlegi eius depositionem, data ei facultate addendi, minuendi, vel corrigendi si necessario reputaverit. Ipse eam confirmavit seque in fidem signavit.

 

luro me veritatem totam in mea depositione dixisse et confirmo omnia quae superius deposui.

 

Frater Paulus Spiteri.

 

Deinde idem Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigillo ipsius obsignatis interrogatoriis cum testium depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerem ac sese subscripsit cum Iustitiae Promotore ut sequitur:

 

Frater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Delegatus Episcopalis;

Sac. J. Bajada, Promotor lustitiae;

 

Super quibus omnibus a singulis ut supra gestis, Ego Notarius de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopalis hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma, et in fidem me subscripsi et meum notariatus sigillum apposui.

 

Actum die 20 Januarii 1989.

 

Ita est.

 

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius.


 

Sessio Decima Secunda

 

 

 

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo nono, die vero sexta Februarii (sive 6-2-1989), hora 9.45 a.m. coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in praesenti causa canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Joseph De Piro pro Tribunali sedente in domo Cleri “Christus Sacerdos”, B’Kara, ab aegritudinem testis, praesentibus Iustitiae Promotore legitime citato, meque Notario, comparuit Frater Paulus Spiteri O.S.A. testis inductus et citatus cui delatum fuit iuramentum iuxta formulam in secunda Sessione relatam, quod ille statim praestitit et sese signavit ut infra:

 

Ego Frater Pauli Spiteri O.S.A. testis iuravi.

 

Quo iuramento praestito, clausis ianuis, solisque remanentibus delegato Archiepiscopali, Iustitiae Promotore ac dicto teste, ego Notarius exhibui plicum interrogatorium et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegatus Archiepiscopalis recognovisset clausum et illaesum, ex eius mandato aperui et statim diventum est ad examen dicti testi qui ita respondit ad quaesita:

 

25.       Can you describe the house of the Society in Strada Celsi? Was it richly furnished? Were there many mem­bers? Did the Society own other houses at that time? Where? Do you know anything about the building of the House of St. Agatha? When and how did you learn this?

 

26.       Was there any particular reason why on the door there was the inscription: “Small House of St. Paul for the overseas missions”? Do you know who wanted this name? Why and how were the “overseas missions” introduced? What did you understand by “mission”? In your time did the Society have members overseas doing this work? Where and in which year did the first one go? Do you know what was the Monsignor’s thought about this?

 

The house in Strada Celsi was spacious but very poor. Its name was “Small House of St. Paul for overseas Missions”. I think that this name was chosen by Mons. De Piro. This name indicated Mons. De Piro’s aim when founding the Society: the missions. In fact, at that time there was already Bro. Guzepp in the Mission of Abyssinia, in the mission of the Capuchins, and he was very much loved.

 

At that time we were about nine members in Strada Celsi. Besides, at St. Joseph’s Institute there were some other members: three brothers and a father.

 

27.       Was there any particular reason why you called the Monsignor ‘Padre’? What was the Monsignor’s at­titude to you pre-novices and the other members of the Society? Did he like to mix with you? Was he interested in your health, clothes, and your life in general as members of his Society?

 

We called Mons. De Piro ‘Padre’ because we regarded him as a father; we called other priests: “Dun”. His love for us was genuine.  His joy was to see the Society grow. He respected us and mixed with us.  He took care of us, both spiritually and materially.  He did not have preferences and no one lacked anything. There were no com­plaints.

 

28.       You state that he visited the house where you lived twice a week. Didn’t he live with you?  And where did he stay? Was he involved in other activities?  And if yes, what were they? Did he do this out of his own free will or did others delegate him? Give details?

 

When Mons. De Piro came to Mdina, very often he spent all the day with us. When he was not with us he was do­ing some pastoral work, which was entrusted, to him. He was in charge of several institutes; I do not know if he used to preach, but certainly he devoted a lot of time to hearing confessions. I do not know how Mons. De Piro got all this work, whether he volunteered for it or wheth­er he was delegated by Superiors.

 

29.       How did the Monsignor regard the fact that he had to go to Mdina twice a week? Do you think he regarded this as a sacrifice? Did he himself ever refer to this?

 

I know that it was a sacrifice for the Monsignor to come to Mdina. He seemed to be very tired. However, he did his work with us joyfully without complaining or referring to the sacrifices he made. He used to talk to us either individually or in a group. He used to come to Mdina by train.

 

30.       Did the fact that he did not live with you affect the Society in any way? How? Did you feel his absence? In what sense? Who then took care of the running of the Society and your formation? Who delegated him?

 

We wished Mons. De Piro to be with us and we felt his absence. When he visited us, his presence was felt. However, the fact that he did not stay with us left its effect on us, for we would have had a better forma­tion had he stayed with us, although Fr. Manwel Bugeja O.S.A. performed his duties with us conscientiously. This Fr. Manwel was superior and spiritual director. I know that he was chosen by Mons. De Piro, but I do not know what procedure he followed.

 

31.       What impressed you most when the Monsignor said Mass? Do you think he took too long a time to say Mass?  And what had he in mind? Did he make preparation and offer thanksgiving for the Mass? Did he ever talk to you about the Mass and the Eucharist? If yes, was it often? What was he used to tell you?

 

I could see his saintliness during his Mass. He seemed to be a person not of this world. His mass was a beauti­ful experience because of his devotion and humility. Even though his Mass lasted for a long time we were not annoyed.  He made a long preparation before the Mass and an equally long thanksgiving after it, in a small room kneeling on a prie-dieu.

 

When he talked to us it was always about the Society.

 

32.       Do you remember what aspects did the Monsignor emphasize most during the examination of conscience? How did he represent God to those who sinned?

 

We each examined our conscience individually. Mons. De Piro himself made the meditation on the book “Preparation for Death.” Mons. De Piro was not afraid of death; he used to tell us that when a person died he was reborn. He exhorted us to prepare ourselves even for martyrdom. This attitude of his instilled in us not fears of death but love of God.

 

33.       When he lectured to you, did he assemble you all together, pre-novices and others? If yes, don’t you think that this could weaken your formation? What were the sub­jects of his lectures? Religious life? Vows? Community life? Missions? What is your own impression of these talks?

 

In his lectures, Mons. De Piro told us about the Society, the missions and religious life. The fact that we members were all together was not an obstacle; it was rather an advantage because we felt that we were growing up togeth­er.  It was a pleasure to hear Mons. De Piro. He gave these lectures once a week.

 

Later, after I had left the Society, and when Fr. Michael Callus S.S.P. took charge, the number of lectures increas­ed because Fr. Michael also gave lectures. I know this because I was still interested in the Society. Both good and bad news reached me. By bad news I mean that several persons joined the Society and left, and sometimes even some priests did not remain in the Society. This resulted from the fact that there were no firm foundations.  This, however, is a problem which even larger religious orders have to face. It was felt also that this was a trial of Providence.

 

34.       When Mons. De Piro went to Mdina, where did he sleep? Do you know why he preferred to sleep there? Do you think that he did not get on very well with his mother and re­latives?

 

Mons. De Piro at times slept in the Mdina house. I no­ticed that when he slept at our house, he spent a long time before the Blessed Sacrament, before going to sleep. When he was not in Mdina he slept at St. Joseph’s Instit­ute, Hamrun or at St. Joseph’s, Gozo.

 

I heard that Fr. Santin did not get on very well with his brother Mons. De Piro, because their mother loved Mons. De Piro more. I never heard the Monsignor say any­thing against his brother. Mons. De Piro visited his mother regularly and she helped him even financially to do well. She loved him more because he was more spiritual and did a lot of good.

 

35.       You say that, if you remember well, he had a picture of our Lady of Sorrows. Did the Monsignor have a special devotion to our Lady of Sorrows? Or to our Lady with some other title? What makes you say this? Did he insist on your devotion to Mary? What was he used to tell you?

 

Mons. De Piro had a great devotion for Our Lady and the chapel was dedicated to our Lady of Sorrows. This was Mons. De Piro’s idea. Mons. De Piro was so devoted to our Lady of Sorrows that he conducted her procession even though he was mortally ill. I used to see him recit­ing the Rosary often. He did not talk to us about our Lady.

 

Et sic hora 11.10 a.m. suspensum est examen dicti test­is, attenta debilitate eiusdem testis, animo illud continuandi die 13 Februarii hoc in loco. Ad quem effectum moniti fuerunt a Delegato Archiepiscopali tam idem testis quam Iustitiae Promotor, ut compareant dictis die et hora. Deinde Ego Notarius eidem testi perlegi eius depositionem, data ei facultate addendi, minuendi, vel corrigendi si necessario reputaverit. Ipse eam confirmavit seque in fidem signavit:

 

Iuro me veritatem totam in mea depositione dixisse et confirmo omnia quae superius deposui.

 

Frater Paulus Spiteri O.S.A.

 

Deinde Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigillo ipsius obsignatis interrogatoriis cum testium depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerem et sese subscripsit cum Iustitiae Promotore ut sequitur:

 

Pater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Delegatus Episcopalis

Sac. J. Bajada, Promotor Iustitiae

 

Supra quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis, Ego Notarius de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopalis hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma et in fidem me subscripsi et meum Notariatus sigillum apposui.

 

Actum die 6 Februarii, 1989.

 

Ita est.

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius.


 

Sessio Decima Tertia

 

 

 

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo Octogesimo nono, die vero sexta Februarii (sive 6-2-1989) hora 11.30 a.m. caram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in praesenti causa canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Josephi De Piro pro Tribunali sedente in domo Cleri “Christus Sacerdos”, B’Kara, praesentibus Iustitiae Promotore legitime citato, meque Notario, comparuit Dominus Biagio Galea, testis inductus et citatus cui dilatum fuit iuramentum, quod ille statim praestit et sese subscripsit ut infra:

 

Ego Biagio Galea testis iuravi.

 

Quo iuramento praestito, clausis ianuis, solisque remanentibus Delegato Archiepiscopali, Iustitiae Promotore et dicto teste, ego Notarius exhibui plicum interrogatoriorum et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegatus Archiepiscopalis recognovisset clausum et illaesum, ex eius mandato aperui, et statim diventum est ad examen dicti testis, qui ita respondit ad quaesita:

 

Personalia

 

 I am Mr. Biagio Galea, son of the late Paul Galea and the late Pauline née Vella, born at Rabat, on the 29 March, 1916, now residing at Santa Lucia, pensioner, practicing Catholic.

 

1.         In your written evidence you mention the book you published “The Mdina of my Childhood”. Could you tell us something about this book? What were the main them­es? What important persons are included? Etc.

 

2.         Does the Servant of God (S.G.) Mons. Guzeppi De Piro figure much in the book? If yes, do you remember on what occasions? If not, why is he left out? Perhaps you did not regard him as “part” of the history of the Mdina of your childhood? Perhaps he did not strike you as someone special? Perhaps he did not belong to the themes you dealt with in this book?

 

This book describes the life of the Mdina of my child­hood, and covers the period up to about 1923. I mention various persons according to the occasion I am describ­ing.  Among these are Mons. De Piro, Mons. Mattew Cortis and Mons. Carlo Cortis, Archpriest. I include Mons. De Piro because I used to serve him at Mass.

 

3.         From your written evidence, I got the impres­sion that in your childhood you lived in Mdina. Is this correct? If yes, how long did you live in Mdina? Did you always live there? Why did you move? If you did not live in Mdina, what contacts did you have with that city? Perhaps because you were an altar boy? If you served as an altar boy there, did this give you the opportunity to get acquainted with the people of Mdina?

 

4.         Do you remember how many people lived in Mdina when you were a child? What was their social standing? What was their work? Did they know each other, i.e. were they familiar with each other?

 

5.         Were there any contacts between your family and that of the S.G.? If there were, what type of contacts were they? If not, what was the reason?

 

In fact I went to live in Mdina with my aunts when I was about eight years old and remained there until I was grown up. Mdina is a small city having a small population.  Besides, one of my aunts received various visitors when she was ill at home.  Because of this and other occasions, I had various contacts with the people of Mdina and used to get a lot of information. The peop­le belonged either to the nobility or to the middle class and everyone knew and talked to the others. My family’s acquaintance with Mons. De Piro’s family was like the others.

 

Et sic hora 12.00 a.m. suspensum est examen dicti testis, attenta tarditatae horae, animo illud in futurum resumendo. Ad quem effectum moniti fuerunt a Delegato Archiepiscopali tam idem testis quam Iustitiae Promotore. Deinde ego Notarius eidem testi perlegi eius depositionem data ei facultate addendi, minuendi vel corrigendi si necessario reputaverit. Ipse eam confirmavit seque in fidem subscripsit.

 

Iuro me veritatem totam in mea depositione dixisse et confirmo omnia quae superius deposui.

 

Biagio Galea, testis;

 

Deinde idem Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigillo ipsius obsignatis interrogatoriis cum testium depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerem et sese subscripsit cum Iustitiae Promotore ut sequitur:

 

Frater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Delegatus Episcopalis

Frater  Paul Gatt 0.P, Promotor Iustitiae

 

 

Supra quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis, Ego Notarius de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopali hoc publicum instrumentum confect in forma et in fidem me snbscripsi et meum Notariatus sigillum apposui.

 

 

Datum die 6 Februarii 1989

 

Ita est.

 

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius.

 


 

 

Sessio Decima Quarta

 

 

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo nono, die vero decima tertia Februarii (sive 13-2-1989) hora 9.30 a.m. coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in praesenti causa canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Josephi De Piro pro Tribunali sedente in domo cleri “Christus Sacerdos”, B’Kara, ob aegritudinem testis, praesentibus Iustitiae Promotore legitime citato, meque Notario, comparuit Frater Paulus Spiteri 0.S.A., testis inductus et citatus, cui delatum fuit iuramentum iuxta formulam in Secunda Sessione relatam, quod ille statim praestitit et sese subscripsit.

 

Ego Frater Paulus Spiteri testis iuravi.

 

Quo iuramento Praestito, clausis ianuis solisque remanentibus Delegatus Archiepiscopali, Iustitiae Promotore et dicto teste, ego Notarius exhibui plicum interrogatoriorum et testium attestationum; quem cum Delegatus Archiepiscopalis recognovisset illaesum, ex eius mandato aperui, et statim deventum est ad examen dicti testis qui ita respondit ad quaesita:

 

36.       Was the Monsignor often called for some cele­brations in the villages? What celebrations were these? Why did they invite the Monsignor?  Or do you think that he himself offered his services? Who invited him most? What interest did the Monsignor show in such occasions? Did he ever mention any­thing to you?

 

Mons. De Piro was frequently invited for celebrat­ions in the villages, but he accepted only devotion­al ones. He did not invite himself; I know that the parish priest of Hamrun had to ask him twice to con­duct the feast of our Lady of Sorrows when he died. However, he enjoyed himself to take part in these feasts; and it was only towards the end of his life that he did not easily accept them because he was tired with the work of the Society and the Institutes.

 

37.       Whom did the Monsignor ask to accompany him for these celebrations?  And for what reason? His aim was to make the Society more popular? Why do you think so?

 

38.       With regard to the Confraternity of our Lady of Lourdes at Qrendi, do you think that the Monsignor was invited because he somehow sided with that party? What was the Monsignor’s attitude towards parties?

 

39.       You mention that on the same occasion the canopy over the statue of our Lady caught fire and the fire ceased at once. Can you tell why it ceased’? What was the reaction of the Servant of God? And of the con­gregation?

 

Usually Mons. De Piro went alone for these celebrations, but I do not know why. Only once did he take us members of the Society to Qrendi. I remember this because on that occasion the canopy over the Madonna caught fire. He did not take part because he sided with some party.  In fact he never talked to us about bands or parties as­sociated with feasts or political parties. With regard to his attitude towards the parties I can say this: his family belonged to the party of St. Joseph, that is, they supported the party of St. Joseph’s feast in Rabat (Malta). He never conducted this feast nor did he take part in it except as a member of the Cathedral Chapter. As regards the canopy that was hung around the statue of our Lady and caught fire during the feast function, I think that it caught fire because of the heat of the burning candles. In my opinion there was the probability that all the church, which was decorated with red drap­ery, could catch fire. I remember that there was a panic for a short time, but some foam was sprayed on the fire and it was put out. Mons. De Piro proceeded with the ser­vice and the panic ceased there and then.

 

40.       How long did you stay in the Society? From what you said it seems that you simply informed the Monsignor that you were leaving without having previously discussed your decision with him. Did you have a reason for this? Were you afraid of him and was he perhaps difficult to approach? And how did he show his regret for the tact that you were going to leave?

 

41. You say that the Monsignor told you that he would be praying for you to remain a religious and not secular: what did he mean by this phrase?

 

After I had been four years in St. Joseph’s Institute that was under the care of the Society of St. Paul, I joined as a postulant and stayed three years. I was not afraid of the Monsignor and spoke to him with all liberty because he was not difficult to speak to. Only I felt that in this circumstance I had nothing to discuss but only to inform the Founder that I was going to leave because my mother did not want me to go abroad.

 

Mons. De Piro was sorry that I was going to leave. He told me he was going to pray for me to become a relig­ious and not to give up my vocation.  In fact he was most pleased when I told him that I was going to join the Augustinians, adding that the most important thing was that I would remain a good religious.

 

42. The Society founded by the Monsignor was therefore a religious one? What was its exact name? And did the Monsignor himself take the vows? Why?

 

Mons. De Piro wanted his Society to make the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to which would be ad­ded the vow of the mission.

 

I do not know if Mons. De Piro made these vows, but I am certain that he practised them, although he had to keep the distinguishing marks that went with the office of Dean of the Cathedral.

 

43.       When you thought of joining again did you ever ap­proach the Monsignor or some other member of the Society? If yes, who? If not, do you think that your knowing Br. Lippu of the Augustinians was enough or could you have had some other reason, which kept you from approaching the Monsignor?

 

A certain Brother Santi, member of the Society, at times tried to draw me into the Society. However, I was shy to join again the Society I had left. Brother Lippu O.S.A. also encouraged me not to remain a layman and he spoke to the Provincial about this but the latter said that there was no vacancy for me in the Order. When there was a change in the chapter, the new Provincial ac­cepted me. Thus I joined St. Augustine’s Order. In the meantime I still talked to the Monsignor whenever the occasion presented itself. We talked about the Society and he would say that he trusted in Providence.

 

I would like to add that at first the Society had many more brothers than priests as members; the priests were very few in number. Up to Mons. De Piro’s death the So­ciety was still a fledgling.

 

44.       To which procession of our Lady of Sorrows are you referring? What were the month and the year? Had this procession been held for a long time? Do you know if this was its first year? Do you know if the Monsignor had a say in the origin of this procession? Do you know what was his scope behind a procession of this type? Do you know why he was invited to officiate?

 

When I mention the feast of our Lady of Sorrows 1 mean the one held in September and the particular one when Mons. De Piro died. The feast started to be celebrated years before, and I think that Mons. De Piro was invit­ed for the feast because he was well known for his saintliness.

 

45.       And did the Monsignor frequent the Hamrun church? If yes, what did he do there? Did you ever see him hear­ing confessions, saying mass, or preaching? And in other places in Malta? Do you know whether he was regarded as a good preacher in Malta?

 

Mons. De Piro frequented the church of Hamrun, but he said Mass and heard confessions at St. Joseph’s Institute. I do not know if he preached in other places.

 

46.       Before that procession, did the Monsignor show signs of ill health? What were these signs? And why therefore did he take part? In fact did he reach the Church? Did he die there? Can you tell us exactly what happened?

 

47.       Do you know how people reacted and what they said both on that occasion and later?

 

During the procession I saw Mons. De Piro pressing the reliquary of Our Lady against his chest and looking at the statue of Our Lady. As soon as he reached the church he lost consciousness. Those near him held him and then took him to the sacristy, in my opinion already dead. The immediate reaction of the congregation was that a saint died. The people of Malta regarded him, and still do, as a good soul.

 

48.       Once you were so well acquainted with the Monsignor, how is it that you do not remember anything about his funeral? And do you remember anything about the trans­port of his remains from the Addolorata Cemetery to the House of St. Agatha?

 

I did not go for the funeral because I dislike funerals as they leave a strong impression on me.  My friends who went for the funeral said that his funeral could be compared with those of Mons. Dandria and Fra Diegu, and those wore very big funerals. I did not know that they had brought Mons. De Piro to St. Agatha, in Rabat.

 

49.       It was said that the Servant of God was well in­volved in the political - religious issue between Strick­land and the Church. What do you know about this?

 

Mons. De Piro was involved in politics, but he gave it up to dedicate himself to the Society. But I do not know to what extent and how he was involved in the po­litico - religious situation between Strickland and the Church. He used to say that politics is dirty.

 

50.       As an Augustinian, did you ever reside in your convent at Rabat? In what years? Do you remember if, at that time, you ever met and talked with students who were members of the Society of St. Paul and who came for their studies to the same convent after their novitiate? If yes, what did you talk about? What were your impressions at that time?

 

51.       At this time, what was the opinion of these students of their Founder? Of other members you might have met in these years? What did the elder Augustinians who knew the Servant of God, say about him’? What have you got to say?

 

As an Augustinian I stayed at the Rabat Convent, Malta, from 1928 to 1931 and after my novitiate I was there several times. At these times I used to meet members of the Society. They praised Mons. De Piro and never said anything against him. They used to say that after his death, the Founder was helping them from heaven. The Augustinian Fathers praised Mons. De Piro and they had a high opinion of him.

 

I regard Msgr. De Piro as a great saint. I pray him to pray for me from heaven. His goodness could be seen on this earth.

 

He certainly had his sufferings, for example, the troub­le with his brother Fr. Santin.  But the Monsignor suffer­ed quietly and alone.

 

I consider that the greatest virtue of Mons. De Piro was his humility.  Although he was of noble birth and a Dean of the Cathedral he was never proud nor did he con­sider himself superior to others.  He rather behaved as if he were a worthless thing.  He renounced his nobility and embraced poverty.

 

I also admire his goodness, which resulted from his saintliness, his humility and the charity he had for others.

 

I pray Mons. De Piro in all my needs and the Monsignor intercedes for me.

 

Et sic absoluto praedicti testis examine, de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopalis, ego Notarius alta et intelligibili voce testi perlegi integram depositionem, data ei facultate addendi, minuendi, corrigendi, si necessario reputaverit. Ipse eam ratam habuit et confirmavit his verbis!

 

Iuro me veritatem tota in mea depositione dixisse et confirmo omnia quae superius deposui.

 

Frater Paul Spiteri, testis;

 

Dimisso autem teste, Delegatus Archiepiscopalis mihi mandavit expediri citationom contra testem inductum Do.num Biagium Galea ut examini se subiiciat, et con­tra Iustitiae Promotorem ut assistat die vigesima Februarii 1989, hora 10.00 a.m. in Curia Archiepiscopali.

 

Deinde idem Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigillo ipsius obsignatis intorrogatoriis, cum testium depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerem, ac sese subscripsit, cum Iustitiae Promotore, ut sequitur:

 

Frater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Delegatus Episcopalis

Frater Paul Gatt O.P., Promotor Iustitiae

 

Super quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis, ego Notarius de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopali hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma, et in fidem me subscripsi et meum Notariatus signum apposui.

 

Datum die 13 Februarii 1989

 

Ita est.

 

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius.


 

Sessio Decima Quinta

 

 

 

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo nono, die vero vigesima Februarii (sive 20-2-1989) hora 9.30 a.m. coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in praesenti causa canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Josephi De Piro pro Tribunali sedente in Curia Archiepiscopali Valletta, praesentibus Iustitiae Promotore legitime citato, meque Notario, comparuit D.nus Biagio Galea, testis inductus et citatus, cui delatum fuit iuramentum iuxta formulam in Secunda Sessione relatam, quod ille statim praestitit et sees subscripsit;

 

Ego  Biagio Galea testis iuravi:

 

Quo iuramento praestito, clausis ianuis, solisque remanentibus Delegato Archiepiscopali, Iustitiae Promotore et dicto teste, ego Notarius exhibui plicum interrogatoriorum et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegatus Archiepiscopalis recognovisset clausum et illaesum, ex eius rnandato aperui et statim deventum est ad examen dicti testis qui ita respondit ad quaesita:

 

5. Were there any contacts between your family and that of the S. G.? If there were, what type of contacts were they? If not, what was the reason?

 

6.         What were your personal contacts with the family of the S.G.? For example, you say that you accompanied the priest who administered Holy Communion to the mother of the S.G. Did you go because you were asked to or because you knew the family?

 

7.         Besides the mother of the S.G. did you know some other member of the De Piro family? If yes, can you give some information about them?

 

I served at the Holy Communion of Mons. De Piro’s mother and served him when he said Mass at home simply becau­se I was an altar boy and not as a friend of the family. The only member of the family I knew was the neph­ew of the Servant of God, Alexander De Piro, because we were friends, but I never talked to him about the Servant of God.

 

8.         Did you get to know the S.G. when he was already a priest? At that time, had you learnt something about the life of the S.G. before he became a priest? Child­hood?  Youth?

 

I know the Servant of God as a priest, but I never heard anything about his childhood and youth.

 

9.         You have stated there is a missing chapter in the book you have published. You have already completed this chapter to be published in another edition of the book. It seems that in this chapter you intend to make several references to the S.G. I understand that it would be imprudent of me to ask you for a copy of this chapter before the publication of the book. You know, however, that the acts of these sittings are secret. Do you then consider the possibility of handing a copy of it?

 

I will do my best to hand a copy of this book before I publish the new edition of the book.

 

10.       “At Rabat there has been devotion to St. Agatha for a long time.” Do you mean by this that this devo­tion has been limited to Rabat only? Or do you mean that at Rabat it exists in a special way? When you say that this devotion has long existed at Rabat, do you include Mdina as well? What do you mean by this devotion to St. Agatha, what did it consist in?

 

The devotion to St. Agatha consisted in a procession, which started from the Cathedral on the 5 February. The Chapter celebrated Mass with panegyric in St. Agatha’s church.  The congregation consisted of people from Rabat and Mdina.

 

11.       “Her chapel was built long time ago.” Do you know when this chapel of St. Agatha was built? Where is it, in the centre, or the limits of Rabat? At the time to which you refer, was this a small or a large chapel? How was it kept? Who took care of it? To whom did the chapel belong? To the one who took care of it or to someone else, for example, to the Diocese of Malta or to the parish of Rabat? What did the S.G. do to acquire the chapel? Did he make a written request? Did he offer something in return? Did he make any pledge? If yes, was it binding even after his death? If yes, what exactly was this pledge? Do you know whether the S.C. met many difficulties in acquiring the chapel? When you state that he acquired it, do you include the crypt and cata­combs underneath?

 

The chapel of St. Agatha at the time of De Piro is the same one of today.  It is rather spacious. At that time it was well kept although it was open only on the feast day.  However, when Mons. De Piro took the chapel it was kept in a better state. The chapel belonged to the par­ish of St. Paul. I do not know exactly how it passed to Mons. De Piro; I know that there was a decree of Mons. Archbishop Caruana with the consent of Parish Priest Carmelo Sammut.

 

I do not know if Mons. De Piro submitted to certain conditions, but I am under the impression that the mem­bers of the Society had to take part in the feast of St. Paul, at Rabat.

 

I do not know if he encountered any particular difficulties to acquire the chapel. The Chapel includes the cry­pt, the catacombs and, I believe, the land around it.

