Most places across Europe have their local heroes, men and women who command enormous respect for their contribution to their own communities. And today Malta marks the centenary of the birth of just such a man. Mikiel Azzopardi was born on 10 February 1910. Azzopardi studied to be a lawyer and later became a Roman Catholic priest. In an island where the Church holds enormous influence over most aspects of life, Dun Mikiel (as he was popularly known) became a national institution, working tirelessly for the rights of people with disabilities in Malta.
In 1965 Dun Mikiel founded Id-Dar tal-Providenza, an organisation which runs a network of homes in Malta for people of all ages who are challenged by disability. Until his death in 1987 he worked energetically to develop Id-Dar tal-Providenza, his efforts drawing support from all sectors of society. Under the banner ‘Dun Mikiel, il-habib ta’ kulhadd’ (Dun Mikiel, friend to all), Malta today respects the memory of a very local hero. And, unsurprisingly, there is a lot of local talk that Dun Mikiel might be a candidate for canonisation.
Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries