Servite spirituality

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Servite History and some historical accounts

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  • Servite spirituality

    1. 1. [based on the talk Servite Spirituality in History: The Servite Family of the Philippines in the 25 th Anniversary of its Foundation by fra john m. fontana, osm prior provincial of the servite u.s.a. province]
    2. 2. <ul><li>The CONSTITUTIONS: </li></ul><ul><li>new in a certain sense, but not new at all </li></ul><ul><li>the commitment to serve God under the protection of the Mother of God </li></ul><ul><li>to abandon the world and its goods </li></ul><ul><li>to love one another </li></ul><ul><li>to pray to God at the altar of Christ for all </li></ul><ul><li>“ The ancient remains holy and unchanged…except, in a constructive spirit, for the purpose of serving God, obeying the Catholic church and teaching us </li></ul><ul><li>the way of God.” </li></ul>
    3. 3. Spiritual Foundation and Renewal
    4. 4. <ul><li>Davide Turoldo wrote, “Ideally , we should all feel orientated toward this point: the Order in all of its various forms… [We ]communicate in the spirit of the Saints through whom Senario has become the Mountain of the Lord, the Mountain of the Mother… [it is] a sign of…unity, collaboration and harmony of all the forms of the Order, respecting the various cultures and geographical differences… one sole family… image of the spirit of creative liberty.” </li></ul>
    5. 5. <ul><li>1. Historically: monks and lay people, critical of the institutional church, went to hermitages, become itinerant preachers or lived in fraternity, and : -gave their goods to the poor -wore simple clothing -pledged to never bear weapons -fasted and abstained. </li></ul><ul><li>Our first fathers lived according to such a penitential state of life, at Cafaggio, when they decided to go to Senario. </li></ul>
    6. 6. <ul><li>2. Politically: to seek refuge in the midst of the conflict between Guelfs (papal) and Ghibellines (imperial) </li></ul><ul><li>3. Spiritually: crowds of people, who sought their spiritual advice, were distracting them from their desired spiritual focus of prayer and penitence </li></ul><ul><li>(acc. to the Legenda ) </li></ul>
    7. 7. <ul><li>OTHER REASONS </li></ul><ul><li>motivated in part by their own spiritual development and growth </li></ul><ul><li>result of an interior deepening </li></ul><ul><li>model of every reform movement OSM </li></ul>
    8. 8. <ul><li>1430-1570 - Congregation of the Observance </li></ul><ul><li>1593-1778 - Hermits of Monte Senario </li></ul><ul><li>1613/14-1909 - German Observance </li></ul><ul><li>… AND WITHIN THE “CONVENTUAL ORDER” : </li></ul><ul><li>Spiritual Letter of Montorsoli </li></ul>
    9. 9. <ul><li>There are elements and values different from the gospel </li></ul><ul><li>some common elements of the spiritual life assist us to return to our roots and foundation: poverty, prayer, contemplation, penitence/asceticism </li></ul><ul><li>there will always be need for renewal and reform within a religious family like ours </li></ul>
    10. 10. COMMUNITY Living a Life of Fraternity
    11. 11. Dark moments in the OSM fraternity <ul><li>14 th C. – Peter of Todi excommunicated! [for political and factional reasons] </li></ul><ul><li>“ comprehension towards all, which is always necessary when one is attempting to heal the divisions within an institution, can seem like authoritarianism to some and weakness to others.” </li></ul><ul><li>late 14 th C. - Pope Urban V nominated Prior General -friars had designs on office and plotted revenge </li></ul><ul><li>1486 - Prior General refused admittance into General Chapter of Observance </li></ul>
    12. 12. More “fraternal darkness…” <ul><li>1533 - Prior General Girolamo Amidei admits two obstacles to repairing and restoring Monte Senario: -lack of available resources -excessive divisions - every community </li></ul><ul><li>thinking of itself with little concern for the others </li></ul><ul><li>1770 – France (pestilence, poor formation and devotion, cultural clashes with foreign superiors) suppressed -key reason = factions in the province, </li></ul><ul><li>with issues even brought to civil court! </li></ul>
    13. 13. Getting “back” to the Fraternal Ideal <ul><li>living life according to Augustinian Rule </li></ul><ul><li>--restating rules with new directives (change) </li></ul><ul><li>--harmonize superiors authority w/ community --stress worship, devotion, chastity, poverty and strict norms and program of formation --common activities between Order and Observance </li></ul>
