The Order of Servants of Mary (The Servites) is a religious family that embraces a membership of friars (priests and brothers), contemplative nuns, a congregation of active sisters and lay groups. The Servites lead a community life in the tradition of the mendicant orders (such as the Dominicans and Franciscans). The Servite Order was founded in the early part of the 13th century (1233 AD), when a group of cloth merchants of Florence, Italy, left their city, families and professions to retire outside the city on a mountain known as Monte Senario for a life of poverty and penance. These men are known as the Seven Holy Founders; they were canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1888.
From the beginning, the members of the Order dedicated themselves to Mary under her title of Mother of Sorrows. Through the centuries, the Servite Order has spread throughout the world, including all of Europe, parts of Africa, Australia, the Americas, India and the Philippines. The general headquarters of the Servite Order is in Rome, while many provinces and motherhouses represent the Order throughout the world. In the United States there is one province of friars with headquarters in Chicago; there are four provinces of sisters with motherhouses in Wisconsin, Nebraska and two in Illinois.
To learn more about the Servite Order, click here to visit its website.