A Saint of the Day for Feb.17

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SEVEN FOUNDERS OF THE ORDER OF SERVITES

By Richard P. Mc Brien

Today’s feast celebrates the sanctity of seven members of well-to-do thirteenth-century Florentine families who founded a new order of friars called the Servites, or the Order of Friar Servants of Mary (O.S.M.) in 1233. Their names are Buonfi glio (also Bonfi lius) Monaldi (also Monaldo), Giovanni Bonaiuncta (also Buonagiunta), Manettus dell’Antella (also Benedict dell’Antello, or dell’Antela), Amadeus degli Amidei (also Bartholomew), Ricovero Uguccione (also Hugh), Geraldino Sostegni (also Sosthenes Sostegno), and Alexis Falconieri.

In reaction to the general moral laxity of the city, they gathered in a house outside Florence where they practiced a life of solitude, prayer, and penance. When they were besieged by visitors, they withdrew to the wilderness, where they built a simple church and hermitage. Later, they moderated their extremely austere lifestyle and became friars rather than monks, living in towns rather than in monasteries.

A principal devotion fostered by the friars is that of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin. The seven founders were canonized in 1887, and their feast appears on the General Roman Calendar

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