Our principles, ideals, philosophy and spirituality
"tuitio fidei et obsequium pauperum"
Our mission is to further the glory of God and strive with a common effort to foster a more perfect life of our members by devoting ourselves to the apostolate of the Church in works of charity to serve "the poor of our Lord Jesus Christ" extending God's loving care to them under the motto "tuitio fidei et obsequium pauperum" (Protection of faith and service to the poor).
What we want ...
The main aim of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard is to enable and empower people to help themselves, so that they will finally become independent of charity and possibly even become helpers themselves.
A secondary aim is to provide direct aid in cases of emergency and immediate need.
The Blessed Gérard's Centre has developed in response to the problem of AIDS in rural South Africa. The centre is found in KwaZulu-Natal, just over 100 kms north of Durban, in the town of Mandeni, in an area which is said to have the highest rate of AIDS anywhere.Mandeni lies on the trucking route between Durban and Mozambique, a fact that contributed to this high rate of infection. The Blessed Gérard's Centre is named after the founder of the Order of Malta who have contributed greatly to the construction of the centre through the foundation, Brotherhood of Blessed Gerard, first set up in 1992. The building was opened in 1996 and since then has grown in response to the needs of the people. Fr. Gerard Lagleder is a Benedictine missionary and it was he together with a local doctor, who saw that something had to be done to help relieve the suffering of the people in Mandeni. Fr Gerard shared with us about what led him to see the need for the Blessed Gerard Centre.
We are ...
- a group of more than 2600 idealists with the aim to enable and empower people to help themselves and to provide direct aid in cases of emergency and immediate need.
- the South African relief organisation of the Order of Malta. The latter had been founded as a nursing brotherhood by Blessed Gérard more than 900 years ago.
- a faith based organisation (FBO) putting into action what our motto "tuitio fidei et obsequium pauperum" means: "Protection of faith and service to the needy".
- a "Private Association of Christ's Faithful" in the Roman Catholic Church, open to members from all different faiths and cultural backgrounds.
- a community based (CBO) non-governmental organisation (NGO).
- a "public benefit organisation" (PBO) operated not for profit (NPO) and dedicated to the welfare of all people.
- a non-discriminating and non-exclusive organisation, which serves the needy irrespective of their abilities, creed, ethnicity, political affiliation, sexual orientation or social status.
- a charity which helps within its own capability according to the identified needs of the people.
- because every helping hand is urgently needed.
- because we are convinced and want to convince others that one should not only ask for help, but also offer it oneself.
- because we believe that whatever we do for the least of our brothers, we do for God (Mt 25:40).
- because we, as instruments of God's love, want to let the needy experience His loving care.
- because we are urged by the love of Christ (2 Cor 5:14), which is our mission (Jn 20:21).
- because we want to work to make the suffering in the world less and the misery of the people more bearable.
May the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard in adopting it's patron's charisma continue the ancient spiritual tradition of its roots to humbly serve the hungry and thirsty, estranged and naked, sick and imprisoned Lord and thus become a sign of Christian faith, cheerful hope and apostolic love to the people.
Lord Jesus Christ, through your grace you have called me to serve you as a member of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard.
I thank you for counting me worthy of this task.
I ask you humbly, with the intercession of Our Lady, St. John the Baptist, Blessed Gérard and all the Saints that the spirituality of our Brotherhood may pervade my life and my actions to be always dedicated to your service to whoever needs my help.
Trusting in your help I always want to protect the faith and have an open heart for my neighbour, especially the Poor, the Sad, the Lonely, the Handicapped and the Sick.
Grant me the strength needed to live according to this resolution as an upright Christian selflessly in the Spirit of Your Gospel, for the honour of God, for the peace of the world and the benefit of our community.
Blessed Gerhard, pray for us !
Blessed Gerhard founded a brotherhood of dedicated people in the Hospital of St. John the Baptist in Jerusalem in 1099, called "the brothers who came to serve the poor and protect the Catholic faith". This brotherhood developed into an order in 1113, which today is called the "Sovereign Order of Knights and Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta" (or the Order of Malta for short).
Blessed Gerhard was a holy man praised by contemporary sources as well as posthumously .
Blessed Gerard died on 3 September 1120.
His epitaph in the monastery he founded reads as follows:
Here lies Gerhard, the most humble man among the inhabitants of the East;
The servant of the poor, a welcoming friend of strangers;
He was humble and modest, but in him shone a noble heart.
The measure of his goodness is seen within these walls.
He was forward-looking in many things, careful in all that he did;
He undertook many tasks of various natures;
Stretched forth his arms diligently to many lands,
He gathered from everywhere the means to feed His own.
(Quoted from H. J. A. Sire: The Knights of Malta, Reprint New Haven and London 1994)
The Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta donated a relic of Blessed Gerard to the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard for the Church of Blessed Gérard's Care Centre on 3 September 1996, the day the Centre was solemnly blessed and opened.
Because we have a relic of Blessed Gerhard in our church and because our charity and all our projects are named after Blessed Gerhard - in honour of his vocation, in which we humbly share - we consider it our special duty and honour to promote the veneration of Blessed Gerhard, as an outstanding example of Christian charity and devotion to God, whom we meet in our Lord, the sick.
We celebrate daily Mass at Blessed Gérard's Care Centre and pray for the sick, for those who serve them, for our benefactors and for those who have asked for our prayers.