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The Seven Holy Founders


In the thirteenth century seven young nobles of Florence joined a local Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin, whose members were known as Praisers. It was a time when the Albigensian heresy had led to loose living and bitter feuds. But these young men gave themselves much to prayer; and on a certain Feast of the Assumption when they were praying together, they were all moved to withdraw from the world to a solitary place, and live for God alone.

However, there were many difficulties in the way, among the which was the fact that four of them had married, and so had ties not lightly to be broken, although two of these married men were widowers. But things were arranged for them, as if by the very providence of God himself, and they soon retired to a house outside the gates of Florence to start on a life of penance and prayer. Later they withdrew to a wild and deserted slope of Monte Senario, and there began the Order of the Servants of Mary, commonly called The Servite Friars.

Their names in religion were Bonfilius, Amadeus, Hugh, Sosthenes, Manettus, Bonajunta, and Alexis. Six of them became priests, but Alexis out of humility remained a lay-brother and outlived them all, and was the only one of them who survived to see the Order recognized. In life these seven men were singularly united; in death they were united in one tomb; and hence they were fitly canonized together in 1887 as the Seven Holy Founders, but this Act of Canonization was but the formal recognition of a devotion which had been paid to them ever since they left this earth.


O LORD JESU CHRIST, who for the remembrance of the sorrows: of thy most holy Mother didst by the seven blessed Fathers enrich thy Church with the new household of her servants: mercifully grant that we may in such wise be joined to them in their sorrowing, that we may be made worthy to be partakers if their gladness. Who livest and reigneth with the Father and the Holy Ghost ever one God, world without end. Amen.

The Anglican Breviary, Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation, Inc., New York, 1955, pages 1117-1119

Additional Information:

For additional readings, or to learn more about the Anglican Breviary, visit The Anglican Breviary Website.

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