Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 17 February

detail of the painting 'The Seven Holy Founders of the Order receive the religious habit of the Virgin Mary' by Antonio Balestra,  early 18th centuryThe Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order

The seven were all noble Florentines, who instead of mixing themselves up with the factions and rivalries then so prevalent in that city, met at certain times to animate one another to progress in virtue and to give themselves up to exercises of piety. On the day of Our Lady’s Nativity, they began to form a regular society, living together in a solitary place, in prayer and penitence, but without neglecting to inculcate peace and fervor amongst their neighbors. Saint Peter, Martyr, O.P., encouraged them and exerted himself to obtain the approbation of the Holy See for their Institute. The chief founder, named Bonfilio, died in 1262. The members of this Order are called Servites, because of their consecration to the service of Mary. They taught all to meditate on her sufferings on Calvary; these sorrows of hers have indeed an intimate connection with the mystery of our Redemption and wonderfully dispose the faithful of all conditions to benefit by its fruits in the details of their lives. For this end the Servites propagate the use of the scapular of Our Lady’s Seven Dolors, enriched with indulgences by Benedict XIII, O.P. These seven dolors of Mary are:

(1) Simeon’s prophecy of the sword which should pierce her soul;

(2) the flight into Egypt;

(3) the three days’ loss of Jesus when He was twelve years old;

(4) the meeting with Jesus on the way to Calvary;

(5) the Crucifixion;

(6) the descent from the Cross;

(7) the burial of Jesus.

Aspiration

“O Blessed Mother, as those who despise and turn from thee inevitably seek their own loss – so none who turn to thee and on whom thou deignest to look can ever perish.” – Saint Anselm

Practice

Try to spread devotion to the seven dolors and to the seven joys of Mary.