Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Friday, 23 March 2018

The Friday In Passion Week. The Feast Day Of Our Lady Of The Seven Sorrows.

English: Our Lady of Sorrows.
Español: Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, 1816.
Fernando Estévez de Salas. 
Parroquia de San Juan Bautista, 
Villa de La Orotava.
Photo: April 2010.
Source: Own work.
Author: JosuHdez.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Text from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia,
unless otherwise stated.

Our Lady of Sorrows (Latin: Beata Maria Virgo Perdolens), and 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.

English: The Descent from The Cross into The Arms of Mary (detail).
Francais: La descente de Croix, les larmes de Marie (Detail).
Current location: Unterlinden Museum, Colmar, France.
Source/Photographer: Own work, Alsace, Haut-Rhin, Colmar,
Archetypal Gothic Lady of Sorrows, from a Triptych by
The Master of The Stauffenberg AltarpieceAlsace, France, circa 1455.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Seven Sorrows of Mary are a popular Roman Catholic Devotion. There are Devotional Prayers, which consist of Meditations on her Seven Sorrows. Examples include The Servite Rosary, or The Chaplet of The Seven Sorrows of Our Lady. 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 (or Dolours) are events in The Life of The Blessed Virgin Mary, which are a popular Devotion and are frequently depicted in art. It is a common Devotion for Catholics to say, daily, one Our Father and seven Hail Marys for each of The Seven Sorrows, which are:

The Prophecy of Simeon. (Luke 2:34-35) or The Circumcision of Christ;
Mary Meets Jesus on The Way to Calvary;
The Body of Jesus is Placed in the Tomb. (John 19:40-42).

These Seven Sorrows should not be confused with The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of The Rosary.

English: Mater Dolorosa with open hands, 1555,
Madonna in Sorrow, by Titian, 1555. 
Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain.
Español: Tiziano, Dolorosa con las manos abiertas, 1555,
óleo sobre mármol, museo del Prado (Madrid, España).
Author: Titian (1490–1576).
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Feast of 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 angustiae et doloris Beatae Mariae Virginis. 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.

Over the Centuries, several Devotions, and even Orders, arose around Meditation on Mary's Sorrows. The Servites 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. 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.

English: "Our Lady Softening The Evil Hearts".
Русский: Икона "Умягчение злых сердец".
Date: Mid-19th-Century.
Author: Anonymous.
(Wikimedia Commons)

On 2 February, the same day as The Great Feast of The Meeting of The Lord, Orthodox Christians and Eastern Catholics Commemorate a wonder-working icon of The Theotokos (Mother of God) known as "The Softening of Evil Hearts" or "Simeon's Prophecy."

It depicts The Virgin Mary at the moment that Simeon The Righteous says: "Yea, a Sword shall pierce through thy own Soul also . . ." (Luke 2:35) She stands with her hands upraised in Prayer, and Seven Swords pierce her heart, indicative of The Seven Sorrows. This is one of the few Orthodox icons of The Theotokos which do not depict The Infant Jesus. The refrain, " Rejoice, much-sorrowing Mother of God, turn our sorrows into joy and soften the hearts of evil men ! " is also used.

Artist: Bartolomé Esteban Murillo.
Current location: Museo de Bellas Artes de Sevilla, 
Date: Circa 1665.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The first Altar to The Mater Dolorosa was set up in 1221 at The Monastery of Schönau, Germany. 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 Pope Saint Pius V's 1570 Tridentine Calendar. Vatican approval for The Celebration of a Feast, in honour of Our Lady of Sorrows, was first granted to The Servite Order in 1667.

English: Our Lady of Sorrows, 
Español: Nuestra Señora de los Dolores. 
Capilla del Sagrario de la Iglesia Parroquial 
de Santa María del Alcor. El Viso del Alcor. 
Procesiona bajo palio en la tarde noche del Viernes Santo.
Photo: December 2007.
Source: Own work.
Author: Ajjb.
(Wikimedia Commons)

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 15 September, the day after The Feast of The Cross. It is still observed on that date.

Another Feast, originating in the 17th-Century, was extended to the whole of The Latin Church in 1727. It was originally celebrated on Friday in Passion Week, one week before Good Friday. In 1954, it still held the Rank of Major-Double (slightly lower than the Rank of the 15 September Feast) in The General Roman Calendar.

The 15 September Feast 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.

"The Madonna in Sorrow".
(Wikimedia Commons)

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 ("The Mother Stood") and Pietà.

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 is depicted with Seven Swords in her heart, a reference to the Prophecy of Simeon, at The Presentation of The Child Jesus in The Temple.

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; Dolores, in The Philippines; Lanzarote, Canary Islands. Mater Dolorosa (Berlin-Lankwitz).

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