Order of Malta activities in Europe emphasise the homeless, the elderly, and minorities
European Hospitallers of the Order of Malta meet in Cambridge, UK
The European Hospitallers of the Order of Malta, who are responsible for all the charitable activities of their Assocations, met at the weekend in Cambridge for their annual conference to review the Order’s charitable works across Europe.
Led by the Grand Hospitaller, Albrecht von Boeslager, and hosted by the Hospitaller of the British Association, Tim Orchard, the group reported on their works over the past year and discussed next steps.
Highlights included overviews of current activities in Romania, a country with the second lowest poverty rate in Europe, and in Hungary – in both countries, ongoing care and education of the Roma population is a priority. A project in Switzerland collected and shipped 18,000 tons of goods to the poorest European countries and to Africa, the Middle East and as far away as Timor Leste. In Britain, the Orders of St John Care Trust, which runs 73 homes in four counties with a turnover of £100 million, has recently implemented an innovative scheme to create 1950s ‘reminiscence suites’ for dementia sufferers, which is proving very effective. Soup kitchens in Madrid and St.Petersburg, two barges on the Seine in Paris for the homeless, and two hospices for the homeless in Belgium, with another opening shortly, and medical care for the refugees arriving in their thousands on the Italian island of Lampedusa were among other projects reported on.
Members from the Order’s Associations in America also attended and described some of their many activities country wide, amongst which is a prison ministry project , an ongoing reconstruction project in New Orleans, where the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is still evident, as well as programmes for the handicapped and homes for young single mothers. Like the European Associations, all three Associations in the United States carry out visiting services for the sick and elderly housebound.
In closing the meeting, the Grand Hospitaller emphasised that ‘These activities demonstrate once again that the Order of Malta is on the ground for the long term.’