You are here: About Us Priory History

Priory History

Annunziata (Gold)

This priory was founded around the year 1250 on the very spot where the Seven Holy Founders began their life together. This spot was originally outside the city walls and was known as Cafaggio. Down through the centuries, this priory has been enlarged and embellished. The Priory of Annunciation (Convento Santissima Annunziata) has always been the seat of the Tuscan Province, the Mother province of the Servite Order. Through the centuries, the Arts and the Sciences were encouraged and flourished under the patronage of the friars. The Annunziata was created a parish in 1787 and was created a Minor Basilica in 1805 by Pope Pius VIII. The Annunziata is the Motherhouse of the Servite Order.

Senario (Black)
Monte Senario is the 'Cradle' of the Servite Order. When the Seven Holy Fathers withdrew from the city of Florence, it was to Monte Senario that they went. Bonfilius (one of the Seven Founders) was the first Prior of Monte Senario. The early friars lived here beside an Oratory dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. The Oratory now forms a part of the large church which is within the priory. It was at Monte Senario that the Servite Order received the first official recognition of its existence in a letter dated 13th March 1249. It came from the Papal Legate and was addressed to the 'Prior and Friars of St Mary of Monte Senario who are called the Servants of Saint Mary'.
San Clemente (Green)

In 1251 the city of Siena paid for 20,000 bricks for the Servants of Saint Mary which were to be used in the construction of their new church. This church was dedicated to St. Clemente. It is still standing and is still the parish church. It is the oldest existing community of friars outside of Florence. At one time, St. Alexis (one of the Founders) lived there, as did St. Peregrine and Blessed Francis and Blessed Joachim. As in Florence, the Arts flourished here, and this church is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the Order. The foundation of this community in the mid 13th century marked the beginning of the expansion of the Servite Friars.

Saint Mary (Blue)

In 1864, two Italian friars arrived in London to begin a new Servite foundation. They were Fathers Philip M Bosio and Austin M Morini. Father Morini was later to go on to the USA and make a foundation of the Order in that country. In 1873, the friars purchased some land and the building of a church and priory began. The new church was consecrated in 1875 under the patronage of Saint Mary the Virgin. Saint Mary's marked the beginning of what was eventually to become the English Province. This foundation was the first permanent foundation of the Servite Order outside of continental Europe. It was done at a time when the Order had less than 300 members and it was done as an act of faith in the future of the Order.

Our Lady of Sorrows (Purple)

The first permanent foundation of the Servite Friars in the USA was made by Father Austin M Morini in 1870 (this is the same Father Morini mentioned in the foundation of St. Mary's, London). In 1874, the parish and Priory dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows was founded in Chicago. In 1958, Our Lady of Sorrows was named a Minor Basilica by Pope Pius XII. It was here that in 1937, Father James Mary Keane (the founder of the Order in Australia) began the Sorrowful Mother Novena. This Novena spread throughout the USA and even to Australia. Our Lady of Sorrows is looked upon as the Motherhouse of the U.S.A province. It was from this community that the friars left for California in 1958 to begin a new high school at Anaheim.

Saint Anthony (Red)

The Servite friars look upon Father James Mary Keane as their founder in Australia. He arrived in Perth in 1951 and in December of that year, he accepted, on behalf of the Order, the care of Saint Anthony's Parish, Wanneroo. A Priory was built there in 1952 and this became the Motherhouse of the Australian Servite Foundation. For some years, it was used as the residence for the Sisters of Mercy and later for the Servite Sisters who taught in the Parish school.



In 2009 the College leadership team believed that it was time to develop new Priory Crests that better portrayed the spirituality of the Servite Order. The new crests were the third since the inception of our priory system.

The new crests tell us a story about the Pilgrimage of the Servite Friars from their beginnings in Florence in 1233, to the establishment of the St Anthony Priory in Wanneroo. The crests also tell us about our faith and our calling as Servites.



Is reminiscent of the famous painting of the Annunziation when God asks Mary to be Jesus' mother. The dove represents God and the 'S/M' represents Mary. Mary was being asked to be part of the salvation story. Mary could have said "No", the choice was hers. As Servites, we too are called to be part of the Salvation story. We too can say "Yes" to God's call. The Seven Holy Founders responded to God's call and dedicated their lives to serving others. Our Annunziata crest reminds us of this charism.

Charism: We are called to respond to God's call to serve others.





Contains two elements. The first is the two Servite Friars in their black habit. It is this black habit that Mary gave the Seven Founders in a vision St Philip had. The design of the Friars has been 'borrowed' from our 'brother' school, Servite High, in Anaheim, California. The second element represents the famous 'Senario' symbol – six stones topped with a cross and an 'S'.

Charism: As Servites we are called to prayer and reflection.




Shows the famous church and one of the famous Servites who lived and worked in Siena. Blessed Joachim is shown supporting a man in distress. The San Clemente crest reminds us of our duty to serve the disadvantaged. The floating candle is a sign of Joachim's holiness and recalls a famous story involving Joachim.

Charism: We are called to support those who suffer in the world.





Proudly displays the famous 'M and S' that represents the Servants of Mary. This styalised 'M and S' has been borrowed from our sister school Marian High, in Omaha, Nebraska. The crest also shows the crown and stars above the 'M' (Mary) declaring Mary as the Queen of Heaven. The seven stars of course remind us of the seven men, initially called by Mary, to serve others as she was called to do.

Charism: We are called to follow in Mary's footsteps and respond to God's call to serve others.





The importance of Mary to the Servite story is demonstrated in the 'Our Lady of Sorrows' crest. The 'M' (Mary) wraps around a heart broken into seven pieces. This broken heart represents the traditional seven sorrows Mary endured on her pilgrimage with Jesus. The colours of the heart seem to draw the viewer toward God. Mary was called to stand at the foot of the cross and watch her son die. The cross and this crest remind us that we too are called to stand by those who are suffering.

Charism: We are called to support those who suffer in the world.





When the Servite Friars arrived in Australia they initially took over a number of parishes. One parish, Saint Anthony in Wanneroo, gave us our sixth priory name. The Southern Cross proudly declares our Australian heritage and the Kangaroo Paws have a particular link to Western Australia. The 'M and S' are again central to this crest and remind us that we too are called to be Servants of Mary.

Charism: We are pilgrims on life's journey and like the Friars who left Italy to found Priories around the world, we are called to reach out to all and tell them about our calling as Servants of Mary.



The Servite Friars' Pilgrimage took them away from Florence to Sienna, London, Chicago and eventually in the 1950's to Australia. They established the San Clemente (Sienna), Saint Mary's (London), Our Lady of Sorrows (Chicago) and the Saint Anthony Priories (Wanneroo).

This journey reminds us that we, as Servites, are called to 'reach out to all'. Our Service Learning Program embodies this calling.