Blessed Gérard's Feast 2007

Festive High Mass

The occasion of the 15th anniversary of the foundation of Blessed Gérard was the reason to thank God deeply for all his grace of sustaining our work over the years.

Father Gérard said in his sermon:

"Blessed Gérard most probably came from Scala next to Amalfi in Southern Italy. He might have joined the Benedictine Abbey of Cava dei Tirreni which commissioned him to go to the Holy Land, where merchants from Amalfi had established the Abbey of Santa Maria Latina in Jerusalem (which is today the Church of the Redeemer). Next to the church and abbey there was a guest house in the area which today is called "Muristan" (Persian for "hospital"). The guesthouse was in fact a hospital, which in the oldest known manuscripts is referred to as "hospitale iherusalem", the Hospital of Jerusalem. It was in 1099 that Blessed Gérard established a group of helpers, a nursing brotherhood, to look after the sick, when many knights came to Jerusalem with the first crusade. Many of these laid down their armour and took on the brotherhood uniform. Pope Paschalis II. acknowledged this Brotherhood of St. John on 15th February 1113 as an independent religious order, creating the first hospital order of the church, which to this day is still the largest one. Blessed Gérard died on the 3rd September 1120.

Blessed Raymond du Puy succeeded Blessed Gérard and wrote the Rule of the Order of St. John. This rule and the way how it was put into action showed that holistic care is not an invention of modern times, but was already practised in these early days:

  1. Pastoral Care:
    The patient was to be treated like the Lord "quasi dominus" and a priest would attend to him at admission even before he was transferred to the ward.

  2. Nursing Care:
    The hospital provided one bed for one patient unlike other hospitals in these times where more than one patient had to share one bed. The patients were fed from silver plates (not wooden plates for hygienic reasons) before the personnel would eat.

  3. Medical Care:
    The Medical Care was the state of the art care in this time influenced by the Arabic medicine which was far superior to the European medicine in those days. Long before disinfection was invented they successfully used incense as an airborne disinfectant.

In 1187 all Christians were expelled from Jerusalem. The hospital carried on for some time, but was later destroyed.

When I first came to Jerusalem in 1994 I felt like walking over the graveyard of history. All glory (of Blessed Gérard's Hospital) had disappeared, the only remainder is the Church of St. John, but it is known to be always locked. This time during my second pilgrimage to the Holy Land, on 5th October 2007, I got inside. I stayed at that holy place, where the first members of the Brotherhood of St. John  pronounced their religious vows to make them professed members of the Order.

Meanwhile the Order had spread all over Europe and established many hospitals. Today the Order has branches, organisations and institutions in most countries all over the globe and we are proud to be part of it as we celebrate the 15th anniversary of our foundation. May our patron saint Blessed Gérard always inspire us to walk in his footsteps courageously."

After the sermon Father Gérard blessed the medals for our new members

and the Dedicated Members presented the new members (including Harry Hine in the photo) with the medal.

Our new members received a special blessing from Father Gérard

and Holy Mass continued.

After Holy Mass Deacon Thomas Müller blessed our new ambulance, home care vehicle and Children's bus.

This page is part of the Newsletter No. 27 of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard

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This page was last updated on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 12:50:23