- Grand Master Verdale was elected for his wise and moderate nature in an attempt to keep peace among the Langues of the Order.
- He witnessed a plague outbreak in 1592 which claimed the lives of 40 knights and 3000 Maltese
- He brought the cloistered nuns of St. Ursula to Malta.
- Verdale was made a Cardinal by Pope Sixtus V.
Hughes Loubenx De Verdale was born on 13th April 1531 in the ancient houses of Languedoc in the province of Guascogne d’Alti.
He joined the Order of Malta in the Langue of Provence and quickly distinguished himself as a young knight during the Zoara expedition in 1552.
Before becoming Grand Master, Verdale held a number of important posts in the Order, including Grand Commander and Prior of Toulouse.
He built new fortifications on Gozo and an impressive hunting lodge at the Boschetto.
He was sent as Ambassador of the Court of Rome twice and was held in high esteem both by the Knights and foreign princes.
After the death of Grand Master la Cassière, tension still ran high among the knights of the different Langues and the Order needed a wise and moderate government to ensure peace. Through the connivance of Pope Gregory XIII, Verdale was elected Grand Master on 12th January 1582.
In the first years of his reign, Verdale maintained harmony in the Order and oversaw a number of important projects. He built new fortifications on Gozo and an impressive hunting lodge at the Boschetto. In 1583, he convened a Chapter-General and brought the cloistered nuns of St. Ursula to Malta. Verdale also commissioned Giacomo Bosio, later Vice-Chancellor of the Order, to write a history of the Order.
Although the Grand Master’s generous nature had kept the peace until now, rebellion broke out again among the Knights in 1587. Like his predecessor la Cassière, Verdale was accused of bad governing.
The Pope bestowed on him the Cardinal’s hat in the hope that this would bring him greater respect from rebellious knights.
Outraged by the rebellion, Verdale traveled to Rome where he was received with great honor by Pope Sixtus V. The Pope bestowed on him the Cardinal’s hat in the hope that this would bring him greater respect from rebellious knights.
Peace reigned among the Langues once again for the next few years. In the following years of his reign, Verdale convened his second Chapter-General and the statutes of the Order were revised and published.
In 1592, a plague outbreak swept through Malta and claimed the lives of 3000 Maltese, including 40 knights.
Following this devastating loss, conflict broke out once more in the Order. Now in his old age and suffering from gout, Verdale was no longer able to endure the stress of the conflict and he died on 24th May 1595. According to his dying wishes, he was laid to rest in the crypt below the main altar in the Conventual Church of St John.