Karmni Grima (2 February 1838 – 25 February 1922) was a Maltese peasant whose mystical religious experience led to the construction of the church of Our Lady of Ta' Pinu.
Karmni Grima was born in the village of Għarb in Gozo, the sister island of Malta. Her parents, Thomas and Antonia (née Apap) were poor labourers who worked in the fields located on the nearby hills of Ghammar. Every day, after hearing mass (liturgy) in a small chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Karmni would go to work in the fields.
On the 22 June 1883 while, as usual she was passing in front of the small chapel, she heard a mysterious voice calling her: "Come ... come today. For a whole year, you will not be able to return". This event is considered as "The most notable occurrence in the history of the Diocese" of Gozo. Karmni Grima, although terrified, obeyed and entered into the chapel. From a painting of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary located in the chapel, Karmni heard a voice saying: "Recite three Hail Marys in honour of the three days that I stayed within the tomb." Karmni Grima got sick, and could only return to the chapel after a year.
Karmni shared this experience with her confessor of sins and with her friend and neighbour Francesco Portelli. The latter told her that he also heard similar voices. Shortly after this mysterious incidents, Francesco's mother was miraculously healed by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Bishop Pietru Pace was informed about these events and after speaking to Karmni and Francesco he concluded that the voice was of heavenly origins.
Within a short time the news spread throughout Gozo and Malta and the small and abandoned chapel soon became a Marian shrine. Many people started to organize pilgrimages in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary and ask for temporal and spiritual favours. This prompted the ecclesiastical authorities to build a sanctuary which would be able to accommodate the crowds that were now daily visiting the small chapel.
In 1920 the foundation stone of a modern basilica dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Ta' Pinu was laid. Today the basilica of Ta' Pinu is still a very popular destination for Marian pilgrimages.
For the last 15 years of her life, although bed-ridden, Grima was very much at peace with herself and bore her sufferings with patience,fully confident in the will of God.
Karmni Grima died on 25 February 1922.
- Joseph Bezzina, Religion and Politics in a Crown Colony ( The Gozo-Malta Story 1798-1864), Malta 1985, 333.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-02-27. Retrieved 2010-07-21.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- Ta Pinu website
- Cauchi Nicholas,Karmni Grima (Ix-xebba li semghet il-lehen tal-Madonna ta'Pinu (1964)in Maltese Biographies of The 20th century, editors:Michael J.Schiavone, Louis J.Scerri, Malta 1997.
- The Times 01Dec2013 on-line:http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20131201/gozo/Karmni-Grima-s-house-turned-into-a-museum.497020 Accessed 11Jun2014