The Rosary of the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary

On the occasion of the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, celebrated on September 15, discover the rosary dedicated to the seven greatest sufferings endured by the Virgin Mary.

She is called the “Mother of Sorrows”. The life of the Virgin Mary was a “painful journey” from the moment Simeon said to her in the Temple: “And you, your soul will be crossed by a sword” (Lk 2, 35). But Mary did not suffer only with her crucified Son, she suffered throughout her life and in the end united with Jesus in the pain of men for their redemption. The “seven Sorrows” refer to seven particular events, recounted in the Gospels, which made the mother of Jesus suffer. Here is a rosary which makes it possible to meditate on them.

1His aspect

The Rosary of the Seven Sorrows of Mary is made up of seven septaines of beads. Each septaine of the rosary is separated by a small medal or by a larger bead than the other 49. On the rosary, there are also three isolated beads accompanied by a medal at the end of this “tail”. Traditionally, the rosary of the Seven Sorrows of Mary is made of black wood to represent the deep sadness and the unbearable suffering that the Virgin Mary had to endure during her life on Earth.

2His history

Devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows developed from 1600 thanks to the “Servants of Mary” who venerate her as their patron saint. Around 1617, the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows, or Rosary of the Seven Sorrows, became a meditation on the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin. The rosary was initially a “spiritual exercise” for lay people who followed the spirituality of the Servites. But it quickly spread among the brothers and became part of their spirituality. At the end of the 17th century, hanging from their belts, it became an integral part of the dress of the Servites.

On September 18, 1814, Pope Pius VII introduced the liturgical memory of Our Lady of Sorrows on the third Sunday of September. Pius X set the date for the celebration as September 15, the day after the Exaltation of the Cross. In addition, the whole month of September is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows.

3why pray to him

The Virgin Mary spoke of her Sorrows in certain revelations recognized by the Church. Thus, in the 14th century, she promised Saint Bridget of Sweden to grant special graces to those who meditate on her Sorrows: peace in their families, illumination of the divine Mysteries, consolation in their sufferings, their requests granted (if they do not oppose the will of God), defense against the devil, assistance at the time of death, eternal joy in Jesus and Mary.

In 1982, Our Lady spoke of the Rosary of Seven Sorrows in certain apparitions in Kibeho, Rwanda. “What I ask of you is to repent. If you recite this Rosary, by meditating on it, you will have the strength to repent,” she declared to Marie-Claire Mukangango on May 31, 1982.

4how to pray

It is recommended to pray the Rosary of Seven Sorrows during the month of September, especially on the 15th, on Fridays throughout the year and during Lent.

The rosary of the seven pains consists in meditating on each pain of the Virgin as one would do for a mystery. We begin with the seven groups of seven grains. On the medal, we state the mystery, the title of the pain inflicted on Mary. Here are the Seven Sorrows, in order:

Mary accepts in faith the prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2, 25-35).

Mary flees to Egypt with Jesus and Joseph (Mt 2, 13-15).

Mary seeks Jesus, lost in Jerusalem (Luke 2, 41-52).

Mary meets Jesus on the way to Calvary (Lk 23, 27).

Mary stands near the Cross of her Son (Jn 19, 25-27).

Mary receives the body of Jesus in her arms (Jn 19, 38-40).

Mary accompanies the Most Holy Body of her Son to the tomb (Jn 19, 41-42).

We then recite a Our father. On the seven beads that follow, we recite seven I salute you marie. After each I salute you mariewe recite the following invocation:

Pray for us, Virgin of Sorrows, that we may be worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

We end the rosary on the three beads from the beginning. We recite three I salute you marie and one Our father on the main medal of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows.

There are different ways to recite this rosary. One can, for example, before beginning the rosary and/or at the end, recite the beautiful prayer Stabat Mater Dolorosa.

5Pope Francis likes to pray the Seven Sorrows of Mary

During his homily at Mass at the Sainte-Marthe residence on Friday April 3, 2020, Pope Francis confided in praying often the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary. “It does me good, late in the evening, when I pray the Angelus, to pray these Seven Sorrows in remembrance of the Mother of the Church, Mother of the Church who in so much pain gave birth to us all said the Bishop of Rome, inviting the faithful to pray to the Mother of God.

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The Rosary of the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary

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