Celebration of St. John's Feast

by the South African Relief Organisation of the Order of Malta,
the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard,
in Mandeni on 9 July 2000


1. Investiture of Mrs. Clare Ann Kalkwarf as a Dame of the Order of Malta

South Africa is honoured by the fact, that the first South African has been invested into the Order of Malta.

Mrs. Clare Ann Kalkwarf is a founder member and the Vice-President of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard, which is the South African Relief Organisation of the Sovereign Military Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta (Order of Malta).

The Order of Malta is a unique community with a triple nature

  1. as a religious order of the Roman Catholic Church with professed members like the Benedictines, Franciscans or Dominicans,
  2. as a Sovereign subject of International Law with its own government in an exterritorial area in Rome, diplomatic relations to most countries of the earth, a seat in the United Nations, its own stamps and coins and (diplomatic) passports.
  3. as an International Relief Organisation with National Relief Organisations in many countries, e.g. the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard in South Africa.

On 9 July 2000 the Grand Hospitaller, who is responsible for the Relief Work of the Order of Malta internationally came all the way from Rome to Mandeni especially for this occasion and invested Mrs. Kalkwarf as a Donat of Devotion into the Order of Malta. As such Mrs. Kalkwarf, who is married with three children, did not make a religious profession like a nun, but donates time and energy in devotion to the work of the Order.


[Father Gérard T Lagleder O.S.B., Magistral Chaplain of the Order of Malta, during the sermon: "The place where heaven and earth meet is your day-by-day service to God in your family and in your work for the Sick and Needy"]


[Albrecht Baron Boeselager, the Grand Hospitaller of the Order of Malta (right), and Father Gérard (left)]


[Baroness Boeselager as the sponsor standing behind Mrs. Kalkwarf]


During the Investiture Mrs. Kalkwarf promised: " I, Clare Kalkwarf, promise, as I call upon the name of God, to always witness the Catholic Faith, to defend the Church and to lead my life according to the teaching and commands of the Holy Mother Church in chivalrous faithfulness. I declare my readiness to look after our Lords, the Sick and the Needy to the best of my ability as a member of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, to abide by the constitution and laws of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and to fulfill the obligations imposed on me by the rules of the Order and entrusted to me by my superiors with fidelity and diligence. For all this help me God, the Holy Mother of God from the Mount Philermos, Saint John the Baptist, our glorious patron Saint, and all Saints of the Order. You however, who are present, I call to be witnesses of my obligation."

 Then she received the Cape of the Dames of the Order of Malta and the cross of the Order from Baron Boeselager.


[The Donat of Devotion's Cross of the Order of Malta]

Mrs. Kalkwarf, nee Sprake, was born in Johannesburg and went to Potchefstroom Convent High School. After being in business for many years she was one of the founder members who started the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard on 28 October 1992 and has been its Vice-President ever since. She was asked to take on the management of the organisation in July 1995 and she has been responsible for its Financial Administration and for Blessed Gérard's Community Development Centre.


2. Silver Medal of the "Order pro merito melitensi" conferred

His Most Eminent Highness, the Prince and Grandmaster of the Order of Malta, Frŕ Andrew Bertie, had conferred the Silver Medal of Merit of the Order of Malta to Mrs. Clare Kalkwarf, Dr. Paul Thabethe and Mrs. Nokuthula Thabethe in acknowledgement of their outstanding merits for their role in the founding and development of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard. His Excellency, the Grand Hospitaller of the Order of Malta, Albrecht Baron Boeselager passed on the decorations.


3. Blessing and Opening of new wing of Blessed Gérard's Care Centre and Hospice in Mandeni


[The new wing of Blessed Gérard's Care Centre and Hospice]

The ever rising number of patients who seek care at Blessed Gérard's Care Centre and Hospice has made it necessary to extend the building by adding a High-Care-Ward, a change room for the care givers, another store room, a refuse room and a gardener's store room and extending the scullery, pantry, sluice room, laundry and mortuary. The first floor of the new wing houses Blessed Gérard's Community Development Centre, i.e. the Sewing School, which was transferred from St. Anthony's Parish Hall next door.

