Religion Wiki

Our Lady of Sorrows

34,279pages on
this wiki
Add New Page
Add New Page Talk0
Dolci Madonna p1070185

Mater Dolorosa by Carlo Dolci, c. 1670.

Our Lady of Sorrows (Latin: Beata Maria Virgo Perdolens), the Sorrowful Mother or Mother of Sorrows (Latin: Mater Dolorosa, at times just Dolorosa), and Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows or Our Lady of the Seven Dolours are names by which the Blessed Virgin Mary is referred to in relation to sorrows in her life. As "Mater Dolorosa", it is also a key subject for Marian art in the Catholic Church.

The Seven Sorrows of Mary are a popular devotion in the Roman Catholic Church. There is a devotional prayer which consists of meditation on her Seven Sorrows. Also, there is a corresponding devotion to the Seven Joys of Mary. The term "Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary" refers to the combined devotion of both the Immaculate Heart and the Seven Sorrows of Mary as first used by the Franciscan Tertiary Berthe Petit.

The Seven Sorrows

Emblem of the Papacy

A series of articles on
Roman Catholic
Virgin Mary - Diego Velazquez

General articles
Overview of MariologyVeneration of the Blessed VirginHistory of MariologyMariology of the saintsMariology of the popesEncyclicals & Apostolic LettersMarian Movements & Societies

RosaryScapularImmaculate HeartSeven JoysSeven SorrowsFirst SaturdaysActs of Reparation

Dogmas and Doctrines

Mother of GodPerpetual virginityImmaculate ConceptionAssumptionMother of the ChurchMediatrixCo-Redemptrix

Expressions of devotion

Key Marian apparitions
(approved or worthy of belief)
GuadalupeMiraculous Medal
La SaletteLourdesPontmainLausBanneuxBeauraingFátimaAkita

The Seven Sorrows (or Dolors) are events in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary which are a popular devotion and are frequently depicted in art.[1]

It is a common devotion for Catholics to say daily a Hail Mary for each.

  1. The Prophecy of Simeon over the Infant Jesus. (Gospel of Luke 2:34)
  2. The Flight into Egypt of the Holy Family. (Gospel of Matthew 2:13)
  3. The Loss of the Child Jesus for Three Days. (Luke 2:43)
  4. The Meeting of Jesus and Mary along the Way of the Cross. (Luke 23:26)
  5. The Crucifixion, where Mary stands at the foot of the cross. (Gospel of John 19:25)
  6. The Descent from the Cross, where Mary receives the dead body of Jesus in her arms. (Matthew 27:57)
  7. The Burial of Jesus. (John 19:40)

Devotions to the Seven Sorrows

The feast of the Our Lady of Sorrows was originated by a provincial synod of Cologne in 1413 as a response to the iconoclast Hussites. It was designated for the Friday after the third Sunday after Easter. It had the title: Commemoratio angustix et doloris B. Marix V.. Before the 16th century, the feast was celebrated only in parts of Northern Europe.

Earlier, in 1233, seven youths in Tuscany founded the Servite Order (also known as the "Servite Friars", or the "Order of the Servants of Mary"). Five years later, they took up the sorrows of Mary, standing under the Cross, as the principal devotion of their order.[2]

Over the centuries several devotions, and even orders, arose around meditation on Mary's Sorrows in particular. The Servite developed the two most common devotions to Our Lady's Sorrows, namely the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows and the Black Scapular of the Seven Dolours of Mary. The Black Scapular is a symbol of the Confraternity of Our Lady of Sorrows, which is associated with the Servite Order.[3] Most devotional scapulars have requirements regarding ornamentation or design. The devotion of the Black Scapular requires only that it be made of black woollen cloth.[4]

Liturgical feast

Christian Sacramentals
A series of articles on



General articles
St. Simon Stock
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
Rosary & Scapular
Sabbatine Privilege

Specific Scapulars
Mount Carmel (Brown)
Fivefold Scapular
Passion (Red)
Passion (Black)
7 Sorrows of Mary (Black)
The Archangel (Blue/Black)
Good Counsel (White)
Sacred Heart of Jesus (White)
Immaculate Conception (Blue)

The first altar to the Mater Dolorosa was set up in 1221 at the monastery of Schönau. Especially in Mediterranean countries, parishioners traditionally carry statues of Our Lady of Sorrows in processions on the days leading to Good Friday.

