Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order

St. Manettus (d. 1268), also known as St. Benedict dell’Antella, was one of the Seven Founders of the Order of Servites. Between 1225 and 1227 in the city of Florence, Italy, seven cloth merchants from the city’s prominent families joined the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They desired to live a penitential life dedicated to her title of Mother of Sorrows. Our Lady appeared to the seven men on the feast of the Assumption in 1233, asking them to live a life of seclusion and prayer. They obeyed and lived an austere life for many years. Mary appeared to the seven again in 1240, giving them a black habit and a scroll titled “Servants of Mary,” and asking them to found a religious order following the Rule of St. Augustine. The Servites became one of the five original mendicant religious orders. Their special charism is devotion to the Passion of Jesus and the Seven Sorrows of Mary. Only one of the seven founders lived to see the order formally approved by Rome in 1304. It has since spread throughout the world and remains active to this day. The feast day of its Seven Holy Founders of the Order of Servites (Servants of Mary) is February 17.

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