Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard

Newsletter No. 10

Special issue:
Blessing and Opening of
Blessed Gérard's Care Centre

(3 September 1996)


September, 1995 the working drawings are passed by Mandeni Town Board
October, 1995 the building begins - the site is cleared, the foundations are marked on the ground and the excavation begins.
February, 1996 A 40ft container with equipment arrives from Mr. Meehan in Milwaukee and is offloaded into storage
March, 1996 the foundation stone is laid in the centre of the soon-to-be-poured floor of the chapel
June, 1996 Sr. Elaine Taylor from The Irish Order of Malta Ambulance Corps arrives in South Africa, to train our Active Members
July, 1996 the first home nursing courses for our members begin
August, 1996 the final stages of the construction
September, 1996 the OPENING

This is a major understatement of what has actually happened. Anyone who has ever had anything to do with the construction of a building of this size will appreciate this fact.


The oratory

ccward.jpg (34579 bytes)
One of the wards

Mural in the passage "Blessed Gérard in the first Care Centre, the hospital of Jerusalem"

The kitchen

Our ambulance


The time had come and the VIPs began to arrive - First the Chancellor of the Bohemian Grand Priory of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Frederic Count Strachwitz at 4am on Friday, then to Co-ordinator of the aid of Malteser-Hilfsdienst for South Africa, Dr. Albrecht Count Rechberg, and the manager of Malteser-Hilfsdienst in Bavaria, Mr. Manfred Schulz, in the evening. Fr. Gérard wore a path to Durban airport and back, because the Grand Commander of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Frà. Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein, arrived the next morning and the chairman of the International Committee of the Federal Association of the Order of Malta, Mr. Meehan, and his friend Msgr. Charleboix the next evening. Of course, our other VIPs - the Representative of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard in Germany, Mr. Johannes Lagleder, and Mr. & Mrs. Hans & Albertine Sporer had been here for some time already and had been very busy helping us prepare for the 3rd.

Our honoured guests were treated to a Zulu Holy Mass in Sundumbili on Sunday morning, they spent the afternoon having lunch in the countryside and then

an informal braai (=barbecue) in the evening with all the Dedicated Members.

On Monday they were all taken on a tour of our projects -

Then our guests were taken back to their lodgings to relax before the

formal dinner in the evening.

While all the guests were being entertained, the office in the Priest's House and the Care Centre site were hives of activity. The final countdown for the opening had begun.

No time to sit, no time to relax, no time to eat!!! Johannes Lagleder, Albertine & Hans Sporer, Caroline Beaumont and Sr. Elaine Taylor were the backbone of the team - without their help and co-operation we would never have managed.

The day of Blessed Gérard's Feast had arrived, Tuesday, 3rd September, 1996 - the opening & blessing of the centre and the handing over of the relic of Blessed Gérard.

The official activities began at 1pm with cultural entertainment for the VIPs.


The Mandeni Junior School choir,

the team of Zulu dancers from Dr. & Mrs. Ardington's farm,

the children from Blessed Gérard's Pre-primary School & Crèche

and some young dancers from the Khululekani Primary School all performed their special programmes, which they had prepared.

In between the items, the official speeches of welcome, of appreciation and of good wishes were given by Frà. Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein, Count Rechberg, Mr. Schulz and

Mr. Michael O'Donovan.

Fr. Gérard, Mrs. Kalkwarf and

Dr. Thabethe presented our guests of honour with traditional Zulu gifts.

It was a very happy and relaxed atmosphere which ended around 4pm. Everyone then started preparing for the big celebration in the evening. In the meantime Mr. Ferdie Rouillon was despatched to fetch Bishop Mansuet from Durban airport, having just been to a parliamentary session in Cape Town.

Somehow the whole thing came together, as planned, at 5pm!!!

The Care Centre was full, there wasn't a chair to be had anywhere. The Sundumbili Choir was in place and the celebration could really begin. What a wonderful celebration it was!


The festive High Mass began with the

blessing of the oratory and the altar by Bishop Mansuet Biyase of Eshowe.

