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Title: Hospitaller paths to sanctity : a study on piety and religious practices in the Order of St. John 1580-1798
Authors: Ebejer, Matthias
Keywords: Knights of Malta -- Religious life
Order of St John -- Religious life
Bertie, Andrew Willoughby Ninian, 1929-2008
Knights of Malta -- History
Order of St John -- History
Issue Date: 2015
Abstract: ‘For the first time in the modern era canonization has been proposed for a Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta.’ On 20 February 2015, a diocesan inquiry into the Causes of Beatification and Canonization of Frà Andrew Bertie, 78th Grand Master of the Order, met at St John in Lateran, Rome. The fact that Grand Master Bertie has been singled out, not just by the Order but also by the universal Church, as a model for other Hospitallers, indicates that there is still a space reserved for holiness, piety and sanctity within the Order of St John nowadays. Moreover there is still a felt need for the modern-day Hospitaller to be present in society, not just through philanthropic acts, but also through a spiritual and contemplative life. This ongoing reconsideration of the utility of the Order of Malta to the Catholic Church and society at large, has been one reason that motivated me to study this institution’s tradition of sanctity and spirituality, to understand the devotional legacy of the Order. The other reason is an interest in focusing on the more ‘spiritual’ profile of the Hospitaller, who saw in the Order an opportunity to become holy and reach eternal salvation, as will emerge from the discussion which the current study shall present. Owing to the depth of the subject and the vast amount of primary source material that still needs to be explored, the following is a work aimed to explore the subject and hopefully instigate a wider discussion on Hospitaller spirituality. The topic is being given considerable attention from other academic fields as well, particularly from the history of art, music and anthropological sectors, and I sincerely hope that my study can be considered worthy enough to be included alongside this current corpus of work. The discussion on Hospitaller spirituality from the late sixteenth century to the late eighteenth century has to include a parallel comparison with Catholic spirituality in Europe; Chapter 1 is dedicated entirely to the devotional accomplishments of the sixteenth century, particularly those motivated by the Council of Trent. This chapter shall also give insight on the historiography of the Counter-Reformation. Chapter 2 delves into the organisational aspect of cult within the Order of St John in Malta. This structure of cult is evaluated through regulations, liturgical calendars and material culture such as relics. In Chapter 3, the focus is the theme of ‘refashioning’, particularly through the image of saints. This chapter compares the values of Hospitaller saints to those of the great saints and heroes of the Counter-Reformation. Both Chapters 2 and 3 work in tandem with the Tridentine pattern laid out for the reader in Chapter 1, with the intention of providing a holistic picture of Tridentine-Hospitaller spirituality in the Conclusion. The final remarks are dedicated to providing an answer to two main questions: the first discussing the spiritual benefit that a Hospitaller obtains through his vocation in the Order; the second addresses the question of whether the Order’s spiritual framework was distinct and unique from that presented by other religious orders and ecclesiastical institutions.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 2015
Dissertations - FacArtHis - 2015

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