"Dear Father Gerard,
Please convey my prayers and best wishes to all of the Brotherhood for the Feast of our Founder, the Blessed Gerard, on 13th October.
I am very sorry that I am unable to be with you to celebrate your ten years of existence, as I had intended, but I shall certainly be with you in spirit.
The work you do for Our Lords the poor and sick is an example to us all, and I thank you very much indeed.
Frŕ Andrew Bertie"
Your Excellency, Bishop Ndlovu, Reverend Fathers, Brothers and Sisters, distinguished guests of honour, dear Sir Chancellor Major Crowther and dear friends of the Most Venerable Order of St. John, dear members and friends of our Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard,
As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the blessing and opening of this church and of Blessed Gérard’s Care Centre, we are overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for the innumerable benefits which this house had the privilege to provide for “our Lords, the Sick” in these 10 years.
We are looking back to a time which was most successful on the one hand. We can proudly boast with remarkable statistics:
Our membership has developed from the 5 founders to more than eighteen-hundred members today, which makes us the largest catholic relief organisation in South Africa. Half of these 1818 members live in South Africa, including 727 active members locally.
I could carry on bragging with these impressive statistics, but allow me to say, that all these numbers and figures would mean nothing in the eyes of God, if the work done was not done out of selfless love and compassion.
What I am most proud of and most grateful for is the wonderful spirit of our staff and volunteers, their empathy and idealism and their readiness to go out of their way and walk the idiomatic extra mile when a patient is in need for it.
I am proud and grateful that hundreds of our volunteers – most of them being unemployed and without income – have found pride and purpose in their lives through their volunteer service in our Care Centre.
I almost had tears in my eyes when I attended the graduation ceremony of two of our former volunteers on the day before yesterday, who had come here to find something worthwhile to do in their life. We sent them to nursing college because they were so talented and now they are proud nursing professionals and we are proud of them.
Well done, Nomusa and Zandile! (see photo at the left!)
Blessed Gérard’s Care Centre has not only had an enormous impact on the wellbeing of our patients who we provide with a comprehensive system of holistic care, but also on their families and the communities they belong to. Moreover it is the dependants and families of our own staff and volunteers, who have benefited tremendously from the fact that their family member found a new purpose in his or her life and the people wearing our uniform are well loved and respected in the whole community.
Looking back on these 10 years of service of Blessed Gérard’s Care Centre I am humbled by the tremendous and most effective support which we have received:
I could and should carry on with a long litany of benefactors and I do so in my prayers indeed.
Dear festive assembly, my heart is overwhelmed and filled with utmost joy.
I want to sing a solemn accolade of praise to the giver of all good things, our Lord and God, who has inspired and empowered all of us to do what we did:
All glory, laud and honour to God, the almighty, all-compassionate and all-loving Lord!
All praise and grateful tribute to his divine grace, which made everything possible and which carried us through even the most difficult times and situations!
And here we stand, o Lord, with empty and open hands [see photo at the right], ready and prepared to be filled again with your grace to pass it on to those in our care and thus carry on our divine vocation, the motto, which all of us wear on our uniform badges “tuitio fidei at obsequium pauperum” to protect and defend our faith and serve the needy.
May the good Lord keep you all in the palm of his hand and make us continue being instruments of his divine love.
Thank you all and may God bless you!
Miss Susanne STAUFFER
Miss Susanne Stauffer is an active member of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard since 2nd September 2004.
She came to South Africa as a foreign volunteer for one year and after she had finished this year she came back for another year of volunteer service.
On 16th June 2005 Miss Stauffer, lovingly known as “Susi”, took over the task of the Principal Caregiver of Blessed Gérard’s Children’s Home.
After Mrs. Kalkwarf was murdered on 6 April 1006, Susi accepted to take over from her as the Project Co-ordinator of Blessed Gérard’s Children’s Home.
The Council of the Dedicated Members of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard decided on 20th April 2006 to invite her, Father Sipho and Deacon Thomas Müller to become candidates for the dedicated membership and act as dedicated members with immediate effect.
The Executive Council of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard has nominated her as the Vice-Manager of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard on 10th of August 2006.
The Department of Home Affairs extended Miss Stauffer’s residence permit for another three years on 28th September 2006 and thereafter she can apply for permanent residence in South Africa as she has agreed to stay here for good as she considers her vocation in the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard her life task.
The President of Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard has awarded the President’s Award 2006 to Miss Stauffer for her excellent care of the children as the Project Co-ordinator and Principal Caregiver of Blessed Gérard’s Children’s Home, her outstanding responsibility and unparalleled readiness to sacrifice her life for the voluntary service of our organisation.
