Servite Order

The Servite Order is one of the five original Catholic mendicant orders. Its objectives are the sanctification of its members, preaching the Gospel, and the propagation of devotion to the Mother of God, with special reference to her sorrows. The members of the Order use O.S.M. (Ordo Servorum Beatae Mariae Virginis) as their post-nominal letters. The male members are known as Servite Friars or Servants of Mary.

The Order of Servants of Mary (The Servites) religious family includes friars (priests and brothers), contemplative nuns, a congregation of active religious sisters, and lay groups.

Order of Friar Servants of Mary
Ordo Servorum Beatae Mariae Virginis
Servants of Mary
Formation15 August 1233
TypeMendicant order (Institute of Consecrated Life)
Marian devotional society
HeadquartersSantissima Annunziata Basilica, Florence, Italy
WebsiteOfficial Website



Amadio 123
Amadeus of the Amidei (d. 1266), one of the seven founders of the Servite Order.

The Servites lead a community life in the tradition of the mendicant orders (such as the Dominicans and Franciscans). The Servite Order was founded in 1233 AD when a group of cloth merchants of Florence, Italy, left their city, families, and professions to retire to Monte Senario, a mountain outside the city, for a life of poverty and penance. These men are known as the Seven Holy Founders; they were canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1888.[1]

These seven were: Buonfiglio dei Monaldi (Bonfilius), Giovanni di Buonagiunta (Bonajuncta), Amadeus of the Amidei (Bartolomeus), Ricovero dei Lippi-Ugguccioni (Hugh), Benedetto dell' Antella (Manettus), Gherardino di Sostegno (Sostene), and Alessio de' Falconieri (Alexius). They belonged to seven patrician families of that city. As a reflection of the penitential spirit of the times, it had been the custom of these men to meet regularly as members of a religious society established in honor of Mary, the Mother of God.[2]

Sant Alessio Falconieri
Alexis Falconieri (d. 1310), one of the seven founders of the Servite Order.

From the beginning, the members of the Order dedicated themselves to Mary under her title of Mother of Sorrows.[1] Dedicating their devotion to the mother of Jesus, they adopted Mary's virtues of hospitality and compassion as the order's hallmarks.[3] The distinctive spirit of the order is the sanctification of its members by meditation on the Passion of Jesus and the Sorrows of Mary, and spreading abroad this devotion.[4]

The Bishop of Florence approved the Friar Servants of Mary as a religious Order sometime between the years 1240 and 1247. The Servants decided to live by the Rule of St. Augustine, and added to the Rule their own expression of Marian devotion and dedication. By 1250 there were a number of Servants who were ordained to the priesthood, thus creating an Order with priests as well as brothers.[5]

Pope Alexander IV, favored a plan for the amalgamation of all institutes following the Rule of St. Augustine. This was accomplished in March 1256, and about the same time a Rescript was issued confirming the Order of the Servites as a separate body with power to elect a general. Four years later a general chapter was convened at which the order was divided into two provinces, Tuscany and Umbria, the former of which St. Manettus directed, while the latter was given into the care of St. Sostene. Within five years two new provinces were added: Romagna and Lombardy.[6]

Suppression and expansion

St. Philip Benizi was elected general on 5 June 1267, and afterwards became the great propagator of the order.[4] The Second Council of Lyons in 1274 put into execution the ordinance of the Fourth Lateran Council, forbidding the foundation of new religious orders, and suppressed all mendicant institutions not yet approved by the Holy See. In the year 1276 Pope Innocent V in a letter to St. Philip declared the order suppressed. St. Philip proceeded to Rome, but before his arrival there Innocent V had died. His successor lived but five weeks. Finally Pope John XXI, decided that the order should continue as before. It was not definitively approved until Pope Benedict XI issued the Bull "Dum levamus" (11 February 1304). Of the seven founders, St. Alexis alone lived to see their foundation raised to the dignity of an order. He died in 1310.

