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Our Lady of Sorrows

Monday September 15, 2025

The Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows on September 15 is a liturgical feast that commemorates the seven sorrows of the Virgin Mary. This feast is observed the day after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, drawing a connection between Christ's suffering and Mary's sorrows. The date emphasizes the intimate bond between Jesus and Mary, particularly in their experiences of suffering.

During the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, special prayers, hymns, and Scripture readings focusing on Mary's suffering are integrated into the Mass. The Seven Sorrows Rosary is also commonly prayed, individually or in groups. Churches may hold processions or other special services to facilitate communal reflection on Mary's sorrows.

The Seven Sorrows are specific events in Mary's life that cause her great anguish, ranging from the prophecy of Simeon to the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. The devotion aims to deepen one's empathy for Mary and to draw spiritual lessons from contemplating her sorrows.

The purpose of the feast is not to dwell on suffering for its own sake, but rather to understand the role of suffering in the Christian journey. Mary's sorrow is seen as a model of resilience and faith, and contemplating it can inspire us to persevere in our own challenges.

In summary, the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows is an opportunity to explore the spiritual dimensions of suffering and compassion, using Mary's experience as a touchstone. The day invites Catholics to delve deeper into their faith through prayer, reflection, and community engagement.

The Seven Sorrows of Mary

The seven sorrows of Mary are:

  • The prophesy of Simeon at the presentation of Jesus in Jerusalem
  • The flight into Egypt to escape Herod
  • Losing Jesus in the temple in Jesusalem when he was an adolescent
  • Seeing Jesus as he carried his cross
  • The death by crucifixion of Jesus Christ
  • Taking the body of Jesus down from the cross
  • The burial of Jesus in the tomb

The Seven Sorrows Rosary (Seven Sorrows Devotion)

The Rosary of the Seven Sorrows, also known as the Servite Rosary, is a Catholic devotion that focuses on the seven main sorrows of the Virgin Mary. It's different from the standard Rosary and is usually prayed using a specific set of beads that consist of seven groups of seven beads, with a medal and three introductory beads at the beginning.

Start by making the Sign of the Cross and then pray an introductory prayer, such as an Our Father, on the first bead near the medal. Many like to start with an act of contrition. Following that, announce the first sorrow and reflect on it for a moment. Next, pray an Our Father on the large bead before each group of seven smaller beads, where you'll say seven Hail Marys while meditating on that particular sorrow.

After each group of seven beads, some people like to pray "My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy." This isn't mandatory, but it's a common practice.

Once you complete all seven sorrows, it is customary to finish the devotion by saying three Hail Marys. These are in remembrance of the tears Mary shed because of her sorrows. Some people also end with a closing prayer, like the Hail Holy Queen, or another prayer asking for the intercession of Our Lady of Sorrows.

So, to recap, the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows consists of an introductory prayer, seven sorrows each with an Our Father and seven Hail Marys, and is often concluded with three Hail Marys and a closing prayer. It's a focused way to meditate on Mary's sorrows and ask for her intercession.

The Seven Graces

The seven graces for this devotion, which were revealed to St. Bridget by the Blessed Virgin Mary, are

  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 I will accompany them in their work.
  4. 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.
  5. I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.
  6. I will visibly help them at the moment of their death, they will see the face of their Mother.
  7. I have obtained 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 and I will be their eternal consolation and joy.

Daily Mass Readings for the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows

The Gospel for this memorial is proper (required). The first reading may be taken from the weekday or the reading found below. The sequence is optional.

  • First Reading - Hebrews 5:7-9: In his earthly life, Christ Jesus offered prayers to God, learning obedience through suffering. Although a Son, he was made perfect through this process, becoming the source of eternal salvation for those who obey him.
  • Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 31: In me, O LORD, find your refuge and never be ashamed. I will rescue you swiftly, be your rock and fortress, and guide you. Trust in me to control your destiny and show great goodness.
  • Sequence - Stabat Mater: The mournful Mother stands near the cross, sharing Jesus' anguish. She watches her son, tortured and dying for the sins of his nation. She prays to share in his pain and for eternal salvation through him.
  • Gospel - John 19:25-27: Jesus sees his mother and a beloved disciple near the cross. He tells his mother to regard the disciple as her son, and instructs the disciple to consider her as his mother. The disciple takes her home from then on.
  • Alternate Gospel - Luke 2:33-35: Jesus' parents are amazed by Simeon's words. Simeon tells Mary that Jesus is destined to impact many in Israel, will be a subject of contradiction, and that she too will suffer, revealing people's thoughts.

Homilies and Reflections

Word On Fire: Entrusting Mary's Role

In the reflection for Our Lady of Sorrows, Bishop Robert Barron talks about the moment Jesus entrusts Mary to his disciple John while on the cross. Bishop Barron notes this supports the ancient tradition that John took Mary with him to Ephesus, where they both lived out their days. Mary is not just a historical figure or a spiritual example; she remains an active presence in the life of the Church. By entrusting Mary to John, Jesus essentially entrusts her to all his followers throughout history, emphasizing her ongoing role.

USCCB Reflection: The Sorrowful Mother

This USCCB video commemorates the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, emphasizing the significance of Mary's sorrow as she witnessed her innocent son's sacrifice on the cross. Despite her Immaculate Conception, Mary's suffering was profound. We remember the moment when Jesus entrusted Mary to the disciple whom He loved, symbolizing Mary as the mother of the Church. We must unite our sufferings with the Cross of Christ and cultivate a devotion to Mary, who desires to be present in our times of suffering to help us find solace and align our suffering with the glory of God.

Why Our Lady of Sorrows?

In this reflection from Word on Fire, Fr. Steve Grunow discusses the concept of Our Lady of Sorrows, focusing on the sacrifices and pain Mary endured as the Mother of God. He mentions poet Wendell Berry's view that love inevitably involves sacrifice and pain. Fr. Grunow emphasizes that the Incarnation is a real, flesh-and-blood event that includes real love and therefore real pain. He states that Mary's deep relationship with Christ didn't shield her from life's painful experiences; instead, it amplified them. Yet, through her faith, she exemplifies that divine life can be accessed even in suffering, teaching us about the depths of true love.


Get Behind Me Satan – A Lesson Plan on Avoiding Pain

This lesson plan explores the concept that accepting the Christian life involves facing challenges and even pain. It delves into the significance of Mary's willingness to say yes to God despite understanding that love often entails sacrifice. It discusses the passage where Jesus rebukes Peter by saying, "Get behind me Satan," emphasizing that avoiding pain can be a temptation that hinders the path of discipleship. This reflection is particularly relevant for the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, which commemorates Mary's deep sorrow and sacrifice in her journey as the mother of Jesus.

Why Do Catholics Have Devotions to Mary?

This lesson plan provides an explanation of Catholic devotions and prayers directed towards the Blessed Mother and the saints. It underscores the belief that all baptized individuals are part of the mystical body of Christ, emphasizing the interconnectedness within the faith community. The practice of praying for one another is highlighted, drawing from biblical references that encourage such intercessory prayer. The lesson plan also clarifies the Catholic tradition of seeking the prayers of the Blessed Mother and the saints, offering insights into the significance of feasts like Our Lady of Sorrows in fostering a deeper understanding of this aspect of the faith.

Quotes and Social Media Graphics for Our Lady of Sorrows

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Our Lady of Sorrows
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Our Lady of Sorrows

Let us bind ourselves tightly to the Sorrowful Heart of our Heavenly Mother and reflect on it's boundless grief and how precious is our soul.

St. Pio of Pietrelcina

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