17th February Seven Founders of the Servite Order

Seven Florentine noblemen, Bonajuncta Mannetti, Manettus of Antella, Amideus Amidei, Uguccio Uguccioni, Sostineus Sostinei and Alexius Falconieri, who (A.D. 1233) retired from the world and laid the foundations of the illustrious Order of Servants of the Blessed Virgin Mary, known as Servites. The Order was afterwards approved by Pope Innocent IV. Their life was one of singular austerity, and their great devotion that to the Seven Dolours of Our Blessed Lady. The Order quickly spread, especially in Italy, and brought forth many holy men, eminent for their zeal and for their successful missionary labours. The Seven Holy Founders, each famous for the working of miracles, though they died in different years, have always shared a single tomb. They had for six hundred years been venerated as Saints, when Pope Leo XIII solemnly canonised them (A.D. 1888).

PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN HOLY FOUNDERS OF THE SERVITE ORDER

O Lord Jesus Christ Who,
in order to renew the memory
of the sorrows of Thy most holy Mother,
hast through the seven blessed fathers
enriched Thy Church with the new Order of Servites;
mercifully grant that we may be so united
in their sorrows as to share in their joys.
Who livest and reignest, world without end.
Amen.

PRAYER TO THE SEVEN HOLY FOUNDERS OF THE ORDER OF SERVITES

Impart to us, O Lord, in kindness the filial devotion with which the holy brothers venerated so devoutly the mother of God and led your people to yourself. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.
Amen.

Litany in Honor of the Seven Holy Founders

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Chris, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father in heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete,
Holy Trinity one God, pray for us.
Virgin Handmaid of the Lord,
Virgin of Sorrows,
Queen of your servants,
St. Joseph,
St. John the Baptist,
Sts. Peter and Paul,
St. Augustine,
Seven Holy Fathers,
Founder of our Order,
Servants of the Word,
Servants of holy Mary,
Servants of your brothers,
Servants of the poor,
Good servants,
Faithful servants,
Vigilant Servants
Compassionate servants,
Seekers of God,
Adorers of the Father,
Disciples of the Father,
Disciples of the Son,
Temples of the Spirit,
Men of solitude,
Men of penance,
Men of silence,
Men of contemplation,
Messengers of the Gospel,
Builders of the Kingdom,
Models of the friendship,
Makers of Peace.
Lord, you satisfy our every need with your abundant gifts. We your servants trust in your mercy and ask that you receive the prayers we offer through the intercession of our Seven Fathers. Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Feast of the Seven Holy Founders of the Servants of the Blessed Virgin Mary

O Lord Jesus Christ, who, for the renewal of the memory of Thy most holy Mother’s sorrows, hast rendered Thy Church fruitful through the seven blessed Fathers with a new family of Her Servants: mercifully grant us to be so joined to their weeping that we may exceedingly enjoy their delights.

A Prayer to the Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order

Ye glorious Patriarchs, heroes of the highest sanctity, whereby ye were made worthy to be chosen by the very Mother of God to spread devotion to her sorrows. Forsaking the world, in the savage caverns of Monte Senario ye did crucify your flesh with unheard of penances, and did nourish your spirit with constant meditation on the highest truths of our holy faith. In such wise did ye prepare yourselves for the mission entrusted to you and to your Order, namely, to root out vice and wickedness from the hearts of the faithful, by inspiring them with compassion toward the sorrows of the Blessed Virgin. Thereafter, bearing deeply imprinted in your hearts the memory of the passion of the Son of God and of the sorrows of His blessed Mother, ye strove to quiet civil discord, to convert sinners to repentance, and to bring back to the obedience of the Roman Pontiff those that had gone astray.

Ah, from your thrones in glory, where ye now reign with Christ, turn your eyes in pity upon us who are still miserably struggling in this valley of trial and conflict! The devil, with all his wicked suggestions; the world, with all its seductions; the flesh, with all its lusts; all these, like roaring lions, surround us to devour us. Let pity for us fill your hearts; infuse into our hearts at least a portion of your tender and constant compassion for the sorrows of Mary, so that, at the sight of our Mother overwhelmed in grief, we may be enabled to resist the fascinations of vice and may not renew, by our sins, the passion of our divine Redeemer, which was the cause of Mary’s sorrows. Obtain for us, likewise, docility and promptness in answering the divine call, detachment from the seeming goods of this world, the spirit of mortification and penance, to the end that, having followed on earth your example in the way of holiness and perfection, we may deserve to be your companions in heaven and to sing with you the mercies of our crucified Redeemer and the glories of the Queen of Martyrs.
Amen.

