About the Order The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and Malta is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilization. The 13,500 Knights and Dames remain true to its inspiring principles – nurturing, witnessing and protecting the faith and serving the poor and the sick.
The American Association Founded in 1927 as the first association of the Order of Malta in the Americas, the association is headquartered in New York City with over 2,000 knights, dames and volunteers in 16 states working with the poor, sick and incarcerated and giving witness to the Catholic faith.
Spirituality Knights and Dames join the Order of Malta to pursue their spiritual growth over a path laid out by Blessed Gerard more than nine hundred years ago, seeking to nurture and witness the Faith and assist the sick and the poor.
Spirituality in Action Members are involved in hands-on work involving over one hundred organizations and ministries. Food banks, hospitals, pregnancy support centers, homeless shelters and mentoring at risk children are just some of the activities in which members engage.
Throughout history, the Order of Malta has been a voice for the disenfranchised and marginalized. Today, through our prison ministry, we continue this tradition by visiting with and praying for our incarcerated brothers and sisters. With our presence and our prayers, we can bring the saving love of Christ to those who may feel forgotten or unworthy. Below are details of the many Boston Area Prison Ministry outreach efforts.
Barnstable County Correctional Facility, Bourne, MA. Residents Encounter Christ (REC) is a three-day spiritual retreat based on the Cursillo/Echo format for the Residents at the Barnstable County Correctional Facility. The theme of each weekend is the Paschal Mystery: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. The team, reflecting each aspect of the Paschal Mystery, presents talks each day. Celebrating the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist is an essential part of each weekend. There are three weekends for women and three for men each year. A follow-up program is in place on Monday evenings for women and Tuesday evenings for men to reinforce the Gospel message of healing and forgiving. The REC program has been spiritually assisting residents for 26 years. The program uses Bibles, prayer books, and The Serving Brother newsletter supplied by the Order of Malta as well as the Word Among Us, Living Faith and Mass booklets. Most of the population is English speaking, but the program does have some Spanish Bibles and prayer books supplied by the Order.
Clare’s House, Hyannis, MA. St. Clare’s House is a Catholic, faith-based program for women who have left jail. It is a six-month program sponsored by the Fall River Diocese and is in Hyannis. The women attend AA/NA meetings and attend Gosnold, which offers care for drug and alcohol addiction and substance-use disorder, for counseling services. Candidates are from both Bristol and Barnstable Counties. Many of the volunteers are also members of the REC Program. Through the generosity of the Order of Malta, St. Clare’s has a van, which is used to transport the women to meetings and doctor appointments.
Middleton House of Correction, Middleton, MA. On Wednesday evenings, inmates gather in a converted chapel to pray the Scriptural Rosary. Divided into two groups, they meet with members of the Order of Malta and other volunteers for approximately 45 minutes. The leaders of the groups explain the history of the Rosary, how it is a meditation and how to follow on prayer beads. Each inmate receives prayer beads and a scriptural rosary handbook that gives the mysteries. Typically 50-to-60 inmates participate. When offering their intentions, the leaders always make it a point to tell the men they pray for them daily.
MCI Norfolk, Norfolk, MA. MCI Norfolk (Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Norfolk), is a medium-security prison that has an average daily population of 1,500 inmates. It is the largest state prison in Massachusetts. The Order of Malta presence started in October, 2014, with a weekly Liturgy on Monday nights. Boston Area members join the inmates once a month. A presentation by a speaker and fellowship time with inmates, many of whom are serving life sentences, follow the Liturgy. Members of the Order have often been called upon to speak and witness to their own faith journeys.
MCI Concord, Concord, MA. On Tuesday evenings at MCI Concord, volunteers meet with men who are interested in deepening and sharing their Catholic faith. MCI Concord, the oldest-running state prison for men in Massachusetts, is a medium-security prison that houses approximately 570 inmates. The evening includes a catch-up discussion with the men, praying of the rosary and readings from a spiritual book written by a priest inspired by the Blessed Virgin Mary. After the reading, all present share their thoughts about what in Mary’s message moved them. Then there is a closing prayer.
Dismas Home of New Hampshire, Manchester, NH. Dismas Home of New Hampshire (DHNH) is a faith-based organization that provides formerly incarcerated women support, recovery and re-entry services, offering them a second chance at life. It is a state-licensed, 90-day, low-intensity, residential, alcohol-and-drug-rehabilitation-treatment-and-reentry program. The program operates and is fully staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Volunteer work includes board participation, visiting the residents, cooking and serving communal meals, resource development and communications, financial training, transportation, shopping and home improvements and maintenance.
MCI Framingham/South Middlesex Correctional Center, Framingham, MA. MCI Framingham is a medium-security institution for female offenders, housing approximately 600 inmates. South Middlesex Correctional Facility, also in Framingham, is a minimum-security state prison for women. A Boston Area member meets with eight women individually for one hour every week on Tuesdays. They pray together using the Give UsThis Day publication supplied by the Order of Malta to prison residents. The women are encouraged to read from the document daily so that they can talk about the readings and meditations of the week, where they saw God and how He is working in their lives.
The Serving Brother Newsletter. Originally a Boston Area project, the eight-page, quarterly newsletter continues to expand in its international distribution. It has an editorial board made up of members of four different national associations. The packaging and labeling of the newsletter takes place in Andover and North Andover MA. The 55,000 newsletters, printed in English and Spanish, are distributed to chaplains in prisons throughout North America, the Caribbean, Guam and the island nation of the Pacific Ocean.
Vermont Prison Ministry. Through Vermont Prison Ministry, we distribute Order of Malta Bibles and printed materials (English and Spanish) from the Order, including The Serving Brother, which is printed in both English and Spanish, to the six prisons in Vermont.
Maine Prison Ministry. Through the Maine Prison Ministry, we assist each facility in the state in obtaining Bibles and prayer books. We also participate in other Maine Prison-Ministry programs, working with Catholic Charities.