The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary

History of the Devotion

7SorrowDevotion to the Sorrowful Mother began on Calvary when Our Dying Lord gave us His Mother, saying to St. John "Behold Thy Mother".

In Italy, around 1233 on the Feast of the Assumption, Mary appeared to seven men, absorbed in penitential prayer, her eyes streaming with tears, she said "SPREAD EVERYWHERE THE MEMORY OF MY DOLORS AND THE PASSION OF MY JESUS". In 1240 they withdrew from the world to pray and serve the Lord, leading a life of penance, prayer and service to 'St. Mary' by forming a Religious Community, the Servants of Mary, known as the Servites. Under the direction of St. Peter of Verona, they began to wear a religious habit similar to the Dominicans and began to live under the rule of Saint Augustine. The order took on new life and before the end of the 14th century had over 100 convents throughout Europe, India and Crete. The Servites devoted their prayer to the rosary of the Seven Sorrows.

The devotion was encouraged by St. Bridget of Sweden, who revealed seven graces that Our Lady would grant to souls who honour her by daily praying seven Hail Mary’s while meditating on her tears and Sorrows. She promised the following:

1. I will grant peace to their families.
2. They will be enlightened about the Divine Mysteries.
3. I will console them in their pains and accompany them in their work.
4. I will give them as much as they ask for in union with the Divine Will of my Son.
5. I will defend them in their spiritual battles and protect them.
6. I will visibly help them at the moment of their death - they will see my face.
7. Those who propagate this devotion will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness.

In 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima. Beginning on May 13 she appeared to them each month till her final appearance on October 13, the day of the Great Miracle witnessed by 70,000 people. Mary requested that the Rosary be prayed to avert war and establish peace. The Blessed Mother terminated the final apparition by showing the children three separate visions, symbolizing the rosary.

The fist vision was of the Holy Family – representing the joyful mysteries;
The second was Our Lady of Sorrows – representing the sorrowful mysteries.
The third was a vision of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel – representing the glorious mysteries.

The rosary is a powerful weapon given to us by Our Lady by which we can fight the evils of today’s world.

From 1982 to 1983, in Kibeho, Rwanda, 3 young visionaries reported appearances by the Blessed Virgin Mary who identified herself as Our Lady of the Word. Mary instructed one of the visionaries (Marie-Claire Mukangango) to spread the devotion of the Seven Sorrows Rosary because of a terrible war that would soon erupt. Twelve years later, in 1994, the Rwandan genocide took place. The visionary’s predictions of rivers of blood and thousands upon thousands of dead bodies strewn about the streets came true. Approximately one million people died, including the visionary Marie-Claire. On July 2, 2001, the Vatican declared the apparitions approved. The Seven Sorrows Rosary continues to be the central devotion as the nation of Rwanda, and indeed the people of Africa, work toward healing and peace.

How to begin this prayer?

O God, we offer You this Rosary for Your glory, so we may honour the Mother of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin, so we can share and meditate upon her suffering and through her, the suffering of Jesus. We humbly beg You to give us wisdom, humility and true repentance for all our sins.

Act of Contrition: My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things.

I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.

Our Saviour Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

In Compassion for our Sorrowful Mother’s tears and to offer our tears in union with hers.

The First Sorrow to pierce the Heart of Mary: The Prophecy of Simeon

Filled with joy, you presented your first-born son in the temple only to hear the prophecy of Simeon foretelling the suffering of Jesus.
Announcing that your Son, Love Incarnate, would be a sign to be opposed.

Sorrowful Mother, there are Christians in the world today, who are hated for nothing other than their faith in God who is Love. And yet they have chosen to follow your Son, even to Calvary. Be with them now, strengthen their faith, and reaffirm their choice to follow Jesus.

Our Father Hail Mary (7 times) Holy Mother Pierce ...

The Second Sorrow to pierce the Heart of Mary: The Flight into Egypt

Sorrow2On a moment’s notice, you must flee with the infant Jesus on a perilous journey to Egypt. You have no choice. Life is too precious to risk. Herod is killing children and infants as he hunts for your son.

Sorrowful Mother, you know the fear and loss of many Christians today who have been displaced from their homes, even separated from their families. Struggling in a land not their own. You know how it feels to leave your home, your village, your country. Be with them now as they seek out a shelter from the elements; a refuge from persecution; a place of rest.

