Religious order, comprising friars, contemplative nuns and both conventual and secular tertiaries. It was founded in 1233 by seven Florentine cloth merchants, members of a confraternity in praise of the Virgin known as the Laudesi, who had seen a vision of the Assumption and resolved to renounce all earthly concerns and devote their lives to spiritual and corporal works of mercy. They based their new order on the mendicant tradition and adopted a habit similar to that of the Dominicans, except that it is totally black. The Servites have always followed the Roman liturgy, adding special passages of devotion to the Virgin.
Beverly Louise Brown