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Seven Sorrows of Mary

A traditional devotion of the Marianites calls us to contemporary prayer

The Marianites of Holy Cross hold Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Seven Dolors, as their patroness. The Seven Dolors are the seven sorrows Mary underwent as the Mother of Jesus. We depict this devotion on our Congregational Seal, pictured above. We pray that we may follow Mary’s example of faith, strength, and compassion as we walk with others through the joys and struggles of their lives.

Our Congregational feast day is celebrated on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows on September 15.

Marianites have special prayer beads that we use to meditate on the sorrows of Mary. The prayer beads are divided into seven sections: at the beginning of each section, there’s a medal depicting the sorrow. After meditation on this sorrow, there are seven beads. On each we pray the “Hail, Mary.” (If you’d like to reflect on Mary’s sorrows by using the Seven Dolors beads, please send us an e-mail.)

Here are some reflections on the seven dolors for your personal prayer or to use in praying the Seven Dolor beads.

First Dolor: Simeon’s Prophecy

“Thy own soul a sword shall pierce.” Today we can unite our hearts torn by sorrows and tragedies with Mary’s sword-pierced heart. The hearts of those whose countries are war-torn, where brother fights against brother, are pierced with the sword of sorrow and anguish. Even within God’s family we see strife today – prejudice still burns churches from time to time.
Mother of Sorrows, have compassion on them, and grant us the privilege to be present to them.

Second Dolor: The Flight into Egypt

Mary and Joseph fled into Egypt with Jesus, sorrowing that He, the Son of God, was threatened and unwanted. Their sufferings are shared by the many refugees in today’s world, forced to leave their native land to wander the earth rejected and unwanted. Children and adults with AIDS are also being rejected from schools and work places where they had developed a sense of belonging.
Mother of Sorrows, have compassion on them, and grant us the privilege to be present to them.

Third Dolor: Jesus Lost in the Temple

As Mary and Joseph suffered the loss of Jesus, so many people, young and old, are crushed by a loss of faith in God, consider life unbearable because it has no meaning, yearn to believe and cannot, and are tempted and sometimes do commit suicide.
Mother of Sorrows, have compassion on them, and grant us the privilege to be present to them.

Fourth Dolor: Meeting with Jesus Carrying His Cross

As Mary’s heart bled with anguish at seeing her Son tortured and carrying His heavy Cross, many families throughout the world have crushed hearts at what is done to their children – the physical and spiritual deprivations of the slums, the dangers of gang warfare, the unjust arrests, the misery and horror of prison life – all these wring with anguish the hearts of mothers and fathers.
Mother of Sorrows have compassion on them, and grant us the privilege to be present to them.

Fifth Dolor: The Crucifixion

As Mary stood beneath the Cross and watched her Son suffer and die, her heart was united with his, and she prayed for all those who suffer more at the agony of loved ones than at their own – all who are powerless to relieve suffering and whose hearts are torn because of their helplessness, like parents whose children are kidnapped and murdered or who watch their adult children die each day, in a sense, because of addictions.
Mother of Sorrows have compassion on them, and grant us the privilege to be present to them.

Sixth Dolor: Jesus Taken Down from the Cross

As Mary sat at the foot of the Cross cradling her dead Son in her arms, her heart was united with people throughout the world who are devastated by the death of loved ones – especially the young who died suddenly of disease, accident, or violence, and all loved ones whose death leaves a void in life.
Mother of Sorrows have compassion on them, and grant us the privilege to be present to them.

Seventh Dolor: Jesus is Laid in the Sepulcher

As Mary watched her dead son being placed in the sepulcher, the placing of the rock before the entrance was like the thrusting of another sword into her heart. Now his suffering was over, but her loneliness began. Mary’s heart was united to people deprived of loved ones who have to withstand indescribable emptiness and live the long, bitter years of loneliness.
Mother of Sorrows have compassion on them, and grant us the privilege to be present to them.

Great as the sea was her sorrow,
but great as the sea is her compassion
and her hope for the Resurrection.