Our Father Hail Mary (7 times) Holy Mother Pierce ...

The Third Sorrow to pierce the Heart of Mary: The loss of the child Jesus in the Temple

Sorrow3For 3 days you lived with the fear of having lost your child Jesus. How terrifying to think of him alone, among strangers.
Is he hungry? Is he afraid? Is he hurt? Frantically searching, you cannot stop, you have to find him. In anguish, you cry out to God for help.
Sorrowful Mother, you know the plight of parents who have lost their children. The schoolgirls kidnapped at night, villages raided for labourers, children used as human shields, or forced to dig tunnels. So many children have been forcibly separated from their parents. Be with them now as they hope against hope in their anguish, desperate to see their children once again.

Our Father Hail Mary (7 times) Holy Mother Pierce ...

The Fourth Sorrow to pierce the Heart of Mary: Meeting Jesus on the Way to Calvary

Sorrow4You see your Son. Jesus, battered and condemned to crucifixion, stops to look into your eyes, on the road to Calvary. He is beaten, abused and defiled. Your sorrow is absolute as Jesus drags the cross on which He will be crucified. To witness the suffering of your child, the innocent one. And to know he will suffer even more. How could you possibly bear it?

Sorrowful Mother, you understand the crushing pain of parents forced to watch the torture, abuse, and rape of their children. You understand that there is no greater suffering. Be with them now, for they need your help. Be with their children, for they do not understand why this is happening to them.

Our Father Hail Mary (7 times) Holy Mother Pierce ...

The Fifth Sorrow to pierce the Heart of Mary: The Death of Jesus on the Cross

Sorrow5You stand at the foot of the cross where your Son is dying. Unable to minister to him as he cries "I thirst". You cannot take care of him any more. You hear him promise heaven to a thief and forgive his enemies. Then he speaks to you. And with his dying breath, he takes care of you.

Sorrowful Mother, a parent should never have to live through the death of a child. Stripped naked and ridiculed; tortured and mocked; Jesus died knowing the depth of your love and trust in him. Love alone sustained you. With his last words, "Behold your mother”, Jesus made of you a gift for all of humankind. Be with those who are persecuted and dying. Embrace them in your love, for they are your children now.

Our Father Hail Mary (7 times) Holy Mother Pierce ...

The Sixth Sorrow to pierce the Heart of Mary: Receiving the Dead Body of Jesus in her arms

Sorrow6The passion and death are complete, but for you, the suffering continues. You receive the body of your Son and hold him one last time in your arms. The Son you once cradled and caressed is now lifeless in your arms. The heaviness of his listless body reveals the fact of his death. And yet, you cannot bear to let him go. You want to hold on as long as possible.
Sorrowful Mother, how do we make sense of the suffering? What can we say to the father holding the decapitated body of his little girl? There are no words. You know well that there are no words. There is only trust. That Love will find a way. There is only trust.

Our Father Hail Mary (7 times) Holy Mother Pierce ...

The Seventh Sorrow to pierce the Heart of Mary: To seal the body of Jesus in the tomb.

Sorrow7You place the body of Jesus in the tomb. And now, even the sight of your Son is denied you. All has been taken away. You have nothing left to give. You have surrendered everything. Nothing remains. Still you trust. You trust that the promise of new life will be fulfilled. That His death was not in vain. That people will care. That Love will triumph and there will be a Resurrection.

Sorrowful Mother, there are many who have united themselves to your Son in his Passion and Death on the Cross. Members of his Mystical Body; they have been abused, defiled and torn apart. Yet their sacrifice is not in vain. Their faith and their witness has strengthened us. We have gathered because we care. We will not remain lukewarm in our faith. We will choose the good. We will speak the truth. We will triumph over evil. We will see the power of the Resurrection. And we will love.

Our Father Hail Mary (7 times) Holy Mother Pierce ...
Queen of Martyrs, your heart suffered so much.
We beg you, by the merits of the tears you shed and the sufferings of your Son,
to obtain for Persecuted Christians, peace and consolation on earth
and the joy of eternal life in heaven. Amen.

Mary, who was conceived without sin and who suffered for us, pray for us.
Mary, who was conceived without sin and who suffered for us, pray for us.
Mary, who was conceived without sin and who suffered for us, pray for us.

In the Name of the Father….