During Fra’ Andrew Bertie’s reign as Guardian of the Poor of Jesus Christ, the “of Malta” at the end of “the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta” was not a mere historical anachronism. The Prince & Grand Master had a house in Malta where he attended to his cultivation of oranges (the old Grand Master’s Palace in Valetta is now the Presidential Palace of the Maltese Republic). “A friend of Malta,” a recent statement from the Maltese knights of the Order states of Fra’ Andrew Bertie, “his love for Malta and the Maltese peoples’ affection for him originated the inspiration to this wonderful project, to erect a befitting marble lapidary in his memory.” This summer Fra’ Matthew Festing, successor to Fra’ Andrew as head of the Order of Malta, travelled to the Mediterranean island to unveil the Bertie Monument at Casa Lanfreducci, the Order’s Maltese seat.
The dedication began with a procession from Casa Lanfreducci to the Church of Our Lady of Victory, which was decorated in a splendid array of red and white flowers.
At the Church of Our Lady of Victory, a Mass was offered in Latin (ordinary form) by the Very Rev. Msgr. Lawrence Gatt, Conventual Chaplain Grand Cross “ad honorem” & Principal Chaplain to the Maltese Association.
Most of the Maltese members of the Order were in attendance, as were members of the Sovereign Council, foreign members of the Order, and Fra’ Andrew’s brother Peregrine as well as his niece Caroline Carrington and kinsman Fra’ Fredrik Crichton-Stuart, now Grand Prior of England.
After Mass, the members and guests proceeded back to Casa Lanfreducci where they gathered in what is now known as the Bertie Room. His Excellency Dr. Alfred Caruana Galizia, President of the Maltese Association, addressed the assembled guests and introduced His Most Eminent Highness, Fra’ Matthew Festing. The Grand Master said a few words praising the conduct of his illustrious predecessor, so well-known for his service to the poor, before unveiling the marble array. Praising the beauty of the monument being dedicated, Fra’ Matthew also added jovially that he “would like something similar someday”.
The Bertie Monument was conceived by the Marquis de Piro, Chancellor of the Maltese Association and a close friend of the late Grand Master. The design by Capt. Adrian Strickland was executed by master craftsman Ronald Pisani, while the necrology inscribed was written by the Marquis de Piro.
“The Memorial will bear witness,” a statement from the Maltese Association said, “to the affection and respect which Grand Master Frà Andrew Bertie constantly enjoyed here in Malta and also internationally.”
D. O. M.
SACRED TO THE MEMORY
A NOBLE BROTHER
FRÀ ANDREW WILLOUGHBY NINIAN BERTIE
ENDOWED WITH MANY ACHIEVEMENTS
OFFICER OF THE SCOTS GUARDS
LINGUIST TEACHER AND SPORTSMAN
WHO WAS ELECTED 78th GRAND MASTER
OF THE SOVEREIGN MILITARY HOSPITALLER ORDER OF
St JOHN OF JERUSALEM OF RHODES AND OF MALTA
UNDER HIS RULE THE ORDER INCREASED AND FLOURISHED
IT GAINED MORE RESPECT
AND ITS SOVEREIGN RECOGNITION DOUBLED
REACHING OVER ONE HUNDRED NATIONS
SERVED WHAT THE ORDER OF MALTA TERMS
OUR LORDS THE SICK
WITH KINDNESS AND ENTHUSIASM
HIS LOVE OF MALTA
IS EXEMPLIFIED BY HIS KEEPING A RESIDENCE AT ATTARD AND HIS FREQUENT VISITS TO HIS SECOND HOME
HE LEAVES TO MOURN HIS LOSS
HIS BROTHER PEREGRINE AND HIS NOBLE FAMILY
KNIGHTS DAMES CHAPLAINS AND VOLUNTEERS
OF HIS ORDER ALL OVER THE WORLD
AND ALSO HIS NUMEROUS FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES
AMONG THE RESIDENTS OF MALTA
HE CAME INTO THIS WORLD ON 15 MAY 1929
AND DEPARTED FROM IT ON 7 FEBRUARY 2008
MAY HE REST IN PEACE
RECEIVE ME O LORD
ACCORDING TO YOUR WORD
AND I SHALL LIVE
AND DO NOT DISAPPOINT ME
IN THE PROMISE YOU HAVE MADE ME
AS YOU PASS BY PRAY FOR MY SOUL