On February 11, 2023, the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, better known as the Sovereign Order of Malta (“Order of Malta”), held its second annual World Day of the Sick Mass with the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Boise, Idaho.  Approximately 350 attended the Mass and received the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.  Fr. Aleksander was the principal celebrant.

Following the Mass, holy water from Lourdes was distributed to those in attendance and prayer petitions were collected.  As part of the Order of Malta Annual Pilgrimage, these prayer petitions will be taken to Lourdes in May and placed in the Grotto of Our Lady.

Photo courtesy of the Idaho Catholic Register


Pope John Paul II proclaimed the World Day of the Sick on February 11, 1992. It is a way for believers to offer prayers for those suffering from illnesses. February 11th coincides with the commemoration of the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and is a time for those who serve in Catholic health ministry to reflect on caring for those who are sick as well as those who provide care to them. The World Day of the Sick is a Signature Work of the Order of Malta.

Our Lady of Lourdes is synonymous with healing.  February 11th, the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes, is an extraordinary day of healing through the power of the Eucharist and the ancient sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick available for anyone in attendance.

On February 11, 1858, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to 14 year old girl, Bernadette Soubirous, in the small town of Lourdes, France.  Our Lady would appear eighteen times to Bernadette bringing messages of prayer, penitence, and healing. The climax of these apparitions took place when the Virgin Mary revealed herself as Our Lady of Immaculate Conception.  Lourdes water is known for the power of healing.

The Order of Malta is one of the world’s oldest Christian institutions. In the 11th century Blessed Fra’ Gerard saw poor and sick pilgrims of all faiths lying in the streets of Jerusalem. To relieve their misery, he founded a religious order of Catholic men and women to serve the needy and procure the necessities of life for them.

Today the Order remains a religious order of the Catholic Church and its charism continues to be on the front lines caring for the poor and sick without regard to race or religion in over 104 countries. By loving their neighbors in this special way, knights and dames of the Order carry on Blessed Gerard’s noble commitment to care for those living on the periphery of society.

The Order of Malta has been serving the beloved Malades, the term for sick patients in French, for over 70 years. About 350 pilgrims from the Western Association participate in this annual Lourdes international pilgrimage with thousands of Knights and Dames from around the world. The mission is to care for Malades facing significant medical challenges through prayer, processions, and fellowship.

To date, the Order has taken three Malades from the Boise Area to Lourdes as the Order is relatively new to Idaho.

The Order of Malta has a two-fold nature, summed up in its motto “tuitio fidei et obsequium pauperum.”  This double mission is a witness to the faith of the Catholic Church and service to the poor and sick.  The Order was founded in Jerusalem around 1048 AD. Today throughout the world, the Order of Malta is recognized and respected as sovereign, but without territory.

The majority of the members of this religious Order are knights and dames, who make a life-long commitment to live out the charism of the Order. With more than 13,500 knights and dames worldwide, and in over 120 countries, the Order of Malta works in the fields of medical care and humanitarian aid. Its mission is helped by the diplomatic ties it has with 104 nations. The Order gives medical support at hospitals, nursing homes, special centers for the terminally ill and emergency care.

O Brilliant Star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious in your assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength and our consolation for all to honor you and to pray for healing.

Our Lady of Lourdes, prays for us.
Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

- Susan Karpiel, DM and Convenor Boise Area


Photos courtesy of the Idaho Catholic Register and Susan Karpiel, DM