Magri gave a significant contribution as a scholar through his collection of Maltese folk tales and lore. Working at the end of the 19th and the turn of the 20th centuries, Magri's important work saved for posterity ethnographic material which would have otherwise been lost through modernisation and more widespread education.
Fr Magri was also one of Malta's pioneers in archaeology. He was a member of the first Committee of Management of the Museum of Malta alongside Antonio Annetto Caruana, N. Tagliaferro and Temi Zammit. Fr Magri was entrusted with the excavation of the Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni, a Megalithic Temple in Xewkija (Gozo), and a number of other sites in Malta and Gozo.
Born on 27 February 1851 in Valletta, Magri joined the Society of Jesus, in 1871. He was ordained priest in 1881 in Tortosa (Spain), and made the solemn profession of the last vows on 15 August 1890, in Istanbul. As a Jesuit, Magri taught in a number of Jesuit colleges in Malta and Turkey. He also served as Assistant of the Provincial of Sicily (1898–1902) and as Rector of the Seminary in Gozo (1902–1906). Magri died unexpectedly on 29 March 1907 in Sfax, Tunisia, where he had gone to preach Lenten exercises and celebrate Easter with the Maltese community.
Briffa, Josef Mario
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"New Light on Fr Magri's exploration of the Hypogeum: Notes from correspondence with the British Museum.", Malta Archaeological Review, Issue 6, 41-46. Malta, 2005.
Three Punic Inscriptions re-discovered in Malta. Edited with translation and Commentary, Malta: Government Printing Office, 1901.
Ruins of a Megalithic Temple at Xeuchia (Shewkiyah) Gozo. First report, Malta, 1906.
Manwel Magri S.J., Malta: Istitut Komunikazzjoni Socjali, 1978
"Fr. Manwel Magri's Contribution to the Conservation of Malta's archaeological Heritage", Melita Historica 9 (1985), 145-169.
"Fr. Magri and Conservation: a Postscript", Melita Historica 9 (1985), 245-246.
"Magri, Emmanuel (Manwel)", in Diccionario Histórico de la Compañia de Jesús III, 2472. Roma & Madrid, 2001.
Mifsud Chircop, George
Manwel Magri – Ħrejjef Missirijietna [critical edition of Magri's folk tales], Malta, 1994.