God uses the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius Loyola to reveal inspirations for a religious community to Aron Little while working at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Steubenville, Ohio.
God brings two Franciscan University students, Matthew Fenter and Thomas Yager, together before the Blessed Sacrament in Houston, with inspirations for a new religious community.
The Founding. At Franciscan University of Steubenville, God unites Matthew, Thomas and Aron in prayer, reflection on the Philippians 2 hymn, and their inspirations for religious life. God inspires Matthew to communicate His invitation to the men “to step out of the boat and to come follow Him.” The men commit to prayer and penance in founding the community. On Ash Wednesday, Matthew, Thomas and Aron submit their request to become an Association of the Christian Faithful to Bishop Conlon of the Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio. In June, Aron directs Thomas through the 30-Day Spiritual Exercises, during which the Lord reveals and confirms Thomas’ call to pursue family life.
First Profession of Vows. Following Matthew's 30-Day Spiritual Exercises, God confirms his call to poverty, chastity and obedience. On October 29, Matthew and Aron offer their First Profession of 3-year vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience at the Mass of First Profession in Christ the King Chapel at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. During mass, they receive their black habits and their new names: Brother Paul Kostka and Brother John Ignatius.
Invitation to Denver. After visiting the seminary in Denver, the community has supper with Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap. Archbishop Chaput invites the community to move to Denver. The Servants adopt St. Ignatius Loyola’s Formula of the Institute as their provisional rule, and submit statutes of their Association of the Faithful to Archbishop Chaput, the next step to forming a religious community.
Br. John and Br. Paul serve the community of Denver and beyond. While Br. Paul is teaching high school Theology, Br. John is in seminary. Both Servants continue leading retreats across the country. Additionally, they embark on their community's first poverty pilgrimage and month-long hospital chaplaincy. In 2009, Richard Vaughan joins the community in the spring and he is admitted to novitiate as Br. James Claver in August, a few weeks before Br. Paul enters the seminary.
Approval of Statutes. Archbishop Charles Chaput approves the statutes of the Servants of Christ Jesus as a Private Association of the Faithful. On November 23, Archbishop Chaput establishes Saint John the Baptist Chapel at the residence of the Servants, with permission to reserve the Holy Eucharist. During the 30-Day Spiritual Exercises, the Lord confirms Br. James' call to poverty, chastity and obedience. On November 13, Br. James professes his first vows to the Blessed Sacrament at Church of the Risen Christ in Denver.
Perpetual Vows. On December 17, Br. John and Br. Paul profess perpetual vows, forever committing themselves to poverty, chastity and obedience. Additionally in 2011, the Servants contract with the Archdiocese to provide Catholic Campus Ministry at the University of Denver.
The Servants apostolates continue to grow as they lead a one-month Third World Immersion to India, where they serve with the Missionaries of Charity. The number of retreats and formation experiences increase in Denver as well as across the country. Br. Paul and Br. James continue to pursue seminary studies in hopes to be approved for ordination. Br. John serves as the Campus Minister at the University of Denver.
Ordination. On May 18, Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver, ordains Fr. John Ignatius and Fr. Paul Kostka as the first priests of the Servants of Christ Jesus. Also in 2013, Br. James Claver renews his vows to the community.
Community growth. On November 1, Br. James Claver professes perpetual vows, becoming the third perpetually professed member of the Servants of Christ Jesus.
Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver ordains Br. James as a Deacon on February 14. Br. James serves St. Pius X Catholic Church in Aurora, CO while continuing studies for the priesthood. Patrick Lanning moves to Denver to begin an applicant year with the Servants. The Servants continue to expand the formation of their community and the ministry of their apostolates.
In Rome on Ash Wednesday, Fr. John Ignatius and Fr. Paul Kostka are commissioned by Pope Francis to be Missionaries of Mercy during the Jubilee Year of Mercy. On May 14, Fr. James Claver is ordained as the third priest of the Servants of Christ Jesus in Denver, Colorado. That same month, the Servants purchase their first primary residence in Denver. Patrick Lanning is admitted as a novice to the community and given the name Br. Thomas Gonzaga.
Preaching, teaching and spiritual exercises apostolates continue to grow as the number of camps served increases, the number of spiritual exercises opportunities grows and the number of retreats directed around the country expand. As Br. Thomas Gonzaga begins seminary studies in hopes of ordination to the priesthood, Jonathan DeMois moves to Denver and is admitted as a novice to the community and given the name Br. Peter Xavier.
Fr. John and Fr. Paul's commission as Missionaries of Mercy is extended and their pilgrimage culminates with formation given directly by the Holy Father and the opportunity to greet Pope Francis following his presentation. On Septemer 15 on the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, Br. Thomas Gonzaga offers his First Profession of 3-year vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver.