Mary, Malta, and Freedom--Can It Happen Again?
I have a special devotion to Our Lady of Carafa, whose beautiful icon, one of the most lovely in
the world, is on the right side-bar of this blog. Here are two amazing histories relating to Malta
and Our Lady. The war goes on, but it is spiritual warfare. May Our Lady of Carafa save Malta
again. Here is her chapel in Valletta.
In 1942, during one single month, in an attempt to stem out the attacks on their supply lines to Africa,
the Luftwaffe dropped 6,500,000 Kilos of bombs upon the Maltese Islands. If the Maltese Islands were
to serve as a British base, food supplies were badly needed for the survival of the starving population.
On August 15, 1942, the American Texaco Tanker ‘Ohio’ entered the port of Malta, the event was seen as a grace obtained by Our Lady and the starvation on the Islands was averted. ‘Operation Pedastal’ referred to by the
Maltese as ‘Il-Convoy ta Santa Maria’ or ‘Saint Mary’s Convoy,’ initially consisted of two battleships, four aircraft carriers, seven cruisers, sixteen destroyers, and fourteen Merchant ships. By the time this convoy reached the
Islands of Malta, off Southern Sicily, fifteen ships were destroyed; many were damaged and left for Gibraltar.
Into the Maltese port entered the Tanker SS-Ohio, HMS Penn, HMS Ledbury, HMS Branham, MV Melbourne Star,
MV Brisbane Star, Aircraft Carrier Furious, MV Port Chalmers and MV Rochester Castle. The SS-Ohio was towed
into port; the convoy brought fifty-five tonnes of supplies, including ammunition and aviation oil. The significance
and success of this Allied mission was greater than initially observed. Apart from restocking the garrison of Malta
and disrupting the usual supply lines to Africa, the spitfire fighters from the aircraft carrier ‘Furious,’ were
transferred onto the Island. These planes were instrumental at blocking Axis supplies to Africa before the
second Battle of El Alamein (October 23 – November 3, 1942) which success was a turning point for the Allied
forces in the Western Desert Campaign. During the first centuries of Christianity, November 3, was one of the
calendar dates reserved
for the commemoration of Saint George of Lydda, (Georgian writer George Zosimo also indicates April 23 and November 23 as dedicated to this saint). On September 19, 1946, the SS-Ohio was towed ten miles from shore
and sunk by gunfire, Captain Dudley Mason of the Ohio was later awarded the George Cross. So was Malta
awarded the George Cross, which is proudly incorporated within the Maltese flag.
On December 7, 1943, President D. Roosevelt in Malta commemorated the second anniversary of the entry
in the war of the American People: “In the name of the people of the United States of America I salute the
Island of Malta, its People and defenders, who in the cause of freedom and justice and decency throughout the
world have rendered valorous services far above and beyond the call of duty. Under repeated fire from the skies,
Malta stood alone but unafraid in the center of the sea, one tiny bright flame in the darkness, a beacon of hope
for the clearer days which have come. Malta’s bright story of human fortitude and courage will be read by posterity
with wonder and gratitude throughout all the ages. What was done in this Island maintains all highest traditions of gallant men and women who from the beginning of time have lived and died to preserve civilization for all mankind.”
(5) The following day on December 8, 1943, the Feast commemorating the Immaculate Conception was celebrated throughout the Christian world. A votive procession of the Icon of Our Lady of Carafa was organized in Malta; the procession exited Saint John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta and passed through the city streets. The Archbishop and Bishop of Malta solemnly read the Act of Consecration by His Holiness Pope Pius XII (October 30, 1942). The telegrams exchanged between the Vatican and the Maltese Curia read as follows: “Cardinal Maglione – Vatican City – Occasion Consecration of Malta and Gozo Immaculate Heart Mary we beg assure HH filial devotion Clergy and
Laity two Dioceses fervent prayers His August Person and Peace He desires – Archbishop Caruana, Bishop Gonzi.” The reply, “Archbishop Caruana – Malta – Holy Father acknowledging kind message paternally blesses Pastors
Clergy Faithful Dioceses Malta and Gozo – Cardinal Maglione."