My name is Frangisku Saverju Mercieca, better known as Frenċ tal-Għarb. I was born at Għarb on the 3rd December, 1912. At an early age I left school to help my father in the fields.
I spent my life working in the fields. When I returned home from work, I used to find a queue of people waiting for me. They used to seek my advice and to ask me to pray Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu to intercede for them. My knowledge of medicinal properties of herbs, together with my prayers and faith in Our Lady, helped people recover from any illness they suffered of. My name became known all over Malta and beyond.
I never studied medicine. However, I was regarded as a faith healer who could help people recover from physical and spiritual ailments. For this reason, I was accused of practising as a doctor without having the necessary qualifications. For some time I was prohibited from receiving visitors who sought my advice for their ailments. However, people still sought my advice. Eventually, I was allowed to resume receiving visitors. I never asked for fees for my services, but donations to the Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary were appreciated.
I was a great devotee of Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu and of the Holy Eucharist. My greatest wish was to have the Way of the Cross, similar to the one at Lourdes, erected at Għammar Hill opposite the Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary. My wish came true and nowadays many pilgrims visit this Way of the Cross, especially during the Lenten period.
This monument by Alfred Camilleri Cauchi and cast in bronz by Fratelli Bonvicini of Verona, was unveiled by Dr. Guido de Marco, President of Malta, on the 29th August, 2003.
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