Churches

A Statement of the U.S. Bishops – Welcome and Justice for Persons with Disabilities. A Framework of Access and Inclusion.
www.usccb.org/doctrine/disabilities.htm
Adults with Cognitive Disabilities/Mental Retardation: Approaches to Adult Faith Formation
www.usccb.org/laity/faithformation.shtml
National Network for Disability and Spirituality
www.acbc.catholic.org.au/org/disability/index.asp
Secretariat of Catholic Education – US Conference of Catholic Bishops Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
www.usccb.org/education/fedasst/idea.shtml
Statements from the Vatican
www.vatican.va/jubilee_2000/jubilevents/jub_disabled_20001203_scheda1_en.htm
National Catholic partnership on disability
www.ncpd.org/about/mission
Catholic Celiac Society
www.catholicceliacs.org
CUSA, An Apostolate for Persons with Chronic Illness and Disabilities
www.cusan.org
International Catholic Deaf Association—United States Section
www.icda-us.org
National Apostolate for Inclusion Ministry
www.nafim.org
National Catholic Educational Association
www.ncea.org
National Catholic Office for the Deaf
www.ncod.org
National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD)
www.ncpd.org
National Conference for Catechetical Leadership
www.nccl.org
National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM)
www.nfcym.org/resources/pastoralresponse/disabilities/index.htm
Network of Inclusive Catholic Educators
http://ipi.udayton.edu/nice.htm
The Victorious Missionaries
www.vmusa.org
USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)
www.usccb.org
Xavier Society for the Blind
www.xaviersociety.com

Links

Kummissjoni Nazzjonali Persuni b’Dizabilita (National Commision Persons with Disability
www.knpd.org) 
Archidiocese of Malta
www.maltadiocese.org) 
Diocese of Gozo
www.gozodiocese.org) 
U.S. Catholic Bishops – Doctrine & Pastoral Practices
http://archphila.org/evangelization/resplife/pcpd.htm) 
Archidiocese of Philadelpia.
Pastoral Care for Persons with Disabilities
http://archphila.org/evangelization/resplife/pcpd.htm 
Church Access for Persons with Disabilities. Catholic Teachings. Practical Suggestions and Resources 
http://www.catholicdisabilityteachings.com/social_justice.htm) 
Aġenzija SAPPORT
www.sapport.gov.mt
Equal Partners Foundation Malta
www.equalpartnersmalta.org
 
Down Syndrome Association
www.dsa.org.mt
Razzett-Eden Foundation
www.edenandrazzett.org
Multiple Sclerosis Society of Malta
www.msmalta.org.mt
NPSPD – National Parents’ Society of Persons with Disability
www.npspd.com
Dar il-Kaptan – Respite Home
www.darilkaptan.org
Muscular Dystrophy Group of Malta
www.mdgmalta.com
Deaf People Association (Malta)
www.deafmalta.com
Richmond Fellowship of Malta Foundation
www.richmond.org.mt
ARKA Foundation
www.arkafoundation.org
ADD/ADHD Family Support Group (Malta)
www.adhdmalta.org.mt
Association of Breastfeeding Counsellors
www.breastfeedingmalta.org
Association of Speech-Language Pathologists
www.aslpmalta.org
Caritas Malta Epilepsy Association
www.synapse.net.mt/welfare/epilepsy
www.caritasmalta.org
Caritas Malta Thursday Club(mental health aftercare)
www.caritasmalta.org
Gozo Association for the Deaf
www.gozodirect.com/ngo/gad
Friends of the Sick & Elderly in Gozo
www.fsegozo.com
Gift of Life Foundation
www.lifemalta.org
Malta Association of Physiotherapists (MAP) Malta Association of Physiotherapists (MAP)
www.physiomalta.com
The Malta Hospice Movement
www.hospicemalta.org
L’Arche international
www.larche.org
SPRED
www.spred.org

Dun Mikiel by Fr Martin Micallef

Everybody’s friend by Dr Tonio Azzopardi

When the Director of Dar tal-Providenza, Rev. Fr. Martin Micallef, asked me to prepare an article regarding my late uncle, Mons. Michael Azzopardi, I readily accepted. His residence in Floriana was my second home during my childhood and youth. I was welcome there at all hours and so were my sisters. My uncle lived there together with his mother, brother and sister. His other sister was a Dominican nun who spent many years in a convent in Rome and later returned to Malta and continued her vocation at Casa San Pietro, Lija.

Dun Mikiel, as he was affectionately known to all, would come out of his room as soon as he would hear me boisterously entering their residence. I remember him standing very tall beside me and I could gauge how tall I was against his waistline. As a boy, I used to spend long hours in his room helping him.

In his University days, Dun Mikiel had studied law. He intended to become a lawyer. However, his religious vocation made him steer a different course and he switched to priesthood. He was a close friend of Sir Anthony Mamo, who, while studying to become a priest, had switched to reading law.

When I completed primary school, he was all in favour of my attending St Aloysius College in Birkirkara. This led to an important step in my educational life. By the time I had completed my secondary education, my mind was set: I wanted to become a lawyer and achieve what my uncle had set out to achieve. Naturally, Dun Mikiel was very pleased with my decision to read Law.

