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- "Ours is to honour the martyr, tend the fallen, defend the innocent, and walk always in the light."
- — The Hospitaller's Book of Hours
The Orders Hospitaller is a non-militant Order of the Adepta Sororitas dedicated to healing and the provision of medical care for all the citizens of the Imperium. Novice Sisters of the Adepta Sororitas who show a gift for healing and attending to the needs of others are often ushered into the ranks of the Orders Hospitaller. Amongst the most widely welcomed of the Adepta Sororitas, the Hospitallers are sent to war zones or disaster-stricken areas of the galaxy, providing the people of the Imperium of Man with medical care and compassion when it is most needed. The Sisters of these Orders aid the poor and heal the sick and the wounded in the many hospitals and clinics across the Imperium operated as charities by the Sisterhood. Their convents often take the form of hospitals and retreats, and large numbers of them accompany the armies of the Imperial Guard. They are often found as part of an Imperial Crusade serving in battlefield hospitals on board warships in orbit. However, there are rare circumstances when they will go into battle with Imperial Guard troops to provide support in the field when a platoon's medic is wounded. It is these battle-hardened women that the members of the Inquisition look for to join their retinues as Acolytes. So skilled are the Sisters Hospitaller that they are regarded as saints by the common soldiery, who far prefer their gentle ministrations to the crude work undertaken by the field surgeons of the Departmento Munitorum. The Orders Hospitaller provides surgeons, physicians and nurses. The Sisters Hospitaller are amongst the most skilled and compassionate surgeons in the Imperium.
Sisters Hospitaller often serve in conjunction with members of other Orders of the Adepta Sororitas. Their ability to heal and return wounded Battle-Sisters to the battlefield makes them invaluable allies of the Orders Militant, but their knowledge of genetics also makes them useful to Orders Famulous investigations. At the same time, their command of the anatomy of the human body often leads them to accompany an Inquisitor into the torture chamber. It is a true measure of their dedication to the Emperor that these supremely skilled and compassionate individuals are able to put aside all selfish thoughts of their personal morality and turn their hands to inflicting pain when duty calls them to do so. These Sisters display incredible healing skills and compassion towards the wounded and fallen, yet remain implacable foes to the Heretics, witches, and mutants around them.
Traditionally, the Sisters of the Orders Hospitaller dress in light armour and healer's robes that allow for easy movement. For example, in the Calixis Sector, all but one of the Orders Hospitaller have some sort of crimson and bone colouring on their robes to mark them as medical staff. The Order of Quiet Sorrow on Sigurd IV alone wears a black and bone colour scheme in penitence for a past failing. Under normal conditions both the Order of the Torch and the Order of the Cleansing Water also wear dark coloured robes with a broad crimson strip down the front, bordered with a bone shade. The Order of Serenity dresses in white robes with ruby red hems. Much like the militant orders, the Orders Hospitaller are divided between the Convent Sanctorum on Ophelia VII, including the Order of the Eternal Candle and the Order of Serenity, and the Convent Prioris on Terra, including the Order of the Cleansing Water and the Order of the Torch.
Hospitallers in the Calixis Sector
In the Calixis Sector, the Hospitallers have an exceptionally good relationship with the Imperial Guard. Their efforts have saved millions of lives and no place more than on Tranch with the sisters at the Sainted Encarmine Hospital. In that never-ending civil war, the Sororitas have provided solace for the wounded and dying and have even taken up arms upon occasion to defend the hospital. When the Shroud Council attempted to make a statement by taking the hospital by force, they were surprised to find battle-ready warriors defending it, wielding their patients’ autoguns and lasguns. Needless to say, the attack was repelled rather quickly.
Second in size to the Order Famulous, the Sisters Hospitaller are very valuable to the Ecclesiarchy because of the faith they inspire. Many a jaded soldier has embraced the Imperial Creed more devoutly after a Sister Hospitaller saved his life. As a result of this personal contact with units of soldiers and officers, they can also provide the Imperial Guard with advance warning of emerging problems with morale or heretical ideas among the troops. The bedside execution of cult leader Silas Grimm by a Hospitaller novitiate during the Mining Riots on Pellucida IX is a staunch reminder that heretics have no place in the leadership of good men. His taint forced the Inquisition to purge one-third of a division of troops and burn down the barracks in which they lived. The remaining troops then served with distinction in quelling the riots following the purge.
Becoming a Sister Hospitaller
Though the Sisters Hospitaller are reputed to be the "gentle" arm of the Adepta Sororitas, in many ways this is far from the truth. As healers, doctors and spiritual counselors, they are peerless among the Orders. They are, however, still willing and able defenders of the Imperial Creed, ready to crush the life from a heretic, mutant, or alien threat. A Hospitaller's convictions, like those of her fellow Sisters, are rooted in their desire to defeat the enemies of the Emperor without hesitation. Likewise, those undeserving will either not receive any care or will be sped along to meet the Emperor face-to-face for final judgement. It is for this reason that Sisters Hospitaller cannot always be utilised in an interrogation of confirmed heretics, as they tend to die in their care prior to divulging information.
Known Orders Hospitaller
- Order of the Eternal Candle
- Order of Serenity
- Order of the Cleansing Water
- Order of the Torch
- Order of Quiet Sorrow
- Order Vespila
- Hospitaller Carapace - Often serving in combat zones, Sisters Hospitaller require more protection than other Non-militant Orders. The distinctive armour is a welcome sight to injured guardsmen and Acolytes alike, an angel of mercy sent by the God-Emperor himself. In addition to its protective qualities, the hooded habit is often coated in incense and unguents and the rest of the armour is sealed and treated against toxins.
- Hospitaller Medicae Tools - The Order Hospitaller equips its Sisters with the best battlefield medicine tools found outside the Apothecaries of the Adeptus Astartes. The kit has a variety of sacred oils, unguents, surgical tools, and sterilisers to help those who lay wounded in battle.
- Chaplet-Ecclesiasticus - With each bead on the string representative of an act of penance performed by a Sister, the Chaplet Ecclesiasticus is often worn around the neck or waist depending on its length and preference of the wearer. In some cases each bead represents ten or even more acts of penance going as high as a thousand acts per bead. The Chaplet is combat ready, each bead made of adamantium.
- Ring of Suffrage - Designed to cause minor discomfort when twisted, a Ring of Suffrage is utilised as a form of corporal mortification, to remind the individual of the burdens they bear as a citizen of the Imperium, as well as the trials and tribulations endured by the Saints and the God-Emperor Himself.
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- Dark Heresy: Blood of Martyrs (RPG), pp. 78, 96-97, 119-120
- The Inquisition (Background Book), pg. 65
- Daemonifuge (Graphic Novel), pp. 7-8
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