The breast star of a Knight of Grace

of the Most Venerable Order of

the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem

Author: Dave Boven

The order traces its origins back to the Knights Hospitaller in the Middle Ages, which was later known as the Order of Malta. A faction of them emerged in France in the 1820s and moved to Britain in the early 1830s, where, after operating under a succession of grand priors and different names, it became associated with the founding in 1882 of the St John Ophthalmic Hospital near the old city of Jerusalem and the St John Ambulance Brigade in 1887.

The order is found throughout the Commonwealth of Nations, Hong Kong, the Republic of Ireland, and the United States of America, with the worldwide mission "to prevent and relieve sickness and injury, and to act to enhance the health and well-being of people anywhere in the world." The order's approximately 25 000 members, known as confrères, are mostly of the Protestant faith, though those of other Christian denominations or other religions are accepted into the order. Except via appointment to certain government or ecclesiastical offices in some realms, membership is by invitation only, and individuals may not petition for admission.

The Order of St John is perhaps best known for the health organizations it founded and continues to run, including St John Ambulance and St John Eye Hospital Group. As with the order, the memberships and work of these organizations are not constricted by denomination or religion. The order is a constituent member of the Alliance of the Orders of Saint John of Jerusalem. Its headquarters are in London and it is a registered charity under English law.

St John Ambulance

St John Ambulance is the name of several affiliated organizations in different countries which teach and provide first aid and emergency medical services and are primarily staffed by volunteers. The associations are overseen by the International Order of St John and its priories (national branches).

St. John Ambulance in Canada, or SJA (French: Ambulance Saint-Jean Canada (ASJ), is a confederation of St John Ambulance Provincial and Territorial Councils under mandate by the "St John Councils Regulations 1975" of the Royal Charter, Statutes and Regulations of the Order of St John (1985). Each Council is governed by a Board of Directors under Provincial or Territorial incorporating legislation together with the St John Ambulance Priory in Canada, incorporated under the federal Canada Not For Profit Corporations Act (2012). The Priory provides support services to the Councils and manages the Order of St. John in Canada. The Councils deliver the mandate of training and community services and are responsible for their own governance, operations and management.

The mission of St. John Ambulance in Canada is to enable Canadians to improve their health, safety, and quality of life through training and community service. St John Ambulance in Canada has (collectively) close to 25,000 members in communities across Canada - over 3,500 instructors, over 19,000 volunteers and over 7,000 members of the Order of St John.

Ambulance Saint-Jean, ou ASJ (en anglais: St. John Ambulance (SJA)), est une organisation sans but lucratif (OSBL) internationale. Sa mission est d'aider le public à améliorer sa santé, sa sécurité et sa qualité de vie à travers la formation et l'engagement communautaire.

Ambulance Saint-Jean est surtout présent au Royaume-Uni et dans les anciennes colonies britanniques, notamment le Canada, l'Australie, la Nouvelle-Zélande, l'Irlande, la Malaisie, Singapour et Hong Kong.

C'est au Canada, dans la province de Québec, qu'on retrouve la plus grande concentration de bénévoles francophones. Le Québec compte 1800 bénévoles, sur un total de 25 000 à l'échelle du pays.