Pope Boniface IX granted the Servites the power to confer theological degrees on 30 January 1398, and the order established the Marianum in Rome.[7]

2709 - Innsbruck - Servitenkirche
Servite church in Innsbruck, Austria

The new foundation enjoyed considerable growth in the following decades. Even in the thirteenth century there were houses of the order in Germany, France, and Spain. Early in the fourteenth century the order had more than one hundred convents including branch houses in Hungary, Bohemia, Austria, Poland, and Belgium; there were also missions in Crete, the Philippines (St. Peregrine-Philippine Vicariate), and India.

The disturbances during the Protestant Reformation caused the loss of many Servite convents in Germany, but in the south of France the order met with much success. The Convent of Santa Maria in Via (1563) was the second house of the order established in Rome; San Marcello al Corso had been founded in 1369. Early in the eighteenth century the order sustained losses and confiscations from which it has scarcely yet recovered. The flourishing Province of Narbonne was almost totally destroyed by the plague which swept Marseilles in 1720. In 1783 the Servites were expelled from Prague and in 1785 Emperor Joseph II desecrated the shrine of Maria Waldrast. Ten monasteries were suppressed in Spain in 1835. A new foundation was made at Brussels in 1891.

After the Risorgimento in 1870, the government of Italy closed the Marianum along with many other papal institutions. The institute was re-founded as the College of Sant Alessio Falcioneri in 1895.

At this period the order was introduced into England and America, chiefly through the efforts of Fathers Bosio and Morini. The latter, having gone to London in 1864 as director of the affiliated Sisters of Compassion, obtained charge of a parish from Archbishop Manning in 1867. His work prospered; besides St. Mary's Priory at London, convents were opened at Bognor Regis (1882) and Begbroke (1886). In 1870 Fathers Morini, Ventura, Giribaldi, and Brother Joseph Camera, at the request of Bishop Joseph Melcher of Green Bay, Wisconsin, took up a mission in America, at Neenah. Father Morini founded at Chicago (1874) the monastery of Our Lady of Sorrows. A novitiate was opened at Granville, Wisconsin, in 1892. The American province was formally established in 1908.

Twentieth century

The order continued to expand geographically throughout the twentieth century, taking responsibility for missions in Swaziland in 1913, Acre in Brazil in 1919, Aisén in Chile in 1937, and Zululand in South Africa. It also made foundations in Argentina from 1914 and more solidly since 1921; Transvaal in South Africa since 1935, Uruguay 1939, Bolivia 1946, Mexico 1948, Australia 1951,[8][9] Venezuela 1952, Colombia 1953, India 1974, Mozambique 1984, Philippines 1985, Uganda, Albania 1993, and also the refoundations in Hungary (Eger) and the Czech Republic.[10]

Pope Pius XII, through the Congregation of Seminaries and Universities, elevated the Marianum to a pontifical theological faculty on 30 November 1950.

After the Second Vatican Council, the order renewed its Constitutions starting with its 1968 general chapter at Majadahonda, Madrid, a process which was concluded in 1987. In the same year, Prior General Michael M. Sincerny oversaw the creation of the International Union of the Servite Family (UNIFAS).[10]

The twentieth century also saw the beatification (1952) and the canonization of Friar Antonio Maria Pucci; the canonization of Clelia Barbieri (d. 1870), foundress of the Minime dell’Addolorata; the beatification of Ferdinando Maria Baccilieri of the Servite Secular Order (1999); the beatification of Sr. Maria Guadalupe Ricart Olmos (2001), a Spanish cloistered nun who was martyred during the Spanish Civil War; and the beatification of Cecelia Eusepi of the Servite Secular Order.

Through the centuries, the Servite Order has spread throughout the world, including all of Europe, parts of Africa, Australia, the Americas, India, and the Philippines. The general headquarters of the Servite Order is in Rome, while many provinces and motherhouses represent the Order throughout the world. In the United States there is one province of friars with headquarters in Chicago. There are four provinces of sisters with motherhouses in Wisconsin, Nebraska, and two in Illinois.[1]

Devotions, manner of life

Basilica della santissima annunziata, Cappella di San Giuliano o di San Giuseppe, cupola
Ceiling in the Servite mother church, Santissima Annunziata, Florence

In common with all religious orders strictly so called, the Servites make solemn vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The particular object of the order is to sanctify first its own members, and then all men through devotion to the Mother of God, especially in her desolation during the Passion of her Divine Son.

