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Seven Holy Founders of the Servites
February 12

Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

Biographical selection:

On the feast of the Assumption in 1233, the Blessed Virgin appeared to seven noble Florentines exhorting them to leave the world and retire to live in solitude and prayer.

Servite Shield

Shield of the Servants of Mary

The seven retired to La Camarzia. After a time they returned to Florence and the inhabitants came outside the city to receive them in great joy. Newborn infants from the arms of their mothers called out upon seeing them: “These are the Servants of Mary!”

The seven adopted that name and dedicated their lives to propagate devotion to the Passion of Our Lord and the Sorrows of Mary. Later, on the Feast of the Assumption in 1240, Our Lady appeared to them carrying a black habit, and a nearby angel bore a scroll reading Servants of Mary. She 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 at the foot of the Cross.”
The Order developed rapidly not only in Italy but also in France and Germany, where the Holy Founders spread devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Mary. Their Order was duly approved by the Pope in 1259. They were canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1888.

Comments of Prof. Plinio:

This is one of the oldest Orders specially dedicated to spread devotion to Our Lady. It is a very beautiful title, The Servants of Mary, which was miraculously inspired when infants still unable to speak began to shout it in praise of the, Seven Holy Founders who were retuning to Florence. This title designates a special devotion to Our Lady that would reach its full form centuries later with the explications of St. Louis Grignion de Montfort in his Treatise of True Devotion to Mary.

Being a servant of Our Lady is essentially the same thing as being her slave. It represents the renunciation of one’s past, present, and future merits and goods – both spiritual and material. It is an excellent designation that marks the distinction between the true Catholic position and the revolutionary one.

Our Lady pierced by seven arrows of sorrow

Our Lady of Seven Sorrows

Today many people, including progressivist theologians, think that it is shameful for the modern man to be a servant or a slave of Our Lady. It would be acceptable in the past, but since the abolition of slavery, there should no longer be servants or slaves, even for Our Lady. So, regarding our relations with Our Lady, we should call ourselves her children but not her servants or slaves, because it is not in accordance with human dignity. This is obviously an egalitarian and revolutionary affirmation.

In reality, it is an honor to be the servant of Our Lady, who is the Queen of Heaven and Earth. The principal desire of our lives is to be her true slaves. As her servants, we are also her children - a special kind of children who desire her glory above all, and who willingly renounce everything for this end.

The name of the Order of the Servants of Mary, or Servites, was clearly a name desired not only by the Seven Saints who founded it, but also by Our Lady, who affirmed their choice. This name was also endorsed when the Pope approved the Order, and when the Church canonized the Founders in the 19th century. Therefore, it is an excellent name.

It is a work of the Devil, the inspirer of the Revolution, to strive to destroy every kind of superiority, not only on this earth, but even in the supernatural order. The Revolution cannot abide acknowledging the immense inequality God put between His Mother and all other creatures – Angels, Saints and the rest of mankind. Between Our Lady and all creatures there is a veritable abyss. It is irrational to deny this or even raise a doubt about it.

Notwithstanding, this is what the Revolution does. Denial of every hierarchy is a characteristic of its spirit. It also is the root of Atheism, which in effect is hatred for the fact that there is a Lord in Heaven Who reigns over all of us. The revolutionary spirit rejects every form of lordship.

Karl Marx formulated this hatred of any superiority: he said that the goal of Marxism was to do away with every kind of alienation. This word originates from the Latin: alienatio, which is the transfer of the right of ownership from one person to another. For Marx, no one should ever cede dominion over himself to any other person. Any form of superiority and authority would be evil because it would cause an unjustifiable alienation of the inferior person, which would be to usurp his right and will, and to exploit his labor.

St. ferreol Monastery, Provence

The Servants of Mary spread rapidly through Europe.
Above, St. Ferreol Monastery in Provence, France

So, it causes alienation when the father commands his children; the husband, his wife; the teacher, his pupil, employer, his employees; the noble, his plebeians; etc. Any sort of authority would cause alienation. The worst alienation for Marx, however, is the one produced by God. According to him, God does not exist; God is a myth. Therefore, in addition to being hateful, the alienation toward God would be something empty and idiotic.

Therefore, man should be absolutely independent, complete master of himself, and never obey anyone. This is the ideal of Marxism, which coincides with the ideal of the Revolution.

It is the opposite of the true Catholic spirit. I do not think that I need to offer proof of this here.

What should we ask the Seven Holy Founders of the Servites? If these 13th century men were to resurrect and see what is going on in the Church and the world today, what would they say? What kind of indignation and censures would they make?

We should ask them to intervene for the Catholic Church and re-enkindle true devotion to Our Lady among the faithful, along with its correlated hierarchical sense and counter-revolutionary spirit.


Blason de Charlemagne
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Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
The Saint of the Day features highlights from the lives of saints based on comments made by the late Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. Following the example of St. John Bosco who used to make similar talks for the boys of his College, each evening it was Prof. Plinio’s custom to make a short commentary on the lives of the next day’s saint in a meeting for youth in order to encourage them in the practice of virtue and love for the Catholic Church. TIA thought that its readers could profit from these valuable commentaries.

The texts of both the biographical data and the comments come from personal notes taken by Atila S. Guimarães from 1964 to 1995. Given the fact that the source is a personal notebook, it is possible that at times the biographic notes transcribed here will not rigorously follow the original text read by Prof. Plinio. The commentaries have also been adapted and translated for TIA’s site.

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