Seven Founders of Servants of Mary – OSM – Founded 15 August 1233 – Mendicant Order
• Sts Alexis Falconieri – Founder and Mystic (1200-1310) Patron of city of Orvieto (Italy)
• St Bartholomew degli Amidei
• St Benedict dell’Antella
• St Buonfiglio Monaldi
• St Gherardino Sostegni
• St Hugh dei Lippi-Uguccioni
• St John Buonagiunta Monetti
The Servite Order is one of the five original Catholic mendicant orders. Its objects 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) is a religious family that embraces a membership of friars (priests and brothers), contemplative nuns, a congregation of active sisters and lay groups.
This is the story of seven young men, caught up in the blood feuds of medieval Florence, who set out into the wilderness to live a holy life. They were from prominent families in Florence: two were married, two were widowers and they all belonged to a religious fraternity called the Laudesi. The chaplain of Laudesi was a priests, James Poggibonsi, who later joined them in their wilderness retreat.
After settling their personal affairs and making provision fo the families of those who were married, they began to live a life of prayer and penance, some going to Carfaggio, just outside the city and the others retiring to Mount Senario, deeper in the wilderness. At the suggestion of the Dominican Preacher, St Peter Martyr, they decided to found a community. Taking the rule of St Augustine and a version of the Dominican habit from St Pter, they took the name Servants of Mary, the name of a confraternity founded by St Peter Martyr. The bishop of Florence approved the community and they were taken under the protection of the Holy See in 1249.
They are known as the Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order, their individual names are above and they were canonised as a group by Pope Leo XIII in 1888.
In 1253, St Philip Benezi entered the Order and during his term of office as Superior General, the order spread throughout Italy and other parts of Europe. At the suggestion of the bishop of Florence, they modified their strict onastic form of life and took on the character of mendicant friars. They now have houses on every continent, including missions in Africa and South America.