The Servites give missions, have the care of souls, or teach in higher institutions of learning. The Rosary of the Seven Dolors is one of their devotions, as is also the Via Matris.[11]

The fasts of the order are Advent, Lent, and the vigils of certain feasts.

All offices in the order are elective and continue for three years, except that of general and assistant-generals which are for six years.

Canonized Servite saints are: St. Philip Benizi (feast day on 23 August), St. Peregrine Laziosi (4 May), St. Juliana Falconieri (19 June). The seven founders of the order were canonized in 1888, and have a common feast day on 17 February. The date first assigned to this feast day was 11 February, the anniversary of the canonical approval of the order in 1304. In 1907 this date was assigned to the celebration of Our Lady of Lourdes and the feast day of the Seven Holy Founders was moved to 12 February. In accordance with liturgical tradition, the date was changed in 1969 to the anniversary of the death of one of them, Alexis Falconieri, which occurred on 17 February 1310.[12]

Affiliated associations

Connected with the first order of men are the cloistered nuns of the second order, which originated with converts of St. Philip Benizi. These sisters have monasteries in Spain, Italy, England, the Tyrol, and Germany.

The Mantellate is a third order of women founded by Juliana Falconieri, to whom St. Philip gave the habit in 1284. From Italy it spread into other countries of Europe. The Venerable Anna Juliana, Archduchess of Austria, founded several houses and became a Mantellate herself. In 1844 it was introduced into France, and from there extended into England in 1850. The sisters were the first to wear the religious habit publicly in that country after the so-called Reformation and were active missionaries under Father Faber and the Oratorians for many years. This branch occupies itself with active works. They devote themselves principally to the education of youth, managing academies and taking charge of parochial schools and workrooms. They also undertake works of mercy, such as the care of orphans, visiting the sick, and instructing converts, etc.[4] They have houses in Italy, France, Spain, England, and Canada. In the United States they are to be found in the dioceses of Sioux City, Omaha, Belville (NC), and Blue Island (IL).

There is also a confraternity of the Seven Dolours, branches of which may be erected in any church.

The Secular Order of the Servants of Mary (Servite Secular Order) is a Catholic organization of lay men and women plus diocesan priests living their Christian faith in the context of the world. They strive toward holiness according to the spirituality of the Servite Order, following the directives of their Rule of Life. Secular Servites are asked to do the following each day: live the Christian virtues of faith, hope, and love; pray and try to read Sacred Scripture each day, and/or the Liturgy of the Hours; and practice acts of reverence for the Mother of God daily, especially by praying the Servite prayer "The Vigil of Our Lady" and/or the Servite Rosary of the Seven Sorrows of Mary.[2]

Mariology and the Marianum

The Pontifical institute Marianum which is now one of the leading centers of Mariology traces its roots to the Servite Order. In 1398 Pope Boniface IX granted the order the right to confer theological degrees; in 1895 the school reopened under the name Sant Alessio Falcioneri.

In 1939 Father Gabriel Roschini OSM founded the journal Marianum and directed it for thirty years. In 1950, he founded the Marianum Theological Faculty, which, on 8 December 1955, became a Pontifical faculty by Decree Coelesti Honorandae Reginae of the Sacred Congregation of Seminaries and Universities under the authority of Pope Pius XII.[13]

Servites of distinction

Ten members have been canonized and several beatified.

A few of the most distinguished members are here grouped under the heading of that particular subject to which they were especially devoted; the dates are those of their death.

