Few people know that an uninterrupted presence since the 16th century of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta on the small Mediterranean island which is represented by a community of cloistered nuns in the capital city Valletta.
The Monastery of St. Ursula in Valletta was, in fact, founded by Grand Master de Loubenx Verdalle in 1595. When the Order was expelled from Malta in 1798 the cloistered nuns stayed on the island and the monastery soon passed under the jurisdiction of the Diocese (now Archdiocese) of Malta. Although, strictly speaking, no longer “belonging” to the Order, the present 18 nuns and 1 novice still feel very much linked for historical reasons with the Grand Master and the Knights and Dames of the Order. They wear the white enamelled Maltese Cross on their religious habit and carry the embroidered stole of profession of the Sovereign Order’s Knights of Justice during the ceremony of their profession of vows. More important, since 1830 they have conserved and venerated the skull of the founder of the Order, the Blessed Gerard, which during the Order’s stay in Malta was jealously kept in the Grand Master’s Palace in Valletta.
Even fewer people know of the economic needs of the community and the urgent structural works required in the monastery .This year the Order’s Western Association of the United States “adopted” the convent and the nuns and has asomed their financial security. It is hoped that other associations will do likewise in the years to come.
Donations, however small, towards this worthy cause are most welcome and may be made directly to the monastery account as follows:
St. Ursola Monastery
Corporate A/C No. 11245311010
APS Bank Ltd,
17/18 Republic Street,
Valletta VLT 04 Malta.
Swift Code: apsbmtmt
Further information on this subject may be obtained from:
Fra John Edward Critien
Grand Cross of Justice
Knight Resident Fort St. Angelo
Fort St. Angelo – Birgu, Malta.
Fax: 00356 21676507.