 

12.       “When Mons. De Piro acquired the chapel”. Did he in fact want to acquire it? Or was there some one who wanted to give it to him? Or was there someone who made him take it? If he acquired the chapel through his own initiative, what was the reason, i.e. why did he want to acquire it?

 

I do not know precisely if the S. G. asked for it or if someone offered it to him, but I can deduce that, at that time, Mons. De Piro was trying to find a place for his Society and therefore it is possible that he made some kind of request to acquire it.

 

13.       What do you mean when you say that your parents used to talk about many feasts and processions? Which feasts did they mention in a particular way? Why do you think that they talked about them? Were they very relig­ious parents? Did they have any particular contact with them?

 

My parents did not talk about the feast of St. Agatha because it was not so popular as the other feasts held in Rabat.

 

14.       Why do you think that your parents did not say much about the procession of St. Agatha? Perhaps because, in general, the devotion towards her was limited? Perhaps your parents were not devotees of this saint? Perhaps they were not interested? After the S.G. took over, did they talk about it?

 

After the Servant of God took over the chapel, it was open daily and therefore it was more frequented and therefore people started to talk more about it.

 

15.       With the arrival of the S.G., you say that there was a change in the situation about the feast of and devotion to St. Agatha. Among other things you mention that the feast was held with greater solemnity. What do you mean by this? Perhaps the S.G. began to improve the decorations of the chapel? Perhaps he procured new or richer vestments? Perhaps he enriched the services? Perhaps he increased the decorations outside? If yes, can you say, what this consisted in? How do you regard this greater solemnity when compared with other feasts held in churches and chapels at Rabat? In Malta? Do you think that the S.G. regarded as very important the de­coration in the chapel? And those outside?

 

It appears that, with the coming of the S. G. the feast of St. Agatha became a regular feast with the addition of the First Vespers, some decorations on the altar.  But I do not know from where the Servant of God had brought these decorations. There were no deco­rations on the outside except perhaps for some lights on the door of the Church. Before the coming of the So­ciety it was just an internal feast similar to that of other chapels.

 

It doesn’t appear that Mons. De Piro gave too much importance to the decorations of the church.  It is my impression that he did not even come for the feast, but delegated some member of the society to lead the services.

 

16.       You also state that when the S.G. came to St. Aga­tha more people began to frequent the chapel. Where did these people come from? From Rabat and Mdina? Or from other parts of Malta as well? For how long was the chapel open? What was the main reason why the peo­ple came?  Because of the devotion to St. Agatha? Per­haps they obtained graces? Perhaps they desired to meet the S.C.? What people used to frequent the chapel: child­ren, youth, old people, the poor, the rich, and the noble? How often did you frequent the chapel?

 

Ex parte iam provisum. It seems that people began to frequent the chapel because there was a better service for their spiritual needs, a service that was lacking before. They did not come because of some special devo­tion to St. Agatha or to meet the Servant of God. These were common people who lived in the neighbourhood. I attend­ed on the feast day as an altar boy.

 

17.       You seem to suggest that it was due to the merit of the S.C. that more people frequented the chapel and the feast was more solemnly celebrated? Do you think that this is correct? Did the S.G. himself come to the chapel, or did he delegate someone else? If this is the case, do you remember whom he delegated? Perhaps some of the members of the Society he had founded? Or some one else? If he did not always come, how often did he come to the chapel? If he did not always come, what do you think was the reason? How do you know this? During this period, what part did the members of the Society take in the services of the chapel? Often, every now and then, or never? If often, what was the reason? Perhaps they want­ed to give him a rest? Or perhaps he wanted to instill in them a devotion to St. Agatha? If he did not involve them in the work of the chapel, what do you think was the reason?

 

The merit of the Servant of God consists mainly in his founding of the Society and its members provided a bet­ter service to the people of the neighbourhood. I do not know if Mons. De Piro went to the chapel, but I pre­sume that, if he did not go, he knew what work was being done there. All I know is that the members of the Society provided the service. I do not know why the S.G. used to be away, but I know that he had a lot of work to cope with.

 

18.       Besides the feast, what other services were held in the chapel after the S.G. took over? Masses? Other sacraments? Rosary? Benediction?

 

I cannot answer this question; probably it was the same as in other chapels.

 

 

19.       What do you think was the reason why the chapel progressed so much when it was in the hands of the S.G.? Perhaps because he could afford the expenses involv­ed? Perhaps because he had a lot of friends? Perhaps be­cause he was regarded as a kind priest?

 

It seems that all this progress was not due to money or to the presence of the S. G., although he was regarded as a good priest, but to the good service provid­ed, which was the fruit of the Society that the Servant of God had founded.

 

20.       Why do you think that the S.G. wanted to achieve this progress regarding the chapel? Why did he want this place to become the Centre of his Society? Because he realized the needs of the people in the vicinity? For some other reason?

 

It appears that the Servant of God brought about this progress because he wanted to make this chapel the centre of the Society.

 

21.       You say that what you wrote about the feast came from your own experience. This, therefore, means that you were present for the feast and other activities that took place in the chapel. Did you notice the behaviour of the S.G.? How did he act on the altar and with people?

 

I am under the impression that on feast days he was not present there, but I can say that I used to see him at the Cathedral.  In fact I do not remember that he cele­brated high Mass, although he was there for the feasts. After the services he did not stop to chat, but went straight home. He always had good manners with people.

 

22.       Let us again consider the feast of St. Agatha. Do you think that the S.G. had some special devotion towards St. Agatha, and perhaps that is why he wanted to promote the feast? If this is so, what, do you think, was the ori­gin of this devotion? If so, how did he show his devotion otherwise? How did he try to instill it in others?

 

I do not know if he had some particular devotion to St. Agatha. I think that he was interested in the Chapel of St. Agatha mostly because it was the only chapel in Rabat around which he could build the Mother house.

 

23.       When you say that the S.G. increased the solemnity of the feast of St. Agatha, does it mean that he en­couraged some party connected with the saint and stirred a certain amount of fanaticism? Was he ever criticized or accused that he diverted people from the parish church and created dissension? If so, by whom?

 

Negative ad omnia. As a matter of fact, there were those who praised this initiative.

 

24. “Electric power was installed in the crypt.” First of all, which was the crypt? Is it connected with St. Agatha as well? If yes, say very briefly all you know about this connection.

 

25.       When you say that electric power was installed in the crypt, do you include the chapel as well, or was there electric power before? What do you think was the main reason why the S.G. decided to install electric pow­er there? Perhaps to be like others? To be among the first? To attract more people and therefore, to increase this devotion? Was it the S.G. who wanted the electric power to be installed or were there others who used pres­sure on him to do this? Can you tell me whether the other churches in Rabat and some other chapels had electricity?

 

The crypt is the same one there is in St. Agatha’s Chapel, and electric light was installed in both of them. Mons. De Piro decided to install electric light in the Chapel becau­se this became common in those days.

 

26.       Was it easy or difficult to install electric light in those days? Could you tell me who paid for the electric installation in a house? How much did it cost? As regards the crypt of St. Agatha do you know who defrayed the expenses: the S.G., the people, and his family? And did you ever hear where he got the money from for the feast? Per­haps there were some particular persons who gave him the money for this?

 

I do not think it was difficult to have electric light installed in a house, but the person who applied for it had to pay the expenses. I do not know what expenses were involved, but I think that in St. Agatha the members of the Society itself did the work. It was said that the members did a lot of work. I do not know who paid for the electricity in St. Agatha. As regards the general ex­penditure for St. Agatha people wondered where the money came from, as the members did not make any collections.  The common belief was that the family of the Servant of God provided the money.

 

27.       You say that the S.G. did not have in mind just the chapel. In that place and around it he wanted to build the Central House of the Missionary Society of St. Paul. Why do you think that he chose that place to be the Centre? Perhaps in those days he couldn’t find another place? Or perhaps because of the devotion to St. Agatha which he want­ed to introduce into the spirituality of the Society? Or perhaps he saw the pastoral needs of the people of the vi­cinity? Or perhaps because it was a quiet place? Or per­haps because it was a poor area and he wanted to train his members in poverty?

 

lam provisum cfr. No. 22.

 

28.       How did you get to know that the S.G. had taken St. Agatha to build the Centre of the Society there? Did he say this in public? Did the people say this?

 

This is my personal opinion based on common sense because I knew the small house in Mdina which they occupied and where they could not make any progress.

 

29.       Do you know who owned the land adjoining the chapel of St. Agatha? Was it a donation, or did he buy it? If he bought it, do you know from where he obtained the money? Do you know if some trouble was connected with this? If yes, what was the S.G.’s reaction?

 

I do not know how to answer this question.

 

30.       Was there all round approval of the S.G.’s acti­vities regarding St. Agatha (about the devotion and the building of the Central house)? Was there some op­position to this? Did the S.G. have ’support’ from the ecclesiastical authorities for what he was doing’?

 

I do not know that anyone was against this activity; as a matter of fact the people approved and praised the work that they did. I never heard any one in Ecclesiastical circles complaining. I know that the Archbishop and the S. G. were close friends, and I believe that the Archbishop used to encourage him.

 

31.       You describe the S.G.’s  mother as “noble in soul and in body”. What did you mean by this expression? Are you able to mention some qualities (virtues) that this woman possessed? Were you the only one to notice them or did you hear others talking about them? Do you think that these beautiful qualities of his mother in­fluenced the S.G.? In what way?

 

We altar boys accompanied the priest who gave communion to the mother of the S. G. (and she often re­ceived Holy Communion). I remember that she was always ill in a wheel chair, but she always welcomed us child­ren with a smile. I think that that smile revealed her peaceful heart and resignation. I believe that these qualities left their mark not only on the S. G., but also on the whole family because they were all con­sidered to be good people.

 

32.       When you refer to the S.G.’s “… mother’s physical nobility”, do you mean her beauty? money? houses? In case, from where did you get to know this? Was she in the habit of boasting?

 

lam provisum cfr. No. 31.

 

33.       It seems that you often went to the house of the S.G.’s mother. Were there occasions when you spoke to his mother? Did she ever speak to you about her son Guzeppi, the S.G.? Or about the family in general? In case, what do you remember?

 

Although I went to the house of the S.G. on various occasions, I did not have much contact with his mother, who sometimes asked me questions, e.g., about school.

 

34.       As I learnt from the housemaid.” Was this maid used to talk to you, or perhaps you heard her talk whilst you passed by her? Did she ever speak to you about the De Piro family? About the S.G.? In case, what do you remember?

 

When we saw the maid talking to Fr. Alwig (the senior sacristan) we perceived that the S. G. was going to say Mass at home.  Then we altar boys offered to go and serve at his Mass.

 

I never heard her speak about the family or the S.G.

 

Et sic hora 12.00 a.m. suspensum est examen dicti testis ob tarditatem horae, animo illud continuandi die 27 Februarii hoc in loco: ad quem effectum moniti fuerunt a Delegato Archiepiscopali tam idem testis quam Iustitiae Promotor ut compareant dictis die et hora. Deinde Ego Notarius eidem testi perlegi eius depositionem data ei facultate addendi, minuendi vel corrigendi, si necessario reputaverit. Ipse eam confirmavit seque in fidem subscripsit. Iuro me veritatem totam in mea depositione dixisse et confirmo omnia quae superius deposui.

 

Biagio Galea, testis;

 

Deinde Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigillo ipsius obsignatis interrogatoriis cum testium depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerem et sese subscripsit cum Iustitiae Promotore ut sequitur:

 

Frater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Delegatus Episcopalis

Frater Paul Gatt O.P., Promotor Iustitiae

 

 

Supra quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis Ego Notarius de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopalis hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma et in fidem me subscripsi et meum Natariatus sigillum apposui.

 

Actum die 20 Februarii 1989

 

Its est.

 

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius.


 

Sessio Decima Sexta

 

 

.

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo nono, die vero vigesima septima Februarii (sive 27-2-1989) hora 9.30 a.m. coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in praesenti causa canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Joseph De Piro pro Tribunali sedente in Curia Archiepiscopali, Valletta, praesentibus Iustitiae Promotore legitime citato, meque Notario, comparuit D.nus Biagio Galea, testis inductus et citatus , cui delatum fuit iuramentum iuxta formulam in Secunda Sessione relatam, quod ille statim praestitit at sese subscripsit.

 

Ego Biagio Galea testis iuravi:

 

Quo iuramento praestito, clausis ianuis, solisque remanentibus Delegato Archiepiscopali, Iustitiae Promotore et dicto teste, ego Notarius exhibui plicum interrogatorium et testium attestationem, quem cum Delegatus Archiepiscopalis recognovisset clausum at illaesum, ex eius mandato aperui et statim deventum est ad examen dicti testis, qui ita respondit ad quaesita:

 

35.       You mention  Fr. Alwig of the Cathedral. Was he in­timate with the De Piro family? Was he one of those who gave her Communion? What was his character? Do you think he approved of the ideas and activities of the S.G.? Or was he against him? Did he ever tell you, or did you ever hear him say something in favour or against the S.G.?

 

Fr. Alwig Vella was the Senior Sacristan of the Cathedral and so he had to make all preparations for the Masses. He was not intimate with the family of De Piro, nor was he one of the priests who gave Communion to the mother of the Servant of God. As he was in charge of the altar boys, the maid of the De Piro family used to ask him to send an al­tar boy to serve Mons. De Piro when he said Mass at home. I never heard him saying anything in favour or against the Servant of God.

 

36.       You remember the S.G.’s mother “as an old woman, her hands always trembling, sitting in a wheelchair.” Do you remember if she died before or after the S.G.? Do you know if she died of some illness? In case, what was it? If she died before the S.G., how did the S.G. react to her death? Do you remember the Father of the S.G.? If not, why? Perhaps he did not live with the family? Perhaps he was abroad? Perhaps he was separated from his wife? Or perhaps he was dead? Did you ever hear about him at the time?

 

I do not know anything in answer to this question.

 

37.       When his mother was ill, or on some feast of the Cathedral, the Monsignor used to say Mass in the chapel there was in the top corridor in his mother’s house. Do you think that at those times the Monsignor needed some special permit to do this? If yes, do you think he had this permit? In case, what makes you think this? How do you know that the S.G. said Mass there? Perhaps, you serv­ed at the Mass?

 

I do not know anything about the permission for the S.G., to say Mass at home. I know that he said Mass at home because I served at his Mass several times.

 

38.       You say that he went to say Mass in this chapel “to keep his mother company”. Couldn’t he keep her company without saying Mass? Why did he also say Mass on some feast day? Perhaps to avoid saying Mass at the Cathedral? Perhaps he felt more collected when saying Mass in private? Perhaps also because he wished his mother to share the feast?

 

I guess that the S.G. said Mass at home so that his mother might be able to hear Mass, especially on some feast day.

 

39. At this time, “his brothers and sisters had already left the house.” Why? Perhaps they no longer relished this house? Perhaps there was disagreement between them? Per­haps there were quarrels? Perhaps they had chosen their state in life? Perhaps some of them had died? Do you know if they were on good terms with their mother? With the S.G.?

 

I knew only two of the brothers (and sisters) of the S.G.; they seemed to be a united family. I used to see also the nephews in the house of the S.G.’s mother.

 

40.       What do you know about the brothers and sisters of the S.G.? Were they all married? Were any of them single or became a priest? Do you know if they died before or after the S.G.? What did they die of? Do you remember the death of any of his brothers or sisters during the time you knew the S.G.? In case, how do you remember the S.G. was affected by such death?

 

I remember that before the death of the S.G., his brother priest had already died, but I do not know anything about the reaction of the S.G. on this occasion.

 

41.       From what you say it appears that at times you saw the S.G. saying Mass. Where did you see him? At his mother’s house, or in other places as well? Did you see him often? You also say that it took him a long time to say Mass. How long did he take? What were the comments of the people on this? Were they annoyed? Did they admire him? Did he always take the same time or did the time taken vary? Do you remember some occasion when the S.G. said Mass in a hurry without the usual concentrations.

 

I always saw Mons. De Piro saying Mass at home, although this was not often. The S.G. took a moderate time to say Mass; he did not hurry in his Mass and did everything properly.

 

I never heard people comment on the way the S.G. said Mass.

 

42.       Whilst mentioning the length of his Mass, you state also that he said Mass with a special devotion. What do you mean by this? Perhaps the kind of gestures he made? Perhaps the tone of his voice? Perhaps the attention? Perhaps the serious expression on his face? Do you know this from your own experience only, or did you hear others commenting on this?

 

43.       Apart from the length of the Mass and his special devotion during the Mass, was there anything else in his Mass that struck you?

 

I understand that Mons. De Piro used to say Mass and observe the rites with all respect and recollection, and he did everything properly and not in a hurry. I never noticed anything extraordinary.

 

44.       Do you remember how he prepared himself before the Mass and his thanksgiving that followed the Mass? Where? How? Did you notice anything particular?

 

I never had the chance to observe if Mons. De Piro pre­pared himself before Mass and said thanksgiving after: as soon as I arrived I found him ready to say Mass; as soon as it finished I left.

 

45.       Apart from the Mass and the services in the Cathed­ral, did you ever see the S.G. praying alone, in private? In case, where? With regard to this, did anything strike you in particular?

 

I never saw him praying alone, but when I saw him in the choir I always saw him recollected without noticing the others.

 

46.       You mention the feasts in the cathedral. Do you re­member which were these feasts? What part did the S.G. take? How did he act?

 

The principal feasts were: The Conversion of St. Paul, lmnarja’, St. Mary (The Assumption) and Christmas. I do not remember if the Servant of God attended for these feasts. Et iam provisum.

 

47.       Do you know what position/positions he occupied in the Cathedral? Do you know when he received such position/ positions? Why was he awarded these positions? How did he receive it / them?

 

I know that Mons. De Piro was Dean and as such he convened the Chapter. I cannot answer the rest.

 

48.       “Most probably he visited his mother on Saturdays”. Do you think he had some particular reason for choosing this day, or did it just happen? Perhaps because he was free from the institutes? Perhaps this was his mother’s wish? Perhaps because it was on this day he visited the members of the Society who were at Mdina and therefore he killed two birds with one stone with­out wasting time? Or just because he was free?

 

I do not know how to answer this question.

 

49.       “It sometimes happened that he slept at home”. Do you mean that he did not usually sleep there not even on his Saturday visits? In that case, where did he go? Perhaps in the house of the Society? Do you know what was his mother’s reaction, if any, to the fact that he did not normally sleep in her house? In case, what kind of reaction was it? Did he know about it? How did the S. G. react to this?

 

From what I heard he used to sleep at St. Joseph’s Institute and it was public opinion that Mons. De Piro “was a man dedicated to children”. I do not know anything about the rest.

 

50.       If sometimes he slept at home, did this mean that the S.G. had his own room? Did you ever see this room? If yes, can you describe it? If you never saw it, did you ever hear something about it, for example, from the housemaid? Could it be that sometimes he slept at his mother’s house because it was more comfortable than the one he had in the house of the Society or in the Institutes?

 

51.       Do you know if he sometimes slept in the house of the Society in Mdina? In case, did you ever see his room there? Do you know how often he was there? Did you ever at that time hear any comments from the members of the Society about the time he stayed with them? Were they satisfied with this? Did they want him to be with them more often? Or less?

 

I do not know how to answer these questions, but I am under the impression that the Servant of God did not sleep at the House of the Society in Mdina.

 

52.       According to what you say, the S.G. did not say Mass at the Cathedral nor did he attend for the ser­vices except for some occasions. Was it possible that the S.G. said Mass at the Cathedral when you were not there? If it is true that he was absent, you say that he did not do this out of negligence but to be able to cope with the institutes. How do you know that this was the true reason why he was absent from the Cathedral? If it is true that he was needed at the institutes how do you explain that at times he said Mass at his mother’s house? Do you know whether he was exempted from attend­ing at the Cathedral? Did you ever hear any comments by the other Monsignors about his absence (praise or disapproval)?

 

Between 1924 and 1932, when I served at the Cathedral, I used to remain in the Cathedral all the time when Masses were said, but I do not remember that I ever saw the Ser­vant of God saying Mass there. I do not know if the Monsignor said Mass there whilst I was away.

 

I deduce that Mons. De Piro did not go to the Cathedral to cope with the institutes for the following reasons: (i) Mons. De Piro never wasted time; I noticed that after the choir he soon left without staying for a chat. (ii) When the Monsignor did not say the Mass which was assigned to him he had to pay the priest who replaced him, and this means that the fact that Mons. De Piro did not say Mass was a financial weight for him.

 

He did not often say Mass at his mother’s house and this, therefore, did not interfere with his work at the instit­utes.

 

I do not know if he was permitted to be absent, but I never heard any of the other Monsignors express praise or disapproval about this.

 

53.       Do you think that his absence from services and Masses ever created problems among the other Monsignors.

 

As far as I know Mons. De Piro’s absence never caused inconvenience to the other Monsignors.

 

54.       You say that the S.G. said Mass and attended ser­vices at the Cathedral only (exceptionally) “on some oc­casions. Do you know which were these “exceptions”? Why do you think he attended for these “exceptions” and not on other occasions?

 

I do not know how to answer this question.

 

55.       When you say the S.G. was absent from services and Masses at the Cathedral, do you also mean that he did not hear confessions at the Cathedral? Did you ever see him hear confessions somewhere else? Where? Did you ever confess to him? If yes, can you say what he spoke about most during the confessions’?

 

I never saw Mons. De Piro hearing confessions either at the Cathedral or in some other place. I never asked him to confess me because I was shy of him, but I think that if I asked him he would have confessed me.

 

56.       Do you know the approximate number of Monsignors at the Cathedral at that time? Were they a small or a large number? Do you remember whether they were all present for the services? Were there any absent (besides the S.G.)? If yes, do you know why?

 

The Monsignors numbered about twenty or more. But it was rare for them all to be present. Those who attended most often lived at Mdina or Rabat, and even these were not al­ways present.

 

57.       Did you ever hear if the S.G. ever had arguments with any of the Monsignors. If yes, do you know the reason? If yes, did this last for a long time? How did it end?

 

I never heard that Mons. De Piro had any argument with any of the Monsignors, not even on the Foundation of the Missionary Society of St. Paul.

 

58.       Did you ever hear the S.G. preach? If yes, where? What subjects did he choose for his sermons? How did the congregation receive his words? Did you ever hear anyone, at that time, talk about his sermons? If he did not preach, what do you think was the reason? Perhaps because he was timid? He did not have enough courage? He did not have the time for preparation?

 

I never heard the Servant of God preaching, nor did I hear comments on his sermons.

 

59.       Back to the Masses at the Cathedral. You state that the S.G. did not say Mass at the Cathedral not because he lacked a sense of responsibility. Why do you make this comment? Perhaps you sometimes heard someone complaining about this fact? Perhaps at some time he was regarded as an irresponsible person?

 

I never heard anyone complaining because Mons. De Piro did not say Mass at the Cathedral. This did not result from lack of responsibility.  See No. 52.

 

60.       You say that there were two anniversaries at the Cathedral almost daily. These occasions meant payment to those present. You say that since the S.G. did not attend he “deprived himself” of this money that is, ac­cording to your statement he did not receive any money. How do you know this? Could it be that the S.G. still re­ceived the money, perhaps because he had the permission from his superiors to be absent? How do you know that the S.G. “deprived himself” of the money he could earn from the Cathedral as a service to the institutes?

 

I know that the Servant of God deprived himself of money deriving from anniversaries because I know that such money was shared only ‘inter praesentes’. It is obvious that since Mons. De Piro was absent because of his work he deprived himself of this money because of a sense of duty.

 

61.       What do you think was the financial situation of the institutes run by the S.G.? Don’t you think that he would have been of greater service to them had he stayed for the Masses and other services (choir) at the Cathedr­al and got the money due? (in case he really did not re­ceive the money) ?

 

I do not think that, if Mons. De Piro attended for these services and gave the money he received to the institutes, this (money) would have compensated for his absence from these same institutes and for his work in them.

 

62.       Do you know from where he obtained the money for the institutes? Was it his own money? Did it belong to the family? Perhaps from people? Do you think the S.G. trusted in Divine Providence regarding this? If yes, can you give a concrete example of this?

 

It was rumoured that Mons. De Piro’s family helped. In fact, I had heard Fr. Joseph Spiteri, one of the first collaborators of Mons. De Piro, say that they lived on God’s providence.

 

63.       You say that the S.G. “deprived himself” of the money he could have earned from the Cathedral to work in the institutes. Could there have been some other reason why he did not go to the Cathedral? Perhaps he felt uncomfortable in the company of the Monsignors? Perhaps he did not wish much to appear as a Monsignor? Perhaps because he could get the money from other sourc­es? Perhaps he felt that he should not be paid for pray­ing?

 

I do not think that the above-mentioned reasons motivated Mons. De Piro to be absent from the Cathedral. I feel that the only reason why he deprived himself of this money was his sense of responsibility for the institutes.

 

N.B. I always mention the institutes but I always have in mind the Society he was founding, which, at that time, was still in its infancy and needed the help and pre­sence of the Servant of God.

 

Et sic hora 12.00 a.m. suspensum est examen dicti testis ob tarditatem horae, animo illud continuandi die 6 Martii hoc in loco. Ad quem effectum moniti fuerunt a Delegato Archiepiscopali tam idem testes quam Justitiae Promotor ut compareant dictis die et hora. Deinde Ego Notariue eidem testi perlegi eius depositionem data ei facultate addendi, minuendi vel corrigendi si necessario roputaverit. Ipse eam confirmavit seque in fidem subscripsit.

 

Iuro me veritatem totam in mea depositione dixisse et confirmo omnia quae superius deposui.

 

Biagio Galea, testis;

 

Deinde Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigilbo ipsius obsignatis interrogatoriis cum testium depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerem et sese subscripsit cum Justitiae Promotore ut sequitur:

 

Frater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Delegatus Episcopalis

Frater Paul Gatt OP, Promoter Iustitiae

 

Supra quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis Ego Notarius de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopalis hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma et in fidem me subscripsi et meum Notariatus sigillum apposui.

 

Actum die 27 Februarii 1989

 

Ita est.

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius.


 

Sessio Decima Septima

 

 

 

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo nono, die vero sexta Martii (sive 6-3-1989) hora 9.30 a.m. coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in praesenti Causa Canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Joseph De Piro pro Tribunali sedente in Curia Archiepiscopali, Valletta, praesentibus Iustitiae Promotore legitime citato, meque Notario, comparuit D.nus Biagio Galea, testis inductus ac citatus cui delatum fuit iuramentum iuxta formulam in Secunda Sessione relatam, quod ille statim praestitit et sese subscripsit ut infra:

 

Ego Biagio Galea testis iuravi:

 

Quo iuramento praestito, clausis ianuis, solisque remanentibus Delegato Archiepiscopali, Iustitiae Promotore et dicto teste, ego Notarius exhibui plicurn interrogatorium et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegato Archiepiscopalis recognovisset clausum et illaesum, ex eius mandato aperui et statim deventum est ad examen dicti testis qui ita respondit ad quaesita:

 

64.       You say that the S.G. did not go for walks in the garden outside Mdina like the other Monsignors. What do you think was the reason? Perhaps because he had a lot of work? Perhaps because he considered this to be waste of time?

 

I was under the impression that the S.G. did not stroll with the other Monsignors because he did not want to waste time.

 

65.       Do you think the S.G. took care of his health? Do you think he took the rest needed? Do you know if he had time for recreation? In case, where and how?

 

I do not know how to answer this question.

 

66.       Did you ever hear that he had some illness? From where did you get to know this? Did you ever hear him say that he was ill? Did he complain of any­thing?