    14. 14. More positive steps for community <ul><li>16 th C - Angelo Maria Montorsoli, while living as hermit, wrote Spiritual Letter: only individual spiritual renewal could reform the Order (was made Prior General by Pope because of </li></ul><ul><li>his impressive, though controversial ideas!!) </li></ul><ul><li>17 th C - Prior General Giulio Arrighetti had one sacred norm…do not multiply decrees but observe carefully the already established rules. </li></ul>
    15. 15. 5 Significant Points of Foundation <ul><li>Much documentation is missing </li></ul><ul><li>The men who gave origin to the Order were lay persons, not clerics. </li></ul><ul><li>Search for identity happened by a process of trial and error. </li></ul><ul><li>With focus on their goal, the seven exercised determination and persistence…towards an ideal which is attracted and elusive… </li></ul><ul><li>No outstanding figures (except Alexis & Filiolus). </li></ul>
    16. 16. The Expansion of the Order in Service
    17. 17. Servite “Style” of Ministry <ul><li>Timeless Elements </li></ul><ul><li>An apostolate of “attraction” </li></ul><ul><li>Preaching with our lives (communal) </li></ul><ul><li>Spirit of humble service </li></ul><ul><li>inspired by Mary, compassionate presence, “standing with” and “working with” others </li></ul>
    18. 18. Curve of History <ul><li>Periods of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>foundation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>expansion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>stability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>decline/breakdown </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>crisis </li></ul></ul>
    19. 19. Foundation <ul><li>“ Cumulative history” – from various sources of varied quality of authenticity. </li></ul><ul><li>first 85 years – only papal bulls, letters of cardinals and bishops, notarized acts, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>1 st major period of ministry – from coming together till 1245 - lay apostolate . </li></ul><ul><li>2 nd period of ministry - Monte Senario, from 1245 till the 1250’s: </li></ul><ul><li>focus = prayer and contemplation , with no real apostolate. </li></ul>
    20. 20. Expansion <ul><li>INITIAL EXPANSION – What the founders had lived was institutionalized with norms and uses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>end of the beginning ( 1256) Pope Alexander IV’s letter Deo Grata (taking Order under protection of Holy See) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>under Philip Benizi (1267-1285) - movement toward greater apostolic activity, abandonment of earlier corporate poverty, Marian character preserved, OP We legislation adopted, like other mendicant groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creation of our myth to inspire the disciples of the Founders ( Legenda ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1304 - 1348, Order doubled in size (500-600 until black death) </li></ul></ul>
    21. 21. 17 th Century Highlight <ul><li>Order expands into public consciousness via Paolo Sarpi (philosopher, theologian, scientist of Galileo school, polemicist, lawyer, politician, linguist, mathematician and expert in anatomy and astronomy) </li></ul><ul><li>Wrote controversial history of Council of Trent </li></ul><ul><li>Worked with reformers in Rome, and criticized Roman Curia. </li></ul><ul><li>Turned down as bishop because of associations (“heretics”) </li></ul><ul><li>Canonist of the Venetian Republic vs.Vatican interdict </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ignored excommunication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>refused to go to Rome for heresy hearing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>an attempt made on his life (some say, by fellow Servites!) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>spoke out of orthodoxy of earlier church history </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Died in habit, in monastery, in “good standing,” still working at 71. </li></ul></ul>
    22. 22. Chris Ross on Sarpi <ul><li>Part of our charism seems to be individualism and a touch of rebellion (can express fraternity if allows other’s growth, but can also destroy us if each goes own way) </li></ul><ul><li>Constant struggle to live with and support greatness in our ranks. (maybe easier to lift up weak than to support strong/accomplished) </li></ul><ul><li>We have prophetic role to play in the Church and society – attitude of seeking truth and justice without fear of consequences </li></ul><ul><li>If communities to be built on valid ministry and Christian love, greater need for a solid base in scholarship and study. </li></ul><ul><li>Servites should be leaders in the field of ecumenism. </li></ul>
