Yesterday, following the feast of the Holy Cross, we celebrated the related Feast of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady.
It may seem strange to honor someone’s sorrows. But the Church and Mary herself, in apparitions, have encouraged devotion to her Sorrows with promises of special graces for those who honor them.
The Sorrows of Our Lady are seven particular sufferings that she endured in her life:
- The prophecy of Simeon
- The flight into Egypt
- The loss of the Child Jesus for three days in the Temple
- The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the road to Calvary
- The crucifixion and death of Jesus
- Jesus is taken down from the Cross and placed in the arms of His Mother
- The burial of Jesus
Devotion to Our Lady’s Sorrows has existed since the early centuries of the Church. It came into particular focus in the 13th century when Our Lady appeared to the Seven Founders of the Servite Order, giving them a black garment as their habit and asking them to meditate on her Sorrows.
In the 14th century, Our Lady revealed to St. Bridget of Sweden seven special graces that she would grant to those devoted to her Sorrows. She spoke at length to St. Bridget about the Passion of her Son and her own Sorrows, and made these promises to those who would say seven Hail Marys daily while meditating on her tears and sufferings:
- “I will grant peace to their families.”
- “They will be enlightened about the divine Mysteries.”
- “I will console them in their pains and I will accompany them in their work.”
- “I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my divine Son or the sanctification of their souls.”
- “I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.”
- “I will visibly help them at the moment of their death—they will see the face of their mother.”
- “I have obtained this grace from my divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness, since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son will be their eternal consolation and joy.”
Devotion to Our Lady’s Sorrows—a practice extolled and propagated by so many saints—is one that you, too, can pick up easily. Saying seven Hail Marys only takes a couple minutes!
You can expand your devotion with the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows, a prayer of the Servite Order, which consists of seven Hail Marys for each of the Seven Sorrows. The Catholic Company offers beautiful beads to assist you in your prayer: seven groups of seven black beads connected by medallions depicting Our Lady’s Sorrows. Bring yours home today!