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In Honour of Our Lady of Sorrows

Mary, Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows by Mary Evans Picture Library

The month of September is traditionally dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of Mary due to the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows being observed on September 15.

Each month of the liturgical year is devoted to a particular Catholic tradition, usually centred on a Feast during that month. As August is the Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, September follows as the Month of Our Lady of Sorrows.

We see this theme of joy followed by affliction mirrored in the liturgical calendar in two September Feasts – The Exaltation of the Holy Cross on September 14 and The Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows on 15 September. In a unique way, we honour and remember the sufferings Mary endured as Mother of Jesus. By uniting ourselves to her sufferings we draw close to the sufferings of Christ which can help us endure our daily struggles.

The name of Our Lady of Sorrows centres on the extraordinary and bittersweet suffering the Blessed Mother experienced during Christ’s Passion. As seen in the artwork above, her agony is composed of “The Seven Sorrows,” that pierced the Heart of Mary.

Devotion to the sorrows of the Virgin Mary dates from the twelfth century, when it made its appearance in monastic circles under the influence of St. Anselm and St. Bernard. The Cistercians and then the Servites undertook to propagate it.

In 1423 Archbishop Theodoric of Cologne was the first to prescribe a feast in honour of Our Lady of Sorrows. The feast was gradually introduced in other parts of Europe. In 1727, Pope Benedict XIII ordered the feast to be kept in the whole Church under the name of the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 1913 Pope Saint Pius X ordered the feast to be observed on 15th September, and is now known as the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

During this month of September, we are drawn into the spiritual martyrdom that the Blessed Mother experienced during the physical martyrdom of Jesus. The evils of sin are manifest but conquered through intense suffering. The Blessed Mother’s tears of anguish reflect God’s washing away of sin.

“Most merciful mother, remind us always about the sorrows of your Son, Jesus”

What Are the Seven Sorrows of Mary?

  1. The prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:25-35)

  2. The flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15)

  3. Loss of the Child Jesus for three days (Luke 2:41-50)

  4. Mary meets Jesus on his way to Calvary (Luke 23:27-31; John 19:17)

  5. Crucifixion and Death of Jesus (John 19:25-30)

  6. The body of Jesus being taken from the Cross (Psalm 130; Luke 23:50-54; John 19:31-37)

  7. The burial of Jesus (Isaiah 53:8; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42; Mark 15:40-47)

Feast Days & Memorials in September

8th The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

12th The Most Holy Name of Mary

14th The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

15th Our Lady of Sorrows

27th St. Vincent de Paul

29th St. Michael the Archangel


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