Ta' Wejda, Mosta

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The church of the Visitation was built, not far from the Cumbo tower in 1605 by Damiano Bonnici nicknamed “Wejda”. Previously there existed another one, and before that yet another , according to old tradition. According to Dusina in 1575, there was yet another, dug out of the rock, dedicated to the Madonna, which had been consecrated by seven bishops who had escaped death from drowning only to die in Malta of the plague. This church was thought to be under the present church, but nothing was discovered when excavations were carried out some ninety years ago.

At the time the Rotunda of Mosta was being built, Parish Priest Dun Ganmari Schembri obtained the permission of the Holy See to transfer to the new church all revenues of the smaller churches of the village. The Procurator of “Ta’ Wejda” managed to retain the right to one bottle of oil for each field belonging to the church. The rent derived from it would today amount to fifteen cents.

The chapel, situated quite close to Ta’Qali which during the war was a military airfield, was hit by a German bomb on the 11th March, 1942. It was repaired two years later, and the bell cot was added. This is commemorated by a tablet above the door. This church was never deconsecrated. Among the works done after the war was the painting of the titular by G.M.Caruana, showing Our Lady singing the Magnificat, and a statue of the Visitation by Wistin Camilleri with statuettes symbolising Faith, Hope and Charity. A few years after a sacristy was built and theparvis was paved. Later a gallery for the harmonium was built. A new altar was blessed by Archpriest Dun Bert Bezzina on 17th June 1964. In 1965 the ceiling was decorated with paintings of Abraham, Moses, David and John the Baptist. Below them appear Rebecca, Sarah, Joel, Deborah, Ruth, Esther, Judith, the verses of the Magnificat, the four Evangelists, and Marian symbols.

Due to the nature of the damage  the following restoration works were carried out:

The facade was washed down using water and stiff bristle or nylon brushes.   Poulticing was  used for decorated or moulded areas.  These are basically wet packs applied to façade and allowed to dry on the surface.  As a result of this, the black deposits emerge out of the stonework and pass onto the poultice which is later on brushed off.Where possible, reconstitution of damaged stone was carried out.  Plastic repair using a hydraulic lime based mix was used.  A fine stone dust was added to obtain as much as possible  the same colour of the original stone.

Open joints were cleaned and any loose mortar was removed, while the mortar which was still in good condition was retained.  A mortar similar to the existing one was used to point the joints.  No cement was used and the mix was composed solely of hydraulic lime, sand and stone dust.  Clay particles were used in the mix, to match as much as possible the already existing colour.The missing sculptural and decorative stonework was replaced using appropriate templates which were approved by the Architect in Charge.