Our Lady of Sorrows Chapel - B'Bugia

At the beginning of the twentieth century Mons. Spir Penza who lived in Cospicua but used to spend his summer vacation in Birzebbuga started work so that a church would be built in Birzebbuga. On the 10th of October 1909 construction work on the facade of the church began according to plans of  Salv. Sacco from Cospicua.   The built church, dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, became the first Parish Church of Birzebbuga under Mons Isqof Pietro Pace according to a degree conferred on the 9th of September 1913.  Originally it hosted a titular painting which is now kept in the present Parish Church. The first parish priest of B’Buga was Dun Karm Bugelli. The church of Our Lady of Sorrows remained the parish church of B’Buga till the year 1937, when the new church started to be utilised. This chapel was used for many years till 2009 as a centre for religious education for boys by MUSEUM members. Use of the church by MUSEUM members was discontinued as at the time the façade was deemed a dangerous structure.

Despite the generally sound state of the façades of the chapel, there were a number of factors which were responsible for certain decay mechanisms observed as well as other detrimental and visually undesirable interventions. The lower part of the Chapel was characterised with cement rendering which was flaking off in some parts. This had to be removed as it was causing damage to the lower part of the walls, stone columns and bases. Certain areas of the belfries, excluding the façade, are also covered with cement rendering. There were dark areas of superficial deposits on the stonework in certain areas of the façades of the church.  Some areas were also covered with biological pollution/patina for example along the fascias and cornices at the top of the building especially the belfries and below the mouldings of the triangular pediment. Various open joints localised at the upper part of the church were also allowing water-seepage. In fact some parts fell from the mouldings and pediment.

The repair and maintenance works that were carried out had the primary aim of rendering back to this historic monument its aesthetic and visual integrity, which had been particularly impaired both by the wrong choice of materials in past interventions and the lack of maintenance. The intervention included cleaning works, replacement of stone, plastic repair and pointing as was necessary. Visible pipe-work, cables and rusting metal inserts also had to be removed before restoration works started.