The Knights of Malta visiting

We were delighted to host the Grand Priory of England for a men’s retreat for the British Knights of Malta over the week-end.

Fra Richard Berkley-Matthews said ” our thanks to all the team at Minsteracres who made us feel so welcome, and looked after us so well.  We had an immensely enjoyable and fruitful stay.  Thank you. “

Their history and what they do now

The British Association of the Order of Malta

The British Association of the Order of Malta, established in 1875, is a distinguished part of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, commonly known as the Order of Malta. With a rich history that spans nearly a millennium, the Order’s presence in Britain is a testament to its enduring mission and values.

Membership and Heritage

The Order in Britain comprises around 300 members. Many of these individuals are descendants of recusant Catholic families and martyrs, highlighting a deep connection to a historical legacy of faith and resilience. This lineage underscores the Order’s long-standing tradition of service and dedication to the principles of charity and care for the needy.

Activities and Services

The British Association of the Order of Malta is deeply involved in a variety of charitable activities. Its work includes the operation of 71 care homes, providing essential services and support to the elderly and vulnerable. These care homes are vital in offering a safe and nurturing environment for those who need it most, ensuring they receive the dignity and care they deserve.

In addition to care homes, the Order operates soup kitchens, addressing the immediate needs of the homeless and those facing food insecurity. These soup kitchens are more than just places to receive a meal; they are community hubs where individuals can find warmth, companionship, and support.

The Order also focuses on caring for the lonely and housebound, providing much-needed social interaction and assistance. Volunteers regularly visit individuals who are isolated due to age, illness, or disability, offering companionship and practical help.

Pilgrimages are another significant aspect of the Order’s activities. Each year, the British Association organizes pilgrimages to Lourdes and Walsingham, bringing disabled guests to these sacred sites for spiritual renewal and healing. These pilgrimages are powerful experiences for both the guests and the volunteers who accompany them, fostering a sense of community and shared faith.

Furthermore, the Order participates in international summer camps for young disabled individuals. These camps provide an opportunity for young people with disabilities to enjoy a week of fun, friendship, and adventure, often in the company of their peers from around the world. The camps are designed to empower and uplift, offering experiences that many participants might otherwise find inaccessible.

Historical Evolution and Naming Conventions

Since its foundation 960 years ago, the Order of Malta has undergone numerous changes, reflected in the various names it has been known by over the centuries. This evolution is a testament to its dynamic history and adaptability.

The official name of the Order, the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, reflects its long and complex history. For practical purposes, abbreviations such as Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Sovereign Order of Malta, or simply Order of Malta are often used in legal, diplomatic, and communication contexts.

Originally, the members of the Order were known as the Knights Hospitaller (or Hospitallers), a name that emphasized their mission of caring for the sick and poor. They were also called the Knights of St John, in honor of their patron saint, and the Knights of Jerusalem, reflecting their early presence in the Holy Land.

In 1310, after conquering the island of Rhodes, the members became known as the Knights of Rhodes. This name change marked a significant chapter in the Order’s history, as they established a stronghold on the island and continued their mission from there. In 1530, Emperor Charles V granted the island of Malta to the Knights, leading to their current and most enduring name, the Knights of Malta.

Legal Protection and Global Presence

To safeguard its rich heritage and identity, the Order of Malta has legally registered 16 versions of its names and emblems in approximately 100 countries. This legal protection ensures that the Order’s symbols and reputation are preserved and respected worldwide.

The Order’s international presence is a testament to its global mission of charity and service. Across the world, the Order’s members and volunteers work tirelessly to provide medical care, disaster relief, and humanitarian assistance to those in need. Their efforts are guided by the principles of the Order, which emphasize dignity, respect, and compassion for all individuals.

Learn More

The Order of Malta continues to be a beacon of hope and support for countless individuals around the world. To find out more about the Order, its history, and its ongoing work, you can visit their official website here. This resource provides detailed information on the Order’s various initiatives, history, and how you can get involved or support their mission.