 

At that time I never heard that he was ill.

 

67.       You said that in no way did you consider the S.G. to be unsociable. Are you able to describe the charact­er of the S.G.? And can you also add something about his person? Was he tall? Short? Stout? Slim? Did he keep him­self clean? What were his clothes like? Old? New? Thread­bare? Soiled? If they were old and threadbare, why do you think he wore them?

 

The S.G. was a recollected person, and did not seek the company of others.  But he would not be standof­fish if someone wanted to speak to him. He was well built and tall. His clothes were always suitable according to the occasion. It is to be noted that he was brought up in an environment of nobility.

 

68.       Why did you say that the S.G. was not unsociable? Perhaps you heard people say that he was so? In case can you say who these were?

 

I never heard anyone say that the S.G. was un­sociable nor anyone complaining about his character.

 

69.       “He did his utmost for those who needed help.” Did he wait for some need to arise to give his help? Can you mention any particular instance when his help was needed, and how he helped in such case/cases?

 

What I meant is that if he was caught in a conversation the S.G., did not shy away but he took part in the conversation. As regards the rest I do not know how to answer.

 

70.       “In the street he did not stop to talk..., at the same time he always had a smile on his face and greeted everyone he met.” Can you give a more detailed explanation? How did the people interpret the fact that he did not stop to talk to them? Why do you think he did not stop to talk to people on the street? If people could not talk to him in the street, where could they see him? Do you know what his reaction was when someone went to talk to him?

 

The S.G., was regarded as different from the other nobles.  He was more connected with the children in his care and the Society he was founding in Mdina. I do not mean that if someone wanted to talk to him in the street, Mons. De Piro would ignore him. However, I do not know where people could see him; probably at St. Joseph’s.

 

71.       When you again speak about the Masses, you remark that “he was a very good man”. What do you mean by this? Perhaps he was very charitable? Perhaps he was very pa­tient? Perhaps he was not touchy? Can you prove this?

 

When I say: “He was a very considerate person,” I refer to his attitude towards people.

 

72.       “For the children he was something special”. What do you mean by these words? That the children enjoyed his presence? Or that he did all his utmost for the child­ren? Can you prove this?

 

I refer later on to my answer to questions 75 - 76.

 

73.       After you served him at Mass you received two ‘ring cakes’ and two pence. I imagine that this happen­ed when you served him at his mother’s house. In fact, who gave them to you, he or his mother?

 

It was the S.G.’s mother who gave them to us.

 

74.       You add that, although his Mass took a long time, you children wanted to serve him. Why? Perhaps because of the ring cakes and money? Perhaps because you visit­ed his mother’s house? Perhaps because he also instilled devotion in you?

 

Mainly for the ring cakes and the two pence and I, personally, to see the antique in their house, but not be­cause of some devotion.

 

75.       You also mention the great love of the S.G. for the children and as an example, you mentioned the story of the “sugared almonds.” Do you mean that the S.G. loved the children because he used to give them sweets? Or per­haps because he used to give them other material things like clothes and other food? Or perhaps because he used to teach them? What spiritual aid do you think the S.G. gave to the children?

 

I do not know what Mons. De Piro did for the children, but people said that they were well looked after.

 

76.       For the Silver Jubilee of his priesthood the S.G. invited not only the Monsignors and other priests but also the children of the institutes and the altar boys. Was this customary in those days, or was the S.G. the only one who did this? What made the S.G. invite every­one, i.e., also the children?

 

In those days when a Monsignor was installed and on other similar occasions no children attended and much less from the institutes. That is why I feel that this was a unique occasion, which shows the S.G.’s love for child­ren, and this, I think, made him invite these children for this occasion.

 

77.       On the occasion of the 25th anniversary, which you mention, were the Monsignors and the priests together with the children. And were they treated equally?  Or do you remember that there was something different, for example, different places, etc.?

 

I remember that there was no separation on this occasion of the 25th anniversary.

 

78.       Do you think there was some reaction from the Monsignors regarding the presence of the children and altar boys? Do you remember if you heard some comment about the S.G., which struck you on that occasion?

 

I do not remember any reaction, nor did I hear any com­ments about this act of Mons. De Piro on this occasion.

 

79.       Who do you think provided the food for the feast of the 25th anniversary?  The S.G. himself? His mother? His brothers and sisters?

 

I do not know how to answer this question.

 

80.       Present for the feast there were the Monsignors, priests, the children of the institutes and the altar- boys. Were his mother, brothers and sisters, present? Were there members of the Missionary Society of St. Paul?

 

I know that at that time Mons. De Piro’s mother was ill at home. As regards his brothers and sisters, I see no reason why they should not have been there because there was no misunderstanding between them and Mons. De Piro.  But, after all this time, I do not remember whether there was or not. Nor can I remember if the members of the Society of St. Paul were present or not. Nor do I think that it was a very big feast.

 

81.       As regards the barrels full of “sugared almonds” which you mention on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee do you think that the S.G. had prepared them especially for you?  Or did he tell you to take them because they were left over? Or were they meant for some other occasion?

 

I think that the “sugared almonds” were prepared on pur­pose for the children.

 

82.       Why did he have the 25th anniversary feast at the Seminary? Perhaps because such feasts were held there? Perhaps because his mother’s house was not large enough for the guests? Perhaps because his mother, brothers and sisters refused to hold the feast in the house of the De Piro family? If this was the case, why? If in those days he was director of some of the children’s institutes, why did he not hold the feast in one of the institutes? Perhaps because they were too poor to re­ceive in them people of a certain level?

 

I do not know for what reason Mons. De Piro chose the Seminary for the feast of his 25th Anniversary. Per­haps because of space. I know that some ‘installations’ were held in the Sacristy of the Cathedral.

 

83.       Besides the people already mentioned in the above questions, do you remember if, for the 25th anniversary feast, there were more prominent people, for example, belonging to the Government or to the Church?

 

I cannot answer this question.

 

84.       What do you know about the work of the S.G. at St. Joseph’s Institute? What type of Institute was this? Who were the inmates? Who had appointed the S.G. to be direc­tor of this Institute? For what reason do you think he was chosen for this office? Do you know if he was dedi­cated to this kind of work? Do you know if, besides St. Joseph’s Institute, he was also in charge of some other institute/institutes? Which? When you say he was in charge of the institutes, what exactly do you mean? What exactly was he responsible of? Do you know for how long was he in charge of these institutes?

 

All I know is that Mons. De Piro was helped by Fr. Joseph Spiteri and others in his work at St. Joseph’s. I feel that he was wholly dedicated to this work, for people as­sociated St. Joseph’s Institute with Mons. De Piro. His work in it lasted until his death. I do not know if he had other institutes in his care.

 

85.       Do you know someone who was in the Institute at the time when the S.G. was director? In case, did you ever get some information from him regarding the liv­ing conditions in the Institute when the S.G. was di­rector?

 

I do not know any boys who were at St. Joseph’s In­stitute. I knew Fr. Joseph Spiteri and Fr. Mikiel Callus who helped the S.G., but they never gave me information relevant to this question.

 

86.       The blessing of the first stone of St. Agatha occurred on the 3 October 1932. How long before this had the S.G. founded the Society? What do you know about its beginning? What was the exact aim for which it was founded? What work did they undertake at Mdina? In other parts of Malta? Did you ever frequent the places where they lived? If yes, are you able to describe the place?

 

The Society of Mons. De Piro began in Mdina in a part of Palazzo Xara and from that time I used to hear people say that Mons. De Piro wanted to found a missionary So­ciety, which had to work among Maltese emigrants. Later they moved to a house in Strada Celsi, in Mdina. I do not remember any activity of the Society of Mons. De Piro in Mdina. I remember that they used to go to St. Augustine’s for their studies. In those days they helped Mons. De Piro in St. Joseph’s Institute.

 

When I went to this house, I stayed in the entrance hall where Bro. Guzepp repaired shoes.

 

87.       You seem to hint that the Society of St. Paul be­gan in Mdina. Do you know exactly where the first house was? Perhaps in some part of his mother’s house? If not, where? From the beginning of the Society until they moved to St. Agatha, did they always occupy the same house or did they move to other houses in the same Mdina? If they moved to other houses, what do you think was the reason? Perhaps because they did not pay the rent and were therefore evicted? Perhaps the landlord wanted back the house they occupied? Perhaps because the neighbours did not want them near? When eventually they left Mdina to move to St. Agatha, what do you think was the reason? Perhaps because there were so many members that they needed a larger place? Or was there some other reason?

 

Magna ex parte jam provisum (cfr. No. 86). I do not know why they moved house. I know that the house in Pjazza Celsi was more spacious. They moved to St. Agatha, be­cause it was the place intended for the Motherhouse of the Society. I remember that people praised them because they themselves took part in the building of their Motherhouse.

 

88.       For the blessing of the first stone of St. Agatha  you attended as an altar boy. Did you have any particul­ar duty on that occasion?

 

On the day of the laying of the foundation stone I held the holy water.

 

89.       “Many people were present for this occasion”. When you say this, do you mean the people in general, or do you include some special guests (obviously excluding the bishop)? Do you remember some of these special people? Do you know if the S.G. had some particular relation with them?

 

I should think that for this occasion there were speci­al guests, although I do not remember. When I said “there were many people on this occasion” I meant the people in general, especially the people of the neigh­bourhood.

 

90.       “Many people attended for the laying of the founda­tion stone of St. Agatha.” What, do you think, did this mean? That the people realized that this new house was needed? That they loved the members of this Society?  That the members of the Society of St Paul were al­ready well known? That they had a high opinion of the S.G.? Or perhaps because the people at that time had few similar occasions to attend?

 

I think that people attended because it was an occasion, which automatically attracted people. The Society was not yet known and I do not think that people attended because there was going to be the Servant of God.

 

91.       “Many people had heard the news that there would be the laying of the foundation stone of the house of St. Agatha”. What do you mean by this? Why do you think it is so important?

 

When I said “The news ..... spread” I meant that it spread in the limits of Rabat and Mdina, especially in the neighbourhood of Hal Bajjada, where the House of the Society was planned to be built.

 

92.       The fact that you served as an altar boy at the laying of the foundation stone means that you could ob­serve the S.G. closely. Did you notice anything special about him on that day, perhaps his clothes? The expres­sion on his face? Did he make a speech? In case, do you remember what he said?

 

I remember that Mons. De Piro with the other Monsignors were with the Archbishop. I do not remember the rest.

 

93.       You state that long before the Society moved to the House of St. Agatha, “it had been known” that the S.G. was founding a Society. What did the people under­stand by “Society”? Perhaps a religious order like those already existing in Malta? Or some Society with fewer obligations? Were the people in favour of or against this Society? If there were people against can you spe­cify who they were and why? From what environment did the first members of the Society come? Were there many?

Did all of them remain?

 

People believed that Mons. De Piro was founding some­thing religious especially for the missions. Many of the neighbours helped the members of the Society. I never heard anyone speak against the Society. The first members I knew came from the middle class. At first their number was small. I do not know how many remained or left.

 

94.       “Priests for the missions”. In those days what did people understand by the word missions? Perhaps they would go to countries not yet evangelized or to countries where the Church already existed? Do you have the impression that, at the time we are refer­ring to, the S.G. had already chosen some particular place where he intended to send his priests? Had he sent some member to some place? In case, where? When? Did he / they, stay there or did they come back?

 

I want to make it clear that I do not know well what the idea of Mons. De Piro was about the mission in which the Society had to work. The people believed that Mons. De Piro was founding a Society so that its members might go to work among Maltese emigrants. I do not know how to answer the rest of the question.

 

95.       When you say “priests” for the missions, did the S.G. receive candidates for the priesthood or perhaps others as well to become brothers?

 

Mons. De Piro accepted also brothers from the very beginning.

 

96.       Did the S.G. ever speak to you, altar boys, ab­out the Society? If yes, what did he tell you? Did he ever encourage you to join the Society? If yes, in what way? If not, what was the reason? In fact did the S.G. make propaganda for the Society? How?

 

The Servant of God never spoke to us altar boys about the Society and I do not know that the Servant of God engaged in propaganda for the Society.

 

97.       Did you ever hear in those days that the S.G. met difficulties when he was founding the Society? Do you know if he had approval from the Ecclesiastical Authorities of Malta? Do you know if he had approval from Rome?

 

I never heard about such difficulties and, as far as I know, work continued regularly.

 

98.       What exactly do you mean when you say that the S.G. wanted “to build” the Central House of the Society? Do you mean that he took steps to have the house built? If yes, does this mean that he had the idea and someone else executed it? Or did he himself supervise the build­ing? Did he often examine the progress?

 

When I say that he wanted to build the Central House I understand that Mons. De Piro was interested in the comp­letion of the House so that the Society might grow.

 

99.       Do you know how he financed the building of the House of St. Agatha? Did he defray all the expenses? Or a large part of them? Or a little part?

 

100.    You state that he took over the chapel in 1923 and he started building the House in 1932. Why was there this delay? Perhaps because he had not yet obtained ap­proval from the ecclesiastical authorities to start the building? Or were there some other difficulties? Per­haps lack of funds?

 

101.    “… the Society of St. Paul moved to the House of St. Agatha”. When did the members move to this house? If you cannot remember the exact date, at least can you say whether it was long after the building had begun? When you say that the Society moved to St. Agatha do you mean that all its members went there? Or were there other members in other houses? If yes, where?

 

I do not know how to answer these questions except that, when the members moved to St. Agatha, some of them remained at St. Joseph’s Institute.

 

102.    Is it true that the S.G. was also involved in the social and political life of our country? If yes, in what sense? What part did he play ? Was he ever a member of or publicly showed sympathy with some politi­cal party? In those days were there other priests in­volved in politics? Did the ecclesiastical authorities accept the fact that priests took part in politics?

 

I do not remember this, but I know that for some time he represented the clergy in the Assembly. I never heard anyone say that he sympathized with any politic­al party. At that time it was accepted by the Ecclesias­tical Authorities that the priests could take part in politics.

 

103.    What do you know about the death of the S.G.? Do you know when he died? Where? How? What did he die of? Do you know if he received the last Sacraments?

 

104.    Do you remember what was the reaction of the peo­ple when they heard the news of the death of the S.G.?

 

105.    Did you go for his funeral? If yes, how did it strike you? If not, do you remember the reason why you did not attend? Even if you did not attend, do you know where the funeral cortege started? To which cemetery? Who celebrated the funeral Mass? What kind of funeral was it? Who attended? Where was he buried? In a private grave?

 

All I heard at that time was that Mons. De Piro was taken ill during the benediction, after a feast, and died. Everyone was sorry for him. I did not go for the funeral. I did not have any special connection with the S.G., and at that time it was difficult to travel from Rabat to Hamrun, where the funeral was held, and to the Addolorata Cemetery where he was buried. I cannot give more details. Many people attended.

 

106.    Were you present when his remains were taken from the Addolorata Cemetery to St. Agatha? If yes, what struck you? If you did not attend, do you re­member why you did not go? Can you describe how the ‘transfer’ was carried out?

 

I was not present on this occasion.

 

107.    Do you remember if, after the death and trans­fer of the remains, there were some reports about the S.G. in the newspapers? Do you remember the contents of these reports? Were they positive or negative?

 

I know that some newspapers referred to the life and death of Mons. De Piro, but I do not know the contents.

 

108.    Did you ever hear anyone talking about him after his death? If yes, who? What did he say? Was this posi­tive or negative?

 

I do not remember that anyone spoke in favour of or against the S.G.

 

109.    You said that you often talk to your children about the S.G. You even refer to him as a “saintly priest”. What, in your opinion, is a “saint” and why, therefore, do you give this title to the S.G.?

 

110.    What makes you so convinced that a time will come when the S.G. will be canonized?

 

I feel that he was a “saintly priest” because his was a holy life and his Society grew and spread.

 

111.    Did you ever hear anyone else talking about the S.G., and referring to him as a saint? Who?

 

I never heard people referring to the S.G. as a saint because he is not known in the place where I live.

 

112.    Did you ever hear that some special “grace” was obtained through the intercession of the S.G? If yes, can you mention some of these?

 

113.    Do you sometimes go to visit the grave of the S.G? Describe the grave. Is there some epitaph on it? Did you, at times, see people near his grave?

 

Once I felt a pain, which caused me concern. I prayed the Servant of God and medical tests were negative i.e. there was nothing wrong with me. I continued to pray for his intercession daily. Whenever possible I go to visit the grave of the S.G. It is a decent grave. On it there is the inscription Mons. Guzeppi De Piro. I did not see candles or ‘ex voto’. I used to visit the grave of the Servant of God even before the beginning of procedures for his canonization.

 

114.    Would you like to add, omit, change or improve something you said in answer to these questions?

 

I should like to add that the mission of Mons. De Piro was a hidden one, as there were no means to in­form the people.

 

Et sic hora 12.15 p.m. absoluto praedicti testis exami­ne de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopali ego Notarius alta et intellegibili voce testi perlegi integram depositionem, data ei facultate addendi, minuendi vel corrigendi si necessario reputaverit. Ipse eam ratam habuit et confirmavit his verbis:

 

Iuro me veritatem tota in mea depositione dixisse et confirmo omnia quae superius deposui.

 

Biagio Galea, testis;

 

Dimisso autem teste, Delegatus Archiepiscopalis mihi mandavit expediri citationem contra testem inductam Carmelam Mallia ut examini se subiiciat, et contra Iustitiae Promotorem ut assistat die 13 Martii 1989.

 

Deinde idem Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigillo ipsius obsignatis interrogatoriis, cum testium depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerem, ac sese snbscripsit, cum Iustitiae Promotore, ut sequitur;

 

Frater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Delegatus Episcopalis;

Frater Paul Gatt O.P., Promotor Iustitiae;

 

Supra quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis ego Notarius de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopalis hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma, et in fiden me subscripsi et meum notariatus sigillum apposui.

 

Datum est die 6 Martii 1989.

 

Ita est.

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius.


 

Sessio Decima Octava

 

 

 

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo nono, die vero decima tertia Martii (sive 13-3-1989) hora 9.30 a.m. coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in praesenti causa canonizatianis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Josephi De Piro, pro Tribunali sedente in domo “Pax et Bonum”, Mosta, ob aegritndinem testis, praesentibus Iustitiae Promotore legitime citato, meque Notario, comparuit Dna. Carmela Mallia testis inducta et citata cui delatum fuit iuramentum iuxta formulam in secunda ses- sione relatam, quod illa statim praestitit et sese subscripsit ut infra:

 

Ego Carmela Mallia testis iuravi:

 

Quo iuramento praestito, clausis ianuis, solisque remanentibus Delegato Archiepiscopali, justitiae Promotore et dicta teste, Ego Notarius cxhibui plicum interrogatorium et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegato Archiepiscopalis recognovisset clausum et illaesum, ex eius mandato aperui et statim de- ventum est ad examen dictae testis quae ita respondit ad quaesita:

 

Personalia

 

I am Mrs. Carmela Mallia, wife of the late Joseph, and daughter of John Mary Sant and Maria Anna Deguara, born at Naxxar on the 2 January 1901, re­siding at the Old People’s Home ‘Pax et Bonum’ Mosta, practicing Catholic.

 

1.         You said that you joined Fra Diegu’s Institute in 1906, that is, when you were five years old. Do you remember how long you stayed at the Institute?

 

2.         Do you remember if the Institute of Fra Diegu was built long before? What was the aim of its foundation? What type of children was admitted? Orphans’? Illegi­timate children? Children coming from poor families? Only girls? Or mixed? Do you remember if, when you were admitted, there were many children?

 

I stayed at the Institute of Fra Diegu until 1918, i.e., until I was 17 years old. I remember that the Institute was already existing. It received orphan girls as well as poor and illegitimate ones. When I was admitted we totaled 103 girls.

 

3.         You stated that when you joined the Institute, this was in the care of the Franciscan Fathers. Do you remem­ber which branch? Were there many of them? Do you know why it was entrusted to these Fathers?

 

4.         Do you know why the Franciscan Fathers did no longer run the Institute? Did they leave of their own free will? If this was the case, do you know why? Perhaps they were few in number and could not cope with the work? Per­haps they lacked the finances? Perhaps they wanted to start some new project? If they did not leave of their own free will, did this mean that they were perhaps dismissed by the Servant of God (S.G.) when Mons. De Piro took over? Perhaps they disapproved that the S.G. should be the new director? Or perhaps the S.G. had other people to replace them?

 

5.         When you were there, was there anyone else, besides the Franciscan Fathers, to help them? Perhaps some Sisters? If in the affirmative, to which congregation did they belong? Were there any laymen? With the arriv­al of the S.G., did they stay or were they replaced? If they were replaced, do you know why?

 

The Fathers were Franciscan Minors from the same Ord­er as the Founder, Fra Diegu. There were two friars. These friars ceased to be in charge of the Institute because they could not cope with their work, and left with the approval of Bishop Mons. Pietro Pace, as the Franciscan Sisters who helped at the Institute told me. With the arrival of the S.G., the same Sisters remained. There were no lay people help­ing at the Institute.

 

6.         Can you tell me in which year did the S.G. become director? Do you know how old he was at that time? Do you know how he was appointed director of the Institute? Do you think he asked for this appointment or was he pushed by someone to do this? Or perhaps the ecclesiastical authorities asked him? In this case why, do you think, did they choose him? Are you under the im­pression that he had previous experience in this field? In case, where? If in the negative, what was the reason for his choice? How do you know all this?

 

7.         Can you tell what were the S.G.’s activities before he became director of Fra Diegu? During the time he was director did he go on with the other activities as well, or did he drop some of them?

 

When I was about seven years old Mons. De Piro was already at the Institute. I remember this because at that time I was ill with fever and he used to come to see me. I think that the Bishop chose him because he knew his family. I used to hear people say that before he came to the Institute he had the care of those who were preparing for the priesthood. I do not know anything about the rest.

 

8.         When you say, “ I remember then when Mons. De Piro came as director.’ do you mean the time when the S.G. came as director or do you mean this in general, i.e. the period when the S.G. ran the In­stitute. If you remember the day when the S.G. became director, do you still remember how he was received at the Institute? Was there some special feast? Do you remember if everyone was happy with the choice of the S.G? Was there perhaps someone who betrayed some fear at this choice or who seemed to be against it?

 

9.         Do you have the impression that the S.G. was glad that he came among you or did he do this unwillingly? How do yon know this?

 

When I joined the Institute of Fra Diegu, Mons. De Piro was already its Director that is why I do not know how he had been received. I remember, however, that we used to make a feast for him on St. Joseph’s Day, his name saint.  He was glad and he loved us very much.

 

10.       The first thing you mention is the great devotion the S.G. had for the Eucharist. Why do you regard this as ‘the first thing’? Perhaps you noticed that this was something special in him? Why do you think it was ‘something great’? Only because of what you mention later on, i.e. the adoration, the Mass, the Euchar­istic Congress, or do you include other things as well? In case, can you give more details?

 

11.       To stress the S.G.’s devotion to the Eucharist, you mention the adoration he held every week, together with the children. Did he introduce this devotion at the Institute, or did it exist before? If it had already existed, perhaps he added some new elements? Do you know if he introduced this devotion in other Institutes of which he was responsible?  At what time was it held?  How long did it usually last? Did all the children take part? Did the sisters join, or did they have a special one for them? Why do you think he held it on a Friday, before the Eucharistic Congress? Perhaps because it was a day of particular devotion, perhaps to the Sacred Heart of Jesus? Why was it held on Thursday after the Eucharistic Congress? Per­haps because there was some directive by the Bishop? Or perhaps after the Congress the volume of his work increas­ed and so he could not hold it on a Friday?

 

I say this because: When we were going to have the First Holy Communion he brought us a souvenir from the Pope.  Later he asked us what Jesus had said to us when we re­ceived Communion. He introduced the habit of continuous adoration; each of us spent half an hour’s adoration. This followed the Eucharistic Congress.  Previously it was held on a Friday.

 

12.       When you say, “ I remember that De Piro regularly held the adoration together with the children”, what ex­actly do you mean? Perhaps you mean that he never missed it? For no reason, whatsoever? Do you remember some oc­casion/s when he was not present? In case, do you know what could have been the reason? Do you think it was easy for him to be present so regularly considering the volume of work he had and the difficulties of transport?

 

13.       You insist on the adoration “together with the children”. Do you think that the idea behind this adoration was also to train the children in their de­votion to the Eucharist? Did you children enjoy it or were you bored? Did you have any particular share in it?  Singing or reading? Was he used to preach in it? Do you remember what was the subject of these sermons?

 

14. How did he act during this adoration? Did he ap­pear to be collected? Distracted? Cogitative? Tired? Peaceful? Doing things hurriedly?

 

When I say that “Mons. De Piro regularly made the ado­ration with the children” I mean that every Thursday he made the adoration.  His mother was there and he allowed a devout woman to come. I do not have an answer for the rest. During the Adoration he did not preach; there was singing and the recitation of the Rosary. We enjoyed ourselves, although there was some restlessness. With this adoration he wanted to arouse in us the devotion towards the Eucharist.

 

Although he did not preach during the Adoration, on other occasions he taught us about the devotion and approach to the Eucharist.

 

The Monsignor used to be collected; he was punctual as regards the beginning and the conclusion of the Adoration.  He showed great devotion.

 

15.       Besides the period of adoration, did you ever see the S.G. praying alone before the Sacrament? Did you no­tice anything particular in him, perhaps different from other priests? Did you ever see him praying in any other place?

 

I do not know how to answer this question.

 

16.       Obviously this adoration was held in the chapel of the Institute. Can you describe this chapel briefly? Do you remember if there were any changes at the time of the S.G.? Perhaps it was enlarged? Decorated? Perhaps he bought new vestments? If there were any changes, were these designed by the S.G. or by some one else, e.g. the Sisters?

 

The chapel was quite long. I do not remember that any changes were made in it when the S.G. came to the Institute.

 

17.       You mention the Eucharistic Congress. I imagine that you are referring to the Congress of 1913, and you were then about 12 years old. Do you remember some celebration of the Congress? In case, what do you remember of it? Who took you for this celebration?  Was it the S.G.? Or someone else? Do you remember if the S.G. took some special part in the Congress? In case, do you remember what it was?

 

I remember that during the Congress we went to Valletta to sing about five times. Mons. De Piro asked the Sisters to take us, but he stayed with the celebrants and guests. In those days he did not come often to the Institute. For this occasion he had a new dress made for us.

 

18.       You also mention that on some feast days the S.G. said Mass at the Institute and you noticed the devotion with which he said Mass. Does this mean that the S.G. did not say Mass at the Institute daily? If he did not say Mass who said Mass? Or perhaps you did not have a daily Mass at the Institute? Who chose the priest to re­place him, he or the Sisters? Do you remember on which feast days he said Mass at the Institute? Where did he say Mass, when not at the Institute? Did you ever see him say Mass in other places? If in the affirmative, did you notice the same devotion in him?

 

The S.G. did not say Mass daily at the Institute but the Servant of God Fr. Gorg Preca, came to say Mass daily.  At times a certain Fr. Guzepp from Hamrun came to say Mass and on that day we had two Masses. I do not know who asked them to come.  Nor do I know where Mons. De Piro said Mass when he did not say Mass at the Institute. I never saw him say Mass anywhere else.

 

19.       What do you understand by the devotion when he said Mass? What did this devotion consist in? Perhaps in the gestures, in the tone of his voice, the expression on his face, the length of the Mass? Did he prepare himself? Did he do the thanksgiving? How? Where? How do you know all this?

