WHAT IS A SERVITIUM CHRISTI?
PUT very simply, Servitium Christi is the Secular Institute of the Blessed Sacrament. A Secular Institute is a recognized way of living the Consecrated Life (i.e. with the three vows of chastity, poverty and obedience) but yet remaining in the secular world rather than in a religious community setting. Each Secular Institute has its own individual spirituality. The spirituality of Servitium Christi is the Eucharistic spirituality of St. Peter Julian Eymard. (1811-1868).
Our Institute was founded in The Hague, Holland, in 1952 by Fr. Godfrey Spiekman, SSS when he was Superior General of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. He was responding to the implied wishes of St. Peter Julian Eymard, who always included lay people in his mission, and who had a clear vision of the potential of the laity in the Consecrated Life. It was not until 1947 however, almost a century after St. peter Julian’s death, that the Church formally recognized Secular Institutes, and that St. Peter Julian’s dream could become reality. The Founder members were two Dutch women, Ton Golsteijn and Han Bollen who subsequently succeeded each other as Directresses General. The Institute has grown and we now have members in such far-flung places as Holland, Brazil, Chile, Vietnam, The Philippines, USA, Australia, Great Britain and Ireland.
As members of Servitium Christi, we strive to make Jesus in the Eucharist the centre of our lives. We draw our strength from our daily Mass, our hour of prayer in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament, and sharing in the Prayer of the Church. We also devote some time each day to Spiritual reading, and we keep ourselves informed of developments in the Church and the world. All of this is done under the guidance of Spiritual Directors.
Each member (women who are single or widowed) lives her everyday life wherever she finds herself… in her own home, with her family, sharing with friends. We strive to bring the Presence of Jesus in us to those with whom we work and live. Although we are a dispersed community, we are closely bonded in and through the Presence of Jesus in us and in our Institute. We come together for weekend gatherings five or six times a year. These week-ends are an essential part of our lives as members, as we nurture each other, and bond together as community, sharing our experiences, and benefiting from mutual support and direction, guided by our Rule of Life.
For organisational purposes, the Institute is divided into “Regions” based on geographical areas, language, numbers etc. Each Region is led by a Directress and Council, all of whom are responsible to the General Directress and General Council.
Members are received into the Institute by making a Devotional Commitment after a period of discernment and familiarisation. Following three years of “First Formation”, the members may make her first profession of vows. These vows are renewed annually for six years, at which stage the member may make her perpetual profession of vows.
IS GOD CALLING YOU?
Why not explore this possibility? If you feel a restlessness and lack of fulfilment in your present state, it may be His way of saying “Come follow me in Servitium Christi”! For further information, contact:
- Miss Mary Keane, 58, Moyne Road, Ranelagh, Dublin 6, Ireland
- Miss Christine Stone, 11 Brampton Avenue, Leicester LE3 6DA, England