When I started to attend the Junior College in Valletta, I used to go to their house practically every day at noon. There I had lunch regularly with my uncle. He ate with moderation, unlike his young nephew sitting beside him. At the time, the residential homes for persons with disability in Siggiewi were still under construction. Dun Mikiel used to attend social occasions to be presented with donations day in day out. I was so impressed as I watched him retrieving one envelope after another, first from his outside pockets and then from his inside pockets with sums of money, big and small, that people of all backgrounds used to donate for the project – “Divine Providence at work!” as Dun Mikiel used to tell us.

Occasionally, we used to meet the lady who had given up her vacation abroad in order to donate Lm100. It was the first donation. My uncle had set out to build Id-Dar tal-Providenza with Lm100! He had a very deep-rooted trust in Divine Providence. I imagine each building stone of Id-Dar tal-Providenza dripping the people’s sacrifices. He collected large sums of money as a result of his visits abroad. He was elated when the Catholic community in the German town of Essen donated to him the first van for the residential homes.

On retiring from work, both my late father Vincent and their late brother Carmelo used to go regularly to Id-Dar tal-Providenza to assist him and they carried out all the administrative work that he entrusted to them.
When Villa Monsinjur Gonzi was completed, he must have found it quite difficult to persuade some parents, who had been used to keeping their disabled children hidden from the public eye in a segregated area, to hand over their son or daughter for placement in the new residential home. This is where he excelled. He brought dignity to these precious creatures of God, who, according to the language used in those days, he used to call his “little angels”, and ensured that Maltese society holds these people as a significant and worthy component of that society. He was applying the principle of Diversity well before it was known as such. He was conducting a silent crusade for the Human Rights of Persons with Disability well before any governmental or non-governmental organisation had been set up to champion their human rights. Somewhere along this journey to secure a dignified and decent living for these people, he expressed his desire to us that the words “Dun Mikiel Azzopardi – Il-habib tat-tfal u tal-morda” (the friend of the children and the sick) be inscribed on his tombstone.

Some years after his death, my wife Isabelle and I happened to be in Luzern, Switzerland, and the thought that my late uncle had travelled and stayed there on innumerable occasions kept coming to my mind. I told my wife about this several times that day, but we were unable to remember the exact location that he used to mention. We happened to be in the centre of Luzern later on that same day. Suddenly, a nun approached us and said that she had overheard us speak the Maltese language and said that she too was Maltese and was very happy to meet us. In conversation, I mentioned to her that my late uncle Dun Mikiel had been in Luzern on several occasions. She butted in saying: “Dun Mikiel used to stay in our convent in Einsiedeln!” Those words left us speechless.
My uncle believed that miracles were taking place regularly at Id-Dar tal-Providenza. On one particular occasion, he had no funds with which to pay the employees’ wages. That same day, he received an envelope containing the sum of Lm12,000 – the exact sum he required to be able to pay the wages.

In the past, scarcity of vegetables was not a rare occurrence. Yet the children and later adults of Id-Dar tal-Providenza were never left wanting. Dun Mikiel used to tell us that whenever there was a scarcity of some particular foodstuff, Divine Providence would be “at work” once again. Farmers from near and far would deliver the best of their produce to the Home.

He had a special way with the persons who resided in the Home. Many persons are witnesses to his affection and positive attitude towards each and every one of them. In fact, they called him “papa'”. The late Dr. Jimmy Farrugia, who was the first doctor of the residential homes, was a very close friend of Dun Mikiel.
The book written by Fr. Alexander Bonnici OFM Conv contains a rich narrative of the life of Dun Mikiel, which is inseparable from the life of Id-Dar tal-Providenza. The two are interwoven. He dedicated most of his life to this monumental cause.

Some people remember him as Spiritual Director in government schools. Others remember him in the Catholic Action Movement. Yet others remember him broadcasting Is-Siegha tal-Morda. His words were balm on the wounds of sick people. His programme ‘Ezerċizzi Spiritwali għall-Morda’ was equally popular at the time. His more recent programme ‘Ftit togħma tajba’ reached an even wider spectrum of people from all walks of life. Hence it is not a hollow slogan that Dun Mikiel was Everybody’s Friend.

The first hint at a possible opening of the canonisation process of Dun Mikiel came straight from the lips of our Archbishop on 26th January 2010.

Once, a person confided in him that he was losing all hope in life. Dun Mikiel pointed out to him a man holding on to a pair of crutches and told him: “Look at that man. That is a lesson for you. Look how fast he can walk supporting himself on two crutches. For you those two crutches should signify hope in God and courage in your heart.” We have still to realise the full depth of Dun Mikiel’s service to God and his love for all the people.
He loved Our Lady very dearly. He mentioned her often on his deathbed. My wife and I visited him very often during the period before his death and my mother stayed there in order to assist him together with the nuns till the end. Although in great pain, he exhorted us to pray to Our Blessed Mother by reciting the Holy Rosary together.

