Ciantar, Lawrence (4.7.1893-28.12.1976)

Salesian missionary

Born in Valletta, Ciantar joined St Patrick's House, Sliema just a few days after its inauguration. In 1910 Ciantar left for Turin from where he never returned, except on a few fleeting visits. After spending four years to complete his higher studies at Martinetto in Turin. Ciantar started his novitiate in Burwash, Sussex. He received his cassock from one of the pioneers of the English province, Fr Macey.

Ciantar was ordained priest in 1920 by the bishop of Southwark. In December 1920 Ciantar established a boys' club or Oratory, as it is usually known, in Cowley, Oxford. Ciantar was subsequently appointed the first rector of the Salesians in Shrigley and literally travelled all over England, Scotland, and Ireland to seek vocations.

In 1938 the Salesian superior general, Don Ricaldone, requested Ciantar to do something for the Australian Foundation at Rupertswood Estate at Sunbury, near Melbourne, which was in financial difficulties. Soon the Rupertswood Estate began to take shape. With his courage, enthusiasm, and faith, within a few years he paid all the debts and established four new foundations in Brunsswick, Victoria (1940), Adelaide, South Australia (1944), Glenorchy, Tasmania (1946), and Oakleigh, Victoria (1947). Ciantar took over the Boys' Town in 1952 at Engadine in New South Wales where became the parish priest and built the Bosco National Shrine.

Source: Maltese Biographies of the Twentieth Century (1997), editors Michael J. Schiavone and Louis J. Scerri

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