Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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The month of September is dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of Mary.

 

Devotion to the sorrows of the Virgin Mary dates from the twelfth century, when it made its appearance in monastic circles under the influence of St. Anselm and St. Bernard. The Cistercians and then the Servites undertook to propagate it. It became widespread in the fourteenth and especially the fifteenth centuries, particularly in the Rhineland and Flanders, where Confraternities of the Sorrowful Mother sprang up. It was in this context that the first liturgical formularies in her honor were composed. A provincial council of Mainz in 1423 made use of these in establishing a "Feast of the Sorrows of Mary" in reparation for Hussite profanations of her images.

In 1494 the feast appeared in Bruges, where the Precious Blood of Christ was venerated; later on it made its way into France. It did not, however, become widespread in France before Benedict XIII included it in the Roman Calendar in 1727 and assigned it to the Friday before Palm Sunday.

 

September 15th is the Feast of the Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, referring to these seven events in the Queen of Martyrs' life:

  1. The Prophecy of St. Simeon: a sword shall pierce your heart.

  2. The Flight into Egypt.

  3. Losing the Child Jesus in Jerusalem.

  4. Mary meeting Her Son while carrying the Cross.

  5. Witnessing the Crucifixion of Jesus.

  6. Taking Jesus down from the Cross.

  7. Laying Christ in the sepulcher.

As many will note, these dolors of Our Lady are a combination of the mysteries of the rosary (or the other side of the coin in the case of the Joyful Mystery, the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple) and the Stations of the Cross. There is even a chaplet, or type of rosary, that can be said to commemorate these dolors, which was popularized by the Servite Order (dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of Mary).

Learn to Pray the Seven Sorrows Rosary

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