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Rosary of the Seven Sorrows

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The Rosary of the Seven Sorrows, also known as the Chaplet of Seven Sorrows or the Servite Rosary, is a Rosary based prayer that originated with the Servite Order.[1] It is often said in connection with the Seven Sorrows of Mary.

It is a Rosary consisting of a ring of seven groups of seven beads separated by a small medal depicting one of the sorrows of Mary, or a single bead. A further series of three beads and a medal are also attached to the chain (before the first "sorrow") and these are dedicated to prayer in honour of Mary's Tears, as well as to indicate the beginning of the chaplet. Conventionally the beads are of black wood or some other black material indicating sorrow. It has also been called the Seven Swords Rosary referring to the prophesy of Simeon:

"Behold this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; and thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed." - (Lk.2:34-35)

Pope Benedict XII enriched the practice with indulgences with his Brief Redemptoris, of Sept. 26, 1724. Afterwards Pope Clement XII, "that the faithful might often recollect and sympathise with the Dolours of Mary," confirmed all of the indulgences and added more with his Bull Unigeniti of Dec. 12, 1734. All of these indulgences were again confirmed by a Decree from the Sacred Congregation of Indulgences by Pope Clement XIII on March 13, 1763.

Methods of praying the chaplet vary considerably. Some begin at the first sorrow, and end on the final three beads, others begin on the medal and the three beads and work around. The Gold standard, however, is the method provided in "The Raccolta" and this basic structure is what follows. The recitation begins with the sign of the cross and an Act of contrition. Each sorrow is announced, (and in some versions of the recitation, a meditatory prayer is said, or a segment from the Hymn Stabat Mater Dolorosa). Then on the separate bead an Our Father is said, followed by a Hail Mary for each of the seven beads. Some then close the septet of Hail Marys with a brief invocation to Our Lady of Sorrows (Commonly: "Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary pray for us"), or a Glory Be. The next sorrow is then announced, and carried out in the same manner until all seven have been meditated upon. The three Hail Marys dedicated to her tears are said and then a closing prayer is said, the most commonly known or traditional closing prayer in the English speaking world is the following:

V. Pray for us, O most sorrowful Virgin.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

Lord Jesus, we now implore, both for the present and for the hour of our death, the intercession of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, whose holy soul was pierced at the time of Thy passion by a sword of grief. Grant us this favor, O Saviour of the world, Who liveth and reigneth with the Father and the Holy Ghost, forever and ever. Amen. [2]


  1. Ann Ball, 2003 Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices ISBN 087973910X page 487
  2. St. John, A. (1857). The Raccolta: 97. Chaplet of the Seven Dolours


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