Catholic Herald Staff
Ten candidates joined the Servite family May 18 at St. Francis de Sales Church, Spooner.
Servite Fr. Vidal Martinez, national assistant with the Friar Servants of Mary USA Province, traveled from Chicago to preside over the Rite of Promise. During the service, 10 parishioners – Lorraine Barrett, Kathleen Esser, Mary Haas, Carlene Hansen, Audrey Hanson, Rachel Nau, Theresaleen Nau, Roberta Olson, Richard Schneider and Susan Wallace – professed their promise and were welcomed into the Secular Order of the Servants of Mary.
Founded in 1233 in Italy by a group of seven men, the Servite order is committed to community, service and devotion to Mary. The order’s chief patroness is Our Lady of Sorrows; compassion, hospitality and care for the sick and neglected are emphasized in their ministry.
Servite Sr. Dominica Effertz works in the Spooner parish and serves as a mentor to the order’s secular members. Usually one or two people join at a time, she said, so the receiving of 10 new members is a cause for joy.
“I believe devotion to our Blessed Mother is being revived in our church,” the sister said. “People are seeing Mary – her motherly care for us, an advocate and example for imitation in our own lives – and are giving more attention to her.”
Anytime she meets someone who is service-oriented and devoted to Mary, Sr. Dominica invites that man or woman to join the secular order. She feels strongly that invitation “is an extra incentive to seriously consider the option.”
“While I believe the call to become a Secular Servite comes from Mary herself, a personal invitation is that extra push to respond to that call,” she said. “I believe the same is true of a vocation to the priesthood and religious life. It’s so important to invite people to things.”
Sr. Dominica’s invitations may explain why Spooner’s 2-year-old Secular Servite community has already attracted 17 members. Formed in February 2012, the Mary, Mother of Compassion Community was approved by the Servite Generalate in Rome four months later.
The new members began their journey in November 2012, at a Come and See meeting for anyone interested in learning more about the Mary, Mother of Compassion Community. Eleven of 16 attendees wanted to pursue joining the order; illness compelled one person to leave the group.
Candidates spent one year in formation, studying the order’s history and learning about its charism, before professing their promise to “live the commitment of my baptismal consecration more intensely … be faithful to my family and social obligations, and observe the rules and statutes” of the order.
Following their promise, the new Secular Servites were embraced by others in their Servite family, including professed Lay Diakonia and visitors from Ladysmith.
A reception followed the service.