Friday, February 13, 2009

Feast of the Seven Servites

I've been praying the Breviary Hours for the feast of the Seven Holy Founders of the Servites (which fell yesterday), and was curious to better comprehend the Office Hymns appointed; these I found online, but in a form rather hard to read – so I've edited them, and post them forthwith. All three hymns are 19th century compoitions of one Vincent Tarozzi.

The same source specified that "The object of the Servite Order [the Order of Servants of the Blessed Virgin Mary] is to preach everywhere compassion for the sufferings of Jesus crucified and of Mary desolate, as well as hatred for sin, the accursed cause of them both (cf. Servite Manual, p. xiv)" and that "The Blessed Virgin first appeared to the Seven Holy Founders in 1233. She exhorted them to leave the world and dedicate themselves, under her auspices, to the service of God. This they did without delay."

Notable also in their Office was the little chapter at Lauds, Terce and Vespers, from I Peter iv, 13:

Dearly beloved: If you partake of the sufferings of Christ, rejoice that when his glory shall be revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 

Their Collect, addressed to Our Lord, makes allusion to this passage and so begs Him that we may have such part in their tears - those blessed seven Fathers, who at His bidding did make the Church fruitful with a new family of Servants of His most holy Mother, for the recollection of the memory of her sorrows - that we may likewise share in their joys: joys that are eternal, where He lives and reigns with God His Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost for ever.  

Here are the hymns:

Bella dum late furerent, et urbes 
Cæde fraterna gemerent cruentæ, 
Adfuit Virgo, nova semper edens 
Munera Matris. 

2 En vocat septem famulos, fideles 
Ut sibi in luctu recolant dolores, 
Quos tulit Jesus, tulit ipsa consors 
Sub cruce Nati. 

3 Illico parent Dominæ vocanti: 
Splendidis tectis opibusque spretis, 
Urbe secedunt procul in Senari 
Abdita montis. 

4 Corpora hic pœnis cruciant acerbis, 
Sontium labes hominum piantes: 
Hic prece avertunt lacrimisque fusis 
Numinis iram. 

5 Perdolens Mater fovet, atque amictum 
Ipsa lugubrem monet induendum: 
Agminis sancti pia cœpta surgunt, 
Mira patescunt. 

6 Palmes in bruma viridans honores 
Nuntiat patrum: proprios Mariæ 
Ore lactenti vocitant puelli 
Nomine Servos. 

7 Sit decus Patri, genitæque Proli, 
Et tibi, compar utriusque virtus 
Spiritus semper, Deus unus, omni 
Temp oris ævo. Amen.

1. ''While wars were raging and blood-stained cities groaned with fratricidal carnage, the Virgin appeared ever manifesting the new gifts of a mother." 

2. "Behold, in her grief, she calls unto herself seven faithful servants that they might recall to mind the sufferings which Jesus endured, and which she, the sharer of His sufferings, endured beneath the Cross of her Son." 

3. "Without hesitation they obey their Lady's call: spurning their stately palaces and wealth, they withdraw afar from the city into the hidden recesses of Mount Senario." 

4. "Here they afflict their bodies with dire punishments, atoning for the sins of guilty men: here by their prayers and by their abundant tears they avert the anger of God. ' ' 

5. "The Mother greatly encourages them and tells them that they should wear a garb indicative of mourning [i.e. a black habit]; the pious undertakings of the holy company prosper; wondrous things become manifest." 

6. "A young vine becoming green in winter proclaims the glory of the Fathers: children unweaned proclaim them by name to be Mary's own Servants." 

(The miracle of the vine occurred in March while the mountain was still covered with hoar frost. The vine which had been planted the preceding year, grew miraculously in a single night, and was covered at once with foliage, flowers, and fruit — a symbol of the speedy increase of their little community as was revealed to the bishop of Florence. ... On two different occasions infants cried out in the street: "Behold the servants of Mary.")

