Mater Dolorosa



I’ve been praying the Rosary for about twenty years now. Through its mysteries, I meditate on the various scenes of the life of Our Lord and bring Him my love, my gratitude and my petitions. A few years ago I became aware of the Sorrowful Rosary focusing on the seven dolors (sorrows) of Our Lady. The history of this devotion goes back to Good Friday in 1239 when seven holy men were meditating on the Passion of Our Lord and on how much His mother must have suffered as well. They went on to found the religious order of the Friar Servants of Mary also known as the Servites, and made it a mission to honor Mary’s sorrows. Later, Mary revealed to St. Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373) that seven graces were promised to those who honored her sufferings through this chaplet. More recently, Our Lady requested a renewal of this devotion during her Church-approved apparitions in Kibeho, Rwanda.

Here are the seven graces

  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.

Here are the Seven Sorrows

  • The prophecy of Simeon.
  • The flight into Egypt.
  • The loss of the Child Jesus in the temple.
  • The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the way to Calvary.
  • Mary stands at the foot of the Cross.
  • Mary receives the Body of Jesus in her arms.
  • Jesus is laid in the tomb.

When starting the Rosary of Sorrows, after the sign of the cross, we do not recite the “Creed” as with the regular Rosary. There is some variation on the wording of the beginning and ending prayers. I use the following:

Introductory prayer

My God, I offer you this Rosary for your glory, so I may honor Your Holy Mother, the Blessed Virgin, so I can share and meditate upon her suffering. I humbly beg you to give me true repentance for all my sins and I ask for my conversion and that of all people through your beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

Act of contrition

My God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend You, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to never offend you, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.

Then I say three Hail Mary’s on the three beginning beads in remembrance of her tears and move on to the meditations of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Before each sorrow I say (on the larger bead/medal between stations):

Most Sorrowful Mother, remind us always of the mercy of your son Jesus.

Announce the sorrow. Pray one Our Father. Pray the seven Hail Mary’s on the seven beads. Continue through all seven sorrows.

Finish with the ending prayers:

Queen of Martyrs, your heart suffered so much. I beg you, by the merits of the tears you shed in these terrible and sorrowful times, to obtain for me and all the sinners of the world the grace of complete repentance and conversion.

O Mary, conceived without sin, who suffered for us, pray for us! (Repeat three times)

Humorous end note: when I first came across a mini pamphlet promoting this chaplet I thought “Easy peasy! Just say a couple of prayers, seven Hail Mary’s for seven sorrows means one Hail Mary for each sorrow and I’m done”! Hahaha wasn’t till months later that it dawned on me the instructions meant 7 Hail Mary’s for each sorrow…allowing for better meditation on my part once I got it right 🙂



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