In 2004, in St. Leo’s Church, located in the inner city of Detroit, a group of some Michigan Area, Order of Malta members were preparing and serving a meal in the basement Soup Kitchen of that Church. This small group of Malta members were approached by Bishop Gumbleton, the pastor of St. Leo’s, and were asked if they could somehow provide medical care for several very sick people who lived in the area. The ensuing discussions, planning and agreement gave birth to the free Malta Medical Clinic, one of the projects of the Michigan Area of the Order members and it was located in the basement of St. Leo’s Church. Area members financed the Medical Clinic, and several volunteers managed and manned the Clinic.
It was not very long before the doctors manning the Clinic brought to light the severe condition of a number of patients who could not be helped because of the condition of their gums and teeth. As a result of this dilemma, the volunteers decided to establish a free Dental Clinic, with Bishop Gumbleton’s agreement and blessing, in St. Leo’s Church basement. It was soon found out that this would be an expensive venture. Dental chairs, Xray machines and developers, air compressor, sputum receptacles, dental tools and drills, plumbing and electrical materials and fixtures, new rooms, storage area, cabinetry, etc. had to be obtained and installed before the first dental patient could be seen. Fortunately, through God’s Grace, these requirements were obtained through donations of used equipment and cash contributions.
In 2007, after we started to see dental patients, we realized that free dentures and partials, oral surgeries, and dental supplies were very expensive. We then knew that it would be necessary to seek funding from many sources additional to the funds gathered from the volunteers and the contributions they solicited. We then sought and received monies from local businesses and foundations in the form of donations and grants. Because our entire staff is made up of volunteers, we are able to convert 100% of all we receive into the service of the sick and the poor.
In 1048 A.D., a group of hospitaller monks of the Order of St.John were asked to manage and staff a hospital in Jerusalem, caring for pilgrims and travelers of various faith and race. That group of monks acted accordingly, and thereby founded the organization presently known as the Order of Malta, a lay order of the Catholic Church which ministers to the sick and the poor of many nations.