Dominique de La Rochefoucauld-Montbel, a Great Hospitaller of the Order of Malta, coordinates one of the biggest humanitarian organizations on the planet, but few journalists know it.
Just in the waters of the Mediterranean, in the last nine years, this institution with its boats and medical teams has saved the lives of 53,712 (yes, you read that right) immigrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa who set out on the dangerous adventure of seeking a better future in Europe.
While Dominique La Rochefoucauld-Montbel is a prince, a member of one of the oldest families of the French nobility, he is dedicating his life completely to the Christian assistance of the most needy. The numbers of his coordination work are impressive: it has undertaken close to 2,000 aid projects in 120 countries, with 100,000 volunteers, who are assisted by 25,000 permanent employees.
During the last year, they have cared for more than 1.6 million people in one of the 435 centers supported by Malteser International, the Order of Malta’s NGO for aid. In northern Iraq, for example, it offers care for refugees in Dohuk, Erbil, and Nineveh, and it manages mobile clinics that allow it to reach the most remote towns. In Syria, it supports the pediatric hospital of Aleppo, whose NICU services made it a unique center in the region, equipped to help babies who are premature or affected by serious illnesses.
When he was asked why he does all this, the prince answered: “We see Christ in the sick and in those who suffer. We see him in the refugees. The Gospel says: ‘I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me to drink …’ This is the essence of what it means to be a member of the Order of Malta.”