The chapel was built in
1664-66 to replace an older and smaller pre 1570 chapel in the little village
of 'Hal-Bordi' on the outskirts of Lija. It is square with simple Doric
architecture, a rounded ceiling and a hexagonal structure supporting the dome.
Mattia Preti painted the titular and it is noted to be one of his finest works.
On the 20th February in 1743, the painting of Our Lady & Baby Jesus was
seen shedding tears and the very next day, Malta was struck by a major
earthquake yet no buildings fell and no one was killed. Word of the miracle
spread quickly. In 1747 Bishop De Bussan wrote about the popularity of the church.
Minimal but visible areas
of missing stone fabric are concentrated in the lower part of the facade. A
mapping exercise has been carried out which identified the different forms of
deterioration and extraneous interventions. Despite the apparently
generally sound state of the façades in question, there are a number of factors
which are responsible for certain decay mechanisms observed as well as other
detrimental and visually undesirable interventions.
The repair and
maintenance works to be carried out have the primary aim of rendering back to
this historic monument its aesthetic and visual integrity, which has been
particularly impaired both by the wrong choice of materials in past
interventions and the recent lack of maintenance. The intervention will include
cleaning works, replacement of stone, plastic repair and pointing as necessary.
Visible pipe-work, cables and rusting metal inserts have to be removed before
commencement of restoration works.