Skip to content ↓

Our Lady's Catholic
High School

Our School

Servite Sisters

 See below to find out more about the Servite Sisters


Links with the Sisters of the Servite Order are still very strong, and Servite values continue to inform many of the school's processes and priorities.  A Servite Sister is the school's Chaplain. There are also international links with Servite schools and students in countries such as Bolivia, South Africa, France and Italy.



Servites, who are they?

They are present day successors to a group who started in Florence in 1233; these seven men eventually founded an order recognised by the church, which followed the mendicant tradition of living among the people, rather than in large, rural monasteries like the monks. Urbanisation was a feature of Italy at the time with all the consequent problems , as were the strong, political differences between those who followed the pope and those who followed the emperor. The community of "brothers/friars"were called Servites, a shortened form of Servants of Mary - not those who serve Mary, but people who serve God in the manner of Our Lady .

In the mid 1850s a group of French women wanted to answer the needs of the people in N.E.France and founded a school in Cuves; they eventually sought recognition of the Church and were accepted as a women's group in the Servite Order. Present day Servite values reflect the aims of both of these groups.

At the First  International Servite Schools' Meeting in Paris France in 2000, the following values were identified as appropriate to Education in Servite Schools, which are now established  in every continent: values which would be a powerful means of improving the quality of life for all.  Servite Values.

Four of our forms are named after individual Servites.  You can find out more about our House System by clicking here: House System.

Mother Philomena

Antoinette Morel who later became Sr. Philomena was born in France in 1826. She went to school at Cuves, a small town in North Eastern France in 1844, where the sisters, later to become Servites, had opened the 'Hermitage' school. She became a sister in 1850, became the prioress and was one of the four evacuated to inner London because of the political situation of the time. Sr. Philomena lived with four sisters in Great Titchfield St. near Oxford Street. Their aim was to study English so that they could go on the foreign missions. They worked very hard and lived simply. It was through her embroidery work that Philomena helped to earn money for the community.

In 1864 the Sisters led by Mother Philomena joined the Servite Order. It is to be noted that Mother Philomena did not go to the foreign missions but worked in the education of girls and young women.

The Servite Order began in 1233 in Florence, Italy by a group of men who had great devotion to Our Lady. Unlike the Benedictines, who lived in remote monasteries at that time, the Servites lived and worked among the people; some in hospitals. They were part of the mendicant tradition, so called as they originally begged for their living cf. Franciscans, Carmelites etc.

The original Servites were merchants, who began to live as a community, sharing everything. They understood that Our Lady was guiding them to pray and serve God and his people. They began a new Religious Order dedicated to serving God in the spirit of Our Lady. They aimed to bring peace and reconciliation to a city torn by political conflict. They were canonized together by Pope Leo X111 in 1888.

Their feast is celebrated on 17th February.

St Hugh and St Manettus were two of the original seven Servites and both worked hard to establish the beginning of the Order.

St Hugh

St. Hugh is an example of true friendship in the love and service of God and Our Lady. He died in Florence in 1282 and his feast is celebrated on 3rd May.

St Manettus

St Manettus was born in Florence in 1203 and was a man of penance who lived a simple life. He travelled to France, establishing the order and spreading knowledge of Servites widely. He was elected the fourth General of the Servites and during that time the Order spread to Asia. He died at Monte Senario in 1268 and his feast is celebrated on 20th August.

St Juliana Falconieri

St Juliana Falconieri, a Florentine woman, was a niece of St. Alexis, one of the Seven Founders. She was born in the second half of the 13th century. She is regarded as the first Servite nun. Her special devotion was to the Holy Eucharist. She was canonized by Pope Clement X11 in 1757. Her feast is on 19th June.

It is from the two original groups, in 13th Century Florence and 19th Century Cuves, that Servite Values originated. Their expression and interpretation have developed over the centuries, according to the understanding of the times and culture of the people.

"Marian Identity, Community, Service, Compassion, Openness/Respect for Diversity, Holistic Approach, Evangelisation, Universality."

Order of the Servants of Mary website: