Earlier in March, our community remembered the 50th Anniversary of the death of Fr Mikiel Callus mssp, who was the first Superior General of our community. Fr Mikiel was and remains an important figure for our Society, not only because he was significantly attracted to the missionary ideal of Mons. De Piro but also because he was precious to our Society during his lifetime.
Fr Mikiel hailed from the town of Hamrun. He was born on the 8th of December 1900 and was the youngest of ten siblings. On the sudden death of the Founder, the ecclesiastical authorities chose priests who did not pertain to the same Society as superiors of the Society until, on the 14th of April 1948, Archbishop Michael Gonzi selected Fr Mikiel as the delegate superior of the Society. He remained in this role for nearly 15 years.
In 1963 the members of the Society were given the possibility to choose their own superior themselves. Therefore, in September of that same year, the members of the Society got together for the first time for an Elective Chapter, during which, as was expected, Fr Mikiel was elected as the first Superior General from amongst his own brothers in the Society.
As a result of this move, the Society was given a new lease of life. Even though in the year 1948, two members of the Society had already gone to Australia as chaplains for the Maltese, Fr Mikiel still sent another two to Canada.
The transportation of the remains of our Founder Joseph De Piro to our motherhouse St Agata. Fr Mikiel spearheaded the process in his desire to bring our founder closer to the mission De Piro founded.
One of the decisions Fr Mikiel took on being elected Superior, was to have the remains of Mons De Piro transferred from the Addolorata Cemetery to the St Agatha Home, where they were placed in a sarcophagus in the crypt located in the Home’s main chapel.
Motivated by his love for mission and to put into practice the Founder’s wishes, Fr Mikiel worked towards opening the Society’s mission in Peru in 1968. With God’s grace, this mission continued to proliferate throughout the years, so much so that five years ago, another mission in Cuba started off from this region. As we also know, three years ago, one of this region’s missionaries was chosen as the bishop of the prelature of Huancane.
Besides his role as superior of the Society, Fr Mikiel was also sought after for his homilies on different occasions, for spiritual direction and for confessions. Finally, I cannot go without mentioning his great devotion to the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
I am confident that Fr Mikiel continues to protect the Society. Even after he died on the 7th of March 1972, the Society opened another two Missions, that of Pakistan and the other of the Philippines.
Fr Mikiel, in one of his visits to our Australian community with some of our members working there.