THE ORDER OF MALTA
The Order of Malta is a religious order founded by a Papal Bull of Pope Pascal II in 1113 as the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. The Order has always been led by the Knights of Justice, or professed Friars, and the Grand Master who holds the precedence of a Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church. Throughout its nine-hundred year history the guiding principles of the Order "Tuitio fidei et obsequium pauperem" (to defend the faith and serve the poor) – have never changed.
Elected in 2008, His Most Eminent Highness, Fra’ Matthew Festing is the 79th Grand Master of the Order. He is in direct succession from the founder and first Grand Master of the Order, Blessed Fra’ Gerard (1099).
TUITIO FIDEI ET OBSEQUIUM PAUPERUM
With a presence in fifty-five countries—through six Grand Priories, six Sub-Priories and forty-seven National Associations— the Sovereign Order of Malta is dedicated to the care of the sick and the poor.
The mission of the Order is carried out through the efforts of 13,000 Knights and Dames of Malta, 80,000 volunteers, and 15,000 doctors, nurses and health care professionals, in more than 200 hospitals, medical centers, emergency relief, and an ambulance corps that provide aid for at least seven million people in 120 countries worldwide, most significantly through Malteser International.
LOURDES PILGRIMAGE - 2013
From May 1 – 8, over 290 Federal Association Knights and Dames, family members, chaplains, malades and companions participated in the Order of Malta’s annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady at Lourdes, France. His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago and Chaplain of the Order, who accompanied our group, finding time to attend all of our activities and sharing a few moments with everyone throughout the week, said, "I have been privileged to be part of the annual pilgrimage of the Order of Malta to Lourdes, a small town in the mountains on the border between France and Spain. Its place in the history of salvation comes from the Blessed Mother’s appearance there to St. Bernadette Soubirous in 1858."
Here are some quotes from pilgrims:
"I can tell you honestly that the pilgrimage truly changed our lives!"
“One of the most religiously moving experiences of my life. God Bless and be with you all this week.”
“As a candidate for the Order and first time pilgrim to Lourdes, I was awe struck and profoundly touched by the love shown to our malades and companions.”
Click here to see some of the images captured during the Pilgrimage and shared on facebook.
Click here to see a slideshow of photographs taken by Peter Scudner, KM.