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Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows (Our Lady of Compassion) – Sept 15th
This feast dates back to the 12th century. It was especially promoted by the Cistercians and the Servites, so much so that in the 14th and 15th centuries it was widely celebrated throughout the Catholic Church. In 1482 the feast was added to the Missal under the title of “Our Lady of Compassion.” Pope Benedict XIII added it to the Roman Calendar in 1727 on the Friday before Palm Sunday. In 1913, Pope Pius X fixed the date on September 15. The title “Our Lady of Sorrows” focuses on Mary’s intense suffering during the passion and death of Christ. “The Seven Dolors,” the title by which it was celebrated in the 17th century, referred to the seven swords that pierced the Heart of Mary. The feast is like an octave for the birthday of Our Lady on September 8th.
—Excerpted from Our Lady of Sorrows by Fr. Paul Haffner (Inside the Vatican, September 2004)
September – month dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows
The seven sorrows were foretold by Simeon in the Temple when he encountered the Holy Family at the Presentation of Jesus. The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Lk 2:25-35)
The Seven Sorrows (Seven Dolors of Mary):
- The prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:25-35)
- The flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15)
- Loss of the Child Jesus for three days (Luke 2:41-50)
- Mary meets Jesus on his way to Calvary (Luke 23:27-31; John 19:17)
- Crucifixion and Death of Jesus (John 19:25-30)
- The body of Jesus being taken from the Cross (Psalm 130; Luke 23:50-54; John 19:31-37)
- The burial of Jesus (Isaiah 53:8; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42; Mark 15:40-47)
Stabat mater dolorosa
iuxta crucem lacrimosa,
dum pendebat filius.
At the cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful mother weeping,
close to Jesus to the last.
-Jacopone, da Todi (1230-1306)
We pray today to Our Blessed Mother, that through our joining with her sorrows, we may find the joy of eternal salvation with Jesus Christ, Our Lord. We look to Mary as a model of forbearance and endurance, obedience and meekness, love, patience, and joyful suffering.