|SOME NOTES ABOUT THE SOVEREIGN MILITARY ORDER OF MALTA IN THE U.S.A.|
Dr. Carl EDWIN LINDGREN *
Member, Royal Historical Society (London) and Fellowship of Catholic Scholars
The history of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (S.M.O.M.) in the United States is one of growth and transition. In the United States, there exists three separate Associations of the S.M.O.M. each having a distinct development. These Associations of the S.M.O.M. (a lay, religious order of the Roman Catholic Church) include the American Association, Western Association, and Federal Association. All three Associations, as Knights of Malta worldwide, have the same goal.
Although characteristic in many ways to fellow Associations abroad, the three American Associations share one different trait from fellow European Order of Malta Associations in that “most of the members of the Order in the United States are Knights and Dames of Magistral Grace.”
Regarding noble ranks of knighthood within the Order, classes consist of the Knights of Justice and Conventual Chaplains (who have taken the three monastic vows), the Knights and Dames in Obedience (who promised to strive for Christian perfection in accordance with the spirit of the Order) as well as the first four ranks of class three. These classes must traditionally be of noble heritage.
Individuals who find themselves accepted into the non-noble ranks of Knights and Dames of Magistral Grace are usually some of the most influential and wealthy citizens of the country in which they reside. This is especially true of the members that reside within the United States and curiously enough they also tend to be much older than their European brothers.
Due to the cultural and political differences that existed between Europe and America, many members here in the States have little enthusiasm for the support of noble categories within the Order. In fact, no provision exists within the Statues of the American Association for admission to the noble categories.
The first association of the S.M.O.M in America was formed in 1926 into what was to become the American Association (or the ‘New York’ Association). The Association’s original thirteen Knights were, in most cases, American-Irish members of the Catholic Knights of Columbus.
In April 1927, the Supreme Council of the S.M.O.M. granted these Knights a Constitution (Charter) creating the American chapter of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. This creation of the first eastern association (in New York) was at the request of Pope Pius XI. It was not until nearly fifty-nine years later that the first group of women invested into the Association. This investiture took place at St. Patrick’s Cathedral with sixty women being admitted as Dames of Magistral Grace. An equal amount of Dames and Knights have been admitted into the American Association since 1986.
The [SMOM] Association’s first president James J. Phelan and later president George Macdonald were instrumental in increasing the Association’s membership and in bringing increased revenues into the American organization.
Proof of SMOM administrative activity between Raskob and Phelan and thus proof of Phelan's SMOM membership:
|File: Title: Dates: Items Contents:|
1814 Phelan, James Joseph 1926-1933 25 Letters of introduction and arrangements for meetings, invitations to Knights of Malta events, banquets and family events, and club nominations.
|Co laster Knights and )ames, members of."|
THE ASSOCIATION OF MASTER KNIGHTS
OF THE SOVEREIGN MILITARY ORDER OF MALTA
IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of the late James
J. Phelan, K.M., former Master and Grand Cross member and a
member of out Board of Founders from the inception of the
American Chapter, Knights of Malta, will be celebrated at the
Lady Chapel, St. Patrick's Cathedral, 50th Street and Fifth Avenue,
New York, N.Y., at 9 o'clock A. NI. on Thursday, October 25,1934.
Out Grand Protector and Spiritual Advisor, His Eminence,
Patrick Cardinal Hayes, will celebrate the Mass.
Ail members of the Association are urgently requested to
It is desirable to bave Knights and Dames wear the button
of the Order on that occasion.
MOltG-N J. O'BRIEIq,
American Chapter, Knights of Malta.
http://fax.libs.uga.edu/text/br939txt.txt (Proof Positive)
SMOM by mention: