When I entered this order, I found only one of the seven still alive,
But where did these men stand before they formed their own community? Let us consider this in four respects.
First, as regards the Church. Some of them had never married, having vowed themselves to perpetual celibacy; some were married men at the time; some had lost their wives after marriage and now were widowers.
Second, regarding their status in the city of
Third, concerning their devotion and reverence to our Lady. In
Fourth, as for their spiritual perfection. They loved God above all things and dedicated their whole lives to him by honouring him in their every thought, word and deed.
But when by God’s inspiration and the special urging of our Lady they had firmly resolved to form a community together, they set in order everything that concerned their homes and families, left to their families what they needed and gave all the rest to the poor. Then they sought the advice of virtuous men of good judgement, and described their plans to them.
They climbed the heights of Monte Senario and built on its summit a little house that would suit their purpose, and there they lived in common. As time passed, they began to realise that they were called not simply to sanctify themselves but to receive others into their community, and 50 increase the membership of this new order our Lady had inspired them to found. They recruited new members; some they accepted, and thus established our present order. In the beginning our Lady was the chief architect of this new order which was founded on the humility of its members, built up by their mutual love, and preserved by their poverty
~From an account of the origin of the Servite Order