Our History


St. Francis School Cospicua is run by the Franciscan Sisters of the Heart of Jesus. It is the largest one of the three Primary Schools run by the same sisters in the Maltese Islands. The Congregation was founded in 1876, by the Founder Rev. Fr. Joseph Diacono, who came up with the idea, and Rev. Mother Margherita De Brincat, who was instrumental in implementing the idea. Her hard and faithful work, resulted in the expansion of the same Congregation around the world.

Reverend Fr. Joseph Diacono called the Association he founded as ‘It-Tnax-il Stilla tal-Qalb ta’ Ġesu’ (meaning The Twelve Stars of the Heart of Jesus). Virginja DeBrincat, was born in Kerċem, Gozo on 28th November, 1862. At the age of 18, on 5th February, 1881 she was accepted in this Association, and was given the name of Mother Margherita.

As she was a very intelligent and also academically trained lady, (a very rare thing to come by, in those days), Sr. Margherita was given the position of Secretary General. Infact from the very beginning, she worked side by side with Fr. Joseph Diacono.

It happened that in 1881, Fr. Joseph was chosen to work as a Parish Priest at Qala. With the workload he had, he could not keep on taking care of the Congregation.

Thus in 1889, Mother Margherita took the charge of running the Congregation herself. In today’s world one can find the Franciscan Sisters of the Heart of Jesus, working incessantly in Corfu’, Ethiopia, Kenya, Italy, Australia, Pakistan, Brazil, Jerusalem, Philippine Islands and last but not least in Malta and Gozo.

In 1889 the Religious Order of the Franciscan Sisters of the Heart of Jesus, went to Cospicua so that they would open a school in the Cottonera area. The process of teaching young girls, how to read, write and work arithmetic, together with Catholic teachings, was one of the Association’s main objective.

The people of that area, were very happy to send their young ones, to study in that school, knowing that they were to be under the nuns’ cares. Apart from normal schooling of young children, and classes in Sewing, every Thursday, a number of young ladies used to enhance their singing abilities under the tutorship of Rev. Can. Muretti.

But as the Second World War started, on 11th June 1940, the continuous air raids over the Grand Harbour, hit the Cottonera area very severely. This daily event, caused lots of people to flee from their homes and a large number of families, found refuge in other parts of the island, far away from the harbour. During this war period, the school was temporarily closed and the nuns went to teach in a Government School at Tarxien.

Between 1944 and 1945 the nuns returned to the convent. Meanwhile the nuns, continued to teach in the Government Elementary School of Vittoriosa which was run by Mother Providenza. Approximately in 1951, the nuns started thinking of re-opening their school at Cospicua. While repair works were in progress, they taught in a house at Alley Number 1 in Oratory Street. When the construction works were finished, together with the extension of more classes, they opened a Primary Government School at Cospicua.

As the years went by, the school continued to expand and in 1962, the school was catering up to Grade 3 students. During that same year, the Head of School, Sr. Olympia Saliba, held a meeting for the parents, wherein she revealed the Congregation’s plans to extend the classes up to Grade 6. This dream came true in the year 1965. A few years later the school continued to expand to a two-storey building, and it is, as we know it today.

Actually in St. Francis School at Cospicua, one can presently find 18 classrooms, which caters for three classes in each grade. The number of students attending the school is over 500. Their age ranges between 5 and eleven-year olds. Staff-personnel comprises of two assistant head, 4 Franciscan Sisters and 32 Lay Teachers. All of them work hand in hand, and lovingly. Their main aim is for the children’s benefit, seeing that all students receive strong fundamental teachings in Moral and Academic subjects. Cultural excursions, Sports Day, Drama, Music, Computer, P.E. lessons and Concerts, all form part of the school curriculum.

Other Religious Activities include Christmas Wreaths’ blessings, Crib Competition, Founder’s Day, May Crowning, Commemoration of the First Holy Communion for Grade Two students, are all part of each scholastic year.

Three main events, that leave a positive impact on both pupils and teachers, are School Concert for year 3 -6 which is held in December, a Mini-Concert for the very young and an Open Day held towards the end of May. Activities for parents are also organized with the P.T.A.’S help and co-ordination. The school also issues its magazine, titled ‘Highlights’- which is keenly awaited by all.

St. Francis School Cospicua also has a library, which caters for all grades, and it is continually updated. The Grade Six’s results for which our students sit for the Common Entrance Exams, Junior Lyceum or to St. Francis Secondary School, are also very good. The school’s main objective is to give holistic education to each and every pupil, and to instil in them strong Catholic Moral values.

With God’s help, St. Francis School is contributing in a positive way to the Maltese Society in today’s world.