Seven Invocations to the Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order

I. O glorious Patriarchs, even in the midst of the licentiousness of your age, ye kept ever burning the divine fire of charity and a tender love for the Queen of Heaven, whereby ye were made worthy to be called by her to go apart from the world. We humbly entreat you to intercede for us, that we too, being enkindled with the fire of divine love, may be enabled to please the Most High; and to imitate the charity and patience of our Lady of Sorrows; and even in the midst of adversity to conform ourselves to the dispositions of divine Providence.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

II. Ye shining examples of perfection, forsaking the world and all the prizes that it held out to you, with generous hearts ye desired to withdraw from the eyes of men, so that the Blessed Virgin herself made known to you in a dream the peace and quietude of Monte Senario. Obtain for us the grace to set at naught the deceitful and vain pleasures of earth and to devote ourselves to the practice of penance for our sins after your example; and if we are not worthy, as ye were, to serve the blessed Mother of Sorrows more especially in solitude, may we at least show our sorrow at having caused her to be so afflicted by our sins and thus renewing the bitter passion of her divine and only Son.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

III. Most humble dwellers in the rocky fastnesses of Monte Senario, how admirable is your heroic humility! That ye might imitate more fully the lowly handmaid of the Lord, not only did ye forget the nobility and greatness of your ancient families, but in your generosity ye did not disdain to go begging from door to door in your own country for your scanty sustenance. Ah, obtain for us that when there is question of the service of God we may not be held back by human respect. Even as ye merited on this account in most miraculous wise to be called the Servants of Mary by the mouth of infants and sucklings, so may we too, by being a source of edification and light to our brethren on the road to heaven, show ourselves by our deeds to be the devoted servants of the august Mother of God.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

IV. Ye faithful Servants of the Queen of Heaven, who, when ye were bitterly weeping for the sorrows suffered by her in the life, passion and death of her dear Son, did make known to you by the miraculous vine laden in the dead of winter with great clusters of grapes, that it was her will that the Order of Servites be extended in order to spread abroad in the Church compassion for her sufferings; ah, obtain for us by your intercession an affectionate and tender compassion for our Lady of Sorrows, for in this manner even we shall be enabled to bring our brethren to groan with heartfelt sorrow for their sins, and thus become fruitful branches in her mystic vineyard.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

V. Most glorious Founders of the Order of the Servants of the Blessed Virgin, with what joy your hearts were flooded when ye were made worthy to behold visibly the Queen of Martyrs herself, who revealed to you the rule ye should keep and the habit ye should wear in memory of her sorrows as well as the palm of victory ye should obtain as the crown of your merits. We beseech you to obtain for us of the Mother of fair love the grace to know in what manner we may best serve her divine Son, in order to come thus most easily into the possession of that blessed immortality which the mercy of God hath prepared for us in paradise.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

VI. Most austere penitents, by your continuous and most severe mortifications, ye became every day more rich in merits and more pleasing unto the Lord. It is, therefore, no cause for wonder that heaven, in order to show how pleasing were your merits, made of Monte Senario a place of marvels, now surrounding it with flames that made it resplendent with light, again covering it with roses and lilies never seen before, that were plucked by the Angels and offered to Mary. We beseech you to intercede for us that our hearts may catch the flames of divine love and that our spirits may be cleansed from stain and become a garden rich in the flowers of virtue, worthy to be plucked by the most kind Queen of Heaven, as a lowly tribute of our devotion.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

VII. Angels of purity, Seraphim of love and martyrs of penance, ye blessed Patriarchs, privileged with a happy passing from this place of exile to your own true native land, one breathing forth his spirit as the Child Jesus appeared, another called audibly by Mary to his eternal repose, this one rising to glory under the appearance of a flame, that one under the aspect of a lily of purest white; ah, grant, we beseech you, that when we have come to our last hour, we may be protected by your intercession with our Lady of Sorrows in that dread moment against the wiles of the ancient serpent, and may be made worthy to breathe forth our spirits into the loving hands of the august Queen of Sorrows, and be conducted by her to eternal bliss in God, the everlasting Fountain of glory and holiness.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

Hymn: Sic patres vitam

The fathers lived a life in shade,
Yet seemed to Peter’s vision seven
White glistening lilies for the Maid,
The Queen of heaven,
Through city streets, o’er hills and plains,
Upborne by love divine, they trod,
To fix in men the Mother’s pains,
The swords of God.
This was the power in which they spoke,
Till each wild passion owned their sway:
They cheered the sad, from sinners broke
Their chains away.
Till at last the Virgin Queen
Led them to mansions in the sky,
Mansions where garlands aye are green,
And never die.
May they hear cries of all who pray,
And see how hard our earthly strife:
Aiding us onward to the day
When all is life.
Now to the Father thanks and praise;
To Thee, O Son, the same we send;
To thee, great Spirit, through all days,
World without end.
Amen