It was a great honour that Bishop Dr. Mansuet Dela Biyase came to Mandeni together with the two bishops of Botswana, Bishop Franklyn Nubuasah SVD of Francistown and Bishop Boniface Tshosa Setlalekgosi of Gaborone on the day after celebrating his 25th Jubilee as the Bishop of Eshowe and his 40th Jubilee as a priest to bless the new building.

Blessed Gérard's Care Centre and Hospice


[The new High-Care-Ward in Blessed Gérard's Hospice]

The aim of the Blessed Gérard's Care Centre and Hospice is to bridge the gap between hospital and the patient's home. Hospitals often have no other choice than to discharge patients before they can really look after themselves. The families are often unable to cope with the care of their relatives, because they lack confidence, skills or facilities. The Care Centre and Hospice also assists those who can no longer be helped in hospital e.g. because of a poor prognosis (e.g. cancer / AIDS) but who also cannot be adequately nursed in their own home.

The Care Centre and Hospice has a fourfold function:

  1. It is a training centre for family members and other interested people in home nursing care and other related fields, e.g. AIDS-Prevention- and -care, Primary Health Care, Hospice Care.
  2. It trains and sends out mobile home-nursing teams, who supplement and support the family care through hands-on-training and additional aids in the home situation of the respective patient.
  3. It has a Day-Care-Centre for sick people, so that working family members need not give up their employment to avail themselves for nursing their relative, but can bring the patient to the Care Centre and Hospice before going to work and take him/her home afterwards. The patient can be involved in occupational therapy and recreational activities to prevent boredom and the feeling of being unwanted or useless.
  4. It accommodates sick people and provides general nursing care through an inpatient unit. This applies to a patient, if the patient's care cannot be adequately maintained and secured by the training of his/her family members or by the assistance of the family through the mobile home nursing teams or by the Day-Care-Centre. This option still gives room to train family members on their patient in the centre.

Blessed Gérard's Care Centre and Hospice has been the one and only hospice on the entire kwaZulu/Natal North coast with an inpatient unit and cared for patients from as far as Matubatuba, Ladysmith, Melmoth or Ballito. It works closely together with the local clinics and doctors, the hospices in Empangeni and Durban and the Cancer Association.

Blessed Gérard's Community Development Centre

The old slogan "give a fish to a poor man, then he has enough for a day - teach him fishing, then he will always have enough" is still true and expresses best what Blessed Gérard's Community Development Centre achieves. It gives skills to the needy to encourage self-employment and thus to make them independent of charity. The first step towards this is a sewing school. A qualified sewing teacher gives dressmaking courses. Starting as inexperienced beginners the participants after a while are able to sew beautiful garments of high quality. Many of them are now self-employed or have found employment at the local textile industry.


4. Launch of Blessed Gérard's Disaster Relief Project and Blessed Gérard's Children's Home

The Grand Hospitaller of the Order of Malta, Baron Boeselager, launched two new projects of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard:

Blessed Gérard's Disaster Relief Project

When the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard was asked by the Emergency Corps of the Order of Malta to support them in their Relief work during the recent Flood Disaster in Mozambique, the Service of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard was extended for the first time ever beyond international boundaries. There it became quite clearly evident the Order of Malta needs a local base for its disaster relief work in Southern Africa. The Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard took on this challenge and will build up an operational base with Relief goods, vehicles and logistical equipment readily and instantly available in case of a disaster.

Blessed Gérard's Children's Home

The fate of many children in the wider Mandeni area, who are neglected, abandoned, abused or orphaned (especially because of their parents dying from AIDS), made the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard decide to start a new project: Blessed Gérard's Children's Home. It is a new home for children who otherwise would have no future. The home was already started on 15 June 2000 by setting aside three wards of Blessed Gérard's Care Centre for the home and employing two caregivers full-time, one of them is even living in. The Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard wants to erect a new building for this purpose. This will only be possible, if the finances can be secured. The building will cost about R750,000.00 and the Brotherhood is asking everybody for generous donations. (Cheques may be made out to the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard and sent to P O Box 440, 4490 Mandeni, South Africa).


5. The President's Award of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard

The President's Award of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard for the Year 2000 was presented to Mrs. Caroline Beaumont for her outstanding loyalty, diligence and efficiency as the secretary of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard and Housekeeper of Blessed Gérard's Care Centre and Hospice.



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