The origins of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in the United States date back to 1927 in New York City with the founding of the American Association. By the 1950's, the membership had grown so geographically diverse that the Sovereign Council established the Western Association in San Francisco to encompass the nine western states, Alaska, and Hawaii. The Order continued to increase in membership over the next twenty years and, in 1974, the Sovereign Council approved the formation of the Southern Association—which is known today as the Federal Association, U.S.A. The Federal Association is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and today its members are found in over twenty regions nationwide.
Membership more and more is being recognized
for what it truly must be—
a commitment to spiritual development
through personal service and sacrifice.
Today there are well over 3,000 Knights and Dames among the three Associations in the United States. As the U.S. Associations have grown, they have continually expanded the scope of their support of various charitable projects, both domestically and internationally, that align with the mission of the Order—to care for the poor and the sick.
While many Knights and Dames have generously supported these projects financially—there has been an equal emphasis upon their hands-on involvement. Members themselves minister to the sick in hospitals and clinics; care for AIDS patients; feed the poor in soup kitchens; clothe and shelter the homeless; tend to and comfort the elderly; aid battered women; staff day care centers for poor, working mothers.
Each of the U.S. Associations holds a variety of special Masses, retreats, and other like-exercises throughout the country for their members to assist them in their continual spiritual development. “Like all religious orders, the aim of The Order of Malta is the greater glory of God through the sanctification of its members.” Though most members today do not take religious vows—other than that of obedience—the purpose of the Order still is the spiritual development of its members.