Blessed Gérard's Care Centre

is a “Non-profit Organisation” (Registration No. 080-935-NPO) and a “Public Benefit Organisation” (PBO number 13 000 2777, VAT No. 447 0252 182) founded and owned by the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard.
It provides a comprehensive system of holistic care in the wider Mandeni area where a quarter of a million people are estimated to live.
More than 80% of these live in poverty.

All our services are rendered free of charge.

In the middle of the AIDS stronghold of the world, Zululand in South Africa, Blessed Gérard's Care Centre offers comprehensive holistic care.

Health Care Projects:
AIDS ReliefHospicePoor-Sick-Fund.
Child care projects:
CrècheChildren's homeMalnutrition ClinicBursary Fund.
Emergency Relief and Social Project:
Emergency Relief Fund

Development of the Care Centre

2 March 1996
The foundation stone for our Blessed Gérard's Care Centre is laid.

3 September 1996
Our Blessed Gérard's Care Centre is consecrated and opened.
We receive a relic of Blessed Gerard from the Grand Magisterium of the Order of Malta in Rome.

9 July 2000
The new building for our Blessed Gérard's Development Centre and an extension to our Blessed Gérard's Care Centre is inaugurated and opened.

15 December 2002
The new building for our Blessed Gérard's Children's Home and an extension to our Blessed Gérard's Care Centre are inaugurated and opened.

2 July 2003
Our Blessed Gérard's Care Centre is recognised as a non-profit organisation by the South African Revenue Service.

15 October 2006
Celebration of the Feast of Blessed Gerard and the 10th anniversary of Blessed Gérard's Church and Blessed Gérard's Care Centre with the inauguration of a new dining hall and study room for our Blessed Gérard's Children's Home.

2 April 2009
The Council of Dedicated Members of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard resolves to integrate Blessed Gérard's Emergency Relief Fund, Blessed Gérard's Scholarship Fund, Blessed Gérard's Relief Fund for the Sick Poor, Blessed Gérard's Clinic for Malnourished Infants, Blessed Gérard's Nursery School, Blessed Gérard's First Aid and Emergency Service and Blessed Gérard's Disaster Response Project into Blessed Gérard's Care Centre. This was made possible by a change in South African tax law, meaning that all our charitable objectives are now tax-deductible purposes within South Africa. This has made Blessed Gérard's Care Centre the all-inclusive local/county branch of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard in Mandeni and we hope and pray that we will be able to establish other branches in other places as time goes on.

1 July 2010
Our Blessed Gérard's Care Centre has been registered as a "Not for Profit Organisation".

Building history

[Translate to Englisch:] Blessed Gérard's Hospiz begann als ein Traum und ist nun schon viele Jahre lang Wirklichkeit

Original building (1995-1996)
September 1995: The Mandeni authorities approve the building plans.
October 1995: Construction work begins: The land is levelled, the foundations are staked out and excavation for the foundations begins.
February 1996: A large container with hospital equipment arrives from Mr Meehan in Milwaukee.
March 1996: The foundation stone is laid in the middle of the soon to be concreted floor of the chapel.
June 1996: Sr. Elaine Taylor from the Irish Order of Malta Ambulance Corps comes to South Africa to train our Active Helpers.
July 1996: Start of the first course in Home Nursing for our members.
August 1996: Final stage of construction work.
September 1996: The opening!

 

(Kopie 6)

First extension (2000)
The steadily increasing number of patients seeking admission to the Blessed Gerhard Nursing and Hospice Centre has made it necessary to extend the building by adding a guard room, a changing room for nursing staff, another storage room, a waste room and a storage room for the nursery, as well as enlarging the scullery, the pantry, the faeces disposal room, the laundry room and the mortuary. The first floor of the new wing houses the Blessed Gerhard Development Centre, i.e. the sewing school, which was moved here from the parish hall of the neighbouring St. Anthony's Church.

