The Sanctuary of Il-Madonna tas-Samra in Hamrun besides being a historical ‘jewel’ is also a holy site which testifies to the great devotion to Our Lady.
The statue of Our Lady, considered one of the best works by sculptor Gilormu Dingli (1967) is taken out of the Sanctuary on the day of the feast.
The Hamrun locality where the Sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady occupies a dominant position took its name from the Madonna tas-Samra
Professor Ray Mangion said this Byzantine-style Sanctuary was built in 1630. The statue of Our Lady has numerous devotees. The Sanctuary knows its beginnings to the founders’ devotion to Our Lady of Atocia.
“A sundial can be seen on the facade, and two cannon going back to the French occupation are placed on the church parvis. From this very Sanctuary St George Preca led the first procession with the Baby Jesus in 1921. The Baby Jesus is still on display near the altar. The parvis and its surrounds also served as a space for Preca to deliver his sermons.
This Sanctuary also has a reliquary of Tereza Nuzzo, who had set up the Congregation of nuns known as Daughters of the Sacred Heart. It is also one of the main Sanctuaries dedicated to Our Lady, and is mentioned in the Ghanja tas-Seba’ Nicec by poet George Zammit.
The Sanctuary has taken a new lease of life through the efforts of its new Rector Fr Andrew Borg. The dedication of volunteer Twanny Muscat, who has been taking care of this Sanctuary for some time, is also crucial for the Sanctuary to be kept in a state of daily preparedness to welcome devotees of Santa Marija, particularly on the 15th of every month.