Franciscan Church of St Mary of Jesus (Ta’ Ġieżu)
One of two Franciscan churches in Valletta, the Franciscan Church of St Mary of Jesus is cared for by the religious order of Friars Minor, popularly known as Ta’ Ġieżu in Maltese, a local corruption of “Ta’ Ġesù”. Following designs by renowned architect for the Order of St John, Girolamo Cassar, in 1571 the Friars Minor were granted land in Valletta on which to construct a church. Eventually in 1680, its façade was replaced to the design of architect Mederico Blondel.
The church hosts numerous works of art, most of which were lavish contributions by various Grand Masters. The titular painting, depicting the Mystical Marriage of St Catherine, is dated 1600 and is the work of Sicilian artist Antonio Catalano. In Ta’ Ġieżu one can also find the grave of Blessed Nazju Falzon, a greatly venerated diocesan cleric who taught Catholic catechism to British sailors who were stationed in Malta.
Undoubtedly the main attraction is the impressive Miraculous Crucifix by Sicilian friar Umile Pintorno, dating back to around 1630. This greatly revered crucifix immediately attracted the attention of the Maltese population, who still hold it in great devotion. A painting of Our Lady of Sorrows by Maltese painter Stefano Erardi accompanies the crucifix.
This venue is only accessible by descending a staircase.