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.
“May you always find in faith, nourished by the Word and by the Sacraments, the strength needed to love God, even in the experience of illness.” – message of His Holiness Pope Francis for the twenty-fifth World Day of the Sick 2017
The Baths at Lourdes
In 1858, Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, an uneducated French peasant girl looking for firewood in the woods. During a series of visits between February and July that year, Our Lady revealed to Bernadette a spring and invited all to prayer and penance and to bathe in the waters. Our Lady also imparted to Bernadette a message for priests: “Go, tell the priests to come here in procession and to build a chapel here.”
We travel to Lourdes to experience a deeper peace not felt before. The Pilgrimage provides an opportunity for those of us making this journey to undergo a grace-filled conversion of heart, bringing us closer to God. While we often are praying for a healing of the body, we also may seek a change, a transformation, a healing of the heart or spirit. Our immersion into the life-giving waters sanctified by Our Mother Mary is a time of renewal and refreshment. What a treasure we all have in the Blessed Mother. Your prayers to her, central to the experience of the Pilgrimage and the Baths, will be a source of comfort, hope and love as you turn to her in faith.
The water at Lourdes has been tested, and there is nothing seemingly unusual about it, other than that it is very pure. As Catholics, we see water, tied to the sacredness of Baptism, as a sign. Combined with faith, water can heal. Many miracles have been attributed to bathing in or drinking the water at Lourdes as well as to participating in the Eucharistic Procession and Adoration. Pilgrims may experience healing in body, mind or spirit and leave with a deeper sense of God’s presence and love in their lives. Suffering is often alleviated at some level, and the experience can be profoundly life changing.
We enter the baths in a vulnerable state, much as a child enters the world. However, we are not alone. May you find comfort in knowing that the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Mother are watching over you and filling you with grace each step of the way. We hope you now will be better prepared spiritually so that you may fully appreciate the profound nature of this sacred experience.
Craig Gibson, KM and Nancy Gibson, DM
2017 Pilgrimage Co-Chairs