Fr. Alexander Bonnici was one of Malta's most eminent religious historians.
He was born Paul Bonnici in Floriana on 28 January 1936 to Salvatore and Rita nee Galea who already had three daughters. In 1942 his family was evacuated to Gozo and he started attending the local primary school in Kerċem. Like many poor families at the time, after the war they sought refuge in various parts of Malta, eventually settling down in Sliema.
The young Paul Bonnici left school when he was 14 years old to work first as an ice cream vendor and later as bus conductor. His father worked in a printing press, giving a teenage Bonnici access to various books.
On 14 September 1958 he joined the Franciscan order taking the name Alexander. He was ordained into the priesthood on 17 February 1963. His religious training, which included a period in Rome, returned him to studying, which was a lifelong passion for him.
From 1968 onwards he wrote and published a number of biographical histories in Maltese, English and Italian. Among his subjects, the most popular were biographies of Dun Ġorġ Preca, Mons Mikiel Azzopardi, Frenċ tal-Għarb, Marija Tereża Nuzzo and Mons Gużeppi Depiro.
Father Alexander always be remembered for his many writings. Since 1968 began a period of publications never cut. He has written more than 130 book and thousands of articles in Maltese, English and Italian. For the last few years of his life he contributed programmes on Church history for Radju Marija.
He died on26 July 2006 at the age of 70