Fra’ Andrew Bertie, grand master of the Order of Malta, died in Rome on Feb. 7 at the age of 79. I missed this. Zenit just published a report on the death of this holy man.
His full title was His Most Eminent Highness Fra Andrew Willoughby Ninian Bertie, Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, Most Humble Guardian of the Poor of Jesus Christ. He was never married and had a younger brother. He was the fourth cousin twice removed of Queen Elizabeth II (Wikipedia).
To be a member of the order is not an honor. It’s not about being able to dangle a nice cross around your neck. It’s not a question of sending in a check once a year. It’s about working with the sick and the poor,” the late Grand Master once said. “Our aim is to help the poor and the sick, that is and always has been our primary aim.
The other military orders were there to fight the Saracens and to save Spain or the Holy Land or Prussia from the pagans. But we always had this special commitment to the poor and the sick. Our aims today are exactly the same as they were in 1099, the sanctification of our members through service to the sick.
Fra Andrew Bertie was a real knight, through and through, not only by virtue of his birth, but more imporantly by virtue of his chivalry. All you squires aspiring to knighthood remember that. “It’s not about being able to dangle a nice cross around your neck.”
Notice in the photo, the rosary around his right arm. It seems to have been his habit to carry the rosary in this way.