 

He said Mass with great devotion. I say this because he did not hurry during the Mass and meditated on what he was doing.  He was recollected but he did not take a long time. I remember him preparing himself for the Mass and following it with thanksgiving, although I cannot give details.

 

20.       You say that, “we used to notice this devotion.” This means that you were not the only one to notice it. Perhaps you children used to comment on it? Or did you hear the sisters? Were the other children pleased when the S.G. said Mass? How do you know this?

 

All of us children noticed and commented on Mons. De Piro’s devotion during the Mass. We enjoyed ourselves hearing his Mass. As regards the Sisters, I have no answer.

 

21.       What is your own impression of the S.G.’s devotion to the Eucharist in the Mass? Do you think that it was only external, or did it flow from his faith in the pre­sence of Jesus in this Sacrament?

 

22.       “He did not only live this devotion in his life.” What do you mean? Did it seem to you that this devotion to the Eucharist used to affect all his life? In case, how?

 

This devotion derived from his faith.

 

23. “Not only did he live this devotion during his lifetime, but he also instilled it in us children.” What exactly do you mean by this? Perhaps through his example? Or perhaps he used to talk to you about the Eucharist? Did he exhort you to be devouted to the Eucharist?

 

Mons. De Piro exhorted us to receive Holy Communion daily, a fact that was not accepted by many people. I remember that I took this habit with me when I left the Institute and went to live with my aunt (who was a good woman) and she would not let me receive Holy Communion daily, but I still tried to receive Holy Communion whenever possible. At the Institute we heard two Masses whenever possible.

 

24.       Did the S.G. ever do something to help you understand better what was said and done in the Mass, consider­ing that only Latin was used? Perhaps some kind of commentary during the Mass? Or before? Or following the Mass? Did he deputize someone to do this?

 

Mons. De Piro never explained or commented on the Mass to us, but I remember the Servant of God Fr. Gorg Preca did this.

 

25.       You say that when you were 8 years old, together with another 8 children, you were ready for your First Holy Communion. How were you prepared for the First Holy Communion? Did the S.G. play a direct part in this preparation, or was someone else entrusted with it? In the later case, did the S.G. take care about the method of teaching? In those days were children examined before the First Holy Communion? If yes, do you remember who examined you? Perhaps the S.G.?

 

Mons. De Piro gave us very good training so that the First Holy Communion might have great effect on us. Catechism was in the care of the Sisters, but when our First Holy Communion was near Mons. De Piro himself used to talk to us on Jesus, how much he loves us and that he is present in the Eucharist.  He saw to it that we knew what we were going to receive and explained the meaning of Holy Communion. Cf. 10-14.

 

We still had Catechism lessons after the First Holy Com­munion. Also Mons. De Piro used to talk to us individ­ually after the First Holy Communion.

 

26.       Where was your First Holy Communion held? Perhaps at the Institute or at the Parish church? Who held this service, the S.G. or someone else? If it was the S.G., was there something particular on this occasion that you still remember? Perhaps he preached a sermon or told you something personally?

 

We had our First Holy Communion at the Institute of Fra Diegu. I do not remember if it was Mons. De Piro who gave us Holy Communion, but I remember that after about two days he asked us what Jesus had told us on the day of the First Holy Communion. I do not know any more details.

 

27.       In those days did the children put on a special dress for their First Holy Communion? If yes, did you children of the Institute have this special dress? If yes, who provided it? Perhaps the S.G? Was some kind of party given on the occasion of the First Holy Communion? If yes, did you have one also at the Institute? If yes, was the S.G. used to be present?

 

I do not know what the children wore outside the Institute. I remember that we had no special clothes, although we put on the best clothes we had. I remember we had a white veil.  We had no feasts (parties).

 

28. You mention the fact that when your First Holy Communion was near, the S.G. had to pay a visit to the Pope. Do you remember why he went to the Pope? Perhaps because of particular work he was doing at the time? In case, do you know what it was? Do you remember who was the Pope? Do you think he visited the Pope or some of his representatives? Do you know if he visited the Pope on other occasions?

 

I am under the impression that the S.G. visited the Pope in connection with the Society he was founding. The pope was Pius X. When he came back, Mons. De Piro told us that he had spoken to the Pope personally; he told him that he had eight children who received the First Holy Communion. The Pope was overjoyed at the news and sent us a cross each as a present. Pope Pius X had a great devotion to the Eucharist and we knew him as the Pope of the Eucharist.

 

Et sic hora 12.00 suspensum est examen dictae testis ob tarditatem horae, animo illud continuandi die vigesima Martii hoc in loco. Ad quem effectum moniti fuerunt a Delegato Archiepiscopali tam idem testis quam Juctitiae Promotor, ut compareant dictis die et hora. Deinde ego Notarius eidem testi perlegi eius depositionem, data ci facultate addendi, minuendi vel corrigendi, si necessario reputaverit. Ipsa eam iuramento confirmavit seque in fidem subscripsit.

 

Carmela Mallia, testis;

 

Deinde idem Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigillo ipsius obsignatis interrogatoriis cum testium depositionibus, mandavit rnihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerem ac sese subscripsit cum Jusitiae Promotore ut sequitur:

 

Frater  Aloysius Pisani OCD, Delegatus Episcopalis;

Frater Paul Gatt OP, Promotor Iustitiae.

 

Supra quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis ego Notarius de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopa1is hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma, et in fidem me subscripsi et meum Notariatus sigillum apposui.

 

Datum est die 13 Martii 1989

 

Ita est.

 

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius.


 

Sessio Decima Nona

 

 

.

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo nono, die vero vigesima Martii (sive 20-3-1989) hora 9.30 a .m, coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in praesenti Causa canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Joseph De Piro, pro Tribunali sedente in domo “Pax et Bonum”, Mosta, ob provectam aetatem testis, praesentibus Iustitiae promotore legitime citato, meque Notario, comparuit Dna. Carmela Mallia, testis citata et inducta, cui delatum fuit iuramentum iuxta formulam in Secunda Sossione relatam, quod illa statim praestitit et sese subscripsit ut infra:

 

Ego Carmela Mallia.

 

Quo iuramento praestito, clausis ianuis, solisque remanentibus Delegato Archiepiscopali, Iustitiae Promotore et dicta teste, Ego Notarius exhibui plicum interrogatorium et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegatus Archiepiscopalis recognovisset clausum et illaesum, ex eius mandato aperui et statim deventum est ad examen dictae testis quae ita respondit ad quaesita:

 

31. Do you know if at that time the S.G. had other con­tacts in Rome? If yes, do you know with whom? About what?  Perhaps about the Society he was founding? Or perhaps about family affairs? Or about his health?

 

I do not know how to answer this question.

 

32.       You also refer to the devotion the S.G. had to­wards Our Lady.  Among other things you say that the S .G. felt that he was to become a priest on the feast day of Our Lady of Pompei, i.e., on the 8 of May. Do you think that at some moment he began to hesitate about his vocation and on that day he decided to be­come a priest? Or do you mean that until that day he was pursuing other studies and on the 8 May he made up his mind to become a priest? If the latter, do you know what were his other studies? Do you know if he was making progress in these studies? If not, could it be the case that he decided to become a priest because he realized that he was not able to pursue another career?

 

The mother of the S.G. told me, that, on the 8 May, feast of Our Lady of Pompei, Our Lady told him to become a priest. With the word “jkompli” (to go on) I understand that on that day he decided to become a priest. I do not know any further details.

 

33.       At that time did you hear something else about his vocation for the priesthood? How it came to him? In which seminary did he enter? If this was in Malta or abroad? If abroad, why? How did he get on in his studies for the priesthood? Was he seriously ill when he was presuming his studies?

 

Mons. De Piro was well educated; he went abroad for a short time to finish his studies for the priesthood. I do not know any more details.

 

34.       You say that his mother had told you about his call for the priesthood and the date was 8 May. Did he ever tell you about this? Did he ever tell you about his personal devotion to Our Lady? In case, do you remember what he used to tell you?

 

I do not remember that the Servant of God ever spoke to us about his vocation.

 

35.       You say that, among the children of the Institute, he introduced the custom that he first made you aspirants in your devotion to Mary and then if your conduct was good, he made you Figlie di Maria. What were these “Figlie di Maria”? Perhaps some society founded by him? If not, perhaps he was its director? Or was it found only in the institute? What were the duties of the “Figlie di Maria”? How were you prepared, when aspirants, to become “Figlie di Maria”? How long did you remain aspirants?

 

I do not know if here in Malta there was any society of “Figlie di Maria”.  Our duties were to be more diligent and to perform our duties better. We also had some spec­ial prayers to say and we also had a prayer book.  We spent some time as aspirants; this period was Ionger or shorter according to our behaviour. Also, the aspirants had their own prayers to say.

 

36.       “If our conduct was good”. What do you mean by this? What did the S.G. expect from you as regards this? Were there any of you whom the S.G. did not make “Figlie di Maria”? If yes, what was the reason why he did not make them “figlie di Maria”? Or did he tell you that he would not choose you to make you afraid but then he would admit all of you? Was there some age limit for one to become “Figlia di Maria”?

 

Mons. De Piro expected from us what one normally expects from children. We became aspirants when we were seven or eight years of age. After some time, depending on our be­haviour, we became “Figlie di Maria”. There were some random exceptions when girls did not become aspirants or “Figlie di Maria”. The “Figlie di Maria” were more trusted.

 

37.       “He would promote us from one step to the next with a short ceremony.” Do you mean that there was some other step between  “aspirants” and “figlie di Maria”?  What did this “short ceremony” consist in? Did the S.G. originate this, or was it the rule?

 

For the ceremony we went to the Chapel and prayers were recited.  He used to give the aspirants a green ribbon with a medal of Our Lady, and the “Figlie di Maria” were given a blue ribbon with a medal of Our Lady.

 

38. “On the 8 of May, he encouraged the children to write the favours…”  Do you think the S.G. initiated this thing, or was it already practiced in Malta? Why do you think he encouraged you to do this?  Perhaps he wished to exhort you to pray to Our Lady?  What happened to the papers you wrote? Were they torn? Burnt? Did the S.G. read them? If you think that the S.G. read them, did he do this because he was inquisitive? Or perhaps because in this way he could learn about your wishes and needs and therefore he increased his help?

 

I think it was the S.G. who started the prac­tice that we wrote the favours we wished and put them before Our Lady. He did this to encourage us to betake ourselves to Our Lady in our prayers. Later, the Servant of God took them and burnt them afterwards. I do not know if he read them or not.

 

He was used to tell us that Our Lady loves everyone and he encouraged us to write what we wanted to. Besides, Mons. De Piro taught us some prayers to be recited while we were working.

 

39.       “After Mass he used to say the Supplica to Our Lady of Pompei.” How did he recite it?  Standing? Sit­ting? Kneeling? Besides the Mass, was there anything else at the Institute? Perhaps some decorations? Some small celebration? Some special food? Some adoration? If yes, do you think the S.G. took a direct part in them?

 

The S.G. recited the Supplika after the Mass of 11.30 am; he recited it with great devotion whilst he knelt. We recited it with him. Nothing was done that was not usual.

 

40.       So you think that the S.G’s devotion to Our Lady was restricted to her title “of Pompei”?  Or did it include other titles such as Our Lady of Sorrows, the Assumption, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary?  Can you prove this?

 

The Servant of God’s devotion was to Our Lady herself not to the “Our Lady of Pompei.”

 

41.       Do you know if the S.G. recited the Rosary? Do you know how often did he say it? Did he exhort you to re­cite it? Did he at times recite it with you?

 

At the Institute we recited the Rosary daily, but the Servant of God was not with us.

 

42.       When you talk about the S.G’s devotion to Our Lady you also mention the S.G’s mother. Can you briefly des­cribe her, with special emphasis on her moral stature? What contact was there between the S.G ‘s mother and the Institute? Did she cone there? Did she live there? Did she have a share in the management of the Institute? Per­haps she helped financially? Do you think if she ever ordered something to be done in the Institute? Are you under the impression that she ever interfered with the management of the S.G.? What do you think were the rela­tions between the S.G. and his mother? Did the S.G. ap­preciate the presence of his mother at the Institute?  Was he used to praise or scorn his mother? Did you ever hear him grumbling against her?

 

The S.G’s mother was a good woman. She often came to the Institute and she loved to talk to us and teach us.  She prepared us for the future. On the feast of St. Ursula, her patroness, she made a small feast for us and took us to her house in St. Paul’s Bay. At that time she was a healthy woman.  She often came to the Institute.

 

The Sisters were responsible for the running of the In­stitute and I do not know that she interfered. I think she helped because she was used to tell her son, “You are going to impoverish me.” The Servant of God seemed to get on very well with his mother and he appeared to be pleased with her presence, although I never heard the Servant of God speak of her with praise or dissatis­faction.

 

43.       When you say that “even his relatives used to order things from the Institute”, what do you mean by “his re­latives”? Perhaps his brothers and sisters? Cousins? What did they order from the Institute? When you say that “ even his relatives …”, do you mean that these al­so appreciated your work at the Institute? Or perhaps because they had a share in this work? Perhaps they came to inspect the work? Because immediately before this you say that not only the S.G. was careful about the work at the Institute! If because they bought things from the Institute, do you know why they did this? Perhaps to help the Institute? Perhaps to encourage the work of the S.G? Perhaps because they saved money since the S.G was direc­tor? Perhaps the S.G himself encouraged them to buy things from there? How do you know this?

 

By “the people of the S.G.”, I mean mostly his brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces. Some of them also came to see our work. Some relatives used to come to work with us for some time.  We used to put on an ex­hibition and they came to buy.  At times they also com­missioned some work. They paid the same price as the others. I think they did this to help the Institute. The S.G. exhorted everyone to buy from the Institute.

 

44.       You say that whenever he could the S.G. talked to you. Do you remember what he talked to you about? Perhaps God? In this case, how did he present God to you, as a terrifying God or as a loving God? Perhaps he talk­ed to you about prayers? About Our Lady? The saints? Did he talk to you about some particular saint? In case, about whom? Or did he talk about matters that would prepare you for life when you would leave the Institute? How did you receive his words? Did you understand them? Did he speak to you in a simple or difficult way? Did you like his words or were you bored?  Do you feel that his words were useful to you? Do you think he prepared what he was going to talk about or did he speak off hand? Did he take long?

 

Mons. De Piro exhorted us to lead a good life, even bet­ter than other children who did not belong to the Insti­tute and did not have the same spiritual means as we. He told us to obey the Sisters and exhorted us to practice the virtues.  At times he talked to us about God, His greatness.  He included the fear of God. Once he preached to us the Spiritual Exercises and also spoke to us about death. Mons. De Piro spoke to us regularly before Benediction. He told us to love one another and to be humble. He also prepared us for life by giving us necessary advice.  We understood him. His words gave us pleasure. He spoke briefly and to the point.  He spoke to us with gentleness.

 

45.       “… especially on feast days.” Do you remember if on all feasts days he had something to tell you? If not, on which feasts? Did he ever talk to you on weekdays?

 

He used to talk to us on the Feast of Our Lady of Pompei and sometimes on other feasts as well. As I said before, he was used to speak to us on weekdays (and also on feast days).  Cfr. No. 44.

 

46.       Besides these general talks to all the children, were there occasions when he talked to you individual­ly? In fact, later on, you say that he used to see you individually.  Perhaps this is what you mean? Did he ever speak to you alone. Do you remember about what?  Was there any particular reason why he gave these talks at the end of the day’s work? In fact after the sermon what other activities followed at the Institute?

 

When we were near our First Holy Communion he used to speak to us individually. Whoever wanted to see him told the Madre and the latter made an appointment for her. Once I went to talk to him. I cannot give more details.

 

47.       “…especially before his duties increased.” What were these duties? When these duties increased did he cease to talk to you? In case, was there anyone else who talked to you? Do you mean that with these duties he was so over­worked that he could not cope with all his work, and so he began to abandon some of them? Or he did his utmost to co­pe with all his duties in spite of all the difficulties?

 

Later, besides the Institute of Fra Diegu, the S.G. took over the Institute of St. Joseph, Malta. He was rector of the Seminary and in addition he also helped where there was lack of priests. He never abandoned us and when he could not cope he delegated some other priest. I also know that he gave advice to a certain Miss Curmi about her project. He also had the Institute of St. Joseph, Gozo, under his care.

 

He did his best to satisfy everyone.

 

48. When you say “…before he gave us his blessing”, what do you mean by it? What did this blessing consist in?

“His blessing”’ means his priestly blessing.

 

49. After Easter he took care so that you might have the Spiritual Exercises. What did these consist in? A daily sermon or something more? You seem to imply that normally he did not preach himself? Do you remember whom he chose for these sermons? Perhaps the members of the Society that he was founding? In those days did children who did not belong to Institutes have Spiritual Exercises?  Or do you think that this concerned only the Institute? Before the S.G. came to the Institute, did you have Spiritual Exercises?

 

50. Do you still remember that on one occasion he did not find anyone to preach, so much so that he preached the Spiritual Exercises himself? What do you think made you remember this? Perhaps there was something particular in them? Do you think that on that occasion it was his fault that he did not find anyone to preach?

 

Mons. De Piro made our Spiritual Exercises after Easter because it was difficult for him to find preachers in Lent. They were the same as those held in parish churches during Lent. Only once, I remember, did the S.G. preach them because he could not find preachers that year. He never brought members of his Society to preach the Spiritual Exercises.

 

I do not know if, at that time, children had spiritual exercises in the parishes.

 

When the S.G. preached our Spiritual Exercises we enjoyed them. I remember that one of his sermons was about the Last Things (Novissimi).

 

I do not know why priests were not available. I know, however, that every now and then he invited some mem­ber of the “Senior Mission” to preach to us.

 

Et sic hora 12.00 pm., suspensum est examen dictae testis ob tarditatem horae, animo illud continuandi die tertia Aprilis hoc in loco. Ad quem effectum moniti fuerunt a Delegato Archiepiscopali tam idem testis quam Justitiae Promotor, ut compateant dictis die et hora. Deinde ego Notarius eidem testi perlegi eius depositionem, data ei facultate addendi, rninuendi vel corrigendi, si necessario reputaverit.

 

Ipsa eam iuramento confirmavit seque in fidem subscripsit.

 

Carmela Mallia, testis;

 

Deinde idem Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigillo ipsius obsignatis interrogatoriis cum testium depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerem ac sese subscripsit cum Justitiae Promotore ut sequitur:

 

Frater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Delegatus Episcopalis;

Frater Paulus Gatt O.P., Promotor Iustitiae;

 

Supra quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis Ego Notarius de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopalis hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma, et in fidem me subscripsi et meum Notariatus sigillum apposui.

 

 

Datum est die 20 Martii 1989.

 

Ita est.

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius.


 

Sessio Vigesima

 

 

.

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo nono, die vero tertia Aprilis (sive 3-4-1989) hora 9.30 am. coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in praesenti causa canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in spe­cie Servi Dei Mons. Josephi De Piro pro Tribunali sedente in Curia Archiepiscopali, praesentibus Justitiae Promotore legitime citato, meque Notario, comparuit Sac. Carmelus (notus Petrus Paulus) Borda testis inductus et citatus cui delatum fuit iuramentum iuxta formulam in Secunda Sessione relatam, quod ille statim praestitit et sese subscripsit ut infra:

 

Ego  Sac. Peter P. Borda testis iuravi.

 

Quo inramento praestito, clausis ianuis, solisque remanentibus Delegato Archiepiscopali, Justitiae Promotore et dicto teste, Ego Notarius exhibui plicum interrogatorium et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegatus Archiepiscopalis recognovisset clausum et illaesum, cx eius mandato aperui et statim deventum est ad examen dicti testis qui ita respondit ad quaesita:

 

Personalia:  

 

I am Rev. Fr. Carmelo (known as Peter Paul) Borda, diocesan priest incardinated into the diocese of San Diego, California, U.S.A., son of Carmelo Borda and Carmela née Borg, both dead, born at Imdina on January 19, 1919, now residing at 1430 East Fourth Street, National City, California, 92050, U.S.A.

 

The witness presented two Documents (Doc. 60A and 60B) and declares that all contained therein is true:

 

 

Statement [Doc. 60A]

 

I received the second volume of the life of Mgr. De Piro.  I read most of it and found it interesting.  The author seems to give a lot of importance to corroborate his statements by documented historical facts.  I am sure the members of the Society will cherish this book for many years to come.  Mgr. loved each and singular member of the Society.  I was an object of his generous heart in different respects.  I used to pass two hours with him nearly every Sunday when I was nine and ten years old.  I helped him in removing the stamps from used envelopes and sometimes talk to him re: spiritual difficulties:  once I was in a state of shock caused by the misbehaviour of grave diggers at a funeral I went to as an altar boy.  It was a rainy day, we were all sad because the deceased was a young mother.  When the time came to lower down the casket in the presence of the priest and myself the gravediggers started to utter shocking blasphemies for some reason or other.  For three days those blasphemies resounded in my mind, putting on top of me a mantle of fear and panic, thinking that I was committing a good amount of mortal sins on account of their presence in my mind or other memory.  It was a shock.  Mgr. De Piro removed my state of shock with word of affirmation and telling me that even if these kind of words stay in my ear for many years, I shall not be committing any sin.  Sound psychology.  Few priests in those days used psychology in spiritual counsel!  When I asked him to go to confession to him, he answered no – being a superior – but he said you could talk to me as long as you like.  So I did.  When I grew up, especially after my ordination, when Fr Glavina brought up the possibility for opening the process of beatification, I remember that I objected or rather I showed scepticism because I thought that Mgr De Piro allowed his many offices he occupied to leave him little time to form his first members of MSSP and made use of priests belonging to other religious orders, which, I thought, was not the usual way with the founders of a religious society. 

 

I hope you don’t mind I wrote these words.  I always had a very high opinion of the spiritual life of Mgr. De Piro.  For me he was a man of a big heart.  I remember one Sunday afternoon a poor lady asked to see him wanting to discuss a problem she had.  I remember hearing Mgr. telling her: “My sister, I cannot help you but please, accept these two shillings for the travelling expenses you incurred to come to see me”.

 

I am glad to inform you that every day I pray to Mgr. De Piro that he may help me in my pastoral ministry, which I love so much like he loved it, dying with his boots on during a beautiful ceremony in honour of Our Lady.  He knew he was sick and tired, yet that day he walked down from St. Joseph’s Institute to St. Caetano Church to conduct the feast, having been asked by the Parish Priest, Fr. Gejtano who was Mgr.’s friend.  I pray to the good Lord that he may deign to grant me a similar end.  That is my genuine wish if it is God’s holy will.

 

 

Statement [Doc. 60B]

 

It was late in the year 1926 that I came to know Mgr. De Piro.  In those days my parents lived in Msida Street, a block away from St. Joseph’s.  Sometimes I used to serve mass in the chapel and I think I met Mgr. on such an occasion.  He asked me re: my future vocation.  I asked I wished to be priest.  He said: what kind of priest?  I said one who says mass, preaches, hears confessions and visits the sick.  He asked me where I was going to do all this.  I was unable to answer.  So he asked me to go with him to his office.  He gave me some missionary literature published by the Maryknoll or Mill Hill Fathers.  They contained a lot of pictures, which fascinated me.  He asked me to read them and come back to see him the following Sunday in the morning.  I was very impressed with the pictures especially of priests riding the motorbike on their visit to mission stations.  The following Sunday I returned to Mgr.’s office as he directed me to do.  He was very nice to me. While I was telling him all about the pictures I saw in the magazines, he asked me if I wished to be a missionary like those priests.  I said yes.  Then he told me about the Congregation of St Paul and he said to me that soon there would be the celebration of St. Paul’s feast in the house at Mdina.  He invited me to the feast and in due time he arranged that three young men from Hamrun to meet me at the Hamrun railway station early in the morning on the feast of St. Paul in January and take me to the house for the morning mass and a dinner.  It was through this contact with Mgr. De Piro that my relationship with MSSP started.  Afterwards I used to visit him regularly every Sunday in the morning.  He asked me to bring some of my friends who liked to be missionaries: I found it hard.  I usually passed an hour in his office doing little chores for him, while he was reading and answering his correspondence.  Usually my chores were to remove stamps from old envelopes in a proper way with a pair of scissors.  Before I left he blessed me and gave me a box containing six nice pastries – remember being depression time, the pastries were a luxury in my family.

 

During this time my father befriended Mgr. De Piro.  He helped Mgr. De Piro in promoting the MSSP in some way or other.  My father used to visit him and was often invited to take part in the celebrations or fairs at St. Joseph’s Home.  I remember my father taking me with him for the laying of the first stone of St. Agatha’s.

 

Mgr. De Piro paid for my summer private lessons in preparation for the Lyceum admittance test.  I tried twice but I failed.  Incidentally very few students passed it because a limited number was allowed to attend the Lyceum.  When I failed in September 1929 Mgr. was very nice and gentle with me.  He gave me a sealed letter to take to the prefect of studies of St. Aloysius College.  That same day I was tested by one of the teachers and assigned to classe preparatoria, which was the beginning of my attendance at St. Aloysius College.  Incidentally, when I started attending St. Aloysius, the MSSP aspirants were exempted from paying fees: the Jesuits admired the idea of Mgr. and helped him to actuate it.  Later on the MSSP had to pay a percentage.

 

I think it was sometime during the year 1928 that the incident I narrated in the letter to my cousin, took place.  Confer letter from: “once I was in a state of shock ….. spiritual counsel”. 

 

Yes, he was a man of prudence.  As I wrote in my letter he refused to hear my confessions, although he insisted that I could talk to him re: spiritual matters as long as I wished. 

 

I wish to mention that every time I visited him, he always made me kneel down so that he might give me a special blessing and then, after I got up, I devoutly kissed his ring or hand. 

 

It was during this time the incident re: the poor lady, who visited him on a Sunday, which I related in my letter, took place: “For ….  me he was …. incurred to come to see me”. 

 

Now I wish to give some experiences re: Mgr. De Piro I had after I was admitted as an aspirant.  Incidentally Fr. Callus, who was one of the councillors, disagreed with Mgr. De Piro re: my admission on the grounds that I was too young, just twelve years old;  but I was also told by Callus himself, Mgr. De Piro overruled his proposition. 

 

I was admitted on my twelfth birthday, January 19, 1919.  Mgr. De Piro, nearly every three months, used to pay us a visit and spent the night at the Oratory.  It was a kind of treat for all of us.  After dinner I was allowed to join Mgr. De Piro and Fr Callus for an after meals short talk.  I used to narrate to Mgr. De Piro missionary anecdotes I read in Italian missionary publications I got from St. Aloysius College.  Mgr. always showed he was interested to listen to me, at least that’s what I thought.  He joined the community for he evening after supper prayers and then next day for the morning meditation.  In those days the phone was a novelty for us young people.  Whenever Mgr. called we usually got to the room where the phone was, in order to be able to receive his blessings – I think he insisted that we would be called in the room.

 

Every year the aspirants joined in with the students in a complete eight-day retreat at St. Calcedonio retreat house attached to the old Seminary in Floriana.  Mgr. used to take part in it too:  there were two groups.  Every year during the summer vacations, or retreat time, the aspirants were sent to St. Joseph’s Home.  We slept in the dormitory, two aspirants in each one on each side of the Brother’s bed, in charge of the dormitory; we slept on mattresses not in a bed, being beds reserved for the orphans.

