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Servite spirituality
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Servite spirituality



Servite History and some historical accounts

Servite History and some historical accounts



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Servite spirituality Servite spirituality Presentation Transcript

  • [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]
    • new in a certain sense, but not new at all
    • the commitment to serve God under the protection of the Mother of God
    • to abandon the world and its goods
    • to love one another
    • to pray to God at the altar of Christ for all
    • “ The ancient remains holy and unchanged…except, in a constructive spirit, for the purpose of serving God, obeying the Catholic church and teaching us
    • the way of God.”
  • Spiritual Foundation and Renewal
    • 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.”
    • 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.
    • Our first fathers lived according to such a penitential state of life, at Cafaggio, when they decided to go to Senario.
    • 2. Politically: to seek refuge in the midst of the conflict between Guelfs (papal) and Ghibellines (imperial)
    • 3. Spiritually: crowds of people, who sought their spiritual advice, were distracting them from their desired spiritual focus of prayer and penitence
    • (acc. to the Legenda )
    • motivated in part by their own spiritual development and growth
    • result of an interior deepening
    • model of every reform movement OSM
    • 1430-1570 - Congregation of the Observance
    • 1593-1778 - Hermits of Monte Senario
    • 1613/14-1909 - German Observance
    • Spiritual Letter of Montorsoli
    • There are elements and values different from the gospel
    • some common elements of the spiritual life assist us to return to our roots and foundation: poverty, prayer, contemplation, penitence/asceticism
    • there will always be need for renewal and reform within a religious family like ours
  • COMMUNITY Living a Life of Fraternity
  • Dark moments in the OSM fraternity
    • 14 th C. – Peter of Todi excommunicated! [for political and factional reasons]
    • “ 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.”
    • late 14 th C. - Pope Urban V nominated Prior General -friars had designs on office and plotted revenge
    • 1486 - Prior General refused admittance into General Chapter of Observance
  • More “fraternal darkness…”
    • 1533 - Prior General Girolamo Amidei admits two obstacles to repairing and restoring Monte Senario: -lack of available resources -excessive divisions - every community
    • thinking of itself with little concern for the others
    • 1770 – France (pestilence, poor formation and devotion, cultural clashes with foreign superiors) suppressed -key reason = factions in the province,
    • with issues even brought to civil court!
  • Getting “back” to the Fraternal Ideal
    • living life according to Augustinian Rule
    • --restating rules with new directives (change)
    • --harmonize superiors authority w/ community --stress worship, devotion, chastity, poverty and strict norms and program of formation --common activities between Order and Observance
  • More positive steps for community
    • 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
    • his impressive, though controversial ideas!!)
    • 17 th C - Prior General Giulio Arrighetti had one sacred norm…do not multiply decrees but observe carefully the already established rules.
  • 5 Significant Points of Foundation
    • Much documentation is missing
    • The men who gave origin to the Order were lay persons, not clerics.
    • Search for identity happened by a process of trial and error.
    • With focus on their goal, the seven exercised determination and persistence…towards an ideal which is attracted and elusive…
    • No outstanding figures (except Alexis & Filiolus).
  • The Expansion of the Order in Service
  • Servite “Style” of Ministry
    • Timeless Elements
    • An apostolate of “attraction”
    • Preaching with our lives (communal)
    • Spirit of humble service
    • inspired by Mary, compassionate presence, “standing with” and “working with” others
  • Curve of History
    • Periods of:
      • foundation
      • expansion
      • stability
      • decline/breakdown
      • crisis
  • Foundation
    • “ Cumulative history” – from various sources of varied quality of authenticity.
    • first 85 years – only papal bulls, letters of cardinals and bishops, notarized acts, etc.
    • 1 st major period of ministry – from coming together till 1245 - lay apostolate .
    • 2 nd period of ministry - Monte Senario, from 1245 till the 1250’s:
    • focus = prayer and contemplation , with no real apostolate.
  • Expansion
    • INITIAL EXPANSION – What the founders had lived was institutionalized with norms and uses
      • end of the beginning ( 1256) Pope Alexander IV’s letter Deo Grata (taking Order under protection of Holy See)
      • 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
      • Creation of our myth to inspire the disciples of the Founders ( Legenda )
      • 1304 - 1348, Order doubled in size (500-600 until black death)
  • 17 th Century Highlight
    • 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)
    • Wrote controversial history of Council of Trent
    • Worked with reformers in Rome, and criticized Roman Curia.
    • Turned down as bishop because of associations (“heretics”)
    • Canonist of the Venetian Republic vs.Vatican interdict
      • ignored excommunication
      • refused to go to Rome for heresy hearing
      • an attempt made on his life (some say, by fellow Servites!)
      • spoke out of orthodoxy of earlier church history
      • Died in habit, in monastery, in “good standing,” still working at 71.
  • Chris Ross on Sarpi
    • 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)
    • Constant struggle to live with and support greatness in our ranks. (maybe easier to lift up weak than to support strong/accomplished)
    • We have prophetic role to play in the Church and society – attitude of seeking truth and justice without fear of consequences
    • If communities to be built on valid ministry and Christian love, greater need for a solid base in scholarship and study.
    • Servites should be leaders in the field of ecumenism.
  • Stability Period
    • After foundation, stable after a few generations (50-100 years)
    • all goes well
    • no significant change, except to do better what we’re already doing
    • formation focuses on conforming to who we are and what we do
    • can be too much emphasis on works and activity, and less commitment to community and spirituality (less challenging or more stagnant?)
    • 4 th period of Servite ministry - from 14 th to 19 th C., with little change.
    • development of Marian sanctuaries
    • studies and writing
    • preaching
    • lay groups
    • charitable works
    • parishes
    • may last from 20-50 years
      • What gave meaning and made sense in the past doesn’t seem to work in the present
      • The myth, the ideal, fails
      • Have to decide: die, merely survive, or renew???
      • OSM Decline –related to the political suppressions
  • Complex and Troubled
    • Order had 20 priors general, many appointed directly by politically motivated and corrupt popes
    • The reformer Savanarola burned at the stake, and others poisoned
    • Efforts at true spiritual renewal within the Order failed
    • Separation of the Congregation of the Observance from rest of the Order
    • After Trent - new religious congregations, need for update in older ones
    • Monte Senario falling apart (resources and excessive divisions)
    • 102 of our 261 houses suppressed…..BUT the number of friars increased at same time (from 1,745 to 1,950)
      • 18 th C - suppressions of Louis XV, the Hapsburg Empire, Napoleon
      • recovery after 1815 but half-century later - suppressions by the Italian government
      • Between 1750 and 1885 - from largest number of friars ever,
      • 2, 731 …down to smallest number, 356 !!
  • From Michel Sincerny
    • “ 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.”
  • Servite Marian Identity
    • 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.
    • 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
    • Named churches, early seal, devotions in Constitution
  • Mary in 14 th & 15 th Century
    • As we became more active, and with Lyons restrictions against mendicant orders… - we became “more Augustinian,”
    • - less “poverty and solitude,” but service to Mary remained
    • 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.
    • 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
  • Mary from the 17 th Century
    • Following Trent – specialized devotions in fixed forms
    • (led to increase in devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows and approval of her feast day)
    • 1669 –declared as the “principal patron” of the Order
    • 1694 – 1 st written formula inviting Servites to meditate on the Sorrows of Mary
    • … this secondary aspect of our tradition came to form part of the essential spirituality of the whole Order
    • 19 th and 20 th C. – OLS influences feminine congregations