The National Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ta’ Pinu is situated to the west of Gozo.
A chapel dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, popularly known after the family name of its founders, ta’ Gentili, stood on the spot long before 1545 when it is recorded that the chapel had just been rebuilt. The chapel was desacrated in 1575, but after 1615, through the efforts of Pinu Gauci, hence its appellation Ta’ Pinu, it was restored very beautifully. In 1619, he donated the present altarpiece of Santa Marija, the Assumption — the work of Bartolommeo Amodeo Perugino.
The chapel was one of the best kept on the island, as one report after another of the Pastoral Visits, attest. However in 1663, it seems have been desacrated again, but only for a short time as devotees soon came to the rescue and it never again shared the fate of the majority of the other countryside chapels.
Until 1883, it was just another wayside chapel. On June 22 that year, Karmni Grima, a peasant spinster from the neighbourhood received a mysterious call from the altarpiece: Recite three Hail Mary's in honour of the three days that my body rested in the tomb. The secret was not broken until two and a half years later, when a woman was miraculously cured after the Blessed Virgin Mary of ta’ Pinu had been invoked. Many pilgrimages to the spot were organized by the beginning of 1887. The Ecclesiastical Authorities, very cautious at first, understood the Virgin Mary’s message. Innumerable difficulties had to be overcome before the foundation stone of the new sanctuary could be laid on 30 May 1920. The new monumental sanctuary was consecrated on 13 December 1931. The Assumption was crowned by a papal decree on 19 June 1935. On 26 May 1990, Pope John Paul II placed a halo of stars around the Virgin being assumed into heaven.
Devotees from Gozo, Malta and abroad have never ceased to throng inside seeking the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary of ta' Pinu. The Sanctuary has slowly established itself as the National Shrine of Malta. No wonder: the chapel is still radiant with the touch of Our Lady's choice!