|Saint Alexis Falconieri|
|Founder and Mystic|
17 February 1310|
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||1 December 1717 by Clement XI|
|Canonized||15 January 1888 by Pope Leo XIII|
|Major shrine||Santissima Annunziata, Florence|
|Patronage||city of Orvieto (Italy)|
Alexis Falconieri (Italian: Alessio Falconieri) (Florence, 1200 – Mount Senario, 17 February 1310) is one of the seven founders of the Servite Order, who are celebrated together on the anniversary of his death.
After the 1888 canonization of the seven founders, their feast was inserted in the General Roman Calendar for celebration on 11 February, the anniversary of the granting of canonical approval to the order in 1304. In 1909, 11 February became the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, and the feast of the seven founders was moved to 12 February. In the 1969 revision of the calendar, 17 February, the date of death of Alexis Falconieri was judged to be more appropriate.
Alexis was the son of Bernard Falconieri, a merchant prince of Florence, and one of the leaders of the Republic. His family belonged to the Guelph party, and opposed the Imperialists whenever they could consistently with their political principles.
Alexis grew up in the practice of the most profound humility. He became a wealthy noble in one of Italy’s most wealthy and cultured cities. Alexis joined the Laudesi, a pious confraternity of the Blessed Virgin, and there met the six future companions of his life of sanctity. He was favoured with an apparition of the Mother of God, 15 August 1233, as were these companions. The seven soon afterwards founded the Order of the Servites. Alexis at once abandoned all, and retired to La Camarzia, a house on the outskirts of the town, and the following year to Mt. Senario.
With humility, he traversed, as a mendicant, in quest of alms for his brethren, the streets of the city through which he had lately moved as a prominent citizen. So deep and sincere was his humility that, though he lived to the great age of hundred and ten years, he always refused to enter the priesthood, of which he deemed himself unworthy.
His duties were confined principally to the material needs of the various communities in which he lived. In 1252 the new church at Cafaggio, on the outskirts of Florence, was completed under his care, with the financial assistance of Chiarissimo Falconieri. Saint Juliana Falconieri, his niece, was trained in sanctity under his personal direction.
The influence exerted on his countrymen by Alexis and his companions may be gathered from the fact that in a few years ten thousand persons had enrolled themselves under the banner of the Blessed Virgin in the Servite Order.
His body rests near the church of the Annunciation, in Florence. Clement XI declared Alexis worthy of the veneration of the faithful, 1 December 1717, and accorded the same honour to his six companions, 3 July 1725.
Pope Leo XIII canonized them all on 15 January 1888.
- Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), p. 88
- McGinnis, Charles. "St. Alexis Falconieri." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 20 Aug. 2013
- "St. Alexis Falconieri", FaithND
- Holweck, F. G., A Biographical Dictionary of the Saints. St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1924.
- 17 February saints at St. Patrick Catholic Church