In 1956, during the Order’s worldwide expansion in the wake of World War II, Pope Pius XII encouraged the Order’s leadership to form a new class of Knights and Dames “in Obedience” to follow fervently a path to Christian perfection in the spirit of the Order’s charism and to assist in carrying out functions previously exercised exclusively by the Knights of Justice, the Order’s Professed Members.
The Order’s 1961 Constitutional Charter formally created a class of Knights and Dames in Obedience who, through a solemn Promise of Obedience, respond to this vocation within the Order.
The Subpriory of Our Lady of Philermo is comprised of Knights of Justice, Knights in Obedience, and Dames in Obedience who are also members of the Western Association USA.
Formed in 2001, it was the first Subpriory established outside of Europe. Worldwide, the Order has six Grand Priories (each led by a Prior) and six Subpriories (each led by a Regent).
Today, it is one of two Subpriories in the Americas (the other being the Subpriory of Our Lady of Lourdes based in New York) and one of three outside of Europe (the third being the Australian Subpriory of The Immaculate Conception based in Melbourne).
Members of the Subpriory of Our Lady of Philermo aspire to nurture, enrich, and support the spiritual growth of the entire Western Association community.
They must diligently observe the divine law and the Church’s precepts and undertake to utilize their temporal goods in the spirit of the Gospel.
In addition to tasks expected of all Western Association members, Subpriory members:
Admission to the Subpriory requires, among other things, approvals from the Subpriory’s Regent and the Western Association’s President, permission from the Grand Master and Sovereign Council to enter into a one-year period of preparation, and after completion of the period of preparation, the Grand Master and Sovereign Council’s approval of the Regent’s proposal that the candidate be permitted to make the Promise of Obedience.
The period of preparation includes, among other things, two 5-day retreats of spiritual exercises in a place approved by the Regent and regular instruction by a spiritual advisor assisted by the Regent.
Before being permitted to petition for admission into the Subpriory, Knights and Dames must demonstrate their commitment to the Order through several years of dedicated service in the Order’s various projects and participation in the Order’s spiritual activities, and sustained efforts to understand the Order’s rich history and traditions.