 

I remember the case when out of fear I misinformed Mgr. De Piro re: some information he wanted from me re: behaviour of members of the community during summer vacations: Mgr. was very kind, he did not chide me and I think he gave me a small penance which consisted in saying the Our Father or some other short prayer. 

 

From my experience of what I saw and heard as a young person about Mgr. De Piro, always had the impression that he was a very very kind man, as a matter of fact too kind. 

 

 

1. You knew the Servant of God (S.G.), first when you were an altar boy, then when you had spiritual direction from him, and then as an aspirant of his Society. For how long, then, did you keep contact with him? Perhaps until his death? Or perhaps you left the So­ciety when he was still, alive?

 

I knew the Servant of God up to his death. Up to that time I was still in the Congregation founded by the S.G. At that time I was an aspirant. I join­ed the Congregation on January the 19, 1931.

 

2.         You got to know the S.G. in 1926 when you were about 9 years old because you lived in the neighbourhood of St. Joseph’s Institute and you served Masses in the Chapel. Are you referring to the Chapel of the same Institute? If yes, did you serve the Mass of the S.G?  If yes, do you mean that at that time, the S.G. resided at the Institute? If in the affirmative, why? Perhaps because he was its Director? Do you know how long he stayed there? As regards the Mass: did anything in his Mass strike you? Perhaps the devotion?

 

I sometimes served the S.G. at Mass at St. Joseph’s Institute, where he resided at the time, since he was the Director, a post he held till his sudden death. I noticed nothing special during his celebration of Mass.

 

3.         You say that he asked you about your vocation. Did this fact occur when you first knew the S.G? Do you remember the occasion when the S.G. asked you about your vocation? Did you expect him to ask you that ques­tion, or were you taken by surprise? Why do you think he asked you about the vocation? Perhaps because you were an altar boy? Perhaps because he was always looking for vocations? Do you know if he asked this question to the other children? When he asked you about the vocation, do you remember if you knew about the Society that he was founding? Do you remember what his reaction was when you told him that you wanted to become a priest? Per­haps he was pleased, he appeared uncertain? Doubtful?  He made it appear difficult?  Encouraged you?  Appeared indifferent?  He was interested?

 

I remember that once the S.G., after having served him at Mass, asked me about my vocation. I told him I wanted to become a priest to preach and confess. The S.G. told me that priests did other work too, and gave me some books about the Maryknoll Fathers and Mill Hill Fathers. At that time I did not know about the Congregation Mons. De Piro was founding; though later he spoke to me about it.

 

When I spoke to him about my vocation he was happy, inter­ested himself and encouraged me.

 

I do not know whether he asked others about their vocation.

 

4.         Do you think it was something special when he admitted you to his office, when you told him you wished to become a priest? Or did he admit everyone? Since you had access to his office, I get the impression that you remember more or less how it was. Can you describe it for us? Were there any articles of value?

 

When I spoke to the S.G. about my vocation, he took me to his office, where I visited him every week for about three years. His office was ordinary; but he gave me the impression that he had quite a lot of work to do. He gave also the impression that he was a very reserved person.

 

5.         You said that when he took you to his office he gave you some literature published by “Maryknoll” or by “Mill Hill Brothers”. Perhaps these were missionary congrega­tions of the religious. Are you under the impression that the S.G. had some particular contact with these religious? In case, how do you know this? Do you think that in some way these influenced the founding of the So­ciety of St. Paul? How do you know this? Perhaps he himself told you about this?

 

I do not know whether the S.G. had any con­tact with these Congregations. Later I heard somebody say that Mons. De Piro wanted to help Maltese emigrants scattered around the Mediterranean. In fact, however, the first missionary was sent to Abyssinia, and the books the S.G. gave me, dealt with missions in Africa.

 

6.         How do you interpret the fact that he told you to go again the Sunday following? That you left a good impres­sion on him? That he perceived you had a seed of vocation in you?

 

At that time I thought that Mons. De Piro told me to go to his office to help him, and to give me pastries. I took the occasion to speak to him about spiritual matters, and he gave me more literature about the missions.

 

7.         How do you interpret the fact that he did not at first mention the Society he was founding, but he mentioned it only after he elicited from you that you liked the life of a missionary priest? Perhaps that he did not want to attract you to it himself? Perhaps that he was prudent? What do you know about the foundation of the Society? How and where did it have its beginnings? How did the S.G. get the idea of founding a Society? Do you know about any particular difficulties he had to face in the initial stages of the Society? Did you ever notice him to be up­set about the progress and future of the Society?

 

At that time I was still a boy of eight years, too young to speak to me about such things. It was prudence on Mons. De Piro’s part. Later he invited me to the Feast of St. Paul he celebrated in the House of his Congregation at Imdina, where I met other boys who were interested in the S.G’s Congregation. Perhaps the S.G. thought that it was better for boys to see for themselves than to hear from others, and so he waited for an occasion to make me see for myself.

 

I cannot answer the rest of the question.

 

8.         When you say, “He was very nice to me”, what do you mean? Perhaps that he understood you? That he paid you some compliment? Perhaps because he listened to you? Perhaps because he used words of encouragement?

 

At that time I thought that the S.G. liked me. But now I believe that the S.G. saw that I had in me the seed of a missionary vocation.

 

I remember that the Servant of God was a man of few words.  Still, when children spoke to him (and I know this from personal experience) he heard them quite willingly. I remember an incident that happened some time later. I went to school at St. Aloysius College, run by the Jesuits.  A Jesuit Father used to give me missionary literature, and later asked me whether I would like to join the Jesuits who had many missions. I told them that I wanted to join and remain in the Congregation of the S.G. This Father congratulated Mons. De Piro for the format­ion he gave us. I, for my part, felt a certain loyalty towards Mons. De Piro because of his gentle character, his goodness and his paternal interest in me.

 

9.         You mention the feast of St. Paul at the House of Mdina, for which the S.G. invited you. You are obvious­ly referring to the House of the Society in Mdina. Do you remember which one it was? Are you able to describe it?

 

10.       Why did they celebrate the feast of St. Paul? Per­haps because the Society was already named after him? In case, do you know how and why this name was chosen for the Society? Do you think that the S.G. had some particular devotion to this saint? What did it consist in? How did he show it?

 

All I remember about this House is that it was a little far off from the Cathedral and had a window looking on the city walls.

 

For the rest, I cannot give an answer.

 

11.       You said that he invited you for the feast and ar­ranged for you to go from Hamrun to Mdina with three other youths. Perhaps these three youths had the same desire as you? How do you interpret the fact that he himself made arrangements for you to go to Mdina? Why was there the need for such arrangements?  Perhaps because it was difficult to get to Mdina at that time? Perhaps because you were still young and your parents did not al­low you to go unaccompanied? Did you keep contact with those youths afterwards? Did you ever hear them talk about the S.G? What did they say about him? Was it usual for the S.G. to gather groups of youths together? Did he hold some activities for the vocations? If yes, in what way?

 

I mean that the S.G. helped me to find my way to Mdina and back safely since it was the first time.

 

The Servant of God did not have regular meetings for young men who showed that they had a vocation.

 

12. As regards the feast of St. Paul you mention the Mass and dinner. Was it some special Mass? Who said Mass? Perhaps the S.G? Or was there some special guest? Besides the youths and the members of the Society were there oth­er people for the Mass? Do you think all the members of the Society were present? Did you talk to any of them in a particular way on that day? Did they tell you anything particular about the S.G? Do you remember something else about the feast of St. Paul? Did he ever invite you for some other feast?

 

I do not remember details about the Mass, but I rememb­er the dinner. There were no special guests.  There were members of the Society, the Master of Novices who was an Augustinian Father, and, of course, Mons. De Piro himself. There were also children who, like me, were interested in joining the Society. It was a family feast. I do not remember other details.

 

13.       You say that then you went to see the S.G. regularly every Sunday. Did he tell you to go, or did you go at will?  If it was he who told you to go, did he do this perhaps to try you or to be able to consider your voca­tion? Do you mean to say that he was at St. Joseph’s every Sunday morning? Was he peacefully alone or were there people to see him? Or did they come when you were there? If yes, what type of people came to visit him? Do you remember anyone in particular who visited him on Sunday morning? Did he ever mention to you some special friends he had, perhaps some distinguished members of the Maltese Society? In what way did he refer to them?  Perhaps with some pride? Do you re­member if he talked to other youths individually and with such regularity as he did to you? When you talked togeth­er what was the usual subject? The missions? Prayers?

 

I was under the impression that the S.G. insist­ed that I go every Sunday in order to help him, and also to give me pastries to help my family. Normally the S.G. was at St. Joseph’s Institute every Sunday morning. Occasionally people came to talk to him. He never mention­ed any special friends.

 

Usually we did not talk; it was only when I had some pro­blem that we talked; then he heard me quite willingly.

 

14.       “He asked me to bring some of my friends who liked to be missionaries.” What do you mean by this? Perhaps that you mentioned some friends and he told you to take them with you? Or perhaps he tried to persuade you to convince others to become missionaries as you wished? Why do you think he told you this? Perhaps because he wanted to increase his Society? Perhaps to instill in you a spirit of apostolate? Or perhaps because he was interested in your friends? Or perhaps to have more youths to work in the office?

 

15.       “I found it hard…” Do you mean by this that you found it difficult to tell your friends? Or perhaps that you found it difficult to take them with you? Did you ever tell him that you found it difficult? If yes, what did he say? How did he react when you said this?

 

I mean that my impression was that Mons. De Piro wanted to see whether my friends wanted to become missionaries. “I found it hard” that is, it was difficult for me to persuade them. When I told Mons. De Piro about it, he did not try to force me to persuade them.

 

16.       “While he was reading and answering his correspondence…” Are you under the impression that he had many letters to answer? Have you any idea what type of letters he had to answer? Perhaps people who asked for help or advice? Perhaps some people belonging to the Maltese high Society? Perhaps correspondence with Rome or some other ecclesiastical area? Perhaps some other missionary societ­ies? How do you know this? Perhaps he himself used to tell you?

 

I was under the impression that Mons. De Piro had a lot of correspondence. I do not know anything about the contents of this correspondence.

 

17.       You removed the used stamps from the envelopes for him. What did he do with these? Perhaps he sold them and helped the missions with the money he obtained? Or perhaps to help his Society? Or St. Joseph’s Institute? Why do you think he gave you this type of work? Perhaps to involve you in missionary work? Were there others doing this work? Did he ever ask you to do other work? If yes, what was it?

 

Mons. De Piro sold these stamps, I imagine to help the missions. I think that Mons. De Piro told me to cut stamps from the envelopes because he noticed that I liked stamps. Now I see that Mons. De Piro knew how to motivate people by giving them what they liked.  He saw that I lik­ed stamps.  So he gave me work-cutting stamps and allowed me to take stamps I did not have. So also with the pastr­ies: it was the time of the Great Depression.  So he gave me pastries. He did this always to lead me to something better.

 

Et sic hora 12.00 pm., suspensum est examen dicti testis ob tarditatem horae, animo illud continuandi die decima Aprilis hoc in loco. Ad quem effectum moniti fuerunt a Delegato Archiepiscopali tam idem testis quam Iustitiae Promotor, ut compareant dictis die et hora. Deinde ego Notarius eidem testi perlegi eius depositionem, data ci facultate addendi, minuendi vel corrigendi, si necessario reputaverit. Ipse eam confirmavit seque in fidem subscripsit.

 

Sac Peter P. Borda, testis;

 

Deinde idem Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigillo ipsius obsignatis interrogatoriis cum testium depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerem ac sese subscripsit cum Iustitiae Promotore, ut sequitur:

 

Frater Aloysius Pisani OCD., Delegatus Episcopalis;

Frater Paul Gatt 0.P., Promotor Iustitiae;

 

Supra quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis Ego Notarius de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopalis hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma, et in fidem me subscripsi et meum Notariatus sigillum apposui.

 

Actum die 3 Aprilis, 1989

 

Its est.

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius.

 

 


 

 

Sessio Vigesima Prima

 

 

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo nono, die vero decima Aprilis (sive 10-4-1989) coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in praesenti causa canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Josephi De Piro pro Tribunali sedente in Curia Archiepiscopali, praesentibus Justitiae Promotore legitime citato, meque Notario, comparuit Sacerdos Carmelus (notus Petrus Paulus) Borda testis inductus et citatus cui delatuin fuit iuramentum iuxta formulam in Secunda Sessione relatam, quod ille statim praestit et sese subscripsit ut infra:

 

Ego Sac Peter P. Borda testis iuravi

 

Quo iuramento praestito clausis ianuis, solisque remanentibus Delegato Archiepiscopali, justitiae Promotore et dicto teste, Ego Notatius exhibui plicum interrogatorium et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegatus Archiepiscopalis recognovisset clausum et illaesum, cx eius mandato aperui et statim deventum est ad examen dicti testis qui ita respondit ad quaesita:

 

18.       Before you left he blessed you and gave you a box containing six beautiful teacakes.  Did he always bless you? Did he bless you saying some special words? Did he give you teacakes every time? If yes, do you know where he got them? Perhaps he bought them purpose­ly for you? Or perhaps someone brought them to him? Do you know if other children were treated in the same way?

 

19.       “Before I left he blessed me and gave me a box con­taining six nice pasti.  Remember, being depression time, the pasti were a luxury in the family.” What do you mean by “depression time”? Perhaps because you were in some financial crisis? If the pasti were a ‘luxury’ for your family, perhaps he gave them to you precisely because he knew of your poverty? Were you a large family? What was your father’s work?

 

The S.G. used to bless me as he used to bless others. He used to give me pastries, I believe, because he liked to give a good impression. The depression I mention is the historical depression between the two World Wars. I do not know whether he treated others in the same way as he treated me.

 

He may have given me the pastries because he knew the financial situation of my family. My father was employ­ed as Assistant Chemist with the Government, but his sa­lary was low. We were six brothers and sisters at the time.

 

20.       You say that, at the time you are referring to, your father made friends with the S.G. and helped him in the promotion of the Society. Perhaps you say that he did this because he helped him organise the fair or in some other way as well? If yes, how? Was the fair at St. Joseph’s held for the children of the Institute or for the members of the Society in Mdina? Were many fairs held? Always in St. Joseph’s Institute or in other places as well? What part did the S.G. have in their organization?

 

My father used to help the S.G. in the fair held at St. Joseph’s Institute in aid of the said In­stitute, and also on other occasions. I know that an­other fair was held at the Oratory of the Society, at Birkirkara.

 

These fairs were the fruit of the work and organization of the S.G., though he may have had encourage­ment from benefactors, especially from the great philan­thropist Alphonse Maria Galea.

 

21.       Do you think that the friendship between your fath­er and the S.G. began on the initiative of your father or of that of the S.G? If on the initiative of the S.G., how? Besides you and your father, did the S.G. know some other members of your family? Did he ever perhaps come to see you at home? If yes, what had he in mind?

 

The S.G. came to know my father through me. When I met the S.G., I praised him very much when I spoke about him to my father, and the latter de­cided to have contact with him. The S.G., did not know any other members of my family.

 

22.       You say that you were present for the laying of the foundation stone of St. Agatha, Rabat. Do you know the date? Did your father have any particular work in that ceremony? Or perhaps you? On that occasion were you in a prominent place or perhaps with the other peop­le? Do you remember if there were many people? Do you think there were many from the South of the Island who attended? Do you remember if there were any distinguish­ed personalities of the Government? Of the Church? Did you have the opportunity to meet the S.G. on that day? Perhaps you spoke to him? If yes, do you remember any­thing more about the building of St. Agatha? How long did it take to build? How did the S.G. acquire the site? Did he have any particular problems?

 

All I know is, that the foundation stone was laid, that my father was present, and that I saw the S.G.

 

23.       You say that the S.G. had paid for your private les­sons when preparing for the Lyceum examination. Do you think he himself offered to pay? Do you know if he did the same to others? Were there many private lessons? Do you know what fees were charged at that time? Perhaps you went for your private lessons to some friend of the S.G. or some one of his relatives?

 

I do not remember exactly whether it was I or my father who told the S.G., that I wanted to enter the Lyceum, at that time the best school on the Island and a one reserved for very few. I went for private lessons for about three months, twice weekly, for two consecutive years and the S.G., used to give me eight shil­lings a month to pay the fees. I do not know whether he helped others as well. The teacher who gave private les­sons, as far as I know, was neither a relative nor a friend of the S.G, but she was the teacher who usually prepared children for the Lyceum entrance examination.

 

24.       You say that although you failed the examination, the S.G. was still ‘very nice and gentle’ to you. What do you mean by this? Perhaps that he did not show he was angry with you, although he had paid for you? He still encouraged you? Perhaps he wanted to show you that he understood you? Do you think the fact that he paid for your private lessons and helped you to enter St. Aloysius College then made him appear that he was condition­ing you in your choice of vocation? In general, do you think that the S.G. left the youths free when making their choice of state?

 

When I said that the S.G., was “…very nice and gentle”, I mean not only that he was not angry with me, but also that he encouraged me and helped me to enter St. Aloysius College. I remember that my father threat­ened me with punishments if I failed the examination, and I was very much afraid; but after having talked things over with the S.G., I was no longer afraid.

 

The Servant of God in no way conditioned me on choosing my vocation.  Nor I believe, did he condition others.  But he had a knack of recognizing and helping vocations.

 

(Note by the Chancellor:  Because of lack of time, only essential questions are being asked).

 

25.       After you had received the results of the Lyceum, he sent you with an enclosed letter to the prefect of studies of St. Aloysius College and on that same day you made a test so that you might be admitted there.

 

Do you mean that the letter was some kind of recommenda­tion for you? Further down you say that the aspirants of the Society were exempted from paying fees and the Jesuit Fathers “Admired the idea of the S.G., and helped him to achieve it.” You are obviously referring to the S.G.’s project, i.e., the foundation of the Society. Do you know why they had this admiration? What exactly do you mean by admiration. In what way did the Jesuit Fathers help the S.G. to accomplish his project? Perhaps as re­gards schooling or in other things as well? In case, what were they? Can the fact, that he paid the fees for private lessons and did his best for the aspirants to go to St. Aloysius College, mean that he wanted the members of his Society to be well prepared academically? In fact did he urge you aspirants regarding your studies?  How?

 

The above question was not asked.

 

26.       You mention the case when you had an emotional shock and the S.G. calmed you down with his words. Were there other occasions when he showed this abili­ty with you? Do you know if the S.G. was often asked for advice? If yes, by whom? Do you know if he was dedicated to confessions? Where? Who came to him most often? Children, youths, adults, females, males, religious? You praise the S.G. for his sane psychology. What makes you do this?  The incident you mentioned? Or have you some other cases?

 

I remember that once I was shocked, emotionally, after a funeral. I wanted to confess. Others did not set my mind at rest. I asked the S.G. to confess me.  He refused because he was my superior, but heard my problems, explained that there was no sin or guilt in­volved, and set my mind and emotions at rest. I noticed his psychological acumen even on other occa­sions in the way he treated me.  I know that he used to hear confessions, but cannot give details.

 

Questions 27- 29 omitted.

30.       You mention the case when a poor woman went to him on a Sunday afternoon to discuss a problem with him and he told her that he could not help her, but he gave her some money for transport. Does this mean that the S.G. did not have time for her or that he told her this after hearing her and seeing that this was beyond his competen­ce? You say he gave her “a few shillings”. Do you think this sum was enough or perhaps it was more than enough for these times? Are you under the impression that the S.G. had many similar cases?

 

I did not hear anything from the S.G, but on­ly from the woman concerned. I know that he heard her and he had time for her. The woman was happy and appre­ciated the gesture of the S.G. I do not know more details.

 

31.       When did you join as an aspirant of the Society of the S.G.? What exactly was the “aspirandat”? What were your duties / promises? What was the age of admittance’? Why do you think he admitted the members as aspirants rather than waiting until they grew a little older and then admit them as novices straightaway? Perhaps this “aspirandat” was something common even in the other re­ligious orders? How long did you remain as aspirants? Were there many aspirants? Did they all remain? If not, perhaps because the S.G. himself sent them back? If yes, for what reasons? If this was not the case, perhaps there were some who left the Society of their own accord? In case how did the S.G., deal with these? In general what was the S.G’s attitude to those who left the Society? Did you take some dowry with you when you started your “aspirandat”? Can you roughly describe the programme of the “aspirandat? Did you keep contact with your family? With other religious? Were all the aspirants young people who had previously had long or short contact over a long period with the S.G.?

 

I had heard that when I came to enter as an aspirant, the Councilors of the S.G., in his company objected to my entering the company as an aspirant on account of my age. Even though the S.G., would have liked me to enter, he accepted the decision of the Councilors, and I waited till I was twelve years old.

 

We had a fixed timetable, including prayers, school and studies, and recreation. As aspirants we prepared ourselv­es to enter as novices. We had rules as regards our relationship with outsiders. I do not know that other orders had aspirants.

 

We used to be sizeable groups, but many left. I do not know how the S.G., treated those, whether as­pirants or members, who left the Company.  Nor whether the S.G., ever sent away any member. Everyone used to take with him as dowry whatever he could.

 

As aspirants we had a rigid rule. We were responsible for the upkeep of our own rooms and also of all the chores of the house, everything except cooking. We were not allowed to go home or have contact with outsiders. These rules were made by the S.G., and were the same as those of other orders at the time.

 

The S.G., came, more or less, only once every three months. He used to hear me when I talked to him on general subjects; and I felt at home with him. But he did not deliver any spiritual talk to us individual­ly or together. The fact that he rarely visited us did not create any problems, since it was Fr. Michael Callus who took care of us. The latter was always happy whenev­er he was in contact with the S.G. I cannot give more details.

 

I said “I was allowed …”, meaning that all were allowed, but only I had the courage to go with the S.G., since I knew him before entering the Company.

 

32.       “As a matter of fact, too kind”. What do you mean by these words? That he was easily manipulated by others? That he was unable to assess certain situations? Or per­haps that he showed his kindness in an exaggerated way? In case, how?

 

To explain what I mean by “as a matter of fact, too kind”, I repeat what Mgr. Carmelo Bonnici said after the death of the S.G: “When one is a lamb, the wolves will pounce on him”, meaning that Mgr. De Piro was the lamb.

 

33.       You say that you always had a high opinion of the S.G.’s spiritual life. At the same time you do not give enough details about this “spiritual life” in your evidence. Can you give more details? Perhaps he spoke a lot about spiritual matters? Perhaps he showed great trust in God? Perhaps the way he ac­cepted some trials? Perhaps some particular devo­tion to the Eucharist?

 

The Servant of God impressed me not because he did anything extraordinary, but by the way he treated others and me: always good, always condescending, always ready to help. This gave me a high idea of his spiritual way of life.

 

 

34.       Which virtue/virtues shone in the S.G? How do you prove what you are saying?

 

The virtue that excelled in Mgr. De Piro, in my opinion, was his humility. Although he was of noble birth, and held high positions, both ec­clesiastically and civilly, and in spite of the fact that there existed at the time a class dis­tinction , both among the people and among the clergy, the S.G., treated all the same, talked to all, helped all, and was never super­cilious or in any way proud.

 

35.       You say that Fr. Glavina had already wished to start the process of beatification of the S.G.  Do you know on which occasion? Do you think it was on the initiative of Fr. Glavina only, or perhaps of others as well? In the meantime, who was Fr. Glavina? What resulted from the wish of Fr. Glavina? How did those near Fr. Glavina receive this thought of beatification? Did they appear in favour, against, enthusiastic, skeptical? In fact, after the death of the S.G., was this fact often mentioned by the members of the Society? In case, in what way? In what context?

 

Fr. Daniel Glavina S.J. was for some time Super­ior of the Society, appointed by the Archbishop. This was some time after Mgr. De Piro’s death, during and immediately after the Second World War. I think that the Archbishop nominated him because Mgr. De Piro was inspired, in the formulation of the rule of the Society, by the rule of the Jesuits. Once Fr. Glavina told me that Mgr. De Piro would, some day, be canonized. I told him “no”, because of the reasons given in my declaration. Fr. Glavina did not share my opinion.

 

I cannot give more details because at that time I left for Australia and did not follow the developments in Malta in this regard.

 

36. You stated that when Fr. Glavina mentioned the possibility of the making of this process, you “objected” to, or better still, “you appeared skeptical” about it. Was the reason given only for the fact that you noticed that the S.G., did not devote more time for your formation? In that case, why do you interpret it as lack of holiness in the S.G? Perhaps because you see lack of dedication? Or perhaps lack of prudence regarding the fact that he accepted several other activities and that he made use of priests not belonging to the Society for forming his members?  In fact the real reason why he “made use of” other priests not belonging to the Society for your formation was that he could not dedicate himself, or perhaps because he felt that he was not competent enough for this work? In case, how do you prove this?

 

First of all I wish to note that what I said in my de­claration is my opinion and impression; but I feel that what I said must be verified and clarified.  What I mean is that the S.G., had to give his first love to the Company, as founders of religious orders do.  In fact he shared his love, energy and de­dication to the Company with his service of others and to the various and many different offices that the Arch­bishop of Malta gave him. I think that he ought to have refused these offices, etc., to give his whole time and energy to the founding of the Company. I believe that he did this because of his great good heartedness, his humility and because of his great respect and obedience to the Archbishop, attitudes which made him accept all the Archbishop told him even if, because of this, the Company suffered lack of sound formation.

 

37        In your opinion, today, what do you say about the holiness of the S.G? Do you think he merits the honour of the altar? Why?

 

Although I feel that what I said above in No. 36 is quite a stumbling block, I still feel that Mgr. De Piro was quite a holy man, and in fact I do not hesitate to pray privately to him to intercede for me before God.

 

38.       Do you want to add, to subtract from or change what you have said?

 

Et sic hora l2.00 pm absolute predicti testis examine de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopali ego Notarius alta et intelligibili voce testi perlegi integram depositionem, da­ta ei facultate addendi, minuendi vel corrigendi si necessario reputaverit. Ipse eam ratam habuit et confirmavit his verbis:

 

Iuro me veritatem tota in mea depositione dixisse et confirmo omnia quae superius deposui.

 

Sac Peter P. Borda, testis;

 

Demisso autem teste, Delegato Archiepiscopali mihi mandavit expediri citationem contra testem inductam Carmelam Mallia ut examini se subiiciat et contra Iustitiae Promotorem ut assistat die decima quinta Maii, in domo “Pax et Bonum”, Mosta, hora 9.30 a.m. Deinde idem Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigillo ipsius obsignatis interrogatoriis cum testium depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerem, ac sese subscripsit cum Iustitiae Promotore, ut sequitur:

 

 

Frater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Delegatus Episcopalis;

Frater Paul Gatt O.P., Promotor Iustitiae;

 

Supra quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis Ego Notarius de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopalis hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in farma, et in fidem me subscripsi et meum Notariatus sigillum apposui.

 

Actum die 10 Aprilis 1989

 

Ita est.

 

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius


 

Sessio Vigesima Secunda

 

 

 

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo nono, die vero decimaquinta Maii (sive 15-5-1989) hora 9.30 a.m. coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in presenti causa canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Josephi De Piro pro ttibunali sedente in domo “Pax et Bonum”, Mosta, ob provectam aetatem tes­tis, praesentibus Iustitiae Promotore legitime citato, meque Notario, comparuit Domina Carmela Mallia, testis citata et inducta, cum delatum fuit iuramentum iuxta formulam in Secunda Sessione citatam, quod illa statim praestitit et sese subscripsit ut infra:

 

Ego Carmela Mallia testis iuravi.

