A KNIGHT FOR KNEVIS
By Steve Thomas
Observer Nevis Editor
(Newcastle, Nevis) - When the word "knight" comes up, a certain image comes to mind: A man clad in heavy armor, sitting astride a powerful horse, a highly-decorated shield in one hand, a sharp-tipped lance in the other, a sword strapped around his waist, ready to do battle for a worthy cause and uphold the rules of chivalry.
The kind of knights who duel with swords and defend fair maidens. The kind of knights who look really cool on the movie screen.
Today, on Nevis, there is another kind of nice. No armor, no sword or lance, no duels or battle cries. Instead, the Nevis knight is tall and lanky, clad in white scrubs, full of information, with an engaging personality and an air of quiet, trust-inspiring confidence.
What this Nevis knight shares with his medieval counterpart is a passion to serve a higher ideal.
In the day of dueling, a knight served this passion with his weapons of war.
Today's knight serves this passion with patience, dedication, networking and the implements of healing.
Today's knight of Nevis is Dr. Charles McWilliams, a naturopath who operates the Jade Health Center just north of the Vance Amory International Airport.
How does a person become a knight in the 21st century? Below is the notice of Dr. McWilliams' being knighted:
"By recognition of meritorious deeds in health care through the agency of the Sovereign Medical Order of the Knights Hospitaller, His Excellency Professor Doctor Charles McWilliams of Nevis was Knighted. The Grand Master and Dame, Grand Lieutenant, and other members of the Sovereign Council were conferred the Papal Award, the Noble Knighthood of the Pontifical Order of St. Sylvester. The Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Sylvester Pope and Martyr (Latin: Ordo Sanctus Silvestri Papae) is one of the chivalric orders awarded by the Pope. It is awarded to Christian laymen who are actively involved in the life of the church, particularly as it is exemplified in the exercise of their professional duties and mastership of the different arts. It is awarded directly by the Pope as Supreme Pontiff and head of the Catholic Church and as the Head of State of Vatican City.
"On April 9, 2008, under the instructions by His Eminence Cardinal Sodano and Archbishop Andeodato Leopoldo Mancini of the Caldean Church, at the Pontificio Consiglio per i Laici, the Grand Master, Grand Dame, and Vice Grand Marshall had the opportunity to present a gift and conveyance on behalf of the Sovereign Medical Order to establish papal relations more than one year in development. The Sovereign Medical Order presented a brevet to His Excellency Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko. During the meeting His Kind Excellence expressed the joy of humanitarian works in regards to the history of the Order and the help the Order is participating with the Church. A further meeting is to be arranged for later this year with the Holy See department of State."
In short, Dr. McWilliams was knighted by the pope.
He received this recognition for his work as a member of the Sovereign Medical Order of the Knights Hospitaller, a group dedicated to bringing health care to people around the world. In their own words:
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE ORDER
I. To establish, equip, staff and maintain humanitarian relief and medical treatment centers and hospitals.
II. To promote and participate in all phases of education of physicians, therapists, nursing staff, paramedical and nutritional care personnel.
III. To raise funds for all these humanitarian, organizational, and medical needs.
IV. To promote peace and prosperity, by diplomacy, cooperation and consensus; and not by confrontation.
V. To promote fellowship among Knights and Dames of the Order.
The Order's Web site - www.smokh.org - also asks and answers a question at the heart of their efforts.
What does being a Knight Hospitaller mean in today's Third Millennium?
It means dedicating oneself to easing suffering and to bringing the relief of Christian charity to the sick, anywhere in the world, not only in hospitals but also in private and rural clinics, hospices, and nursing homes in the shantytowns of destitute populations. The Order does not only dedicate itself to the sick, but to the socially isolated, the victims of persecution and the refugees of any race and religious faith. According to the Constitutional Charter, members of the Order are required to maintain exemplary Christian behaviour in their private and public life, contributing to the maintenance of the Order's traditions.
The Order is currently working on health projects in North America and Central America, according to Dr. McWilliams.