Institutions and schools

Gallery of Servite churches


Santa Maria dei Servi, Bologna, Italy

Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Servi (Venice)

Chiesa dei Servi, Venice, Italy

Udine-Basilica Santuario della Beata Vergine delle Grazie

Basilica Santuario della Beata Vergine delle Grazie, Udine, Italy

Santissima Annunziata1

Santissima Annunziata Basilica, Florence, the mother church of the Servite Order

See also


  1. ^ a b c "History of the Servite Order", The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother Archived 2015-04-18 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b "About: Friar Servants of Mary USA Province". Archived from the original on 2017-06-21. Retrieved 2017-05-25.
  3. ^ "West Side basilica celebrates Servite order's 775th anniversary". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Retrieved 2017-05-25.
  4. ^ a b c "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Servants of Mary (Order of Servites)". Retrieved 2017-05-25.
  5. ^ "The Servite Order". Retrieved 2017-05-25.
  6. ^ a b "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Order of Servites". Retrieved 2017-05-25.
  7. ^ "The Marianum Pontifical Theological Faculty". Archived from the original on 24 January 2009.
  8. ^ Christopher M. Ross OSM (12 January 2001), Servites in Australia - Part One (PDF), retrieved 25 October 2014
  9. ^ Of Dreams and Realities, A history of the origins and development of Servite College (1958-1983). p. 1.
  10. ^ a b "A Brief History of the Servite Order: From the Canonization of the Holy Founders 1888 to 2000". Archived from the original on 2007-12-05.
  11. ^ "The Via Matris". The Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows. 2016. Archived from the original on 2018-12-25. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  12. ^ Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), pp. 88 and 117
  13. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2005, p. 1905
  14. ^ "About: Friar Servants of Mary USA Province". Archived from the original on 26 February 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  15. ^ "Seven Holy Founders School Profile | Saint Louis, Missouri (MO)". Retrieved 2017-05-25.

External links

Bagni San Filippo

Bagni San Filippo is an area in the municipality of Castiglione d'Orcia in the Province of Siena, Italy, not far from Monte Amiata. It is a small hot spring containing calcium carbonate deposits, which form white concretions and waterfalls. The name derives from that of St Philip Benizi, who was a prior of the Servite order, and who lived as a hermit here in the thirteenth century. The grotto is open to visitors.

Costanza Starace

Blessed Costanza Starace (5 September 1845 – 13 September 1921) was an Italian Roman Catholic nun. She was the founder of the religious congregation known as the Compassionist Sisters Servants of Mary. Starace later assumed the new name of "Maria Maddalena of the Passion" upon the occasion of her solemn profession. She became a secular member of the Servite Order after she failed to join a religious order.

Starace devoted her life to Jesus Christ and to the Mother of God in her mission to evangelize and provide relief to the ill - this was evident during a series of cholera outbreaks near Naples. She established her order to assist in proving relief and extending that service to the poor.

She was beatified on 15 April 2007.

Dionisio Laurerio

Dionisio Laurerio (1497–1542) (also known as fra Dionisio di Benevento and as the Cardinal of San Marcello) was an Italian Roman Catholic cleric who was the superior general of the Servite Order from 1535 to 1542, a cardinal from 1539, and a bishop from 1540.

Joan Bartlett

Dame Joan Bartlett, S.S.I., O.B.E., D.S.G., (1 August 1911, Lancashire – 9 September 2002) was a prominent British convert to the Roman Catholic Church and the foundress of the Servite Secular Institute.

During World War II Bartlett worked in the European Broadcasting division of the BBC, and at night was a Commandant of the Red Cross. She converted to Roman Catholicism in 1941, becoming a Servite tertiary. She opened a residential home for the elderly homeless, having been inspired by hearing Violet Markham speak at Caxton Hall about the plight of many elderly people who had been bombed out during The Blitz. Having already been accepted as a candidate to the Servite Religious Sisters, she was persuaded to delay her entry for this work by her spiritual director, a Servite friar.The Servite Order lent Bartlett £8000 and the Air Raid Distress Fund of London another £3600 to help this project. With this money and other contributions from individual donors, most notably, Albert Oppenheimer (CBE) she purchased a property in The Boltons. It was registered as the Hearth and Home Housing Association, soon known as Servite Housing, and began to operate in 1946. They have since severed their connections with the institute she founded.The following year the Holy See approved the formation of secular institutes under Church law. This was a new form of consecrated life which would be lived by single people following independent lives in general society. Bartlett felt drawn to live in this way rather than in the religious congregation she had planned to join. She immediately began to live as a consecrated person and began to draw up Constitutions for the proposed institute.The first gathering of other women drawn to this took place in 1952. Gradually the group established itself. In the 1960s connections were made with women in Germany and Italy who had a similar orientation in Servite spirituality. The institute received official approval in 1964 by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster and they were formally incorporated into the Servite Order.The institute continued to grow, being spread to other countries and received papal recognition in March 1979, at which time she was made a Dame in the Order of St. Gregory the Great by Pope John Paul II. The Constitutions of the Institute received final papal approval in February 1994. Members are now found in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Spain and the United States of America, as well as in the United Kingdom.

