Feast Day: September 15
Devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows dates back to the middle ages, though reflections on Mary’s sorrows goes back to the early church fathers. At one time there were two feast days in the liturgical calendar commemorating the Sorrows of Mary. One feast day was established in 1727 by Pope Benedict XIII to be celebrated on the Friday before Palm Sunday. The timing of this feast day was to recall the sorrows of Mary at the crucifixion and death of her Son. The second feast day was established in 1817 by Pope Pius VII as a memorial of his sufferings in exile and captivity, under Napoleon, and of his deliverance through the Blessed Virgin’s intercession. This feast day is celebrated on September 15th, the day after the feast day of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th. The first feast day was eliminated as a result of the Vatican II liturgical calendar reforms in 1969, though devotion to the Sorrows of Mary is still practiced during Lent. It is interesting to note that Mary appeared at Fatima on October 13, 1917 – the famous Miracle of the Sun apparition – as Our Lady of Sorrows.
The Seven Sorrows of Mary (also known as the Seven Dolors) are:
- The Prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:34-35)
- The Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-21)
- The Loss of Jesus for Three Days (Luke 2:41-50)
- The Carrying of the Cross (Luke 23:27-30)
- The Crucifixion of Jesus (John 19:18-30)
- Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross (John 19:38-39)
- Jesus is Laid in the Tomb (John 19:40-42)
There are numerous web sites which show how to pray a special chaplet to the Sorrows of Mary. The following presents prayers honoring the Seven Sorrows of Mary that were approved by Pope Pius VII in 1815.
V. O God, come to my assistance;
R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
V. Glory be to the Father, etc.
R. As it was in the beginning, etc.
1. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in affliction of your tender heart at the prophecy of the holy and aged Simeon. O dearest Mother, by your heart so afflicted, implore for me the virtue of humility and the Gift of the holy Fear of God.
2. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the anguish of your most affectionate heart during the flight into Egypt and your sojourn there. O dearest Mother, by your anxious heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of generosity, especially toward the poor, and the Gift of Piety.
3. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in those anxieties which tried your troubled heart at the loss of your beloved Child Jesus. O dearest Mother, by your exceedingly troubled heart implore for me the virtue of chastity and the Gift of Knowledge.
4. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, on account of the horror with which your mother-heart was stricken when meeting Jesus bearing the Cross. O dearest Mother, by your exceedingly oppressed heart implore for me the virtue of patience and the Gift of Fortitude.
5. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, on account of that martyrdom which tortured your generous heart at the death-agony of Jesus. O dearest Mother, through this thy martyred heart, implore for me the virtue of temperance and the Gift of Counsel.
6. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the wounding of your tender heart, by the thrust of the lance that opened the side of Jesus and pierced His most adorable Heart. O dearest Mother, by this vicarious transfixion of thy own heart, implore for me the virtue of brotherly love and the Gift of Understanding.
7. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, on account of that agony which racked your most loving heart at the burial of Jesus. O dearest Mother, through this extreme torment that filled thy burdened heart, obtain for me the virtue of zeal and the Gift of Wisdom.
V. Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let Us Pray:
‘Let intercession be made for us, we beseech You, O Lord Jesus Christ, now and at the hour of our death, before the throne of Your mercy, by the Blessed Virgin Mary, Your Mother, whose most holy soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow in the hour of Your bitter Passion. Through You, O Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, who with the Father and the Holy Ghost lives and reigns world without end. Amen.