 

Quo iuramento praestito, clausis ianuis, solisque remanentibus Delegato Archiepiscopali, Iustitiae Promotore et dicta teste, Ego Notarius exhibui plicum interrogatorium et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegato Archiepiscopalis recognovisset clausum et illaesum, ex eius mandato aperui et statim deventum est ad examen dictae testes, quae ita respondit ad quaesita:

 

51. How did the S.G., deal with those who were not inter­ested in learning? Did he apply some kind of discipline? Some punishments? Did he use some kind of encouragement for the children to study, e.g. some prize day?

 

The S.G., took care of us not only in spirit­ual matters but also in our education. We had five class­es at the Institute from year 1 to year 5 (Junior school). Our teachers were the Sisters of the Institute. The slow ones repeated the class. Examinations were held. Everyone attended the lessons. The subjects taught were Arithmetic, English and Italian. I do not remember that we had prize days. After the fifth year of school we learnt lace mak­ing, embroidery and sewing. Our teachers were visitors who were paid.

I do not know if, before I joined, there were classes or not. I also remember that in my time some children, who did not belong to the Institute joined us for the lessons.

 

52.       “He used to see us each one individually to check on our progress.” Do you mean that he took personal in­terest in you? Did he always follow this procedure of seeing you individually or only until his duties in­creased? In case, was there someone else to see how you were getting on?

 

Mons. De Piro sometimes saw us individually, but when his work increased he came to make some visit. However, we were under the care of the Madre as regards school­ing. Mons. De Piro then spoke to the Madre.

 

53.       Did you have any contacts with children of other schools out of the Institute? In case, what were they? Who started these contacts?

 

We did not have contact with children of other schools or institutes.

 

54.       “There was a qualified seamstress to teach the girls sewing.” Do you remember who she was? Was she a Sister or a laywoman? Who brought her to teach you? The S.G., or was she there already? If it was the S.G., who brought her, do you know why he chose her? Perhaps she was his relative? Perhaps she was not paid for this? Perhaps she was very good and he wanted you to get the best? Were all your teachers women? How did the S.G. treat the teachers? K1ndly? Politely? With prudence? Intimately? With familiarity?

 

Iam provisum cf. 51—52. Everyone learnt a trade accord­ing to the person’s potentiality and ability and her age. In this way they prepared us for life.

 

When we had some work ready, an exhibition was put up and the articles sold.  The proceeds went for the Institute. We were about 104 children at the Institute.

 

Mons. De Piro took great care of and gave importance to both the school and the trades. I remember that when Mons. De Piro was unable to come he sent another priest, Fr. Salv. Manduca who marked the progress in our studies and he also confessed us.

 

The seamstress who taught us was a spinster named Graziella (I have forgotten her surname). She looked after her mother. I do not know why he brought her, but I know that she was a good seamstress.

 

The teachers were all Sisters or women.

 

Mons. De Piro had good manners and treated the Sisters and teachers with gentleness and prudence.

 

55.       “… from the Franciscan Sisters who looked after the Institute.” What do you mean by “… looked after? Perhaps they did the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry? Per­haps they were in charge of the division of work?

 

When I say that the Sisters took care of the Institute I mean that they cooked.  They also supervised the clean­ing, washing and other work in the home.  Such work was done by the older girls of the Institute.

 

56.       Do you remember when the Franciscan Sisters came to the Institute? Before or after the S.G? Or together with him? From what you say you give the impression that these were pleased with the S.G., and so you say that they re­garded him as their director. What do you mean by this? Perhaps because they went to him in all their needs? Or perhaps they regarded him as their spiritual director and therefore sought him for confession and spiritual direction? In the latter case do you know if the S.G., was sought as a spiritual director? In case, by whom? Do you know if the S.G., gave the Sisters a share in the direction? In general, how can you describe the treatment of the Francis­can Sisters by the S.G?  Gentle?  Familiar?  Intimate? Stern? Did you ever hear any of the Sisters complaining against him? In case, do you remember about what?

 

The Sisters preceded Mons. De Piro at the Institute. The Sisters were very much pleased with the Servant of God. They took the direction of the Institute from Mons. De Piro, but I do not know if he was their Father confessor or spiritual director. The management of the Institute was in the hands of the Madre. I never heard that some Sister complained about the Servant of God. Mons. De Piro and the sisters cooperated in the running of the Institute and in the discipline of us children. I remember that once we misbehaved (I forgot what happened) and the Monsignor was very angry with us. He gathered us who belonged to the classes of lace making, embroidering and sewing, in a large room. He was very angry and refused to give us his bles­sing and he was angry with us for three days. He then forgave us, blessed us heartily as usual and warned us that he did not want such behaviour from us.

 

57.       Did any representative of the Church visit the In­stitute, and the S.G. perhaps brought him to see the work, e.g. the Bishop, or the Parish Priest?

 

The Servant of God regularly inspected our work. Usually everyone worked according to her ability, but there was sometimes work done hurriedly.

 

I do not know why he made these inspections. We were pleased that he came to see our work because he was such a good man!

 

At times he brought his mother with him. Sometimes he invited other persons; I do not know why; perhaps to help the Institute. Besides there was the exhibition which I mentioned previously. Sometimes other relatives of his came as well. Sometimes these people commissioned things from the Institute. I remember once we also had a visit from the Bishop Peter Paul Pace. I remember all this until I left the Institute in 1918.

 

58.       You mention particularly Lord Strickland as one who used to visit the Institute, and add that the S.G., was a great friend of his, and that Lord Strickland was a bene­factor of the Institute. Can you give more details regard­ing the friendship between the S.G., and Lord Strickland? Did you ever get to know in what way Lord Strickland help­ed the Institute?

 

Lord Strickland helped the Institute, and his children came to spend long periods with us. The Monsignor regarded him as a benefactor and asked us to pray for him. He always informed us when he sent us necessary things and asked us to pray for him. Besides Lord Strickland there were other benefactors whom Mons. De Piro mentioned to us and for whom he asked us to pray, but I do not remember their names.

 

59.       What was your reaction at this decision that you were not to go on stage anymore? How did he react?

 

It was the Sisters who prepared us to take part on the stage. Mons. De Piro came to see us and enjoyed himself. At times we took part in other performances. These per­formances were held on certain occasions, e.g. at St. John’s (after Christmas) because the Madre’s name was Giovanna, and when a governor who was our benefactor left the Island, etc. I cannot give more details. We also had gymnastics.

 

60.       Do you remember if the S.G., used to swim with you? Always, often, never? How did you interpret such a fact?

 

We had other recreations, e.g. in our free time we sewed dresses for dolls. Every Sunday we were taken for a walk. In summer we went to the beach, always with the Sisters only. Mons. De Piro paid all the expenses for a whole fortnight: he paid the tram fares, hired rooms so that we might have complete privacy; we left at 9.00 a.m. and returned at 11.00 a.m.

 

Mons. De Piro never accompanied us.

 

61.       Describe Dun Santin’s house? Was it large? Com­modious? Which did you prefer, Dun Santin’s house or Santu Rokku? Did you stay for some days at Dun Santin’s house, or did you go for one day? Why do you think that the S.G., did not always take you to Dun Santin’s house? Perhaps because the latter did not like this? Perhaps be­cause this house was far away from the Institute? Do you know if the S.G., had to pay to take you to his brother’s? When you say that you went with his mother, do you mean that she herself used to take you there? Or on her own initiative? Or perhaps you would find her there?

 

On St Ursula’s day, 21 October, we went to St. Paul’s Bay to visit Dun Santin. We also had a swim, weather permitting. Dun Santin was older than Monsignor Giuseppe. He had a florid complexion. He sent us food to the Instit­ute.

 

He had a large house, which touched the beach. He and the Monsignor got on very well together.

 

The S.G’s mother came as well and gave us round cheesecakes and she was personally interested in each one of us.

 

I am unable to give more details.

 

Et sic hora 12.00 pm., suspensum est examen dictae testis ob tarditatem horae, animo illud resumendi die 22 Maii hoc in loco. Ad quem effectum moniti fuerunt a Delegato Archiepiscopali tam Iustitiae Promotore quam idem testis.

 

Deinde Ego Notarius eidem testi perlegi eius depositionem data ei facilitate addendi, minuendi vel corrigendi si necessario reputaverit. Ipsa eam confirmavit seque in fidem subscripsit.

 

Iuro me veritatem totam in mea depositione dixisse et confirmo omnia quae superius deposui.

 

Carmela Mallia, testis

 

Deinde idem Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigillo ipsius obsignatis interrogatoriis cum testium depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerem et sese subscripsit cum Iustitiae Promotore ut sequitur:

 

Pater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Delegatus Episcopalis

Pater Paul Gatt 0.P., Promotor Iustitiae

 

Supra quibus omnibus et singuli ut supra gestis Ego Notarius de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopalis hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma et in fidem me subscripsi et meum Notariatus sigillum apposui.

 

Datum est die 15 Maii, 1989

 

Its est.

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius


 

Sessio Vigesima Tertia

 

 

 

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo nono, die vero vigesima secunda Maii (sive 22-5-1989) hora 9.20 a.m., coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in presenti causa canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Josephi De Piro pro Tribunali sedente in domo “Pax et Bonum’, Mosta, propter provectam aetatis testis, Praesentibus Iustitiae Promotore legitime citato, meque Notario, comparuit Dna. Carmela Mallia, testis inducta et citata, cui delatum fuit iuramentum, quod illa statim praestit et sese subscripsit ut infra:

 

Ego Carmela Mallia testis iuravi.

 

Quo iuramento praestito, clausis ianuis, solisque remanentibus Delegato Archiepiscapali, Iustitiae Promotore et dicta teste, ego Notarius exhibui plicum interrogatorium et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegatus Archiepiscopalis recognovisset clausum at illaesum, ex eius mandato aperui et statim deventum est ad examen dtctae testis, quae ita respondit ad quaesita:

 

62.       Why do you think that the S.G. gave so much impor­tance to recreation? Perhaps so that you would be kept on the go? Or perhaps because he believed this was beneficial to both body and soul? Or perhaps because he wanted to see you happy? Did he have his recreation? How?

 

As far as I remember, the S.G. did not have time for recreation, because all his commitments did not leave him free time for recreation. I am unable to answer the rest.

 

63.       He was “clean”. Do you mean that he was careful not to get dirty? Or perhaps he often washed himself? Perhaps he used some kind of perfume? Perhaps he kept his clothes clean? Or he shaved himself regularly? Did he talk to you about cleanliness? Did you have all the necessities to keep yourselves clean? Water? Soap? Perhaps by “clean” you include spiritual cleanliness, meaning that he gave the impression that he was straight and honest?

 

When I say “kien pulit’ (he was smart-looking) I mean that he wore appropriate clothes; his clothes always looked as new, but the material was the same as that of other priests. Although he was a Monsignor I never saw him wearing some particular distinctive mark.

 

He was naturally stout and tall, but I cannot say anything about his meals because he did not have his meals at the Institute with us. I would like to add, however, that he insisted that we should have enough and varied food.

 

Mons. De Piro did not use perfume or other similar things, but his person and clothes were always clean. He also wanted us to be clean and when necessary he called the attention of the sisters. The visitors always admir­ed our cleanliness.

 

The S.G. gave the impression that external cleanliness indicated the seriousness and cleanliness of the soul.

 

64.       In this description of the S.G. you do not say anything about his health. How did he appear among you? Healthy or sickly? Do you remember if at times he had to stay in bed because of some illness?

 

Once we heard he did not eat anything except the Eucharist and the bread of St. Nicholas. This happen­ed when he was our Director and was about forty years old. I also heard that, before he became a priest, he spent about a year in Switzerland for health reasons and he said that he was cured because of his assiduous prayers.

 

65.       “He was awe-inspiring when you saw him”. At the same time you were not afraid of him. Does this mean that you could still approach him in your needs? Per­haps you mean that you had to measure your words so that he would not get offended? Did the S.G. make jokes with you or did he speak on serious matters only?

 

When I was in need I always talked to the S.G., freely and he always welcomed me even after I had left the Institute. In spite of all this, however, I always felt a great respect for him. When we were at the Institute he was always friendly and kind with us.  After I had left and I needed to see him about my personal problems he was still the same.

 

66.       “At the same time he was very kind and loved us children very much.” When you say “kind” do you mean that he was kind with everyone or only with you child­ren of the Institute? Did you ever see him getting an­gry with someone on something? Perhaps with someone who came to see him? Perhaps with one of the Sisters? Perhaps with some of the children? If in the affirma­tive, did he remain angry for a long time? Or did he soon forget? Did you have the impression that he soon tried to make peace again?

 

The Monsignor was kind to everyone and the Hamrun people had great praise for his manners and service. I never saw him getting angry with anyone except on one occasion, which I mentioned before.

 

67.       Did you have the impression that he might have loved some of the children more than others? Did he correct? In case, how? Did you ever hear some of your mates complaining because he made preferences? In case, with whom? Do you remember about what? Do you think your mate was right?

 

I never noticed that the S.G., favored any­one, nor did I ever hear any of my mates complaining about this. I do not remember that he made any person­al corrections although there were occasions when, see­ing the need, he corrected us together. On these occasions he was calm with the exception of the case I men­tioned before.

 

68.       “The S.G. was ready to give the Sisters all they asked him.” What do you mean by this? How do you know this? If he gave them everything without hesitation, do you think that he did this so that they might have no difficulty whatsoever in the running of the Institute? Perhaps because he was not able to say no? Perhaps be­cause he quickly understood the need of what they asked? Perhaps so that they might not pester him?

 

The Sisters themselves said this and I understand that he provided the needs of the Institute without any de­lay. The S.G. had great trust in the Sisters.  Besides, he was very kind and was always ready to pro­vide us with what we needed.

 

 

69. The S.G. was not used to say from where he obtained the things for the Institute, but at times it was very clear that he himself provided them. Do you remember some particular thing that he himself provided? How do you know this? Why did he not tell you? Perhaps because the donors wanted to remain anonymous?  Perhaps to appear that he himself was the donor? Did you at times ask him where he got the needs? In case, what was his answer? Do you think that when he himself provided something, he wanted oth­ers to know this?

 

I think that Mons. De Piro did not say where he obtained the supplies from, because he himself provided them, but he preferred to keep anonymous. I came to this conclusion because when benefactors made contributions he took their name and asked us to pray for them.

 

70.       You mention that once the Institute had a debt of £90. Do you think this was a large sum at that time? Do you remember for how long did that debt accumulate? Do you know why there was such a big debt? Could this have resulted from the S.G.’s bad administration? Or perhaps the S.G. incurred expenses, which could be avoided? Do you know if, besides this debt, there were other debts? In case, do you know what they were? If there were debts, how did the S.G. react to them? Dubious? Uncertain? Hope­ful? Were there other occasions when the Mother asked you to pray for some money or other objects to come? If yes do you remember when? Do you think that the S.G. himself ordered the prayers?

 

I remember that once the Madre told us that the Institute had a debt of £90 for bread.  At that time this was a big sum. I remember that the Madre informed Mons. De Piro about this, and a little later the Institute received the money to pay the debt. The Madre believed that Mons. De Piro himself gave this money. At that time Mons. De Piro did not appear different in his treatment of us. I am unable to answer the rest.

 

71.       Do you think that besides helping the poor mater­ially he also tried to help them spiritually by trying to elevate their thoughts to God? How do you know this?

 

Mons. De Piro gave material aid to those who asked him, and also confessed and helped spiritually those who came to him.

 

72.       You also mention the time of the war. Obviously you are referring to World War 1. You say that he saw to it that you lacked nothing. This means that you say that he did something particular during the war to make sure that you had all your needs like, e.g., going to beg alms? If he went to beg, do you think this was easy for him? Besides tea, bread and sugar, was there some other common food at the Institute? During the war did he talk to you about the War? Perhaps he exhorted you to pray for its cessation?

 

In the War we did not lack anything; we had provisions e.g. tea and sugar which were very scarce outside of the Institute. I know that the Madre used to beg alms for us, but I do not know if the Monsignor did likewise. At times we had also meat for our meals. The Monsignor mentioned the War only to ask us to pray.

 

73.       Did you ever meet with the children of other Instit­utes, perhaps of those under his direction? If yes, on which occasions? If he directed other Institutes, do you know if the children belonging to these Institutes were looked after as well as you? Or better than you? Or worse?

 

We never had contact with children of other Institutes. I do not know any details about other Institutes that the S.G., might have had at that time.

 

74. You also state that he told the Madre to save so­me money for you. Did this amount too much? What was the sum of money you received on leaving? Were they en­ough to start in life? Did he give the same sum to every­one? What was the situation in other Institutes regarding such money before a young woman left the Institute? How do you know all this?

 

Mons. De Piro saved a monthly sum of money for those who would soon leave. This was the same for everyone. Besides he also gave help to those who were in greater need. Once he also employed a girl with his family until she decided about her vocation.

 

He considered all the applications he received from those who wanted to be admitted to the Institute. I do not know that he ever refused anyone.

 

The amount of money saved for the girls who were going to leave varied according to the time that that girl spent at the Institute. This was the idea of Mons. De Piro and I do not think it was adopted in other Institutes. Besides he also gave us enough material for our clothes when we went back home.

 

The money and material were not enough to start life but they helped.

 

75.       You also mention the fact that he also helped those who wanted to become nuns. In what way did he help these? Perhaps by helping them in taking a decision? Perhaps he prepared them for some particular congregation? Perhaps he helped them with their dowry? Did he exhort the child­ren to pray for the vocations?

 

The girls went to their relatives or families if they had any. Mons. De Piro wanted to know where the girls went to live and if he was not satisfied he would not let her go, even if it was her family or relatives. Mons. De Piro did not speak to me personally before I left, but I know others whom he spoke to.

 

As regards the choice of our state of life, he allowed us complete freedom. But when we made a final decision, he gave us his help. I cannot give details about the cases I mentioned, but I know that theirs was a happy marriage. As regards those who decided to become Sisters, I do not know if and how much Mons. De Piro helped them to arrive at their decision. I am certain that he left everyone free, also regarding the congregation they wanted to join.

 

There were no prayers for the vocations.

 

76. Apparently all were of the same sex at the Instit­ute!  Are you under the impression that this fact made it difficult for the S.G. to deal with you? Do you think he was careful to safeguard his chastity? Can you explain?

 

The manners of the S.G., were always most correct.  There was never a single complaint against him about this. I wish to remind you that he inspired a feeling of great respect even just looking at him.

 

77.       In the evidence you have already given, you do not say anything about the Society that he was founding. Do you know anything about it? How, where and when did it begin? What was his aim in founding this Society? At the time when you were still at the Institute, did the S.G., refer to it? Did he show any preoccupation about it? Did members of the Society visit the Institute? In case, how often? Why?

 

I know that the S.G. was very happy when he had six members and once he even slept at the House for six months. I learnt this probably from Mons. De Piro himself who talked to us about this; and he was very happy that there were many more who wanted to join. I do not know exactly why he named his Society “of St. Paul”. He asked us to pray for the Society.

 

He also told us that he visited the Pope because of his Society.

 

We never visited the members of his Society nor did they visit our Institute.

 

Et sic hora 12.00 pm., suspensum est examen dictae testis, attenta tarditate horae; animo illud resumendi die 29 Maii hoc in loco. Ad quem effectum moniti fuerunt a Delegato Archiepiscopali tam idem testis quam Iustitiae Promotore.

 

Deinde Ego Notarius eidem testi perlegi eius depositionem data ei facultate addendi, minuendi vel corrigendi si necessario reputaverit. Ipsa enim confirmavit seque in fidem subscripsit.

 

Iuro me veritatem totam in mea depositione dixisse et confirmo omnia quae superius deposui.

 

Carmela Mallia, testis

 

Deinde idem Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigillo ipsius obsignatis interrogatoriis cum testium depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerem et sese subscripsit cum Iustitiae Promotore ut sequitur:

 

Pater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Delegatus Episcopalis

Pater Paul Gatt 0.P., Promotor Iustitiae

 

Supra quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis Ego Notarius de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopalis hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma et in fidem me subscripsi et meum Notariatus sigillum apposui.

 

Datum est die 22 Maii 1989.

 

Ita est.

 

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius


 

Sessio Vigesima Quarta

 

 

.

 

Anna Domini ntillesimo nongentesimo octogesimo nono, die vero vigesima nona Maii (sive 29-5-1989) hora 9.25 a.m. coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in praesenti causa canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Josephi De Piro pro Tribunali sedente in domo “Pax et Bonum”, Mosta, ob provectam aetatem testis, praesentibus Iustitiae Promotore legitime citato, meque Notario, comparuit Domina Carmela Mallia testis citata et inducta, cui delatum fuit iuramentum iuxta formulam in Secunda Sessione adhibitam, quod illa statim praestitit et sese subscripsit ut infra:

 

Ego Carmela Mallia testis iuravi.

 

Quo iuramento praestito, clausis ianuis, solisque remanentibue Delegato Archiepiscopali, Iustitiae Promotore et dicta teste, ego Notarius exhibui plicum interrogatoriorum et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegatus Archiepiscopalis recognovisset clausum et illaesum, ex eius mandato aperui et statim diventum est ad examen dictae testis quae ita respondit ad quaesita:

 

78.       Back to the help which the S.G., gave to the girls. You say that he helped not only those of the Institute but also others who went to confess to him. How do you know that he helped them? In what way did he help them? With money? With advice? Perhaps he helped them solve some family problems? Did he help several of these? Have you some inkling how he obtained the means by which to help these people materially? Do you regard the S.G. as one who had trust in Divine Providence?

 

I know that the S.G. gave alms because I heard people say this. He was well known for his charity. It sometimes happened that he had no money left for the tram-fare. I do not know if he gave counsels. I think that the money he gave was partly his and partly from his mother because I heard people say that his mother used to tell him, “You are going to impoverish me.” I think that he had trust in the Providence of God.

 

79.       Do you think that the S.G. used enough prudence in the way he distributed money? Or did he give money recklessly?

 

I can say this: after I had left the Institute and got married, once I went to the S.G., to confess.  Afterwards he asked me where my husband worked and I said that he was a Government employee. He said to me: “Good, Good. Next Sunday I shall say Mass for your in­tention.”  (This reminds me of what he used to tell us when we were still at the Institute: “I always pray for you, also when you leave the Institute.”).  What he said when I told him where my husband was em­ployed makes me think that he did not give alms haphaz­ardly, but where it was needed.

 

80.       You also say that he took care of sick children. What do you mean by “… the great attention” he gave them? Perhaps because he soon called a doctor? Do you know if the doctor was related to him? Perhaps because he him­self looked after the sick? Perhaps because he used to spend some time talking to them? Or because he ordered extra food for them?

 

I begin by saying that in the twelve years (plus) I stayed at the Institute only two children died although at that time many children died. I remember that at the Institute there was a sick bay and there we were well treated. I know that when it was needed a doctor visit­ed us. I remember also that those who needed more care received it, e.g. those who could not bear the cold were allowed to retire early. I am unable to give more details.

 

81.       “He even visited the children when they were tak­en to hospital.” Were such occasions frequent? Did he often go to visit them in hospital? How do you know this? You yourself were once hospitalized and he “… told you how he used to come to visit you”. Do you remember anything about this? Did he often visit you? Did he bring something for you? Did he speak to you? Why do you think he felt he had to tell you about these visits?

 

I remember that I was in hospital with high fever for two months; Mons. De Piro came to see me twice (as far as I remember). He came in the morning. I do not remember any more details.  After I got married, the doctor told my husband that I would soon die. I said this to the S.G., and it was on this occasion that he told me about my illness when I was a child and that he came to visit me in hos­pital.  He did this to encourage me and said, “It was in those days that you were going to die, not now.”

 

82.       You say that after leaving the Institute, you went to see him. You give the impression that you went to see him several times. How did he receive you? Did he show you that he was pleased with your visit? That he was an­noyed? Did he himself tell you to go and see him, or did you go of your own accord? In the latter case, what made you go? What did you talk about during your visit? Did these visits last a long time? Did you make an appoint­ment or were they chance visits? Do you know if other girls who left the Institute kept contact with him, as it appears you did? Did he ever tell you anything about this? Did he ever complain with you about others who did not go to visit him? Do you think that the S.G. expected some appreciation for what he did at the Institute? How do you know this? On your part, when you were still at the Institute, did you show some kind of appreciation, e.g. some feast for him or some present?

 

I still went to visit the S.G., until I had two children only. I went without making an appointment. He was pleased to see my children and me. At times I went to ask advice (as in the cases I have already men­tioned) and sometimes simply to visit him and the Sis­ters as a sign of respect.

 

The duration of my visit depended on the need. Sometimes I heard from others that some people went to speak to him, but I never heard anything from him. Never did he expect thanks or some form of appreciation from us when we were at the Institute or after we left. The Sisters, however, organized a small feast on the feast of St. Joseph.

 

83.       You regard the fact that the S.G. invited the ‘old girls’ as a sign of respect he had for you. Could he have had other intentions? Perhaps to see how you were faring? Perhaps to try to persuade you to help the Institute?

 

It was the S.G., who wanted this feast. I could not attend because I was expecting a child, the fifth one. That is why I cannot give details. All I know, from what I heard, is that there was a dinner. He invited all the ‘old girls’, perhaps to keep con­tact with us.

 

84.       After mentioning the feast of the 25th year as Director, you mention those of the “Nazzarenu”. Who were these? Perhaps some other religious family? Perhaps they had in their care some other Institute of children? What contact did they have, if any, with the Institute of Fra Diegu? With the S.G.? What part do you think he played so that these could be made a Congregation of nuns? Per­haps with his advice? Perhaps in the draft of their Rule? Perhaps with the Ecclesiastical Authorities? Do you think he also helped these sisters financially? What other help do you think he gave them? How do you know all this?

 

There was a lady from Zejtun who took care of the babies. Mons. De Piro gave her assistance. I am unable to give other details.

 

85.       You say that sometimes he was called to assist some parents of the Institute’s children who were dy­ing. Do you mean that the S.G., often went to assist the sick or that he went only on these occasions? Why do you think that these called him? Perhaps because he was the person they knew most? Perhaps to show him by this that now the family was meeting further difficulties and therefore, indirectly, to ask for more help from him? Perhaps because he was well known for his way of comfort­ing the sick person and his relatives?

 

The S.G. helped everyone financially.  Besides, some parents of the children of the Institute came to him for advice. There was a case when he helped a person spi­ritually. This was the case: There was a responsible man whose wife was not that responsible. They had a daughter at the Institute. This woman was going to die. Her husband sent for the S.G., to assist her. I know that sometimes he assisted others.

 

86.       “Such was his help that his own mother used to say that he was going to impoverish her.” How do you know this? Perhaps you yourself heard her speak these words? Why do you think she said these words? Perhaps because he took a lot from her money? Are you under the impression that his mother was pleased with this situation or would she get angry with him? How do you know this? Do you know if his brothers and sisters approved of this situation? How do you know this? Did you ever hear him say something about this (if his mother and brothers and sisters were pleased or not)? Did you ever hear any of his brothers and sisters talk about this?

 

Perhaps at times I heard also the S.G’s mother say these words, but I do not know that she ever got angry, instead she gave her approval. About his brothers and sisters I have this to say: they came willingly to the Institute and bought articles from the Institute and commissioned others.

 

I never heard the S.G., mention this.