Independent Catholic News described her as follows:

Joan was a woman of vision, always ahead of her times, and as housing needs changed she went on to any number of imaginative housing projects.

Bartlett remained involved in Servite Housing until her death, having devoted the years since her retirement as Director to fund-raising.


This article is about the pontifical institute. For Ptolemy's town of Corsica, see Bonifacio, for the plant S. marianum, see Silybum marianum.The Marianum is both the name of a Pontifical institute for the study of Mariology and the name of a prestigious journal of Marian theology. The school and the journal share the same name since their formation was based on the work of Father Gabriel Roschini, who founded both the journal and the modern educational institute.

The name Marianum itself goes back to Pope Boniface IX, who in 1398 granted the Servants of Mary the right to confer theological degrees. This college in Rome was closed in 1870 by the victorious Italian government, which took over the Papal States, Rome and many papal institutions. It opened again under the name Sant' Alessio Falconieri in 1895.In 1939 Father Roschini founded the journal Marianum and directed it for thirty years. In 1950, he founded the Marianum Theological Faculty, which, on December 8, 1955 became a Pontifical faculty by Decree Coelesti Honorandae Reginae of the Sacred Congregation of Seminaries and Universities under the authority of Pope Pius XII. Father Roschini served as the rector. Since 1971, the pontifical institute has been open to lay persons.The Marianum theological faculty is now a well-known academic institution for the study of Mariology and is located at Viale 30 Aprile- 6, 00153, Rome. The Marianum offers both a Master's degree in Mariology (2-year academic program) and a doctorate in Mariology. This Mariological facility has a library with more than 85,000 volumes on Mariology and a number of magazines and journals that treat of theological and Mariological topics.

Monasterium Magnificat

The Monasterium Magnificat is a monastery of the Annunciade Order, located in Westmalle, Belgium. It is the only monastery of this order in Belgium. It was created from the merger of three monasteries which existed in 1965: Tienen (1629), Geel (1853), and Merksem (1898). The new monastery was built between 1966 and 1970 in the midst of a quiet forest belonging to Westmalle Abbey. Marc Dessauvage (1931-1984) was the architect of the building.

Monte Senario

Monte Senario is a Servite monastery in the comune of Vaglia, near Florence in Tuscany, in central Italy. It stands on the mountain of the same name, on the watershed between the Valdarno to the south and the Mugello to the north. It was established in 1245 by the seven founding members of the Servite order:153 and was the first Servite monastery.

Mount Senario College

Mount Senario College (MSC or Mt. Senario) was a private non-profit college located in Ladysmith, Wisconsin, in the Diocese of Superior.

Our Lady of Sorrows

Our Lady of Sorrows (Latin: Beata Maria Virgo Perdolens), Our Lady of Dolours, the Sorrowful Mother or Mother of Sorrows (Latin: Mater Dolorosa), and Our Lady of Piety, Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows or Our Lady of the Seven Dolours are names by which the Virgin Mary is referred to in relation to sorrows in her life. As Mater Dolorosa, it is also a key subject for Marian art in the Catholic Church.

The Seven Sorrows of Mary are a popular Roman Catholic devotion. In common religious Catholic imagery, the Virgin Mary is portrayed in a sorrowful and lacrimating affect, with seven long knives or daggers piercing her heart, often bleeding. Devotional prayers that consist of meditation began to elaborate on her Seven Sorrows based on the prophecy of Simeon. Common examples of piety under this title are Servite rosary, or the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady and the Seven Joys of Mary and more recently, "Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary".

