The order of the Servi di Maria, or Serviti, was officially founded in Florence in 1233. They arrived in Mendrisio as early as 1451. In 1477, after having used the church of San Sisinio alla Torre, they settled at the oratory of Santa Maria delle Grazie, on the extreme northern outskirts of the village. The Serviti took care of a hospital and the treatment of the sick as their first activity. Subsequently, the hospital was progressively transformed into a school. In 1852 the Serviti left Mendrisio 375 years after they had settled there. This was because in 1852 the government decreed the expulsion of the religious orders.
On a religious level, the Serviti introduce in Mendrisio the devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows, the Easter Septenary (with the traditional singing of the Stabat Mater) and the Processions of the Holy Week.