Saint Alexis Falconieri, whose feast day we celebrate on February 17, is also known as one of the Seven Holy Founders of the Servants of Mary, or the Servite Order. Together, these seven prominent men in Florentine society, gave up their influential lives, fortunes, and oftentimes marriages, to consecrate themselves to Our Blessed Mother, and serve others at her direction.
Alexis Falconieri (born 1200, died 1310) was born the son of a Florentine merchant prince and leader of government. He enjoyed the privilege and status of the rich and powerful, but instead of embracing those privileges, chose a life of profound humility and piety.
Buonfiglio Monaldi , John Bonagiunta, Benedict dell’Antella, Bartholomew Amidei, Gerard Sostegni, and Ricoverus Uguccione.
Together, on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin 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 Seven promptly founded the Ordo fratrum Servorum Beatae Mariae Virginis, the Servite Friars, or Servants of Mary. Servites make solemn vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, as instructed by Mary, following the Rule of Saint Augustine. Their mission is to sanctify all men through devotion to the Mother of God, especially in her desolation during the Passion of her Divine Son. The Servites give missions, have the care of souls, or teach in higher institutions of learning. Given their devotion to the sorrows of the Blessed Virgin, the Rosary of the Seven Dolors (or Sorrows) is a common devotion within the order. During this devotion, one meditates on the seven moments of suffering enduring by the Blessed Virgin during the life of Jesus:
2. The Flight into Egypt of the Holy Family. (Matthew 2:13)
3. The Loss of the Child Jesus for Three Days, and the finding of Him in the Temple. (Luke 2:43)
4. The Meeting of Jesus and Mary while He carried His cross. (Luke 23:26)
5. The Crucifixion, where Mary stands at the foot of the cross. (John 19:25)
6. The Descent from the Cross, where Mary receives the dead body of Jesus in her arms. (Matthew 27:57)
7. The Burial of Jesus. (John 19:40)
The Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows is celebrated on September 15.
Today, the Servite Order has spread throughout the world, continuing through its devotion to Mary to serve and educate the poor. One of the five original mendicant orders, the Servites are 100% dependant on charitable contributions to survive, neither owning nor desiring to own any individual or group posessions. All they have, they give.
Year 2: Day 48 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Lives focused on the Lord
Requested Intentions: Financial freedom (J); Successful passing of occupational examination (S); Healing and conversion, sale of house (L); Occupational success for employee and colleagues (J); Employment for a son (C); Successful attainment of an important appointed position (J); Recovery from cancer for a friend (Z); For a family’s freedom from sin (M); For a daughter with Diabetes (A); Reconciliation of a marriage (D); Assistance with a legal matter, financial freedom (R); Healing for a friend (M); For a son in medical school (H); Financial assistance (M); Successful employment (N): Freedom from mental illness for a friend (L); For successful marriage (N); For friends having and recovering from surgery; for the reduction of a brain tumor (L); For resolution of a housing crisis (P); For a brother who is struggling financially, for a son who is struggling academically (B); For financial security for a friend (C); Success in business; familial happiness and health (J); Health and recovery of a sister (I); Healing of a father following stroke (S).
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."