The feast of Our Lady of Sorrows is liturgically celebrated every 15 September, while a feast of Friday of Sorrows is observed in some Catholic countries.

Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica

Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica (officially: the Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows) is a Roman Catholic basilica on the west side of Chicago, Illinois, which houses the National Shrine of Saint Peregrine, a national shrine. Located at 3121 West Jackson Boulevard, within the Archdiocese of Chicago, it is, along with St. Hyacinth and Queen of All Saints, one of only three churches in Illinois designated by the Pope with the title of basilica.

Peregrine Laziosi

Saint Peregrine Laziosi (Pellegrino Latiosi) (c. 1260 – 1 May 1345) is an Italian saint of the Servite Order (Friar Order Servants of Mary). He is the patron saint for persons suffering from cancer, AIDS, or other illness.

Peter Mary Rookey

Fr. Peter Mary Rookey, O.S.M. (October 12, 1916 - September 10, 2014) was a Servite Friar in the Roman Catholic Church. Rookey was widely believed to have had the charism of healing, and spent a good part of his priesthood in that ministry.

San Carlo al Corso (Milan)

San Carlo al Corso is a neo-classic church in the center of Milan.

The church is managed by the Servite Order.

The church facade was designed in 1844 by Carlo Amati and was finished in 1847. It then served as a model for the Chiesa Rotonda in San Bernardino, Switzerland, 1867.

The complex was built to replace Convent of the Servite founded as early as 1290 and later was suppressed in 1799. The new church was built in thanks for the ending a cholera epidemic, and dedicated to Saint Charles Borromeo who was the Bishop of Milan during the time of the bubonic plague in Milan during the 16th century.

Santissima Annunziata, Florence

The Basilica della Santissima Annunziata (Basilica of the Most Holy Annunciation) is a Renaissance-style, Roman Catholic minor basilica in Florence, region of Tuscany, Italy. This is considered the mother church of the Servite Order. It is located at the northeastern side of the Piazza Santissima Annunziata near the city center.

Scapular of the Seven Sorrows of Mary

The Scapular of the Seven Sorrows of Mary (also called Scapular of the Seven Dolours of Mary) is a Roman Catholic devotional scapular that dates back to the thirteenth century. It is worn by members of the Confraternity of the Seven Dolours of Mary, associated with the Servite Order.

Servite College

Servite College is a co-educational Roman Catholic high school in the Perth suburb of Tuart Hill, Western Australia. The school is operated by the Servite Order.

Servite High School

Servite High School is an all-male, Roman Catholic college preparatory high school operated by the Order of Friar Servants of Mary (the Servites). Located on a 15-acre (61,000 m2) campus in Anaheim, California, USA in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, as of 2017 it had an enrollment of about 850 and about 9000 alumni. Its mascot is the Friar and its colors are black and white, trimmed with gold. It is located within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, however, it is not a diocesan school, but is run privately by the Servite Order itself.

Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order

The Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order were Alexis Falconieri (Italian: Alessio Falconieri) (1200 – 17 February 1310); Amadeus of the Amidei (died 1266) (also known as Bartolomeo degli Amidei);

St. Peregrines GAA

Cumann Naomh Peregrine is a Gaelic Athletic Association club in Clonsilla, Fingal, Ireland. It was founded in 1978 when a group of local people got together with Fr. Joe Madden of the Servite Order and decided to form a GAA Club of their own.

The Club caters for a range of age groups from 4 years upwards in the parishes of Hartstown, Huntstown, Porterstown, Blakestown and Mountview.

St.Peregrines boast one of the finest clubhouses in the country in addition to a 500-seater spectator stand, a gym, astro turf and sports hall. Local rivals include St. Brigids and Castleknock.

The adult footballers are competing inn AFL3 and also compete in the Dublin Senior Football Championship having won the IFC in 2006. The senior hurlers compete in AHL3 and Intermediate Hurling Championship

The Club is humorously referred to as " The Penguins" because of their strip.


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