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Australian Delegation

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.
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