 

(Kopie 7)

The steadily increasing number of patients seeking admission to the Blessed Gerhard Nursing and Hospice Centre has made it necessary to extend the building by adding a guard room, a changing room for nursing staff, another storage room, a waste room and a storage room for the nursery, as well as enlarging the scullery, the pantry, the faeces disposal room, the laundry room and the mortuary. The first floor of the new wing houses the Blessed Gerhard Development Centre, i.e. the sewing school, which was moved here from the parish hall of the neighbouring St. Anthony's Church.

 

(Kopie 8)

Second extension (2002)

Bishop Mansuet blessed the extension of Blessed Gérard's Hospice on 15 December 2002.

(Kopie 9)

Third extension (2007-2008)

Blessing and opening of the large extension to Blessed Gérard's Care Centre on 22 June 2008.

- for the extension of Blessed Gérard's Hospice,
- the creation of a new clinic for the antiretroviral treatment of AIDS patients, and
- the expansion of Blessed Gérard's Children's Home.

Opening of the Care Centre

(Kopie 10)

The Opening of the Blessed Gérard's Care Centre
The time had come and the VIPs arrived one by one - First the Chancellor of the Bohemian Grand Priory of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Fritz Graf Strachwitz at 4°° on Friday, then the Coordinator of Malteser Relief Service's aid to South Africa, Dr Albrecht Graf Rechberg, and the Country Manager of Malteser Relief Service in Bavaria, Mr Manfred Schulz, in the evening. Father Gerhard's car found its way alone to the airport in Durban because the Grand Commendator of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Frà. Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein, arrived the next morning and the Chairman of the International Committee of the Federated Association of the Order of Malta, Mr Meehan, and his friend Msgr. Charleboix arrived the next evening. Our other honoured guests - the representative of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard in Germany, Mr Johannes Lagleder, and Mr and Mrs Hans and Albertine Sporer had been here for some time and had their hands full, helping with the preparations for 3 September. Our guests of honour attended a Zulu Holy Mass in Sundumbili on Sunday morning. They spent the afternoon in the countryside. During the entertainment programme for the guests of honour, the parish office and Care Centre were like a beehive of activity: the final countdown to the opening had begun. No time to sit down, rest or eat anything!!! Johannes Lagleder, Albertine and Hans Sporer, Caroline Beaumont and Sr Elaine Taylor were the backbone of the team - we could never have done it without their help and cooperation. The feast day of Blessed Gerhard had arrived, Tuesday 3 September 1996 - the opening and dedication of the Centre and the reception of a relic of Blessed Gerhard.

(Kopie 13)

More information about the wonderful opening ceremony
It was a very happy and relaxed atmosphere and the 1st part ended at 4pm. Everyone started preparing for the big celebration in the evening. In the meantime, Mr Ferdie Rouillon drove to the airport in Durban to pick up Bishop Mansuet who had just returned from a parliamentary session in Cape Town.

Somehow everything went according to plan and by 5pm everything was ready. The Care Centre was full, not a single chair was free. The Sundumbili choir had taken its place and the celebration could really begin. What a wonderful celebration it was! The festive High Mass began with the blessing of the chapel and the altar by Bishop Mansuet Biyase of Eshowe. After the homily, the new Associate Members received their medal and the Bishop's blessing. Then the new 1st class honorary members were ceremonially robed. The Bishop blessed the capes for Mr Johannes Lagleder, Mr Hans and Mrs Albertine Sporer and Mr Daniel Meehan and the Grand Commendator of the Order of Malta, Frà. Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein presented them together with the members of the 1st Class.Afterwards His Excellency, the Venerable Bailli Frà. Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein, together with the other members of the Order of Malta present, took the relic of Blessed Gerard on a red velvet cushion and brought it in procession to the chapel where it was awaited by the Bishop of Eshowe, Fr. Gerhard and the 1st Class members of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gerard, and presented it to the Bishop who placed it on the altar. A most moving ceremony for all of us. The Mass then continued with the offertory. After Holy Communion, the Grand Commendator transferred the relic to a reliquary that had been given to us by Fr Gerhard's family, and presented the reliquary with the relic to the President of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gerard, who placed it in a display case in the wall of the chapel, which was then sealed by our contractor, Mr Luigi Haglich. At the end of the celebration, the Bishop blessed all the rooms of the entire centre.