After the sermon

the new Associate Members received their medals and were duly blessed by the Bishop.

Then the new Honorary Dedicated Members were solemnly invested.

Mr. Johannes Lagleder, Mr. Hans & Mrs. Albertine Sporer & Mr. Daniel Meehans' capes were blessed by the Bishop and conferred on them by the Grand Commander of the Order of Malta, Frà. Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein and the Dedicated Members of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard.

Following this the relic of Blessed Gérard was fetched by His Excellency, the Venerable Bailiff, Frà. Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein and the other attending members of the Sovereign Military Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta and brought in procession to the oratory where the Bishop of Eshowe, Fr. Gérard and the Dedicated Members of the Brotherhood were waiting. The relic was carried on a red velvet cushion and handed over with great emotion to the Bishop, who placed it on the altar.

The celebration of Holy Mass then continued.

After Holy Communion, the Grand Commander placed the relic of Blessed Gérard in a reliquary which had been donated by the family of Fr. Gérard.

Then he handed over the relic to the President of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard, who placed it into a glass fronted cabinet in the side wall of the oratory and sealed there by the building contractor Mr. Luigi Haglich.

The celebration was brought to a close with the blessing of the whole Care Centre by the Bishop.

This is the first time in the 900 year-history of the order, that a relic of Blessed Gérard has been granted to any organisation and this is the first church, oratory or chapel which has been dedicated to Blessed Gérard. This is indeed a great honour for us.

Another honour was given to two very important people, without whose support the Care Centre would not be here today.

Frà. Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein conferred two orders of merit, which were granted by the Grandmaster of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, His Most Eminent Highness, Frà Andrew Bertie:

The first was the Grand Cross Pro Piis Meritis for Bishop Mansuet Biyase

and the other was the Commander's Cross Pro Merito Melitensi for Mr. Daniel E. Meehan.

After all the ceremonies and celebrations, a supper was served to everyone who attended before they left for home.

We consider all that happened a huge blessing and a great honour for our country, province and community.

THANK YOU to everyone who did anything to help to make this occasion so special.

PS: If you would like a copy of the video of the opening ceremonies, please bring your own 195 VHS tape to the office.


A while ago the Friendship Club made it their task to help the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard reach their dream of making the "self help" primary health care centre a reality. They decided in one of their meetings to knit squares to make blankets for the people who will come to the Care Centre. So far they have given us eleven blankets. During the months the members of the Friendship Club have made different articles to sell to raise funds. At the special meeting on the day when the foreign dignitaries were visiting, Mrs. Yvonne Renaud handed over an amount of R500. This is a very stout effort - especially, as this donation was not the first one - and the people who will be served by us will be most grateful. THANK YOU!


There are still many things which are sorely needed for the Care Centre, despite the many wonderful donations, which we have already received. We do not want our members to feel that we are flogging a willing horse. But if you have any of the following items lying around at home which you do not need - please remember us:

Sheets Towels Blankets Pillows Pillowcases
Cooking utensils Crockery Cutlery Glassware Shelving
Coffee tables Garden furniture Electric kettle Microwave Irons & board
Washing machine Tumble drier Bath mats Wheel-chairs Crutches
Commodes other nursing equipment Teaching aids Overhead projector TV
Video machine Wheelbarrow Fork & spade Hose pipe Plants

AND anything else that you think we might make use of.


We have the following items for sale from the reception office in Blessed Gérard's Care Centre :

Uniform shirts   small - XXXL R40.00 ea.
Brotherhood T-shirts red small - XXL R30.00 ea.
Brotherhood T-shirts white small - XXL R30.00 ea.
Embroidered badges as spares (for active Members with uniform shirts only) R5.00 ea.
Vinyl stickers   small R2.00 ea.
Vinyl stickers   large R3.00 ea.
Blessed Gérard cards   blank for any occasion R1.00 ea.
The book titled - Blessed Gérard Tonque and his "Everlasting Brotherhood": The Order of St. John. Author- Gérard Tonque Lagleder R25.00 ea.



