The Servite Secular Institute, a branch of the Order of Servants of Mary (Servites), was founded by Joan Bartlett in London in 1952 and has since spread to various countries in Europe and to North and South America.
Members live and work as consecrated individuals wherever they find themselves. Vowed to God, their first obligation is to love Him and serve Him in all things, living a fully Christian life and giving witness to Godís love for all. This is done in the context of the Instituteís Constitutions and Directories which show that a consecrated life demands daily fidelity to prayer, to spiritual development and in the case of the Servite Secular Institute, fidelity to the charism of the Servite Order which places great emphasis on compassion, sharing, a family spirit and humble service.
This is a celibate vocation. The vows of chastity, poverty and obedience give members freedom to become the best possible version of themselves. Institute members are self-funding in all aspects of their lives and must budget accordingly. This gives a concrete expression to the lay nature of this vocation. The Institute does not financially support its members in the living of their ordinary lives; one has to be able to provide for oneself at work and in old age. Obedience requires accountability and careful stewardship of all the talents one has been given.
Where there are sufficient members in an area, groups are formed. The groupís members meet together on a regular basis for formation, sharing, prayer, discussion and support. In the UK groups are currently found in Darlington, Bristol and London.
Living a Secular Institute life is a very individual vocation. It is solitary (in the sense that unlike religious, members do not live in community) and demands a life-long commitment to responding to the loving invitations of Godís grace. Like yeast hidden in the dough, the influence of members often passes unseen yet contributes an essential quality to the whole. If you think that God may be calling you to this life, then check the Contacts page for further details.
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