No feast in her honour was included in St Pius V's 1570 Tridentine Calendar. Vatican approval for the celebration of a feast in honor of Our Lady of Sorrows was first granted to the Servite order in 1667.

By inserting the feast into the Roman Catholic calendar of saints in 1814, Pope Pius VII extended the celebration to the whole of the Latin Church. It was assigned to the third Sunday in September. In 1913, Pope Pius X moved the feast to September 15, the day after the Feast of the Cross.[5] It is still observed on that date.

In connection with this feast, two processions are held in Malta, one in Zebbug on September 15, and another in St Paul's Bay on the following Sunday. The main parishes of Malta celebrate the feast on the last Friday before Good Friday, where it is a day of fasting. The most popular procession is held in Valletta.

The feast is also a public holiday in Slovakia, whose patron is Our Lady of Sorrows.

Another feast, originating in the seventeenth century, was extended to the whole of the Latin Church in 1727. It was originally celebrated on Friday in Passion Week, just a week before Good Friday. In 1954, it still held the rank of Major Double (slightly lower than the rank of the September 15 feast) in the General Roman Calendar. In 1962 the feast was reduced to a Commemoration. By 1969 the Vatican had come to consider it a duplication of the September 15 feast, and the Passion Week feast was omitted in that year's revision of the Roman Catholic calendar of saints.

Each celebration was called a feast of "The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary." The September 15 feast that now combines and continues both of them is known as the Feast of "Our Lady of Sorrows" (Beatae Mariae Virginis Perdolentis). The sequence known as Stabat Mater may be sung at mass on that day.

Artistic representations

Our Lady of Sorrows, depicted as "Mater Dolorosa" (Mother of Sorrows) has been the subject of some key works of Roman Catholic Marian art. Mater Dolorosa is one of the three common artistic representations of a sorrowful Virgin Mary, the other two being Stabat Mater (here stands the mother) and Pieta.[6]

In this iconography, Our Lady of Seven Sorrows is at times simply represented in a sad and anguished mode by herself, her expression being that of tears and sadness. In other representations the Virgin Mary depicted with seven swords in her heart, a reference to the prophecy of Simeon at the Presentation. In other depictions,


Our Lady of Sorrows is the patron saint of Slovakia; the Congregation of Holy Cross; the village of Mola di Bari and the Molise region of Italy; the state of Mississippi, USA; and in the Philippines, the cities of Dolores, Quezon; San Andres, Catanduanes; and City of San Fernando, Pampanga.[7]

See also

Our Lady of Sorrows in art


  1. Ball, Ann (2003). "Seven Sorrows of Mary". Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices. Huntington IN: Our Sunday Visitor. p. 525. ISBN 0-87973-910-X. 
  2. Catholic encyclopedia
  3. Order of Friar Servants of Mary: The Confraternity of Our Lady of Sorrows - retrieved on 22-Mar-2009
  4. Francis de Zulueta, 2008, Early Steps In The Fold, Miller Press, ISBN 9781408660034, p. 301
  5. "Calendarium Romanum", Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969, p. 103
  6. Arthur de Bles, 2004 How to Distinguish the Saints in Art by Their Costumes, Symbols and Attributes ISBN 141790870X page 35
  7. "Miraculous' stone with image of Mary 'grows' in Bicol",


ro:Nossa Senhora das Dores tl:Inang Nagdadalamhati

Also on Fandom

Random Wiki