 

89.       “See, my beggar is coming.” This is what his mo­ther was used to say. Did you ever hear her say this? If not, how did you get to know this? What do you mean when you say that the S.G. laughed at these words? Per­haps he did not heed her? Perhaps he did not take her seriously? Perhaps he lacked in respect towards his mo­ther? Or perhaps because he knew that his mother was always ready to give him what he asked? What do you think his mother meant by “beggar”? That he begged from her? Or perhaps she knew that he begged from others as well?

 

I heard these words from others.

 

90.       “He was always charitable especially with those who were in need.” Do you mean by this that the S.G. did not deprive anyone of his love? Perhaps you mean that he tried to be charitable even when he lacked the means? In case, how do you think he acted in such circumstances?

 

The S.G., did not deprive anyone of his love. I never heard that someone needed help, begged him and the S.G., did not help him.

 

91.       How, do you think, he judged who really needed help?  Do you think there were people who abused the good­ness of the S.G.? How do you know this? Do you think that the S.G. perceived this? In case do you know how he reacted?

 

I think that the S.G., was able to discern who was really in need. I never heard that anyone tried to abuse the generosity of the S.G.

 

92.       You regard the S.G., as a priest “… much dedicated to the Church”. You make special reference to his hear­ing of Confessions at St. Gajetan’s and his sermons. Do you know if he preached and heard confessions in other places? Where? Do you know by whom he was most sought for confessions: men, women, youths, children? Are you under the impression that he heard confessions for long periods? Do you know if he was asked to take part in some feasts (excepting the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows which you men­tion towards the end)? In case, do you know which these were? How did he react to such work? Perhaps he thought it was too much considering his work connected with the Institute and the Society? Or perhaps he was glad to accept? How do you know this?

 

I know about the pastoral work of Mons. De Piro in Hamrun, but I do not know about his pastoral work in other places. I do not know for how long he heard confessions. As re­gards his part in feasts, I cannot answer. I never heard him complaining about pastoral work; he was known to ac­cept any requests provided he was not busy elsewhere.

 

93. You said that the parish priest of Hamrun praised the S.G’s ability to preach. Did the S.G. know about this praise? How did he react? Did you ever hear some of his sermons outside the Institute? What was his favourite subject? Do you know if he preached in other places be­sides Hamrun? Where?

 

At times the parish priest of Hamrun praised the S.G., in his presence.  The S.G., just smiled and that was all. I never heard him preach out­side the Institute and I do not know if he preached in other places besides Hamrun. I know, however, that he was in the “Great Mission”.

 

94.       Did you ever hear anyone ridiculing or speaking contemptuously of the S.G. for something he was doing? In case, whom? About what? How did the S.G., react if he learnt about this contempt?

 

I never met any similar occasion.

 

95.       Were there any particular prayers said at the In­stitute for Lord Strickland or did the S.G. simply exhort you to pray for him privately?

 

The first time I knew about the friendship between Lord Strickland and the S.G., was because both the former and his children helped the Institute of Fra Diegu. He told us to pray for him and that he was a good man. This was when I was still at the Institute, time before the trouble with the Church.

 

The other difficulties between Lord Strickland and the Church occurred some time after when I had left the In­stitute, and heard about such things from other people.

 

96.       At the end of your evidence, you say that when the S.G. went abroad he left Fr. Salv. Manduca to take his place. Who was this priest? Perhaps a member of the Society he was founding? Perhaps a relative of his? Per­haps some one he was preparing to be his successor? Did the S.G., often go abroad? For a long period? For what reasons? Perhaps for reasons of health? Family? The So­ciety he was founding? Holidays? Which places did he visit? Was he used to talk to you about his trips abro­ad, besides the occasion when he visited the Pope? Did you feel his absence from the Institute when he was abroad? How?

 

Fr. Salv. Manduca was a canon at Valletta, but he was not a member of the Society founded by the S.G. He came to take charge of the Institute and hear confessions there when the S.G., was away. The latter went abroad about twice a year to meet the Pope according to what he said. He went there to work for the foundation of his So­ciety. He never spoke about his visits abroad: where he went, etc.

 

We missed him because we loved and respected him.

 

97.       ”On that morning when he died, De Piro told us that he was not feeling well.” Did the S.G., at other times, tell you that he was not feeling well? Why do you say, “he told us”? Do you mean that you were at the Institute at that time? When he told you he was not feeling well did he appear to be anxious? Afraid? Sad? What did you tell him when he told you that he was not feeling well? Perhaps you suggested that he should have a rest? Some­thing else? How did he react to your words?

 

Not, “… he told us,” but, “I was told” that Mons. De Piro in the morning of the day of his death was not feeling well. I do not remember if, when I was still at the In­stitute, he ever told us that he was not feeling well.

 

98.       Until he left for the procession, how did he spend the rest of the day? Perhaps at the Institute? In case, what did he do at the Institute? Did he have a rest? How do you know this? If he did not stay at the Institute, do you remember where he went? How do you know?

 

It was a comment made on the S.G., to show how dedicated he was. I think that he spent the day at the Institute of Fra Diegu.  It is certain that he lunched there and had a longer rest than usual. This is what I was told by people from the Institute.

 

99.       Did you go for the procession? Do you know if the S.G. felt anything during the procession? Per­haps he made some strange gestures to show that he was not feeling well?

 

The procession was held before. I think that the parish priest of Hamrun invited him for the proces­sion because in the morning he had to be at the In­stitute for the feast of St. Francis. Someone told me that during the procession Mons. De Piro said that he was not feeling well.

 

100.    Did he ever speak to you about death? What was his attitude to death? Afraid? Glad? Peaceful? If he spoke to you about death, what did he say? Do you know if he made his last will? In case, do you know its contents?

 

Once he spoke to us about death during our stay at the Institute so that we might be careful and lead a good life. I do not know if he made his last will.

 

101.    “After Benediction, the Monsignor fainted.” Do you mean while he was still at the altar? Was there a panic? Do you know if there was someone who removed the S.G., from the steps of the altar? Where did they lay him? Do you think that the S.G., died in the church or in hospital? Do you know if any of the priests admin­istered the Sacrament of the anointing of the sick to him? Do you know to which hospital he was taken? Was it his choice, or was he un­conscious (if you say that he had not died yet?)

 

I was not present. I was told that he was taken to hospital, but I do not know if he was dead or alive.

 

102. How did the people react to the news of the S. G.’s death? What were their comments?

 

The reaction of the people was that “a saint had died.”  A certain Father Gwann (I myself heard him) began to praise him and say, “They do not know what kind of person died and what he left (meaning the number of people he helped). He also mentioned his wisdom, good­ness and virtues.

 

103.    You do not say anything about the funeral. Did you attend it? If not, can you give the reason? If yes, what do you remember of it? Were there many people? Were there any dignitaries of the Church or re­presentatives of the State? In case, do you remember who they were? Where was the funeral held? Do you know where he was buried Do you know something about the transport of his remains from the Addolorata Ceme­tery to St. Agatha’s? How do you know this? Were you present?

 

I was not present for the funeral. I could not attend. I was told that it was a big funeral.

 

104.    After the death of the S.G., do you remember any­one talking about him? Whom? Did he speak in favour or against?

 

I do not know.

 

105.    Do you know if there is anyone who is against this case of beatification and canonization of the S.G.?

 

I do not know about anyone who may be against this case of beatification.

 

106.    Did you ever visit the grave of the S.G.? Why do you go? Can you describe the grave? Will there be other people? Many? Few? Why do you think they go there? What type of people? Are flowers and candles put on the S.G.’s grave? If you do not visit his grave, can you tell us why? Do you think that these visits to the grave of the S.G. are increasing or decreasing? When did the people start visiting the grave? Do you think there are some people who are trying to raise devotion to the S.G.? In case, who? In what way?

 

Sometimes I went to visit the grave of the S.G. We went once a month and this visit was organised by two spinsters.  We said prayers when we were there. We went because of our devotion. When we were there we also visited the church of the Society where we recited the Rosary and a member of the Society imparted Benedic­tion. There were other people as well. On his tomb there was a figure of the S.G., and an epitaph the meaning of which I do not know. I did not see flowers and other similar things on his tomb.

 

Such visits, in which I took part, have been made for the last twenty years and are still being held. They are organized by two spinsters from this town of Mosta and they are usually led by two members of the Society of St. Paul.

 

107.    What is your idea of the holiness of the S.G? Do you think he deserves to be canonized? Why? When do you think that this idea of the holiness of the S. G., started? Perhaps he had this fame when he was still alive? Perhaps soon after his death? Perhaps quite re­cently? How do you think people regard him today?

 

It is fitting that Mons. De Piro be canonized because he always gave his support to both rich and poor and he always worked for the glory of God.

 

Et iam provisum.

 

108.    Which salient virtue do you think belonged to the S.G.? Can you mention other virtues of his?

 

The virtue that strikes me is his humility, not only because he was not proud but also because he was always gentle and kind in everything (including his sermons) and with everyone.

 

109.    Do you know of some favours granted by the in­tercession of the S.G.? In case, can you mention some of these?

 

I do not know.

 

110.    Do you add, omit or change anything in your statement?

Negative.

 

Et sic hora 12.15 p.m. absoluto examine praedictae testis de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopalis ego Notarius alta et intelligibili voce testi perlegi integram depositionem data ei facultate addendi, minuendi vel corrigendi si necessario reputaverit. Ipse eam ratam habuit et confirmavit his verbis:

 

Iuro me veritatem tota in mea depositione dixisse et confirmo omnia quae superius deposui.

 

Carmela Mallia, testis

 

Deinde idem Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigillo ipsius obsignatis interrogatoriis cum testium depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerem, ac sese subscripsit cum Iustitiae Promotore, ut sequitur:

 

Pater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Delegatus Episcopalis

Pater Paul Gatt O.P., Promotor Iustitiae

 

Super quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis, ego Notarius, de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopalis, hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma, et in fidem me subscripsi et meum Notariatus sigillum apposui.

 

Actum die 29 Maii, 1989

 

Its est.

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius.


 

Sessio Vigesima Quinta

 

 

 

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo nono, die vero quinta Junii (sive 5-6-1989) hora 9.30 a.m. coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in praesenti causa canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Josephi De Piro pro Tribunali sedente in Orfanatrofio “Gesu Nazzarenu”, Zejtun ob provectam aetatem testis, praesentibus Institiae Promotore legitime citato, meque Notario, comparuit Suora Maria Pia Caruana, testis inducta et citata cui delatum fuit iuramentum, quod i1la statim praestitit et sese subscripsit ut infra:

 

Ego Sr. M. Pia Caruana testis inravi:

 

Quo iuramento praestito, clausis ianuis, solisque remanentibus Delegato Archiepiscopali, Iustitiae Promotore et dicta teste, ego Natarius exhibui plicum interrogatorium et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegatus Archiepiscopalis recognovisset clausum et illaesum, ex eius mandato aperui et statim deventum est ad examen dictae testis, quae ita respondit ad quaesita:

 

Personalia:

 

I am Sister Maria Pia Caruana, professed Sister of the Congregation “Gesu Nazzarenu”, daughter of Francis and Maria Anna née Bonnici, both deceased, born at Zejtun on the 30 April, 1893 and residing at the Institute Gesu Nazzarenu, Zejtun.

 

1.         You have come to give evidence in this case of Beatification of the S.G., Mgr Guzeppi De Piro.  What contact did you have with the S.G?  When did this contact begin, and how long did it last?  Why have you come to give evidence?  Did anyone tell you to come, and what to say?  In case, who? 

 

I got to know Mgr De Piro when the Archbishop nominated him director of the Institute of Gesu Nazzarenu.  At that time I was helping Maria Giuseppina Curmi who had in her care orphans and abandoned children.  I knew him until he died.  I am giving this evidence because I have been asked by Fr Anton Sciberras MSSP to do this.  No one told me what to say in my evidence. 

 

2.         You start the information which you have already given by mentioning the “Opera”, that owed its beginning to a certain Madre Curmi.  Can you specify who was Madre Curmi, and what was this “Opera” that she started.  When, where, and how did it begin?  What was its precise aim?  Did this aim always remain the same or was it altered with the passing of time?  If it changed, what was the reason?  What is today’s name of the “Opera”?  Where did this name come from?  If the aim of the Institute was at first to receive orphans how many children did you have at that time?  Were they all orphans or were there other children?  Were they boys, or girls, or mixed?  What age? 

 

Maria Giuseppina Curmi was a spinster and lived with her brothers and sisters.  Her brother was Fr Nazzarenu and her other sisters were all spinsters.  She did not hail from Zejtun, but she came to Zejtun with her father when he became “mayor” of Zejtun.  She thought of getting married but when she visited Lourdes she felt the desire of becoming a nun.  She tried to become a nun there but she changed her mind.  When she returned she started a life of prayer.  She stayed in the balcony of their house looking at the church of Casal Ghaxaq praying before the Blessed Sacrament from a distance. She felt someone telling her to found a Congregation of Sisters. She also used to go to Valletta to pray before Jesus in the Sacrament exposed at the Church of the “Sagramentini” Sisters. She sought advice before beginning her Congregation. She wanted to found this Congregation to be able to receive orphans and abandoned children, and this remained her aim. She named this opera “Istitut Gesu Nazzarenu.” She chose this name because she felt inside her someone telling her, “Go and collect Sisters under the name Ta’ Gesu Nazzarenu.” When I joined there was a sizable number of children, all of them girls. (Male babies and boys were admitted when Mons. De Piro became Director). At first we received girls from three or four years of age upwards. When I joined, Curmi began to receive babies as well and she put them under my care.

 

3. In what year did the S.G. come as your director, and the children’s? Did you know him before? In case, how? Why do you think Bishop Caruana chose Mons. De Piro as director after Fr. Paul Zammit? Perhaps because of his past experience with children? Perhaps because he was a personal friend of the Bishop? In fact do you know if there was a particular relation between the S.G. and Bishop Dom Mauro Caruana? Could it be that the Bishop sent him because he was the type of person who never refused?

 

I do not remember the year when Mons. De Piro became Director. I remember that he succeeded Fr. Paul of Gudia when he died. We did not know him and I do not know why the Bishop sent him, but I know the Bishop had trust in him and he always obeyed the Bishop and he was a saintly soul. I do not know if Curmi knew him; I only remember that she told us that the Bishop sent Mons. De Piro and “he was going to talk to us individually.”

 

4.         You say that the S.G. was chosen as “…our director and the children’s”. What do you mean when you say, “Our director”? Do you mean that he directed you in everything? Perhaps that he directed also the inter­nal life of the ‘Opera? Perhaps you mean that he was above the same Madre Curmi? Or perhaps he was there to administer the material welfare of the Opra? And what do you mean by “director of the children”? Perhaps he was responsible for the care and all the activities that involved the children? In case, in what way?

 

Mons. De Piro was Director of the Sisters; it was he who gave us the advice we needed as a Congregation that was to be founded; we confided our problems to him, for example, the need we felt of leaving our fam­ilies and he made the necessary arrangements for us. Curmi also submitted herself to his words as Director. When he came once a month she gave him all the infor­mation regarding the administration. He was also direct­or of the children; but he left the administration and daily duties in our care.  However, he saw to it that the running of the place was smooth. When he came once a month he sometimes lectured to us Sisters, but I do not remember what he said. When it was necessary he also corrected us.

 

5.         From what you say, it appears that in fact the S.G., contributed considerably to the beginning of the Opera of Mother Curmi. In one instance you say that he wanted “us to become Sisters later on”. What exactly do you mean by this? Do you mean perhaps that it was his idea that you should become Sisters whereas Madre Curmi had some other idea? What did he mean by ‘Sisters’? Perhaps that you made the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience? Do you know if the S.G. had a share in the  drawing up of the Rule of your Opera? In case how and how much? Do you know if he had a share in the approval of the Rule and the Opera by  the Ecclesiastical Authorities? Do you think he helped you having vocations? In case, in what way? How do you know all this? Was there ever anyone among you who complained that the S.G., interfered too much in your internal affairs?

 

The S.G., was a great help to us. Once he said to us: “I am seeing the corridor full of sisters.” Madre Curmi always had the idea that we were to be a congregation of sisters - I went to that place, because I wanted to become a nun - with our own rule, habit, vows, etc.; the idea was therefore Madre Curmi’s but it pleased the S.G., and he helped us to attain it.

 

Until the S.G., died we did not have a Rule yet, but I do not know how it was compiled. Mons. De Piro worked for us to have vocations; he look­ed for vocations and helped those who were in difficul­ties e.g. I know of one who met opposition from her fam­ily and he interceded; I know of others whom he helped with his advice.

 

The S.G., did not interfere in our internal af­fairs and no one ever complained about this. On the other hand he tried to please us where he could and he gave us great help; among other things he entrusted to us anoth­er Institute at Birkirkara.

 

6.         Why, in fact, do you think that the S.G. wanted you later on to become Sisters? Perhaps because he realized that it was only in this way that you could achieve the aim of the Opera? Or perhaps because he valued the conse­cration to God by means of the vows? In fact do you know if he ever desired to bind himself by the vows? If he ever tried to found a Congregation of Religious, did he succeed? If yes, which one was it? Did he talk to you about it? If yes, what did he mention most? Do you feel that he was able to understand the life of the re­ligious, although he himself was not a religious?

 

Mons. De Piro wanted us to become nuns because that was our wish and we let him know this as soon as he became our Director.

 

I do not know if the S.G. made any vows, nor do I know if he wished to make them, but I do know that he left his mother and went to live in the Institute of St. Joseph. I also know that he founded a congregation of religious, the Society of St. Paul. Sometimes he invit­ed us for some special occasions of this Society, e.g. the laying of the foundation stone, but he never talked to us about it. We were not religious, but we lived in a community and Mons. De Piro helped us very much.

 

Et sic hora 12.00 pm., suspensum est examen dictae testis ob tarditatem horae, animo illud continuandi die duodecima Junii hoc in loco. Ad quem effectum moniti fuerunt a Delegato Archiepiscopali tam eadem testis quam Iustitiae Promotor, ut compareant dictis die et hora. Deinde ego Notarius eadem testi perlegi eius depositionem, data ei facultate addendi, minuendi vel corrigendi, si necessarium reputaverit. Ipsa eam confirmavit iuramentum praestitit seque in fidem subscripsit:

 

Sr. Maria Pia Caruana, testis

 

Deinde idem Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigillo ipsius obsignatis interrogatoriis cum testium depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerern ac sese subscripsit cum Iustitiae Promotore ut sequitur:

 

Pater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Deleg. Episcopalis

Pater Paul Gatt 0.P., Promotor Iustitiae

 

Supra quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis, ego Notarius de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopalis hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma, et in fidem me subscripsi et meum Notariatus sigillum apposui.

 

Actum die 5 Junii, 1989

 

Ita est.

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius


 

Sessio Vigesima Sexta

 

 

 

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo nono, die vero duodecima Junii (sive 12-06-89) hora 9.30 a.m., coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in praesenti causa canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Josephi De Piro pro Tribunali sedente in Orphanatrofio “Gesu Nazzareno”, Zejtun, ob provectam aetatem testis, praesentibus Iustitiae Promotore legitime citato, meque Notario, comparuit Suora Pia Caruana testis inducta et citata cui delatum fuit iuramentum, quod illa statim praestitit et sese subscripsit ut infra:

 

Ego Sr. Maria Pia Caruana testis iuravi:

 

Quo iuramento praestito, clausis ianuis, solisque remanentibus Delegato Archiepiscopali, Iustitiae Promotore et dicta teste, ego Notarius exhibui plicum interrogatorium et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegatus Archiepiscopalis recognovisset clausum et illaesum, ex eius mandato aperui et statim deventum est ad examen dictae testis, quae ita respondit ad quaesita:

 

Note by the Chancellor: Before answering the questions the witness wanted to make this declaration regarding the time when she went to see the S.G. dead.

 

“On that day when Mons. De Piro died I was out begging alms for the children. When I returned I found M. Teresa weeping and I was given the news of the Monsignor’s death. M. Teresa hired a cab for me to go to see him. When I saw him dead I started to cry a lot and nothing could console me. I began to talk to the S.G., as if he were still alive and said to him, “Please console me! You took great care of us. “Immediately I felt peace and rest and I felt so much consolation that I could not weep any more.

 

7.         You say that when he became director he took care to speak to you individually. Did he do this only once, or did he do it regularly? If that was the only occasion do you remember what you talked about? Perhaps only about the life of the Opera or about spiritual and personal things as well? If he regularly met you individually, did this amount to spiritual direction? In case, what did he most insist on? Did you go at will or did he send for you? Did you feel free to say what you wished to say to him or were you afraid, or perhaps he pressed you to talk?

 

All I remember is that only on that occasion did we talk to the S.G., individually. Perhaps some other time someone went to talk to him but this was not the rule and this depended on the individual and not on the S.G. I talked to him on some other occasion when Sr. Teresa sent me to St. Joseph’s, Hamrun, with a message to him. On this occasion he said to me: “What is the good or bad news?” In the meeting we had with the S.G., we talked about our poverty and our de­termination to be separated from our families.

 

8.         You mention your great poverty when the S.G. took over as director. Among other things you say that you went out to beg food for the children and that you de­pended a lot on your family. The S.G. “did not like this at all.” In fact, what was it that he did not like, the fact that you went out to beg? The fact that you depend­ed too much on your family? Or the fact that Sister Perpetwa was going to be sent back home because her family could not give her more help?

It was I who told the S.G., that we could not go on depending on our families since we had been liv­ing together for a long time. I also told him that Sr. Perpetua was going to be sent back because her family could not or did not want to give her more help. On that occasion the S.G., listened to us but did not say anything.  Later, however, he found the re­medy for us; he soon arranged for us to separate from our families.

 

9.         What environment did the S.G. come from? If he came from a rich family, did this circumstance keep him away from the poor or did it draw him to them? In case it drew him to them, in what way? Can you give some concrete examples? How did he consider himself? As a rich or poor man? In his clothes? In his food? In the use of money? Did he ever talk to you about poverty? Did he ever exhort you to spiritual poverty?

 

The S.G., came from a family of barons.  How­ever he was not proud of this.  On the contrary he work­ed hard for the poor. When he went to visit his mother, she used to say, “My poor man is coming.” This, is what we had been told. He had opened a branch for us near St. Joseph’s Institute so that we might be able to have in our care baby boys until they were of the required age to be admitted to St. Joseph’s. I can’t give other ex­amples of his charity to the poor. I know that his cloth­es were smart but with no difference from other priests. When he visited us he did not wear monsignor’s clothes. He traveled by cab or by route bus with others. When we put up a bazaar to’ build the Institute he himself gave a helping hand, spoke to everyone, and at times bought some articles from there.  Once I remember there was his mother selling articles at the bazaar and he bought a dress for the children from her. She wanted to give it to him free of charge but he insisted on paying as he in fact did. He was a humble person. He was not particular about food and ate what we prepared for him. As regards money, I think he was careful how to use it; I do not think that he used it carelessly although he was always ready to give generously. I remember we used to go to beg alms at St. Paul’s Bay and Mellieha. To lessen the pro­blem of daily transport, the Marchioness Marija of the ‘Bon Kunsill’, Zejtun, used to let us stay for a whole week at her house in St. Paul’s Bay. One summer she could not let us use it and M. Teresa told the S.G., about this. He made arrangements for us with his brother Dun Santin who received us in his house and we did not lack anything. I am unable to answer the rest of the questions.

 

10.       What do you mean when you say that at first “you depended so much on your family”? Was this in connection with money or with other things as well? In case, in what? Perhaps also regarding the fact whether you were to remain as members of the Opera? Perhaps your families meddled in the internal affairs of the Opera? Perhaps your de­pendence on your family affected your vocation? What was the meaning of the fact that the S.G. wanted your families to give you £20 as dowry so that you ceased to depend on them? Was this system put into practice? Did it help your progress? In case, in what way? Was there anyone who could not afford the dowry asked by the S.G.? In case, how did the S.G. react?

 

We depended on our families for our necessities: clothes, shoes etc. For this reason we felt like a burden on our families that were not well off; we were shy to beg them for money and therefore we wanted to find some solution. Our families did not interfere in our vocations. The S.G. and M. Teresa had agreed that we should get £20 from our families and thus make an end to our dependence on them. I feel that when we were separated from our families (ad­opted this system) we were happier. It wasn’t easy for us to get the £20 but no one was threatened to be sent home if the money was not procured.

 

11.       When you say that the S.G. wanted your separation from your families, does it mean that he wanted you to end all contacts with your families? Did he keep contact with his own family? Perhaps he stayed with them? In case, precisely with whom? Do you think his family conditioned him in the apostolate he performed?

 

The S.G., wanted us to be cut off from our families regarding the material objects mentioned be­fore. We did not go home except for some needs. The S.G., at first lived with his mother in Mdina, but, as far as I know, when he became Director of St. Joseph’s Institute he began to sleep there. It was natur­al that he went to visit his mother. I do not know if members of his family interfered in his works.

 

12.       When you spoke to the S.G. about the case of Sr. Perpetua, who was going to be sent home owing to her po­verty, the S.G., was ‘struck dumb’. What do you mean by this? That he thought it was a very serious case? That it angered him? Perhaps he used some hard words against someone?

 

I do not remember exactly how the S.G., reacted when we told him about the story of Sr. Perpetua. I know however, that he showed interest and soon found the re­medy.

 

13.       “The Padre did not talk much.” Why do you call the S.G. ‘Padre’? Were you the only one to call him with this title, or were there others among your companions? Who had decided to call him in this way? Perhaps he him­self? When you say that he did not talk much, what ex­actly do you mean? That perhaps he was the type that would not talk unless talked to? That when you spoke to him, his answer was as brief as possible? Why do you think he was so taciturn? Did he perhaps give the impres­sion that he was thinking of something else? Distracted, absent-minded or upset? That perhaps he was tired? Perhaps because in a more positive way he valued silence? Did he ever speak to you about the necessity of silence?

 

We called him ‘Padre’ because he was our Director. I re­member that later on when Bishop E. Galea became our Di­rector we addressed him as ‘Padre’ and not ‘Excellency’. It wasn’t he (Mons. De Piro) who told us to address him as ‘Padre’. “Of a few words” means that I never saw him talk too much. On the other hand I heard that when he was at Valletta one did not expect to be greeted by him because he had always his eyes bent to the ground. I think that he did this more as mortification than be­cause he feared people, for he was very friendly. Once my mother told me that he boarded the bus and went to sit near her and tried to encourage her to come as usual for the bazaar held in aid of our Institute. I do not remember if he tried to make us observe silence. When he visited us he lectured to us, but I do not remember about what.

 

14.       “This does not mean that he was not most kind-heart­ed”. Can you give examples of this kind-heartedness?

 

15.       “He loved very much to make the children happy.” To explain this you give the instance that when he return­ed from abroad he bought the girls a necklace and a hand­kerchief. Later on you mention the story of the sugared-almonds. Do you know of some other way by which he made children happy? Do you feel that this was a special trait in him?  Was it in his nature to make children happy’? Did he make happy only the children? Did you ever see him getting an­gry or scolding some of the children? If not, was this perhaps because he did not have direct contact with the children? Or perhaps because he was afraid to correct and perhaps he let the children do what they liked? If he made corrections, what method did he use?

 

He was kind-hearted; he loved to make people happy. Once returning from abroad, he brought the children large silk handkerchiefs. On the feast of St. Catherine he used to bring nougat for us and for the children. On Maundy Thursday he brought us the ring-loaf that was given to the Monsignors. The children were much pleas­ed with the handkerchiefs. They were shouting: “See how much the Padre loves us. See what he has brought us!” The S.G., hated to see people sad. This was his nature. I never saw him scolding or getting angry with the children.  On the other hand once he showed disapproval when I beat one of them. However, he did not have contact with the children because he came once a month; he showed great interest in the problems we had to face.

