A tribute to our Auxiliaries
In 2009, we celebrated the 54th anniversary of the Auxiliaries’ Corps. One of the main activities of the Canadian Association has been embedded in our Brigades that are made up of members from twelve different nationalities. Half a century at the service of pilgrims and sick people, marks an important achievement in the life of our Association. We therefore intend to pay a particular tribute to our generous volunteers who deserve our admiration.
The six brigades currently active in Quebec are composed of l26 members. Our benevolent representatives are present at two National Shrines, welcoming over four million visitors on a yearly basis, and at four residences for elderly, handicapped and sick people where a pastoral program specifically designed to provide assistance and comfort to non-autonomous people benefits more than fifteen hundred residents. Moreover, some of the volunteers have acquired the knowledge and experience to assist people in the terminal process of their lives, even spending nights with them when required. Devoted to carrying on the original mission of the Order, our volunteers implicate themselves on a daily basis, providing a yearly average of 50,000 hours of volunteer service and an estimated nine million hours of voluntary service since the foundation of the Corps. We can consider the members as being the hands, the arms and, indeed, the very soul of the Canadian Association. In fact, the auxiliaries have been the Ambassadors of the Order of Malta since l955, the foundation year of the Corps. In appreciation and thanks, an Annual Dinner underlines the involvement of our volunteers. For the past twenty years, this event is always a highlight for those who deserve our sincere recognition. All past Presidents have paid personal attention to the implication of the various Brigades, with a special mention of Fra’ John A. MacPherson for his foresight during his tenure as President of the Canadian Association. Our Confrere was largely responsible for the Grand Master’s visit to Canada in 1992. Insisting on paying a visit to each one of the Brigades, the Grand Master was impressed by the involvement and implication of our volunteers towards the poor and the sick. Upon his return to Rome, a fulsome congratulatory letter followed. It has been deposited in the archives of the Association in Ottawa. A respectful word of appreciation is also addressed to the local chaplains. They always have played an important role in the success of the Brigades. To all those who have contributed to bringing the Auxiliaries’ Corps where it is today, our most sincere gratitude.