7. "Glory be to the Father and to the incarnate Son, and to Thee, Holy Spirit, ever the co-equal power of both, One God, forever and ever. Amen."


Sic patres vitam peragunt in umbra, 
Lilia ut septem nivei decoris, 
Virgini excelsæ bene grata, Petro 
Visa nitere. 

2 Jamque divina rapiente flamma, 
Cursitant urbes, loca quæque oberrant, 
Si queant cunctis animis dolores 
Figere Matris. 

3 Hinc valent iras domuisse cæcas, 
Nescia et pacis fera corda jungunt, 
Erigunt mæstos, revocant nocentes 
Dicta piorum. 

4 At suos Virgo comitata Servos 
Evehit tandem superas ad oras; 
Gemmeis sertis decorat per ævum 
Omne beatos. 

5 Eja nunc cœtus gemitum precantis 
Audiant, duros videant labores: 
Semper et nostris faveant benigno 
Lumine votis. 

6 Sit decus Patri, genitæque Proli, 
Et tibi, compar utriusque Virtus 
Spiritus semper, Deus unus omni 
Temporis ævo. Amen.

1. "The Fathers spent their lives in obscurity, — yet as seven lilies of snow-white beauty they seemed to Peter to shine — well pleasing to the Virgin high exalted." 

(St. Peter of Verona [who assisted the early Servites in gaining Papal approval for their new Order] saw in a vision a mountain covered with flowers, among which were seven lilies, dazzling white, of exquisite perfume. Mary herself explained the vision — the flowers were the Religious on Mount Senario, the seven lilies were the Seven Founders.)

2. "And now divine charity impelling them, they traverse cities and wander everywhere, if perchance they might be able to fix the Sorrows of the Mother in the souls of all." 

3. "By this means they are able to restrain blind passions; they unite (in the bonds of love) fierce hearts ignorant of peace; the words of the pious preachers raise up the dejected and recall sinners." 

4. "At last the Virgin leading forth her servants accompanies them to the heavenly regions, and with jeweled garlands she adorns her servants forever blessed." 

5. "O may they now hear the sighs of those assembled in prayer; may they behold their difficult labors; and may they with loving inspirations be favorable to our prayers." 

6. "Glory be to the Father and to the incarnate Son, and to Thee, Holy Spirit, ever the co-equal power of both, One God, forever and ever. Amen."


Matris sub almæ numine 
Septena proles nascitur: 
Ipsa vocante, ad arduum 
Tendit Senari verticem. 

2 Quos terra fructus proferet 
Dum sacra proles germinat, 
Uvis repente turgitis 
Onusta vitis præmonet. 

3 Virtute claros nobili 
Mors sancta cælo consecrat: 
Tenent olympi limina 
Servi fideles Virginis. 

4 Cohors beata, Numinis 
Regno potita, respice 
Quos hinc recedens fraudibus 
Cinctos relinquis hostium. 

5 Ergo, per almas vulnera 
Matris rogamus supplices, 
Mentis tenebras disjice, 
Cordis procellas comprime. 

6 Tu nos, beata Trinitas, 
Perfunde sancto robore, 
Possimus ut feliciter 
Exempla patrum subsequi. Amen.

1. "Under the fostering care of the Blessed Mother, a sevenfold progeny comes into being: she calls them, and they direct their steps to the lofty summit of Mount Senario." 

2. "The vine suddenly laden with bursting clusters foreshadows what rich fruits the earth shall produce when this sacred progeny expands."

3. "A holy death doth consecrate to God those rendered illustrious by great virtue: the faithful servants of the Virgin possess mansions in heaven." 

4. "O blessed band who have obtained possession of the Kingdom of God; departing hence, look down on those whom you leave behind, surrounded by the snares of enemies." 

5. "Suppliantly, therefore, we ask through the wounds of a loving Mother, — dispel the darkness of our minds, and restrain the passions of our souls." 

6. "Mayest Thou, Holy Trinity, fill us with Thy strength, that happily we may be able to follow the example of the Fathers. Amen."

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