Saint John the Baptist residence for the elderly inaugurated by Grand Master
Aldea del Fresno (Madrid), 08/05/2002
His Most Eminent Highness, Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Fra’ Andrew Bertie, after ending the Order’s Annual Pilgrimage to Lourdes, went directly to Spain to preside together with Her Royal Highness Lady Margarita de Borbon y Borbon, HRH The Infanta Dona Margarita, Duchess of Soria, over the inaugural ceremonies for the Saint John the Baptist Residence for the Elderly.
The Residence, a completely remodeled building with 2,700 square meters of floor area and grounds covering 5 hectares, is owned by the Hospitaler Foundation of the Order of Malta in Spain – FHOME (a foundation under Spanish law established by the Spanish Assembly of the Sovereign Order of Malta as part of the development of its humanitarian activities). With its 84 beds and 41 rooms, five of which are reserved for residents requiring special treatments, the building is equipped with all the services and comforts required by a project of this type.
To finance the remodeling, FHOME benefited from subsidies from the Madrid city government, from the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, from the Caja Madrid banking institute, and from donations from the members of the Order of Malta and private benefactors.
For the first five years, the Residence will be managed by the Edad Dorada – Mensajeros de Paz Association (an organization with enormous experience in managing similar residences, in Spain and in many developing countries.
During his speech at the opening ceremonies, the Grand Master expressed his great satisfaction at being in Spain to initiate a new program on behalf of the needy, thanks to this splendid Residence which bears the name of the Order of Malta’s patron, Saint John the Baptist, and which focuses the attention of the Spanish Assembly on the elderly and strengthens the Order of Malta’s presence in the beloved land of Spain.
Addressing the Infanta Dona Margarita, he stressed that the presence of H.R.H. at the ceremony along with the Duke of Soria was a further demonstration of the close relationship that has always existed between the Spanish Crown and the Sovereign Order, and he recalled that it was a Spanish monarch, Carlos I, Her Highness’ forebear, who ceded the Island of Malta to the Order. And today, under the reign of H.M. Don Juan Carlos I, the Spanish Government and the Sovereign Order have signed a cooperative agreement for joint actions in developing countries, which agreement is already producing very positive results.
Participating in the ceremony were Fra’ Elie de Comminges, Member of the Governing Council of the Sovereign Order, the Infanta Dona Maragarita’s husband the Duke of Soria, the Order’s Ambassador to the Court of Spain, the President of the Spanish Assembly and of the Order of Malta’s Hospitaler Foundation in Spain, the Regent of the Subpriory of San Jorge y Santiago, the Founding President of the Edad Dorada – Mensajeros de Paz Association (First Prince of Asturias de la Concordia), numerous civilian authorities, members of the Order and other invited guests.