The Sovereign Medical Order of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, often called the Knights Hospitaller, invested 35 new members into the world-wide one thousand year old medical order recently. Brother Bernard Seif, SMC, EdD, DNM, of the Salesian Monastery in Brodheadsville was among these new vowed members. The ancient ceremony took place in Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic church in Miami, Fla. on March 20.
The Catholic monk was nominated for Investiture into the order because of his lifelong ministry to the sick, primarily here in the United States, but also in Asia where he helped to found holistic health centers. Brother Bernard is a clinical psychologist and doctor of natural medicine. He specializes in behavioral medicine, and Chinese medicine.
The monk holds a strong conviction that all healing comes from God, that Jesus is the healer, not the person doing the ministering. Such is the philosophy of the Knights Hospitaller, who popularized the concept of hospitals and reverence for the sick while ministering in Jerusalem almost a millennium ago when they cared for all in need, no matter what their religion, be it Muslim, Christian, or Jewish. The Brodheadsville monk's ministry is also in harmony with this theme of mutual respect for all traditions.
The Hospitallers are distinct from the Knights Templar who were founded shortly after the Hospitallers to protect pilgrims coming to Jerusalem and rose to great power in Europe. The medical order is composed primarily of health care workers of every discipline and also of people expert in the running of charitable organizations.
The Knights Hospitallers are one of the oldest charitable organizations in existence and minister throughout the world. The Order was a major force in the development of the nursing profession, Florence Nightingale having been influenced by them. The Red Cross logo for the humanitarian organization of the same name is reminiscent of the Maltese cross of the Sovereign Medical Order of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem.