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When a sailor saved a boy, who grew up and saved him back

The Blessed Virgin Mary and San Ġorġ Preca

Courtesy of the Archdiocese of Malta

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 07/16/22

The boy became a saint, and a great devotee of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, whom he credited with his life and vocation.

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Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is beloved across Europe, but in Malta, devotion to her has been particularly strong for centuries.

There is one very well known story regarding the Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Valletta, Malta, and a Maltese native saint, St. George Preca.

On July 16, the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, when George was very young, he was walking on the edge of the seashore and accidentally fell into the water. He would most likely have drowned if it had not been for a boatman who was rowing some musicians across the harbor to participate in the celebrations taking place in the Carmelite Church in honor of Our Lady.

The boatman jumped into the water and saved the boy.

Years later, when George had become a young priest, he was walking by a nursing home when a nun informed him that one of the residents was passing away and a priest was needed to administer the Last Rites.

The dying resident of the home was none other than the boatman who had saved little George many years before.

St. George became a Carmelite Tertiary and a great promoter of the Brown Scapular.

A curious detail about him is that he might have helped to inspire St. John Paul II’s Mysteries of Light, because he had promoted five nearly identical mysteries just a few decades earlier.

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