Bailiff Conte Géraud Michel de Pierredon went to meet his maker on Friday 17 November 2006. With his death the Order of Malta lost a leading figure.
Legation Secretary from 1949 to 1955, Bailiff de Pierredon’s great devotion brought him to positions of great responsibility: in 1970 member of the Order’s Sovereign Council and from 1978 to 1989 one of the Order of Malta’s highest offices, that of Hospitaller.
The numerous projects and initiatives for which de Pierredon was responsible demonstrate his humanitarian commitment and his ability to unite forces in favour of the disadvantaged. Worthy of mention are his efforts in the construction of the Teheran hospital in the Seventies and the Order’s purchase and re-opening of the Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem in 1989.
As the Order’s official representative in France, in 1983 he signed the agreement with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Cheysson accrediting an Order’s official representative in France, a position he himself held until 2001. He became a member of the Council of the Order’s French Association in 1957.
It would take too long to list all Bailiff de Pierredon’s positions, functions and responsibilities during the seventy years he spent in the Order’s service, but we would like to recall that he set up numerous activities that still today demonstrate the modernity of the Order of Malta and its works, including:
– the creation of assistance services for the physically disabled in 1960;
– the launch in France of the gift of breath campaign, that is mouth-to-mouth respiration, in 1963;
– the creation of the Order’s first school for emergency nurses in France in 1967, a very important initiative, still developing today;
– the organization of emergency aid worldwide;
– the foundation of the Order’s Society of History and Heritage.
For Bailiff de Pierredon, the great values of faith, hope, charity, commitment and service represented one of his innate points of reference, firm foundations for both his family life and for the activities and responsibilities he held until his strength failed.
We are left with the memory of great servant, certainly, but also a man who was capable of helping the sick with humility, responding to the invitation made to the Order’s first members: «When you lean over the sick, you represent Christ himself leaning over them ».
Bailiff de Pierredon’s commitment was recognised by the Order, who promoted him to the rank of Bailiff in 1976 and Ambassador in 1989, also conferring on him the Grand Cross of Merit. France made him Commander of the Legion d’Onore, and he also received numerous decorations from other countries.