    23. 23. Stability Period <ul><li>After foundation, stable after a few generations (50-100 years) </li></ul><ul><li>all goes well </li></ul><ul><li>no significant change, except to do better what we’re already doing </li></ul><ul><li>formation focuses on conforming to who we are and what we do </li></ul><ul><li>can be too much emphasis on works and activity, and less commitment to community and spirituality (less challenging or more stagnant?) </li></ul><ul><li>4 th period of Servite ministry - from 14 th to 19 th C., with little change. </li></ul><ul><li>development of Marian sanctuaries </li></ul><ul><li>studies and writing </li></ul><ul><li>preaching </li></ul><ul><li>lay groups </li></ul><ul><li>charitable works </li></ul><ul><li>parishes </li></ul>
    24. 24. DECLINE/BREAKDOWN <ul><li>may last from 20-50 years </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What gave meaning and made sense in the past doesn’t seem to work in the present </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The myth, the ideal, fails </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have to decide: die, merely survive, or renew??? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>OSM Decline –related to the political suppressions </li></ul></ul>
    25. 25. Complex and Troubled <ul><li>Order had 20 priors general, many appointed directly by politically motivated and corrupt popes </li></ul><ul><li>The reformer Savanarola burned at the stake, and others poisoned </li></ul><ul><li>Efforts at true spiritual renewal within the Order failed </li></ul><ul><li>Separation of the Congregation of the Observance from rest of the Order </li></ul><ul><li>After Trent - new religious congregations, need for update in older ones </li></ul><ul><li>Monte Senario falling apart (resources and excessive divisions) </li></ul><ul><li>102 of our 261 houses suppressed…..BUT the number of friars increased at same time (from 1,745 to 1,950) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>18 th C - suppressions of Louis XV, the Hapsburg Empire, Napoleon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>recovery after 1815 but half-century later - suppressions by the Italian government </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Between 1750 and 1885 - from largest number of friars ever, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2, 731 …down to smallest number, 356 !! </li></ul></ul>
    26. 26. From Michel Sincerny <ul><li>“ The Legenda bases the survival of the Order on perseverance in prayer, fidelity to our first fathers and the imitation of their virtues: their perfect spiritual friendship, their humility of heart, a spirit of generous service to Almighty God and the Blessed Virgin, the witness of their consecrated life.” </li></ul>
    27. 27. Servite Marian Identity
    28. 28. MARY AT THE TIME OF FOUNDATION <ul><li>Medieval European Order by birth - entire life of faithful seen as service of the Lord - “servant” = free person - obligates self to serve a lord, in exchange for the lord’s protection. </li></ul><ul><li>Typical place to turn attention was to Mary - feeling poor, humble, in need of conversion, sought help and protection from Mary - as “Our Lady” and “Queen of Mercy” - model of gospels and teacher of spiritual life </li></ul><ul><li>Named churches, early seal, devotions in Constitution </li></ul>
    29. 29. Mary in 14 th & 15 th Century <ul><li>As we became more active, and with Lyons restrictions against mendicant orders… - we became “more Augustinian,” </li></ul><ul><li>- less “poverty and solitude,” but service to Mary remained </li></ul><ul><li>The Legenda stressed Marian character of whole lives, communities and service, while also assigning Philip’s vocation, the growth of the Order, and the habit and name to Mary. </li></ul><ul><li>15 th C.- beginning of Marian symbolism of the habit, - nurtured by lay movements active around OSM foundations - formed “Society of the Habit of Our Lady” - symbolism of color of the habit, tendency to stress sorrow, not humility, of Mary </li></ul>
    30. 30. Mary from the 17 th Century <ul><li>Following Trent – specialized devotions in fixed forms </li></ul><ul><li>(led to increase in devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows and approval of her feast day) </li></ul><ul><li>1669 –declared as the “principal patron” of the Order </li></ul><ul><li>1694 – 1 st written formula inviting Servites to meditate on the Sorrows of Mary </li></ul><ul><li>… this secondary aspect of our tradition came to form part of the essential spirituality of the whole Order </li></ul><ul><li>19 th and 20 th C. – OLS influences feminine congregations </li></ul>

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