Mrs Caroline Frances BEAUMONT
Mrs Beaumont has been an active member of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard for more than 13 years.
She was employed as the parish secretary in Mandeni from 1993 to 1996, when Father Gérard, the president of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard, was still parish priest and her office duties for the parish included work for the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard at an increasing level, so that she was transferred to the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard in 1996.
Her duties were first as a secretary, then as a bookkeeping assistant and for many years already as the chief housekeeper.
Mrs Beaumont is a bearer of the “Badge of Honour” of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard.
Mrs Beaumont was further acknowledged 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 – as the first recipient of the newly established honour - with the President’s Award of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard on 9th July 2000.
In acknowledgement of her good leadership abilities she has been nominated as a member of the Management Committee of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard on 10 August 2006.
Mrs. Beaumont has not only been the longest serving employee of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard, but a very loyal, steady and reliable column of continuity, good spirit and a real hard worker.
His Most Eminent Highness, Frŕ Andrew Bertie, the Grandmaster of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta has awarded the Silver Medal of the Order “Pro Merito Melitensi” to Mrs. Beaumont.
Mrs Nokuthula Marigold THABETHE
Bearer of the Silver Medal of the Order pro Merito Melitensi
Sister Thabethe is a registered professional nurse and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Science by the University of South Africa.
She is a co-founder of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard.
She was elected as the Director of Charity Work of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard on 5 November 1992 and has held this position (through re-election) ever since.
Sister Thabethe initiated and heads Blessed Gérard’s Malnutrition Clinic as the project co-ordinator since its inception on 15 March 1993.
She has spent every second Saturday in the service of our Malnutrition Clinic for the last 13 years and it is due to her service and perseverance that the Clinic continues its valuable task.
Sister Thabethe has done all her work for the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard as a true volunteer, free of charge and has invested lots of most valuable time for her activities in our organisation.
His Most Eminent Highness, Frŕ Andrew Bertie, the Grandmaster of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta has awarded the Cross of the Order “Pro Merito Melitensi” to Sister Thabethe.
Doctor Paul Zakhele Titus THABETHE
Bearer of the Silver Medal of the Order pro Merito Melitensi
Dr Thabethe is a co-founder of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard and
was elected as the Medical Superintendent of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard on 5 November 1992 and has held this position (through re-election) ever since.
Dr Thabethe has spent many hours serving in our brotherhood as a volunteer doctor and it is due to his extraordinary readiness and volunteer service that our Highly-Active-Anti- Retroviral-Treatment (HAART) Programme could develop sustainably and become a pioneer project in our country.
Dr. Thabethe heads Blessed Gérard’s HIV/AIDS Education Programme since its inception on 23 May 1994.
After Mrs Kalkwarf's death Dr. Thabethe was elected
Dr. Thabethe has done all his work for the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard as a true volunteer, free of charge and has invested lots of most valuable time for his activities in our organisation, although especially his involvement in the HAART programme even caused considerable loss of income for him in his surgery.
His Most Eminent Highness, Frŕ Andrew Bertie, the Grandmaster of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta has awarded the Cross of the Order “Pro Merito Melitensi” to Dr. Thabethe.
Mrs Clare Ann KALKWARF
Dame of Magistral Grace and bearer of the Silver Medal of the "Order pro Merito Melitensi" of the Order of Malta.
Mrs Kalkwarf had dedicated her entire life for the last 14 years to the Order of Malta for the co-foundation and development of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard.
She was the most important and efficient motor and heart of the Brotherhood, worked 12 to 16 hours per day for the Order and served in many responsible committees and functions:
Clare Kalkwarf was
There could be hardly anybody more loyal and dedicated to our Order than her.
His Most Eminent Highness, Frŕ Andrew Bertie, the Grandmaster of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta has awarded the Gold Medal of the Order “Pro Merito Melitensi” to Dame Clare Kalkwarf posthumously.
The Gold Medal of the Order "pro Merito Melitensi" is in fact the rarest decoration and is considered the most valuable reward which the Order of Malta awards.
The regulations for the Order "pro Merito Melitensi" state: "The Gold Medal shall always be reserved for those who have participated in our activities putting their life in danger" - and indeed she was not only murdered in her uniform returning from an Executive Council Meeting of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard, but she had sacrificed her life in total dedication to her vocation in the Order of Malta.
[See also: Clare Kalkwarf was awarded the Gold Medal of the Order "pro merito melitensi"]
Father Gérard (centre) posing with the decorated members (from left to right) Sister Thabethe, Caroline Beaumont, Susanne Stauffer and Dr Thabethe.
This page is part of the Newsletter No. 26 of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard
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This page was last updated on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 12:50:18