Click here to visit the webpage of the Australian Delegation.
The Friar Servants of Mary first came to Australia in 1951. The
foundation was made by Fr. James M. Keane, O.S.M., the famous founder of
the Novena of the Sorrowful Mother and at that time assistant to the
Prior General in Rome. Within a few short years it came under the
jurisdiction of the American Servites and has remained so ever since. It
has included friars coming originally from America, Scotland, Ireland
and more importantly local Australian vocations. In 1969, following the
General Chapter which inaugurated the post-Vatican Constitutions, the
foundation became a vicariate with its own independent administration.
It remained a vicariate largely because its limited growth has not
warranted it becoming a totally independent province. In 2000, the
status of the vicariate was changed to that of a delegation. This change
represents more than just a downsizing as a result of diminishing
numbers and the aging of the friars. It reflects a commitment to create
something new and encourage new life and new growth in new areas of
ministry and community life.
At the present time this delegation consists of three communities,
two in Perth, Western Australia and a third in Melbourne, Victoria. The
Servite ideal has always revolved around community. This stems directly
from the historical origins of the Order in the Seven Founders, medieval
merchants of Florence who left family and commercial interests to come
together for prayer and service of others. And so, though engaged in
various activities, the Australian friars live together and share daily
prayer, meals, work and goal-setting. A particular aspect arising from
the mendicant tradition, which they share with the Franciscans and
Dominicans, is the constant effort to involve the laity in their
activities and life.
To serve Mary, the Mother of God, is an abiding inspiration for
Servites. One can find many expressions of this throughout the world on
the General Curia in Rome’s Homepage. But a modern extension of this
ideal is to "serve like Mary", in humble, unassuming but unrelenting
concern for the growth of the kingdom of God. Servites in Australia,
though small in number, have taken up a variety of ministries. In the
Perth area we serve at St. Denis’, Joondanna. In this parish, one of the
Servite Sisters from India is pastoral assistant. Besides this the
friars have for forty years administered a large co-ed high school in
Tuart Hill, W.A. called Servite College. Further information on this
school can be found on Servite College. Here too a Servite sister works
side by side with the largely lay staff. One of the friars is the
president of the college. Two are directly involved in teaching, one at
primary level, another at secondary. Yet another is Catholic chaplain at
Latrobe University in Melbourne and another a hospital chaplain.
Not surprisingly, Australian Servites are called upon to share
their strong Marian orientation with the church at-large. Parishes and
dioceses not infrequently request of the Order someone to preach novenas
or special occasions relating to Mary of Nazareth. In the tradition of
our Marianum International Pontifical Faculty in Rome, we strive to
present a picture of Mary solidly based on Sacred Scriptures and the
Church’s Liturgy as well as on popular piety.
The Servite Constitutions say clearly that "every friar and each
community are responsible, by their life and witness, for attracting
new members to our Order." Servites therefore welcome interested men to
investigate our way of life and even to negotiate a suitable time to
share in it temporarily in one of our communities. The national Director
of Vocations is:
Fr. Peter Porteous, O.S.M.