It is the first time in the 900-year history of the Order of Malta that anyone has ever received a relic of Blessed Gerhard, and our chapel is the first church to have been dedicated to Blessed Gerhard. We consider all this an unspeakable honour. A very special honour was also bestowed on two very important personalities, without whose help the Care Centre would not exist.Frà. Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein presented two Orders of Merit awarded by the Grand Master of the Order of Malta, His Highness and Eminence, Frà Andrew Bertie: the first was the Grand Cross Pro Piis Meritis for Bishop Mansuet Biyase and the second was the Commander's Cross Pro Merito Melitensi for Mr Daniel E. Meehan.

After all the celebrations, everyone was invited to a dinner. We consider all these events a great honour for our country and our community.

Completed projects

All the services of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard and the were not developed on the drawing board, but were a courageous and effective response to a concrete emergency situation on the ground, emergency situations that no one else took care of.

Since the living situation of the population and society as a whole is constantly evolving and changing, we too have to constantly review our services in terms of their necessity and appropriateness.

Thus, by discontinuing services that are no longer needed, we are able to concentrate our efforts in order to be able to counteract new needs with all our strength.

Therefore, we have phased out the following services:

  • our Household School, because there were no more interested people who wanted to be trained,
  • the Sewing School, because it became a self-runner and we did not want to compete with the seamstresses we had trained, who had started their own small sewing schools,
  • the Senior Citizen's Social Clubs, because there are hardly any old people in Mandeni who are interested in this kind of social life.
  • the First Aid and Emergency Service, because there are now highly qualified private rescue services and the quality of public rescue services has improved significantly.
  • Our Disaster Relief because, thank God, we haven't had to deal with any disasters for over 20 years and our disaster relief was taken over by the hospice and its social welfare department into our Emergency Relief Fund.

Instead, our two most recent projects, the AIDS-Care and the Children's Home, have become our most important services by now.

These our new core services require more human and financial commitment than all other current and completed services combined.

So we will have to remain flexible and adaptable, always keeping our eyes, ears and hearts open to see where we and our help can be most urgently needed and most effectively deployed.

Reports from the Care Centre

Thanks and requests - Christmas 2008

We would like to thank all donors who made it possible for us to expand Blessed Gérard's Care Centre from 2000 to 3000 m² in 2007/2008 in order to enlarge Blessed Gérard's Hospice and thereby create a…

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"Christmas" in April - 10 - 12 April 2007

"Christmas" in April

Luftfahrt ohne Grenzen makes it possible.

10 - 12 April 2007: Official handover of a playground equipment and a large amount of relief supplies for our work.

Herbert Becker…

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Report from Christmas 2000

The Blessed Gerhard Nursing and Hospice Centre receives beds from the USA. Brendon Beaumont, Sebastian Hofmann, Nkosinathi Dlamini (in the truck), Fr Gerhard and some helpers unloading the beds in…

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Report from Christmas 1999

Growing needs and growing tasks make growing premises necessary ...

The people of Mandini, Sundumbili and the surrounding area are increasingly grasping the fact that the help offered to them by the…

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From our newsletter of Easter 1998

Blessed Gérard's Care and Social Centre & Hospice

The Care and Social Centre experienced an increase in its activities due to the fact that the management was invited to become a member of the…

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From our newsletter of Christmas 1995

BLESSED GÉRARD'S CARE CENTRE - a reality!!! After the hustle and bustle of the third quarter, this last quarter of 1995 may seem quiet. But I can assure you that it has been a time of far-reaching and…

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From our September 1995 newsletter

BLESSED GÉRARD'S CARE CENTRE

A Dream Come True: Ground Breaking Ceremony for Blessed Gérard's Care Centre, Mandeni A brand new home care system is being introduced in Mandeni. On Saturday 5 August…

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From our April 1995 Newsletter

Sketch of the planned Blessed Gérard's Care Centre.

In the new Transitional Local Council of Mandeni, many of the former local authorities have been brought together in one central body. This change…

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