The Seven Dolors
DEVOTION APPROVED BY POPE PIUS VII IN 1815
BANNER IMAGE OF OUR LADY OF SORROWS WITHOUT THE FRAME
THE FEAST DAY OF THE SEVEN DOLORS IS TRADITIONALLY EITHER THE FRIDAY OF PASSION WEEK, WHICH IS THE FRIDAY BEFORE GOOD FRIDAY, OR MORE GENERALLY ON SEPTEMBER 15, THE OFFICIAL DATE FOR THE FEAST.
SEVEN GRACES OF THIS DEVOTION
BENEFITS OF THIS DEVOTION
STABAT MATER DOLOROSA HYMN
[TEXT, NO MUSICAL SCORE]
THE SEVEN DOLORS DEVOTION: PRAYERS
The purpose of the Devotion of the Seven Sorrows is to promote union with the sufferings of Christ through union with the special suffering that Our Lady endured because she was the Mother of God. By uniting ourselves with both the Passion of Christ and His holy Mother, we enter into Jesus' Heart and honor Him greatly; He is more honored because we have so honored His Mother.
The Seven Dolors are taken from Scripture events and the devotion has a long history, although it was not officially promulgated by the Church until the early nineteenth century. Before Pope Pius VII's formal approval, the Servite Order had permission in 1668 to celebrate the Feast of the Seven Dolors because the Order was instrumental in popularizing the Seven Sorrows Devotion.
In the Middle Ages, Catholic theology concentrated mostly on Christ's Passion; at the side of the Man of Sorrows, however, the faithful always contemplated the Queen of Martyrs. Devotion to the Crucified Christ and to Our Lady of sorrows grew side by side. On Calvary there were in a sense two altars, one in the Body of Jesus, and the other in the Immaculate Heart. Christ immolated His flesh, Mary, her heart, her own soul. On September 15, the day following the ancient feast of the Holy Cross, the Church commemorates the compassion of Mary; but it is fitting during the year, especially during Lent, to honor the Sorrows of Mary.
Mary is not mentioned in the Gospel accounts of Christ's Transfiguration, His entry into Jerusalem, but she is recorded as being present at Calvary. She understood what the Will of God was and was faithful, co-operating with her Son as Co-redemptrix. She had prepared the victim for sacrifice and now she offered Him on the altar of Calvary.
The Gospel, John 19:25, says: "Near the Cross of Jesus stood His mother, his mother's sister, Mary, the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene." At Christ's bequest, Mary was proclaimed the universal Mother of mankind from the Cross.
Mary had three loves in her Immaculate Heart: God, her Son, and souls. She so loved the world that she gave her only Son. As St. Bernard said, "The sword would not have reached Jesus if it had not pierced Mary's heart." Mary loved souls and on Calvary, after suffering such cruel torments she merited being the mother of all mankind.
Mary is the Apostle because she is Co-redemptrix: Behold Mary on Calvary, she suffers and prays; she stands, as one offering sacrifice.
St. Ambrose said, "I
read that she stood, but I do not read that she wept." When Mary gave
her Son, she gave us everything. Therefore it can very well be said:
this heart which has so greatly loved all people that it has spared
The Seven Graces of this Devotion
1. I will grant peace to their
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 this Grace 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.
Benefits of the Devotion to the Mother of Sorrows
1. To realize the value
of a soul, worth the supreme Sacrifice on Calvary.
2. To work for souls, by evangelization, duty to life's duties, and
prayer for sinners.
3. To pray always, in a life of union with God; whoever has a heart similar to Jesus' and Mary's hearts, will work for the salvation of souls.
When we commit sin we
bring sorrow to Our Lady, for she is, indeed
our very Mother, our spiritual Mother, and she watches over
us as she watched over her Baby, nearly two thousand years ago.
It is the desire of
Jesus that we should think of His Passion, to offer Him
our devotion and to renew our sorrow for sin. It is also His desire,
as the Church makes clear to us, that we should think of the
compassion of Mary in His Passion.
The Mass for the Feast of the Seven Dolors includes the traditional hymn, the Stabat Mater, which is traditionally included by verses in the 14 Stations of the Cross. St. Bonaventure is considered the author of the Hymn. We present it below in its entirety both in Latin and in English. At the conclusion of the 7th Sorrow you will find two prayers to Our Lady of Sorrows, one by St. Bonaventure and one by St. Alphonse Liguori.
iuxta crucem lacrimosa
dum pendebat filius
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus at the last.
contristantem et dolentem
Bowed with anguish, deeply grieved,
Now at length the sword hath passed.
illa benedicta mater unigenti
quae maerebat et dolebat et tremebat dum videbat
nati poenas incliti
Was that Mother, highly blest,
Of the sole begotten One!
Oh that silent, ceaseless mourning,
Oh those dim eyes, never turning
From that wondrous, suffering Son!
matrem Christi si videret
in tanto supplicio
Quis non posset contristari
piam matrem contemplari
dolentem cum filio
In her trouble so amazing,
Born of woman would not weep?
Who on Christ's dear Mother thinking,
Such a cup of sorrow drinking,
Would not share her sorrow deep?
vidit Iesum in tormentis
et flagellis subditum
vidit suum dulcem natum
dum emisit spiritum
Saw Him hang in desolation
Till His Spirit forth He sent;
Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
She beheld her tender Child,
All with bloody scourges rent.
fac ut tecum lugeam
Fac ut ardeat cor meum
in amando Christum Deum
ut sibi complaceam
Make my heart with thine accord.
Make me feel as thou hast felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ my Lord.
crucifixi fige plagas
cordi meo valide
tui nati vulnerati
tam dignati pro me pati
poenas mecum divide
Fac me vere tecum flere
donec ego vixero
iuxta crucem tecum stare
meque tibi sociare
in planctu desidero
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Savior crucified;
Let me share with thee His pain,
Who for all my sins was slain,
Who for me in torment died.
Let me mingle tears with thee,
Mourning Him who mourned for me,
All the days that I may live.
By the cross with thee to stay,
There with thee to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of thee to give.
mihi iam non sis amara
fac me tecum plangere
fac ut portem Christi mortem
passionis fac consortem
et plagas recolere
Fac me plagis vulnerari
cruce had inebriari
et cruore filii
Listen to my fond request;
Let me share thy grief divine.
Let me to my latest breath,
In my body bear the death
Of that dying Son of thine.
Wounded with His every wound,
Steep my soul till it hath swooned
In His very blood away.
inflamatus et accensum
in die iudicii
Lest in flames I burn and die
In His awful judgment day.
morte Christi praemuniri
Be Thy Mother my defense,
Be Thy Cross my victory.
fac ut animae donetur
May my soul Thy goodness praise
Safe in Paradise with Thee.
To view and pray the 7 Dolors
the Sorrows in succession:
[SORROW 1] [SORROW 2] [SORROW 3] [SORROW 4]
[SORROW 5] [SORROW 6] [SORROW 7]