Dun Mikiel once described to us the “miracle” that had taken place on 13th May 1941 when a bomb hit the Tabernacle inside the chapel at the Qormi primary school and everyone was saved notwithstanding that the place was full of people. They had evacuated the building when the bell rang. But no one knew who had rung the bell. He wrote about it in Lehen is-Sewwa. What impressed me most in my late uncle’s narration of the fateful events of that unforgettable 13th May 1941 was his vivid description of the Blessed Hosts scattered among the debris. He said that the sight of the Chapel in a dilapidated state and the Holy Eucharist dispersed among the dust and debris had made him cry. Dun Mikiel used to say to me that the only “victim” of that bombardment was Jesus in the Tabernacle. Jesus, truly present in the Holy Eucharist, directed the deadly bomb towards Him in order to save all the rest. No one could understand how such a direct hit had left no casualties, whilst hundreds of consecrated Hosts lay scattered and fragmented among the debris. This memorable episode in his life is described in my article “A miracle, a witness and an act of faith” published in “The Sunday Times” on 20 May 2001.

I shall remember our dear uncle for his great love for all people but especially for persons with disability. Id-Dar tal-Providenza is a living monument of his love. He died on 13th May 1987, the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima and also the anniversary of the miracle that had occurred in Qormi. I read the Epistle in his funeral Mass and that day I was impressed by the love shown by the people towards him. That was only the beginning.

DR. TONIO AZZOPARDI LL.D.
(Dr Tonio Azzopardi is the nephew of Mgr Azzopardi)

Dun Mikiel Award

The Dun Mikiel Award Award is given by Id-Dar tal-Providenza every year to a person or persons who have worked for and provided support to persons with disability both from within the Home itself as well as from outside it.

Past Recipients of the Mgr. Azzopardi Award:

1995 – Dr Lawrence Gonzi LL.D. and Mrs Mari Lowell
1996 – (Award not given)
1997 – Mr Paul Mifsud and Mr Lewis Portelli
1998 – Mons. Manuel Curmi
1999 – Fr Charles Fenech O.P.
2000 – Mr Joe Camilleri
2001 – Dr Carmelo Vella, M.D.
2002 – Mrs Victoria Demanuele
2003 – Sr Maddalena and Sr. Fortunata Fava
2004 – Mr John Peel
2005 – Mr John Micallef
2006 – Mr Tonio Bonello and Mr Albert E. Vella
2007 – Mrs Yvonne Eastman
2008 – Mr Alfred Bezzina
2009 – Mr Denis Azzopardi and Boys Lyceum St George Preca College
2010 – Mgr Lawrence Gatt and Fr Joseph Borg Micallef
2011 – Fr Lino Cardona SJ, Mrs Mary Versin and Mrs Blanche Mifsud
2012 – National Commission Persons with Disabilities (Malta)

2013 – Mr Marcel and Mrs Adelina Pisani

2015 – Ms Angela Agius
2016 – Dar il-Kaptan (Respite Services)

How to apply for permanent residence

We believe that the place of persons with disability is within the family. It is in the home, surrounded by loved ones, that a person with disability finds the surroundings which are most natural and conductive to his or her development. But we are also aware that particular circumstances in the life of a person with disability may necessitate a temporary stay or even a permanent one away from the family. For this reason id-Dar tal-Providenza offers residence or respite to persons with disability (mostly persons with intellectual disability) who find themselves in such situations. For more information kindly contact us on: info@dartalprovidenza.org, telephone: 21 464 915.

Support Workers

A support worker participates in the mission of Id-Dar tal-Providenza by helping to create home for and with people who have learning disabilities. These homes reflect values of personal dignity, celebration and honest relationships.

A support worker is someone who supports people with learning disabilities to do things, and who is, above all, a friend. A Support worker at Id-Dar tal-Providenza work on a full time or part-time on a shift basis.

Vacancies for Support Workers are announced on this website and on local newspapers from time.

Ability Promoter

The role of the Ability Promoter is primarily that of an educator, and encourage self-advocacy, leading to greater independence of the resident.

Any vacancies for Ability Promoters are announced on this website and on local newspapers.

Our Aims

  1. To be a sign that our society is truly human founded on welcome and respect for all and to give witness that every person is of unique and sacred value with the same dignity and human rights.
  2. To offer a home to a number of persons with disability, ensuring them of a good quality of life thus enabling the use and further development of their natural abilities to ultimately see that they are allowed to participate fully within our society.
  3. To offer our residents the right environment to foster their personal growth.
  4. To offer, as appropriate, respite care services to families having persons with disability.
  5. To provide a unique vocational opportunity to work with persons with disability including the possibility of doing voluntary work.
  6. To support the Maltese public to develop a more sensitive and positive attitude towards the needs of persons with disability and support their rightful demand for justice.

Management Team

The Management Team is in charge of the daily running of the Homes. The present members of the team are as follows.

• Fr Martin Micallef, Director
• Ms Nadine Camilleri Cassano, Administrator
• Ms Remona Cuschieri, Service Co-ordinator
• Ms Nadine Camilleri Cassano, Accountant
• Sr Lorenza Borg, Superior of the Sisters of Charity Community at id-Dar tal-Providenza
• Fr Trevor Fairclough, Spiritual Director
• Ms Margaret Vella, Physiotherapist