 

16.       You say that once he saw you shouting at a girl and he “corrected you”. How did he correct you? Per­haps with anger? Perhaps in the presence of that girl? What did he mean by the answer he gave you: “We are al­ways telling them, imagine if we don’t”. Perhaps that we should always be telling the children? That we should never lose heart? Perhaps to show that your work was valuable?

 

What I remember is that he let the girl depart and then he said to me: “Not like that, not like that! Children are to be treated gently!” He did not say this angrily but gently.

 

Et sic hora 12.00 pm., suspensum est examen dictae testis ob tarditatem horae, animo illud continuandi die decimanona Junii hoc in loco. Ad quem effectum moniti fuerunt a Dolegato Archiepiscopali tam eadem testis quam Iustitiae Promotor, ut compareant dictis die et hora. Deinde ego Notarius (ad actum) eadem testi perlegi eius depositionem, data ei facultate addendi, minuendi vel corrigendi, si necessario reputaverit. Ipsa eam confirmavit iuramentum praestitit seque in fidem subscripsit.

 

Sr. Maria Pia Caruana, testis

 

Deinde idem Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigillo ipsius obsignatis interrogatoriis cum testium depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerem ac sese subscripsit cum Iustitiae Promotore ut sequitur:

 

Frater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Deleg. Episcop.

Frater Paul Gatt O.P., Promotor Iustitiae.

 

 

Supra quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis, Ego Notarius (ad actum) de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopalis hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma, et in fidem me subscripsi et Notariatus sigillum apposui.

 

Actum die 12 Junii, 1989.

 

Ita est.

Frater  Paul Gatt O.P., Notarius ad actum.


 

Sessio Vigesima Septima

 

 

 

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo nono, die vero decimanona Junii (sive 19-6-1989) hora 9.30 a.m. coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in praesenti causa canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Joseph De Piro pro Tribunali sedente in Orphanatrofio “Gesu Nazzarenu”, Zejtun, ob provectam aetatem testis, praesentibus Justitiae Promotore legitime citato, meque Notario, comparuit Suora Pia Caruana tes­tis inductus et citata cui delatum fuit iuramentum, quod illa statim praestitit et sese subscripsit ut infra:

 

Ego Sr. Maria Pia Caruana testis iuravi.

 

Quo iuramento praestito, clausis ianuis, solisque remanentibus Delegato Archiepiscopali, Iustitiae Promotore et dicta teste, Ego Notarius exhibui plicum interrogatorium et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegatus Archiepiscopalis recognovisset clausum et illaesum, ex eius mandato aperui et statim deventum est ad examen dictae testis, quae ita respondit ad quaesita:

 

(Ob aegritudinem testis tantum praecipuae interrogationes factae sunt ipsi testi.)

 

17.       “He often came to see us”. Do you remember how often? Do you think that this was enough, considering that he was your Director? Or do you think that, in fact, you needed his presence more often? You say that it wasn’t easy for him to come because of the transport. In fact you say that he came in a cab. In those days were there not yet better means of transport? If yes, why did he not use them? Perhaps because they were more expensive? Do you think it was not easy for him to visit you only because of the transport, or perhaps because of other com­mitments he might have had at that time? If yes, do you know what other commitments he had? Do you know if he himself chose them or if they were entrusted to him by someone else? In case, by whom? Did he speak to you about these commitments? In case, in what way? Perhaps he com­plained that he had too much work? Perhaps gladly? Do you think he could cope well with his other commitments? How do you know this? Did you ever hear anyone complain that the S.G. did not carry out such commitments proper­ly? In case, whom?

 

18.       “When he came, most probably he stayed for the day.” Do you mean that he arrived in the morning and left in the evening? Or perhaps that he also spent the night there? Can you tell me whether, in your house, he had his own room or office? In case, can you describe it?  When he visited you did people call to talk to him?  In case, do you remember what kind of people they were?  Do you know what they talked to him about? How do you know this? If people did come, how did he treat them?

 

19.       “He mostly talked to M. Curmi and M. Teresa”. Why do you think he talked to them? Perhaps because they were the founders of the Opera? Do you know what they talked about? How do you know this? Did he not talk to you? When he spent the day there, did he spend the time only talking to M. Curmi and M. Teresa? Didn’t he perhaps take part in your activities and those of the children, e.g., prayers? Meals? Recreation? How did he act in these activities?

 

20.       You say that on one of his visits he found M. Teresa ill. For this reason he suggested that he should ta­ke her on a pilgrimage to Rome. However, he wanted an­other one of you, Sisters, to join them. Why do you think he wanted to take her to Rome? Perhaps he believed that this pilgrimage would give her health? Perhaps for chan­ge of air? Perhaps so that she might be seen by some oth­er doctor? In fact, do you remember what her illness was? Why did he want another Sister to accompany her? Perhaps there was some law of the Church, which prohibited Sisters to travel singly? Or perhaps to have some one she knew with her if something went wrong? Or perhaps because he was afraid to shoulder the responsibility all by himself? Or perhaps because he wanted to give the chance to one of you to go abroad? Do you know who paid for the trip? Do you still remember how the pilgrimage was organized and what part the S.G. had in it? Perhaps it was he who or­ganized it? Perhaps he joined it as spiritual director? Do you know if the S.G. had already taken part in pil­grimages like this? Was it common for the Maltese to go on pilgrimages abroad in those days? Do you know if there were any of his relatives among the pilgrims? Or perhaps some members of the Society he was founding? Per­haps some children? Do you know in which year this particular pilgrimage was held? Do you know if the S.G. had been to Rome before? In case, do you know why he had visited Rome? Do you know if he had any special contacts there? With whom? About what?

 

Usually Mons. De Piro came once a month. He stayed for the whole day; he talked to M. Curmi and afterwards to Madre Teresa (obviously I do not know about what) and at times he lectured to us. Once, when Madre Curmi died, he stayed with us for three days. I never heard Madre Curmi or Madre Teresa say that they needed to see him more often. I know that Mons. De Piro had other commitments: he had other Institutes under his care, he was a member of the National Assembly, and had other work.

 

I know that it was the Archbishop who sent him to our Institute; but I cannot say anything about his other activities.

 

I never heard the S.G., complain about the vo­lume of work he had, nor did I hear anyone complain about him because he could not cope with all his commitments.

 

21.       Do you know if the S.G. ever met the Pope personal­ly? If yes, perhaps on this occasion? How do you know this?

 

22.       You mention that during the trip there was a quarrel between two men about some money? How, do you think, did the S.G., perceive what they were quarrelling about? Per­haps because it was clear enough? Perhaps because people gave the information? Or perhaps because the S.G. was in­tuitive? If yes, do you know of other similar cases? You say that the S.G. gave some of his own money to those two men and the quarrelling stopped? Why do you think that the S.G. acted in this way? Perhaps because peaceful re­lations interested him more than having money? Do you know of some cases when the S.G. brought peace among some people?

 

Madre Teresa had a mental break down and he wanted her to go to Rome for a rest. I do not know why he wanted one of us to accompany her. He let the Foundress her­self to choose one. I remember there was also a memb­er of his Society, Fr. Guzepp, and this priest’s mother. he had a layman to take care of the pilgrimage. During the trip Mons. De Piro was not with us pilgrims; I think he traveled First Class. I think that the expenses for Madre Teresa and for myself (I was the Sister chosen by the Foundress to accompany Madre Teresa) were paid by the S.G. It is certain that we could not afford it because we were very poor.

 

Things, which impressed me during the trip, were, among others, that I saw the Monsignor laughing with Mr. Stivala (the layman who was helping the S.G.). I also remember that during the trip I went down from the train with­out permission. The one in charge of the train wanted to know who it was, but I did not say anything. Mons. De Piro, however, did not say anything.

 

I remember that we had an audience with the Pope and Mons. De Piro wanted us and the other women to wear our “faldettas” to show the Pope the Maltese costume. I do not know if he himself spoke to the Pope or to some other officials. I also remember that during the trip there was a quarrel between two men. I remember I saw the S.G., take money out of his pocket and give it to them and they made it up. I do not remember if he gave money to the two of them or to only one. I was impressed by the fact that he was ready to do everything to secure peace and quiet.  In fact, the S.G. was well known for his love of peace and he knew how to bring it about. A good examp­le is the way he brought peace in the Parish of Gudja when trouble arose between the parish priest and his parishioners.  It was the same regarding our case, which I mentioned before, when he wanted us to be separated from our families. I also heard that once when Lord Strickland quarreled with the Church, he was driv­ing his car and offered a lift to Mons. De Piro, who was related to him. Mons. De Piro said to him: “Not today, I hope I shall be able to take a lift another time”, which shows that he was able to re­fuse without being unpleasant.

 

I would like to note that I have no more details to give about the episodes I have mentioned.

 

23.       You mention that the S.G. was often at St. Joseph’s. You are obviously referring to St. Joseph’s Institute at Hamrun. Why did he stay there? Perhaps because he was its Director? In case, do you know how long he was there? How long did he hold this office? How did he act during his Directorship? Was he happy as Director? Did he direct other in­stitutes? Did he give them the attention needed? How do you know this?

 

The above question was not asked.

 

24.       “When we went (there) he welcomed us heartily.” What do you mean by this? Perhaps that he was pleas­ed to see you? Perhaps that he himself invited you to go to see him? Did you ever visit him and felt that he did not welcome you heartily? In case, do you remember when and can you guess why? Do you know if other people went there to see him? Did you ever hear anyone complain that the S.G. did not receive him well? In case, whom?

 

The above question was not asked.

 

25.       When you went to see him at St. Joseph’s, the S.G. received you with the words: “Give me the good and bad news”. Did he use this phrase often or only with you? What do you think he meant by it? Perhaps that he expected from you both good and bad news? Was the S.G’s outlook pessimistic or optimistic? Did he discourage or fill you with courage? How do you prove this?

 

The above question was net asked.

 

26.       You say that you were very shy of him? Were your companions shy of him too? Were you shy only of him or of other priests as well? “He was awe-inspiring.”  At the same time, “he was lovable.” Can you explain more clearly these two reactions, which he created in you?

 

The above question was not asked.

 

27.       “When Madre Curmi made her last will, he did not wish to be involved because he felt it was something private and of family concern.” Do you mean that he was asked to go with her and he refused? If this is the case, do you want to show that he did not want to be involved in family concerns? Do you think that he acted in this way out of prudence? Don’t you think that in this case he would have been more prudent to go considering that Madre Curmi, as you yourself say, was a very simple person?

 

28.       When the S.G. discovered that Madre Curmi had not signed the will, “he was greatly upset”. What do you mean by this? Perhaps that he appeared angry or upset? Perhaps he said something against Madre Curmi? Perhaps he complained? Why do you think he was so upset? Per­haps he knew very well the consequences when one did not sign the will? Why do you think he knew about these things? Perhaps because he was involved in other wills? Perhaps because he had studied (the subject) before?

 

29.       During the days he stayed with you after the death of Madre Curmi and the action of her nephews he often told you, “She had not told us anything yet”. What do you mean by “often”? What did he mean by the fact that she had not told you anything yet? When he said this expression, did he say it with a tone of sadness, anger, or sorrow?

 

30.       Was he present when Madre Curmi’s nephews came to lock her room and took away the money you had collected for the children? If yes, how did he act? If not, what were his first reactions as soon as he knew what had happened? Perhaps he became angry? Perhaps he began to say things against Madre Curmi’s nephews? Perhaps he told you to entrust yourselves to the Providence of God? Who took the decision for you to appear before the court about the inheritance of Madre Curmi? Perhaps it was you who wanted to do this and he encouraged you? Perhaps it was he who encouraged you to go to court? If it was he, do you know if beforehand he had tried to approach Madre Curmi’s nephews with the intention of solving the case before going to court? If it was he, do you know if perhaps he had previous experience of the court, in the sense that perhaps he took legal proceedings against someone? In case, do you know against whom? About what? In such circumstances do you know how the S.G. acted? The fact that in some way he helped in these court proceedings might mean that the S.G. defended his rights by all possible means? Do you know of some other similar cases? Did the court case take long to be concluded? Was the S.G., still alive? Was the court decision in favour or against? If it was concluded when the S.G. was still alive, how did he react in the circumstance?

 

31.       You said that Madre Curmi died and there was the action of the nephews, the S.G., came to stay with you for three days. Did you ask him to stay or did he come spontaneously? Did he ever stay with you for such a long period or even longer? In case, in what circumstances? What help did he give you in those three days? Do you think it was easy for him to spare those three days or did he have to take them from some other of his activities?

 

32.       You say that when he stayed with you for those three days, you wished to buy meat but you had no money. Why did you want to prepare meat for him? Perhaps to show your esteem for him? Or perhaps because he wanted this? Or perhaps because he needed to eat meat? In ca­se, was this because of some illness he had?

 

33.       When he noticed that you did not even have the mon­ey to buy the meat for him, “he put his hands in his po­cket, took out some money and gave it to us”. Do you mean by this that the S.G. gave you the money so that you could buy the meat for him? Or do you think that he availed himself of this opportunity to give you some money since he knew that you had nothing? Was he concern­ed about the children’s food in those days? How did he show this?

 

I remember that once Madre Curmi said to us: “See, I am waiting for Mons. De Piro to see my will.” She had pre­pared the will and wished Mons. De Piro to see it before she went to the Notary. In fact she died before present­ing her will; she died suddenly. As soon as she died, her nephews came and locked up her room in which there was also the money we had collected for the Institute.  I remember that Mons. De Piro was very much upset and he stayed with us for three days.  I remember he gave us £2 (at that time it was big sum) for the needs of the Institute. I also remember that I heard (probably from Mother Teresa, but I am not sure of this) that he said he had not seen the will because it concerned the family and he did not wish to be connected with it.

 

I remember that Madre Maria Guzeppina Curmi died in the morning between 6.00 and 7.00 a.m. We informed her family who lived in Zejtun.  We also informed Mons. De Piro who resided at St. Joseph’s Institute. I remem­ber that as soon as Madre Curmi’s brothers arrived, they locked up her room with all that was in it. I also remember that they wanted to take the Institute from us and they started legal proceedings. Mons. De Piro en­couraged us and came with us when we appeared before the Court and used to say to us: “I am ready to give all that belonged to Madre Curmi to her family; but the In­stitute was made from collections.” I remember that we bought the site with the money that Mr. Cassar Torreggiani lent us, which money he later gave us as a donation. I do not remember any more details because of the con­fusion we went through when Madre Curmi died and imme­diately after.

 

Et sic hora 12.00 pm., suspensum est examen dictae testis ob tarditatem horae, animo illud continuandi die vigesima sexta Junii hoc in loco. Ad quem effectum moniti fuerunt a Delegato Archiepiscopali tam eadem testis quam Iustitiae Promotore ut compareant dictis die et hora. Deinde ego Notarius eidem testi perlegi eius depositionem, data ei facultate addendi, minuendi vel corrigendi, si necessario reputaverit. Ipsa eam confirmavit iuramento seque in fidem subscripsit.

 

Sr. M. Pia Caruana, testis

 

Deinde idem Delegatus Archiepiscopalis, clausis et sigillo ipsius obsignatis interrogatoriis cum testium depositionibus, mandavit mihi ut de praemissis instrumentum conficerem ac sese subscripsit cum Iustitiae Promotore ut sequitur:


Frater Aloysius Pisani OCD, Delegatus Episcopalis

Frater Paul Gatt 0.P., Promotor Iustitiae

 

Supra quibus omnibus et singulis ut supra gestis Ego Notarius de mandato Delegati Archiepiscopalis hoc publicum instrumentum confeci in forma et in fidem me subscripsi et meum Notariatus sigillum apposui.

 

Actum die 19 Junii, 1989

 

Ita est.

 

Sac. Carmelus Farrugia, Notarius


 

Sessio Vigesima Octava

 

 

 

 

Anno Domini millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo nono, die vero vigesimasexta Junii (sive 26-6-1989) hora 9.30 a.m. coram infrascripto Delegato Archiepiscopali in praesenti causa Canonizationis super vita et virtutibus in specie Servi Dei Mons. Josephi De Piro pro Tribunali sedente in Orphanatrofio ‘Gesu Nazzarenu’, Zejtun, ob provectam aetatem testis, praesentibus Iustitiae Promotore legitime citato, meque Notario, comparuit Suora Pia Caruana testis inducta et citata, cui delatum fuit iuramentum, quod illa statim praestitit et sese subscripsit ut infra:

 

Ego Sr. Maria Pia Caruana testis iuravi.

 

Quo iuramento praestito, clausis ianuis, solisque remanentibus Delegato Archiepiscopali, Iustitiae Promotore et dic­ta teste, Ego Notarius exhibui plicum interrogatorium et testium attestationum, quem cum Delegatus Archiepiscopalis recognovieset clausum et illaesum, ex eius mandato aperui et statim deventum est ad examen dictae testis, quae ita respondit ad quaesita:

 

34.       From what you say, you give the impression that the S.G. often gave money. How did you regard this fact? That he was a spendthrift, in the sense that he did not appreciate enough the value of money? Did he ever tell you where he obtained the money?

 

The above question was not asked.

 

35.       Every time you went to the law Courts, you found him walking up and down saying the Breviary. As regards this, you make the only reference in your evidence to the S.G’s praying. Besides his saying the Breviary at the Law Courts, did you ever see him praying in other places? In case, where and how? Perhaps at your Home? Alone, or with you?

 

36.       If together with you, what kind of prayers did you say together? Perhaps the Mass, the Rosary? How did he act at these moments? Did you ever see him praying with the children? What prayers did he say with them? Did he cultivate a life of prayer at the Institute? Were there some particular prayers that he himself in­troduced when he came? Perhaps some adoration? Do you know if he had some particular devotions, perhaps to the Eucharist or to some other mystery of the life of Christ? Perhaps to Our Lady? In this case to some par­ticular title of Our Lady? To some saints? Some angels? If he had some devotions, from where did they grow in him? Perhaps because of some particular favours he re­ceived? Did he talk to you about them? Did he, in gene­ral, exhort you to pray? In what circumstances and how?

 

37.       Does the fact that every time you went to the Law Courts you found him saying the Breviary mean that he tried every moment to collect his thought in God? Or perhaps that he was careful not to waste his time but to utilize every moment? Perhaps saying the Breviary helped him to discourage people from talking to him?  How do you know this?

 

I remember we found Mons. De Piro waiting for us at the Law Courts, but now I do not remember details about the way of praying of the S.G., at the Law Courts or anywhere else. I remember that he had a devotion to Our Lady. I remember that he used to visit us on Maundy Thursday, but I do not remember details.

 

38.       “Do come.... I shall be there.” Do you mean that he wanted to encourage you? Or perhaps that he was not afraid to go to the Law Courts? In case, why do you think this? Perhaps because he was well known? Perhaps because he knew well the people there? How did he act with other people who seemed to be burdened with pro­blems?

 

The above question was not asked.

 

39.       You say that a short time before Madre Curmi died the S.G. used to tell her that he saw a corridor full of sisters. What do you think made him say this? Do you believe that perhaps he had some kind of vision / prophecy about the future of the Congregation? Or per­haps he told her this to encourage M. Curmi? Or perhaps in this way he expressed a desire he himself had about the Congregation? Do you know of some other instances when the S.G. made similar assertions about the future? In fact, do you feel that what the S.G. said about you materialized?

 

I think that the S.G. told us that he saw the corridor full of sisters to encourage us. In fact what he said materialized.

 

40.       You mention that the S.G. opened a home near St. Joseph’s Institute to receive boys under age before they were of the required age to go to St. Joseph’s. What was then the age of admittance to St. Joseph’s?  Who had determined this age limit? Why? Who shared the running of the Institute with the S.G.? Perhaps some Sisters from your Congregation? Perhaps some others? What do you think made the S.G. to open the home near St. Joseph’s? When you say, “opened”, do you mean that there was nothing before this? Or perhaps that there was one already and the S.G. developed it? When you say that this home was a branch of St. Joseph’s, what exactly do you mean? When you say that this branch received babies, do you mean that it was the only place in Malta that received babies, or perhaps there were others already existing? In case, which? If this was the only place, do you mean that the S.G. felt that this so­cial problem existed in Malta and he found ways and means to remedy it? Did this home remain open or was it later closed? If it was closed, was it before or after the S.G., died? If it was closed, what was the reason?

 

I do not remember the required age for boys to be admit­ted to St. Joseph’s Institute, but I know that they were a little older.  That is why Mons. De Piro opened this home for baby boys and younger boys. I do not know if at that time there were orphanages for baby boys. Mons. De Piro entrusted this home to us because we had some exper­ience in the care of baby girls. I do not know for how long it was kept open and when it was closed, nor do I know the reason why it was closed.

 

41.       You mention trachoma and ‘other infectious diseases affecting the children of the Institute and you add that the S.G., immediately asked M. Curmi to send one of you to train as a nurse. Do you mean that the S.G. paid great attention to the children’s health? What other steps did he take to have these diseases cured? Did the S.G. take care of the physical health of the children without forgetting their spiritual health? What were the spiritual activities in the Institute? Masses, confessions, prayers, spiritual exercises, catechism? What part did the S.G. play in them? Did the S.G. pay attention to the children’s education? In what way? Perhaps he sent them to some school? Perhaps he had organized some lessons in the Institute? Did he take care of the teaching of trades for the children? Did he create some incentives to encourage the children to take their studies seriously? Perhaps some prize day? What recreational activities existed at the Institute? During the scholastic year? In the summer months? Did the S.G., have a part in these? Do you feel that the S.G., kept a certain balance between the dif­ferent branches of the formation of the children? Or was he perhaps more drawn to one particular branch? When the children were preparing to leave the Institute did he in some way prepare them for the life outside? In what way? Perhaps with money? With some advice? Did he talk to them on the choice of a state in life?

 

Mons. De Piro took great care of the children’s health both physically and spiritually.  So he asked the Madre to send a Sister to train as a nurse. The Madre sent me and we used to get free medicines from the hospital. I also remember that we had a girl who always had fever and he took care to take her to another place for a change of air; in fact she was healed.

 

Mons. De Piro entrusted the Madre with the schooling and trades of the children, as well as their temporal and spiritual needs. When the girls left the Institute, most of them were employed as maids.

 

I cannot give details regarding the part played by the S.G., in all this, because he discussed these matters first with Madre Curmi and after her death, with Madre Teresa.

 

42.       De Piro did his best to see us progressing.”  Are you referring to your Congregation or to the child­ren’s Institute? Why do you think he was so much inter­ested in you? What part did he play in the fairs that you say were organised to promote the Institute? Did he organize them himself? Perhaps he did the propagan­da for them? Or provided the articles? In case, from where? Where were these fairs held? How often?

 

43.       “Mons. Dc Piro wanted us to go for the feast of St. Agatha.” What feast was this? Where was it cele­brated? What did it consist in? What connection was there between the S.C. and St. Agatha? Perhaps because of the Society he was founding? In case, what can you say about the beginning of this Society? What precise aim did it have? Did he meet any particular difficult­ies in its founding? In case, do you know what they were? Do you know how he reacted to them? Did he mention them to you?

 

44.       You mention that on Maundy Thursday he used to come to Zejtun and give a piece of ring bread to everyone pre­sent. Do you mean to those of you of the Institute pre­sent, or also to some other people? Why did he do such a thing on Maundy Thursday and not on some other day? Per­haps out of some devotion to the Eucharist? Besides, you mention that on the feast of St. Catherine, patron saint of Zejtun, he used to bring you nougat? Did he do this because of some particular devotion he had to St. Catherine? Do you know if in those days there existed some feast parties and rivalries between them, perhaps also in Zejtun? Do you know if the S.G. sided with some of these particular parties?

 

45.       You say that for the feast of the 25 years of his priesthood, the S.G. made a small feast at the Seminary and celebrated Mass at the Cathedral. Obviously, you are referring to the Cathedral and Seminary in Mdina. Was it something normal in those days for a priest who had the 25th year of his priesthood to make a celebration of this type? Or perhaps the S.G. could make it because he came from a well-to-do family? Do you consider that this feast he had at the Seminary was a big or moder­ate affair? Why, do you think, did he make this feast at the Seminary and Cathedral? Did everyone celebrate his anniversary there, or perhaps because the S.G. had connections with these places? Perhaps because he hailed from Mdina? Perhaps because he held some special office at the Cathedral? In case, do you know what it was? Do you know if he performed this office well? Do you know if he performed this office well? Do you know if the S.G. was ever responsible for the formation of the seminarians? In case, do you know in what period? Do you know why he was chosen? Do you know why he gave up this responsibili­ty? Do you know how he performed his duty there?

 

46.       For the feast of the 25 years he invited “… those of Curmi, us and our children, together with many other peo­ple.” Do you think it was usual that a priest who cele­brated his 25 years of priesthood invited the children of the institutes, or was this something special introduced by the S.G.? If it was something done only by the S.G. perhaps because he loved the children so very much? Did the children present belong only to your Institute or were there children from other institutes as well (“those of Curmi, us.....”)? Perhaps those of St. Joseph’s? Per­haps some altar boys of the Cathedral? How do you know this? Among the “… other many people.” Do you remember if there were prominent people of the Maltese Society? Per­haps the Bishop or some politician? Do you remember if there were members of his family? Were the children of the Institute and the other guests mixed together or per­haps the children were gathered in one room for the occas­ion? Do you remember if the guests reacted in some way to the presence of children? In favour or against?

 

47.       “At the party he himself served sugared-almonds”.  Why did this fact strike you? Perhaps because the host does not usually serve the sweets? Perhaps because as a Monsignor it was beneath him to do this? Besides the sugared-almonds that he himself distributed, were there some others ready for the children whom he invited to take at the end of the feast? You mention the joy of the children to see all those sugared-almonds in their hands. Why? Perhaps because it was something rare in those days? Perhaps because they had such an abun­dance? Do you know who footed the bill for the feast? Per­haps the S.G. himself? Perhaps his mother? His brothers and sisters? Did you not celebrate this anniversary of the S.G. at your Institute? If yes, how? Who suggested the idea? Perhaps the S.G. himself? Perhaps it was an idea shared be­tween you? If not, why not? Because you did not have the means? Perhaps because the S.G. himself was against it?

 

The above six questions (No. 42 to 47) were not asked.

 

48.       You say that at first Bishop Mauro Caruana refused to give his approval because he said there were enough Sisters. On the other hand the S.G. “…wanted you to become Sisters later on.” Do you mean that there was disagree­ment between the S.G., and the Bishop regarding this mat­ter? In general what did he say about the Ecclesiastical Authority? About the priests and his colleagues the Monsignors? Were there occasions when he complained with you about some of these? In case, do you remember why?

 

I never heard the S.G., speak against the Arch­bishop, the Ecclesiastical Authority in general or again­st some other priests. Nor did I ever hear from others that he ever did this.

 

49.       You state that once “the Monsignor (De Piro) invited the Bishop to administer Confirmation to our children.” Do you want to say that this was the first time that the Bishop visited you?  Or had he paid other visits? If it was the first time, do you think that the S.G. did this so that the Bishop might see with his own eyes the Opera that you were performing? If it was the first time do you want to add that this was the first time that Confirmation was administered at the Institute? After this occasion did the Bishop visit the Institute other times to administer Confirmation?

 

50.       It appears that on t