Signed in as:
Signed in as:
On September 23rd 1864, Fr Philip Bosio and Fr Augustine Morini left Florence on the 2:00p.m. train en route to London. Their journey would add another chapter to the history of the ancient Mendicant Order of Friar Servants of Mary, which began in that great city of Florence in 1233.
They arrived in England and eventually settled at 264 Fulham Road, where they established a Priory and Parish. This was to be the first foundation of what was later to become the English Province of the Friar Servants of Mary on 19th January 1914. Communities were also established at Bognor Regis, Begbroke, Todmorden, Kersal and Dundee in Scotland.
In 1983 the General Chapter of the Order invited the entire Order to engage in a process of renewal and re-structuring. Despite attempts to unite the Priories in Ireland, England, Scotland, France, Belgium, Germany and Austria, into one single Province of Northern Europe, known as 'Serviteur', and united ventures in Formation and Pastoral Congresses, in 1997 mainly for linguistic and cultural reasons this new European Province did not materialise.
The Friars in England, Scotland and Ireland remained instead undaunted and resolved to pursue the ideal of a new life-giving structure for the Order in these Islands. Joint Council Meetings were established and Committees formed to prepare the ground for the formation of a single Province. The Friars of Ireland, England and Scotland voted overwhelmingly for amalgamation and the new Province came into being by a decree of the General Council in June 2000, having earlier obtained the approval of the U.S.A. Chapter. The first elective Chapter of the new Province was held at London Colney, Herts., on 4-8 September 2000, the great Jubilee Year.
The Friars chose the poetic and romantic title "The Province of the Isles" for the new entity, and adopted "St Columba" as Patron Saint. He travelled from Donegal to Iona and his monks went on to Lindisfarne to establish 'a second Iona among the English'. Who better to inspire us to travel these Isles for the sake of the Gospel and the forming of Servite Religious Communities? A beautiful bronze statue of St Columba was commissioned by the Province to mark the occasion and is now housed in the Chapel of the Priory at Benburb. As I, Fr Patrick Ryall OSM, the first Provincial of the new Province, said in my homily at the blessing of the statue on 24 June 2002, "This statue of the great Columba is indeed an appropriate symbol to capture the magnitude and enormity of the journey we undertook when we agreed to form one Province of the Isles." Thus, the journey undertaken by the two Friars from Florence in 1864 comes to a halt for the time being with the birth of 'The Province of the Isles'.
In September 2014, the arrival of the Servites in London and English-speaking world 150 years ago was celebrated at Our Lady of Dolours Servite Church.