THE ORDER OF FRIARS SERVANTS OF MARY (OSM)
The Order of Friars Servants of Mary was founded in 1233 at the city of Florance in Italy by the Seven Holy men: Bonfilius, Bonajuncta, Bartolomeus, Hugh, Manethus, Sostene, and Alexis Falconieri.
They were all of the merchant class, engaged in buying and selling the good of this world. These seven we have mentioned above belonged to the society, as men they had special love for Our Lady. They loved God above all, ordered their whole alives in his service, honoring him in all their thoughts, words and deeds.
Their firm decision that they wanted to join together in one heart and mind was confirmed by divine inspiration, our Lady guided them in this matter in a special way. They then disposed of their own houses and families, making suitable provision for the latter, and distributing what remained of their possessions to the poor.
These Seven Holy men, while engaged in the exercises of the confraternity on the feast of the Assumption, 1233, the Blessed Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to them, advising them to withdraw from the world and devote themselves entirely to eternal things.
They lived life of fraternal communion, sharing the word of God, servicing to the people and special devotion to our Lady.
The friars of Servants of Mary ‘The Servites’ are present in all the continents and around thousand Servite Friars are serving in forty countries in the world. Twenty three Servite Sisters congregations are affiliated to the Order. In Asia, the Servite Friars are present in India, Philippians, Indonesia and Myanmar.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CONGREGATION OF MOTHER OF SORROWS, SERVANTS OF MARY (OSM)
WHAT A GLORIOUS THING IT IS TO BELONG TO OUR LADY’S ORDER!
It is clear that Our Lady never intented to give the friars of her Order any special Saint as its founder. Our Lady willed that her own Order, one specially consecrated to her and ever bearing her name should begin in the year 1233, during the pontificate of Pope Gregory IX.
There were in Florence of Italy, in the Province of Tuscany, seven men, each of them worthy of respect and honor. Why Our Lady chose to begin with the group of seven? No doubt! It was to convince everyone that she wished her Order endowed in a special way with the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Before they came together, they were merchants trading and exchanging goods. When Our Lady appeared in a vision to her devotee Blessed Peter Martyr and showed him the habit we wear and the rule we follow, she also confirmed that it was originally she herself gave this name to our Order.
They renounced the worldly things, full of joy and fear of the Lord they move to Monte Scenario, prayed constantly and did all kinds of sacrifices.
Their perfect love for God, self and neighbor drew some persons to God and others to join the Order.
ST. JULIANA FALCONIERI
FOUNDRESS OF THE SERVITE SISTERS
St. Juliana, niece of Blessed Alexis who was one of the seven Holy Founders of Servite Order became famous for her great sanctity became the great leader of the Sisters and nuns of our Order. She yearned ardently for the body of Christ, which could not be given to her because of the danger of inducing vomiting. She earnestly pleaded to place the Eucharist on her breast, covered with a clean cloth. The host could no longer be found any where and she became more beautiful. Her sanctity attracted the attention of the girls of those days. Thus, the Order started to spread all over the world.
Fr. Peter Machati, a Jesuit Italian Priest was sailing to India on the 17th April 1847 with the ship named Gabriel, they faced a strong storm trying to split the ship to pieces unexpectedly. He, being a great devotee of the Mother of Sorrows, prayed to her to save them from this woe. He said to himself that if his wish was granted, he would establish Servite Order in India.
On 8th December 1854, our Congregation was founded by a group of five women under the guidance of Fr. Peter. Among them Sr. Maria Soosai Natchathiram was the original founder who started the Servite presence in India with the help of Fr. Peter. We acquired Servite characteristics through affiliation of the Sisters individually to the Order of Servants of May on 11th July 1865. On 18th September 1927 we were affiliated as a Congregation to the Order of the Servants of Mary. At present we are called the Congregation of Mother of Sorrows, Servants of Mary.
SR. MARIA SOOSAI NATCHATHIRAM
We recite the Dolors Rosary daily pondering on her seven sorrows and meditating on them on every Friday.
ORIGIN IN MYANMAR
When Burma was a British Colony, a vast group of Tamil Catholics arrived with the first group of European traders and colonizers. Along with them entered the first foreign missionaries (M.E.P). They promptly saw the need of bringing in some Tamil Sisters from India to care for the Tamil Catholics. Therefore the Servite Convent at Kyauktan was officially opened on 25th march 1924, by a group of Servites coming from India at the invitation of Fr. Chauve the MEP Father. Then, another convent was opened in kyaiklat after 4 years, that is, in 1928 and so on. We have now already opened 29 convents, working in six dioceses and one in Perth diocese in Australia.
Charism or Motto
Compassion is our charism. We witness this by visiting the poor, the sick, the lonely and the oppressed and helping them in whatever way we can in their needs.
a. To suffer with those in suffering.
b. To unite oneself with them in their struggle in life.
c. To work for their liberation in solidarity.
Vision and Mission at present
In Today’s world scenario, we see millions of crosses erected in the Calvary of our unjust society. People are nailed to these crosses by poverty, oppression, diseases, ignorance and helplessness. We, like Mary stand by these crosses to empower the crucified people so that they are filled with the power of resurrection.
Practically, every year we share our Lenten sacrifice with the poorest of the poor to uplift the economic condition. We educate our orphans for the betterment of their conditions. We send them for educational and occupational courses given by CFN occasionally. Running orphanages, particularly; St. Mary’s Home at Kyauktan is the collective witness of living our charism in the mission. At each and every house in the diocese, besides doing the regular apostolate, Sisters are bringing up the children to uplift them in all levels with the little resource they have. We want them to inculcate the virtues of hard work and self-reliance.
Our main apostolate here is Parish Ministry; teaching catechism for the youth and children, assisting in liturgical celebrations by organizing and leading the singing, holding regular meetings for mothers and the youth of the Parish. We also do medical apostolate such as healing the sick with reflexology, running dispensaries in the remote villages where the people have no access to hospitals or clinic etc. We teach seminarians who have to sit for the Entrance Exam as our chief apostolate.
To a certain extent we achieve the aim of the charism.
1. Through our life and apostolate we can work for their liberation in solidarity.
e.g – liberate them from illness, ignorance and physical and emotional needs.
2. Through our life of love and compassion we could live the community life happily, accepting and understanding each other working together for common good and praying together for common good and praying together for peace and unity.
Main Activities or Service
We, servites concentrate on education as our chief apostolate. We are open to take up other forms of apostolate indicated by the signs of the time and the needs of the people.
We treat people with love and respect and help them to imbibe moral and religious values through all our apostolate. While engaged in developmental works; we educate the people not only to better their conditions but also eventually, to take up leadership so that in keeping with our spirit of service we move to places where our service is needed most.
After the nationalization in 1965, we were left with 12 members from time to time the number of the members increased till it reached 136 at present. In spite of all the difficulties and hardships, we, draw inspiration and strength from God, keep marching to reach our goal. If God is with us, nothing can stop our growth. The mountains may be steep, the seas and oceans may be wide, the road may be tough and crooked, it is sure God will lead us on. We always desire to be molded by God, who is our potter.
Our responsibility is to read the signs of the time and the needs of our service to the people through his direction and guidance and in accordance with our charism.
May God bless our congregation always and ever. Amen.