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Seven Holy Founders of the Servites

The Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order

The Order of Servants of Mary

In the year of Our Lord 1233, on the feast of the Assumption, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared after Holy Mass to seven young men in Florence, Italy. The men were all members of the Laudesi, a confraternity for nobles and merchants devoted to the Blessed Mother. Their names were Bonfilius Monaldi, Bonagiunta Manetti, Manettus dell’Antella, Amadeus de Amadei, Hugo Lippi, Gerard Sostegni, and Alexis Falconieri. All but Alexis would eventually become priests. Our Lady directed the men to retire from the world, which they did together on her Nativity. On a visit to obtain their bishop’s blessing, they were hailed as “Servants of Mary” by a crowd of children, including the very young Philip Benizi, who would become one of the order’s greatest saints. On Good Friday in the year 1240, Our Lady gave the founders their black habit, or scapular, and confirmed their name and mission under the rule of St. Augustine. Only Alexis, whose niece St. Juliana Falconieri would found the Third Order of Servites, lived to see the canonical approval of this fifth mendicant order, on February 11th, 1304. In the modern calendar the founders are celebrated on February 17th, the day St. Alexis entered heaven.

 

Traditional Roman Martyrology for February 12th

IN Tuscany, on Mount Senario, the seven Holy Founders of the Order of Servites of the Blessed Virgin Mary. After a most austere kind of life, they died a death precious in the Lord, with a reputation for merits and prodigies. As one spirit of true fraternal love united them in life, and as the people joined them together in the same veneration after death, Leo XIII placed them together in the catalogue of the Saints.

At Barcelona, in Spain, in the time of the emperor Diocletian, St. Eulalia, virgin, who, being racked, torn with iron hooks, cast into the fire, and crucified, received the glorious crown of martyrdom.

In Africa, St. Damian, soldier and martyr.

At Carthage, the holy martyrs Modestus and Julian.

At Benevento, St. Modestus, deacon and martyr.

At Alexandria, the holy children Modestus and Ammonius.

At Antioch, St. Meletius, a bishop, who often suffered exile for the Catholic faith, and finally died at Constantinople and went to his reward. His virtues have been highly extolled by St. John Chrysostom and St. Gregory of Nyssa.

At Constantinople, St. Anthony, a bishop in the time of the emperor Leo VI.

At Verona, St. Gaudentius, bishop and confessor.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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