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Daily Prayer of the Order

Our Founder

Like the Franciscans, the Order of Malta was founded by a saintly layman in the Middle Ages.

By contrast, religious lay persons have continued to govern the Order of Malta throughout the years. These religious live by the twin charisms: witnessing to the truths of the Catholic Faith and of humbly serving the poor and sick as “our lords”.

The vocation of the Order of Malta is best summed up by the epitaph of its founder Blessed Fra’ Gerard:

Here lies Gerard, the humblest man in the East:
Servant of the poor and kind to strangers;
Ordinary in appearance, but a noble heart shone within him.
His good qualities are proven by these buildings.
He was provident in many things, acting with great care in all;
He took on many different kinds of tasks.
He stretched out his gifted hands to many lands;
From everywhere he collected what was needed to feed his own.
Although the Order is older than the Dominicans, the Franciscans, and the Jesuits, our members are not preachers or theologians, but practitioners of a theology of service to the disenfranchised and forgotten, through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Our chaplains minister to our members in service and to those who are being served. The “whole person” — body, mind, and soul — is the focus of the Order’s healing ministry.
“A Historical Geography of the Old and New Testament”, British Library, 1809.
The Church of St. John the Baptist in Jerusalem

Our Beginnings

11th century Jerusalem was a tumultuous time and place, inhabited by people of many faiths. Blessed Fra’ Gerard’s Christian discipleship during that period continues to inspire today’s Knights, Dames, Provisional and Auxiliary Members, and volunteers, as they serve throughout the world.

The spirituality of the Order is centered on the vocation of service given to each of its members by the Holy Spirit. Seeing Christ in the faces of the poor and sick, Gerard took in needy pilgrims and offered them shelter, food, healing, and safety during their stay in Jerusalem and security on the pilgrim routes to and from Jerusalem.

Prayer Life

The Order has endured military defeats, loss of property, and reduced vocations at various times over the centuries, only to emerge in the current era stronger than ever. Why is that? Our founder said it best:

Our fraternity will last forever, because the soil in which it is rooted is the misery of the world, and – if it should please God – there will always be those who will labor to reduce suffering and make the misery of the world more endurable.

In addition to aspiring to humility in service, the members of the Order are sealed as one by a deep prayer life, and a strong sense of community in Christian faith, hope, and charity. Additionally, all members receive a subscription to Magnificat for daily meditations and liturgical insights.

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John Paul II during his visit to the Netherlands, May 11, 1985, Rob Croes (ANEFO)

World Day of the Sick

In 1992, Pope Saint John Paul II, instituted the World Day of the Sick.

Beginning on February 11, 1993, World Day of the Sick has been celebrated every year on or near the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes as a special time of prayer for healing and comfort as a community of all the faithful.

The feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes was chosen because of her intercession for the poor and sick and the Order’s devotion to her.

Most of the Western Association locations organize and sponsor World Day of the Sick Masses each year, where many thousands of people receive the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Anointing of the Sick.

Our Saints, Blesseds & Patrons

Throughout the centuries, the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta has been blessed by those Saints, Nuns, Knights, Dames, and Chaplains who exemplify the twin charisms: witnessing to the truths of the Catholic faith and humbly serving “our lords” the poor and the sick.

Daily Prayer of the Order

Lord Jesus, Thou hast seen fit to enlist me for Thy service in the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

I humbly entreat Thee, through the intercession of the most holy Virgin of Philermo, of St. John the Baptist, Blessed Gerard, and all the saints, to keep me faithful to the traditions of our Order: Be it mine to practice and defend the Catholic, the Apostolic, the Roman faith against sacrilege; be it mine to practice charity towards my neighbors, especially the poor and sick.

Give me the strength I need to carry out this my resolve, forgetful of myself, learning ever from Thy Holy Gospel a spirit of deep and generous Christian devotion, striving ever to promote God’s glory, the world’s peace, and all that may benefit the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

Amen