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

  • Confraternity of Our Lady
  • Order of Servants of Mary
  • Servant Friars
  • The Seven Holy Founders



Named the fifth mendicant order by Pope Martin V, it was founded in 1233 by

On the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1240 the Founders received a vision of Our Lady. She held in her hand the black habit, and a nearby angel bore a scroll reading Servants of Mary. Mary told them,

“You will found a new order, and you will be my witnesses throughout the world. This is your name: Servants of Mary. This is your rule: that of Saint Augustine. And here is your distinctive sign: the black scapular, in memory of my sufferings.”

From their first establishment at La Camarzia, near Florence, Italy, they removed to the more secluded Monte Senario where the Blessed Virgin herself conferred on them their habit, instructing them to follow the Rule of Saint Augustine and to admit associates. Official approval was obtained in 1249; confirmed in 1256; suppressed in 1276; definitely approved in 1304; and again by Brief in 1928. The order was so rapidly diffused that by 1285 there were 10,000 members with houses in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, and early in the 14th century it numbered 100 convents, besides missions in Crete and India. The Reformation reduced the order in Germany, but it flourished elsewhere. Again meeting with political reverses in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, it nevertheless prospered, being established in England in 1867, and in America in 1870. The Servites take solemn vows and venerate in a special manner the Seven Dolors of Our Lady. They cultivate both the interior and the active life, giving missions and teaching.

An affiliation, professing exclusively the contemplative life is that of the Hermits of Monte Senario. Reinstated in France, 1922. Cloistered nuns, forming a Second Order, have been affiliated with the Servites since 1619 when Blessed Benedicta di Rossi called the nuns of her community Servite Hermitesses. They have been established in England, Spain, Italy, the Tyrol, and Germany.

A Third Order, the Mantellate, founded by Saint Juliana Falconieri under Saint Philip Benizi, c.1284, has houses in Italy, France, Spain, England, Canada, and the United States. Secular tertiaries and a confraternity of the Seven Dolors are other branches.



MLA Citation

  • “Servites“. Congregations of the Faith. CatholicSaints.Info. 15 September 2021. Web. 1 December 2021. <>