September – The Month Dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows

The month of September is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows. She suffered such anguish when she watched her Son’s passion and death (Luke 2:35). When Our Lord, while dying, gives John the Disciple (symbolically the Church) to His mother, so that we may have her aid.

In the words of St. Therese of Lisieux, “She has given us so many proofs that she cares for us like a mother.”

Background 

Our Lady of Sorrows (Latin: Beata Maria Virgo Perdolens), Our Lady of Dolours, the Sorrowful Mother or Mother of Sorrows (Latin: Mater Dolorosa), and Our Lady of Piety, 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 Roman Catholic devotion. In Catholic, the Blessed Virgin Mary is portrayed in a sorrowful and lacrimating affect, with seven daggers piercing her heart, often bleeding. Devotional prayers that consist of meditation began to elaborate on her Seven Sorrows based on the prophecy of Simeon “Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also….” (Luke 2:35). Common examples of piety under this title are Servite rosary, or the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady and the Seven Joys of Mary and more recently, “Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary”.

The feast of Our Lady of Sorrows is liturgically celebrated every 15 of September.

The Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

The Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows grew in popularity in the 12th century, although under various titles. Some writings would place its roots in the eleventh century, especially among the Benedictine monks. The first altar to the Mater Dolorosa was set up in 1221 at the Cistercian monastery of Schönau.

The formal feast of the Our Lady of Sorrows was originated by a provincial synod of Cologne in 1423. It was designated for the Friday after the third Sunday after Easter and had the title: Commemoratio angustiae et doloris B. Mariae V. Its object was the sorrow of Mary during the Crucifixion and Death of Christ. Before the sixteenth century this feast was limited to the dioceses of North Germany, Scandinavia, and Scotland.

According to Fr. William Saunders, “… in 1482, the feast was officially placed in the Roman Missal under the title of Our Lady of Compassion, highlighting the great love our Blessed Mother displayed in suffering with her Son. The word compassion derives from the Latin roots cum and patior which means “to suffer with”.

Devotions to Our Lady of Sorrows

Prayers for the Sorrowful Mother
Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows
Graces and Promises
Novena to Our Lady of Sorrows