Genesis 11.1-9; Psalm 32; Mark 8.34—9.1
The Servants of the Mother of God, as this order is formally known, was founded in 1233 by the ‘seven holy founders’, each a member of one of the patrician families in Florence. These cloth merchants left their businesses and families and withdrew to Monte Senario, a mountain just outside the city, to live lives of poverty and penance. The seven were jointly canonised in 1888 by Pope Leo XIII.
They dedicated themselves to Our Lady under her title of Madonna Adolorata (‘Mother of Sorrows’) and they adopted Mary’s virtues of hospitality and compassion as their hallmarks. Eventually in 1398 the Order was permitted to confer academic theological degrees; many centuries later the Order established the Marianum faculty in Rome. Members of the Order first came to England in the 19th Century, working in the first instance alongside the Oratorians.