September 15th is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. The Servites introduced this feast in order to intensify devotion to Our Lady’s Sorrows. 

This feast is dedicated to the spiritual martyrdom of Mary, Mother of God, and her compassion with the sufferings of her Divine Son, Jesus. In her suffering as co-redeemer, she reminds us of the tremendous evil of sin and shows us the way of true repentance.

 

HISTORY & SIGNFICANCE

Five years after the Seven Holy Founders created the Servite Order, they chose the Sorrowful Mother standing at the foot of the Cross as their main devotion.  St. Alphonsus Ligouri explains why in his book, The Glories of Mary: Our Lady appeared to seven of her servants “with a black garment in her hand, and told them that if they wished to please her, they should often meditate upon her dolors (sorrows).”  These seven became the founder of Servants of Mary, the Servites.

There were several devotions to Mary’s Sorrows, though under various titles.  In 1668, The Holy See granted the Servites a feast in honor of Our Lady of Sorrows to be celebrated on September 15th after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14th) – an obvious connection.  It wasn’t until 1817 when Pope Pius VII — suffering grievously in exile, but finally liberated by Mary’s intercession — extended the feast to the universal Church.

The Servites also created two of the most well-known devotions to Our Lady of Sorrows: the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows and the Black Scapular of the Seven Dolors of Mary.  The Rosary of the Seven Sorrows, also called the Servite Rosary or Seven Dolor Rosary, consists of seven groups of seven beads separated by a medal depicting Mary’s Seven Sorrows.  There are also three beads and a medal that precede the first meditation.  These beads represent Mary’s tears.  For information on how to pray the Servite Rosary, click here

The Black Scapular of the Seven Dolors of Mary originated from a vision of the Blessed Mother herself.  The following is an excerpt from the Catholic Information Network:

 

“We wear the scapular to indicate that we place ourselves under the special protection of the Blessed Virgin. We can tell to what army or nation a soldier belongs by the uniform he wears; so we can consider the scapular as the particular uniform of those who desire to serve the Blessed Virgin in some special manner. This wearing of the brown scapular is therefore a mark of special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. As it was first introduced among people by the Carmelite Fathers, or priests of the Order of Mount Carmel, this Scapular is called the Scapular of Mount Carmel. We have also a red scapular in honor of Our Lord’s Passion; a white one in honor of the Holy Trinity; a blue one in honor of the Immaculate Conception; and a black one in honor of the seven dolors of sorrows of the Blessed Virgin. When all these are joined together (not in one piece, but at the top only) and worn as one, they are called the five scapulars.”

 

Thus, both the Black and Brown Scapular are important to the Servite Order.

Another devotion instituted by Servites is the Via Matris, the Way of the Mother.  Much like the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross), the Via Matris allows the faithful to take a spiritual pilgrimage by contemplating Our Lady’s Seven Sorrows.  Here at Mt. Carmel, we pray the Via Matris Wednesdays during Lent.

 

HER SORROWS

As Mary stood at the foot of the Cross on which Jesus hung, the sword of sorrow pierced her soul as Simeon had foretold. The Seven Sorrows of Mary are:

  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)

 

NOVENA

The Novena to Our Lady of Sorrows begins 9 days prior to September 15th.  We call to mind the sorrows that our Blessed Mother endured during her life. We live in a valley of tears, until we reach our heavenly homeland, and so we ask our Lady to intercede for us.

She suffered greatly and can console us in our sufferings, obtaining for us grace from God. 

 

Intro Prayer (to be said each day)
O sorrowful Mother, I turn to you in total trust. You suffered the sharpest pains in life, watching your Son die upon the Cross, and yet you remained by Him to the end.

Look with favor upon me, a poor sinner, and obtain for me from your Son all the graces I need to endure the sufferings God allows me to face.

 

 

 

 

 

Daily Novena Prayers
Day 1:

On the Cross her Son was dying.
Mary stood beneath Him crying,
Sharing in His saving cross.
As He hangs, her soul is grieving,
and a sword her heart is cleaving
and she weeps the bitter loss.

O Mother of Sorrows, through thy First Sorrow, the Prophecy of Holy Simeon, intercede for me with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and grant me the favor I implore (mention request here).

 

Day 2:

O, the sad, afflicted Mother
of the Son beyond all others:
only Son of God most high.
Full of grief, her heart is aching;
watching Him, her body, quaking,
trembles as her offspring dies.

O Mother of Sorrows, through thy Second Sorrow, the Flight into Egypt, intercede for me with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and grant me the favor I implore (mention request here).

Day 3:

Who would see Christ’s mother crying
at the bitter crucifying
without tears of sympathy?
Who could see her depth of feeling —
thoughts of many hearts revealing —
and not share her agony?

O Mother of Sorrows, through thy Third Sorrow, the Loss of the Child Jesus, intercede for me with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and grant me the favor I implore (mention request here).

Day 4:

Pardon for our sins entreating,
She saw Him endure the beating.
All our guilt on Him was cast.
She stood by in contemplation
When her Son, in desolation
Breathed His spirit forth at last.

O Mother of Sorrows, through thy Fourth Sorrow, meeting thy Jesus on His Way to Calvary, intercede for me with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and grant me the favor I implore (mention request here).

Day 5:

Font of love, O Blessed Mother,
lend me tears to mourn my Brother.
Never let my ardor dim.
Let my heart be burning freely,
Christ my God be pleased to see me
all on fire with love for Him.

O Mother of Sorrows, through thy Fifth Sorrow, standing beneath thy dying Son on Mt. Calvary, the Flight into Egypt, intercede for me with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and grant me the favor I implore (mention request here).

Day 6:

This I ask, O Holy Mary,
that His wounds I too may carry:
fix them deeply in my heart.
Mine the burden He was bearing;
let me in His pain be sharing;
of His suffering take a part.

O Mother of Sorrows, through thy Sixth Sorrow, thy Jesus is laid in thy Arms, intercede for me with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and grant me the favor I implore (mention request here).

Day 7:

Let me join in your lamenting,
through my life weep unrelenting
tears for Jesus Crucified.
Let me stand and share your weeping,
all the day death’s vigil keeping,
glad to stand close by your side.

O Mother of Sorrows, through thy Seventh Sorrow, the Burial of thy Jesus, intercede for me with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and grant me the favor I implore (mention request here).

Day 8:

Queen of all the virgin choir,
judge me not when I aspire
your pure tears to emulate.
Let me share in Christ’s affliction —
death by bitter crucifixion —
and His wounds commemorate.

We give God thanks for the exaltation of His holy Cross, and ask dear Mother of Sorrows that you pray for us (mention request here).

Day 9:

Let me taste the pains He offered,
drunk with love for Him who suffered.
May His wounds become my own.
On the day of Christ’s returning
may my heart be lit and burning.
Virgin, aid me at His throne.

May His Cross be interceding
and His death my vict’ry pleading.
May He hold me in His grace.
When my flesh by death is taken,
may my soul to glory waken
and in heaven take a place. Amen.

Blessed Mother, on this last day of our novena to you we entrust ourselves to your heart, pierced with love for your Divine Son (mention request here).

 

Concluding Prayer for each day
The Memorare
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help or sought your intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother. To you do I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your clemency, hear and answer me. Amen.