What’s in That Prayer? The Collect for the Seven Holy Founders of the Servants of the Blessed Virgin Mary 

Here is the oration that the Church prays in the Mass and Office for the feast of the Seven Holy Founders of the Servants of the Blessed Virgin Mary (February 12):

Dómine Iesu Christe, qui, ad recoléndam memóriam dolórum sanctíssimæ Genetrícis tuæ, per septem beátos Patres nova Servorum eius família Ecclésiam tuam fœcundásti: concéde propítius; ita nos eórum consociári flétibus, ut perfruámur et gáudiis.

Here is my translation:

O Lord Jesus Christ, who, for the renewal of the memory of Thy most holy Mother’s sorrows, hast rendered Thy Church fruitful through the seven blessed Fathers with a new family of Her Servants: mercifully grant us to be so joined to their weeping that we may exceedingly enjoy their delights.

Here is the translation from the Divinum Officium site:

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, to keep alive the memory of Your most holy Mother’s sorrows, through the seven holy fathers enriched your Church with a new family of her Servants, graciously grant that we may be so united with them in their sorrows, as also to share their joys.

The Seven Holy Founders, called in the prayer, “the seven blessed Fathers,” were God’s instruments in establishing the Servite Order in 1233. The Servites are a mendicant order that was specially given, as an integral part of their unique charism, to meditate on the Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin. These seven Florentine nobleman had the musical names Buonfiglio Monaldo, Buonaiuncta Manetti, Manetto del Antella, Amadeus de Amadei, Hugo Lippi, Gerard Sostegni, and Alexis Falconieri. (The last named was the uncle of Saint Juliana Falconieri.)

The proper “Chapter” of the offices of Laudes and Vespers for today’s feast comes from 1 Peter 4:13: “Dearly beloved brethren, rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” Given that fact, it seems most likely that this passage stands in the background of today’s prayer, which similarly connects rejoicing to sorrowing (or suffering). In the context, Saint Peter is speaking of being persecuted for being followers of Christ. But we might also partake of Christ’s sufferings by meditating on them, by lovingly recalling them. Ideally, in our Christian life, we will join our own sorrows to His. Even those sorrows that are our fault can be rendered fruitful if joined to contrition, confession, satisfaction — and meditation on Jesus’ Passion.

The Blessed Virgin Mary is, by Her Sorrows, our Co-Redemptrix. She entered into a partnership with Jesus Christ that makes Her Sorrows — in and under His — fruitful for our salvation. Meditating on Her Sorrows is meditating on His, too; they are perfectly joined in the “Passion partnership” of Jesus and Mary.

The Church’s sacred liturgy itself constantly brings before our mind’s eye every year the august mysteries of our Redemption. The words “commemoration,” “mindful,” and “memory” have prominent places in the Ordinary of the Mass; they and similar words are found also throughout the propers of the liturgical year, too, as in today’s lovely oration, in which we read that the charism of the Servite Order, this “new family of Her Servants,” is to renew or keep alive the memory of Mary’s Sorrows. In recalling to mind these seven holy Fathers every year, we also recall to mind what was most dear to them.