We wish a blessed and very happy birthday to:

Herrn Bernd Stadelmaier on his 30th
Herrn Johann Hauer on his 40th
Herrn Ottmar Fries on his 40th
Frau Theresia Dittner on her 40th
Herrn Erhard Schiffers on his 50th
Mrs. Cathleen Cowie on her 50th
Mrs. Belinda Matilda Zulu on her 50th
Mr. Gerald Leslie Clark on his 60th
Fräulein Anna Spielmann on her 70th
Mr. Job Ngubane on his 70th

WELCOME to all our new members:

Mrs. Margaret Hawthorn (Sen.), Mrs. Madeline Peggy Petzer, Mrs. Peggy Irene Evans, Mrs. Renée Pieters, Mrs. Shona Dain Pieters, Miss Sherine Ann Jamieson, Miss Bianca Williamson, Mrs. Lillian Phylis Joseph, Mrs. Cornelia Terreblanche, Mrs. Megan Denise Woolridge, Dr. Paul Koch, Mr. Broos Stan, Miss Kerryn Watkins, Miss Caroline Wacher, Mr. Simon Siboniso Moloi, Mr. Nontokozo A. Dlungwane, Mr. Martin Wood, Dr. Albrecht Graf Rechberg, Miss Nomvula Kheswa, Mrs. Vinothi Jane Gounden, Mrs. Vasagee Naicker, Mrs. Catharina Van Schalkwyk, Mrs. Elise Bozas, Mr Christoffel Hermanus Tait, Mrs. Ananda van Niekerk, Frà. Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein, Mrs. Anne Carol Paterson, Miss Samantha Naicker, Miss Dheran Naicker, Miss Sarishna Singh, Miss Elaine Prumdeen, Miss Davina Gounden, Miss Sheryl Pillay, Mrs. Simoné Dutton, Mrs. Ntombizonke Rachel Radebe, Mrs. Gugu Rose Ngcobo, Mr. Verster Brent, Rev Carl Lindgren, Mrs Ernestinah G Manqele, Mr Bernard Mills, Mr Karl Sidney Schmidt, Mr P Z Mngadi, Mr Theophilus Mpumelelo Dlamini, Miss Simpiwe Teresa Dlamini, Miss Priscilla S'duduziwe Dlamini, Miss Lunatia Lindokuhle Dlamini, Miss Felicitus Thulile Gumede, Miss Martilda Jabu Gumede, Mrs Mynah Christian, Mr Guy Felix Dunn, Mrs Ursula Toohey, Mrs Antoinette Theresa Roberts, Mrs Myrtle Dunn, Mrs Clara Mtshali, Mr Eric Daniel Barth, Mr John C Carroll, Miss Juliet Thokozile Hlongwa, Mrs Linda Neethling, Mrs Estelle Denner, Mrs Fikelephi Essie Ncube.

We are especially proud, that the Grand Commander (=Deputy Head of State) of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Frà Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein and the former vice-president of Malteser-Hilfsdienst and now Co-ordinator of the aid of Malteser-Hilfsdienst for South Africa, Dr. Albrecht Graf Rechberg are among our new members.

Membership statistics on 29.10.96 Active Members Donors Spiritual Supporters Total
South Africa 133 57 13 203
Tanzania 0 0 1 1
Austria 0 1 2 3
Belgium 0 0 1 1
Germany 8 142 39 189
Denmark 0 0 11 11
Great Britain 0 0 1 1
Italy 1 0 0 1
Ireland 1 0 0 1
USA 4 4 3 11
El Salvador 0 0 2 2
Chile 0 0 1 1
Australia 0 0 1 1
Total 147 204 75 426

Thank you - once again - to Clare Kalkwarf for writing and to Caroline Beaumont for printing and mailing this newsletter!

The "Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard Newsletter" is the official mouthpiece of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard and is edited by the Management Committee of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard.

Our address is:
61 Anderson Road (new!)
P O Box 440
Mandeni 4490
Republic of South Africa
Phone 032-4562743 (national)
+27-32-4562743 (international)
Fax 032-4567962 (national)
+27-32-4567962 (international)
e-mail (new!)

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