The founding of the Servite Order began in Florence, Italy in 1233 with seven young Italian men: Bonfilius, Alexis, Amadeus, Hugh, Sostenes, Manettus, and Buonguinta. These men gave up their belongings to live together in a small house and focus on their devotion to Mary, the Mother God. Later on, the seven established a hermitage at Monte Senario, Italy. Joined by other men, they became known as the Friar Servants of Mary.
The Order of the Friar of the Servants of Mary
In 1304, the Order of Friar Servants of Mary gained official approval as a religious Order in the Catholic Church. Once fully established, the Order began to spread across Europe in the 1300s. Servite presence in America began in 1852 with Fra Antoninus Grundner of the Tyrolese Province, who worked among German Catholics in New York City. In 1870, three Italian Friars led by Fra Austin Morini established what was to become a permanent Servite Foundation in the US.
Today the Servites are present in nearly all countries in North and South America and in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. The Servites continue to serve where the needs of God's people exist. They still seek the perfection of the Gospel way of life under the protection of Mary, the Mother and Servant of the Lord.