The Seven Dolors of Mary 

Prayers, Devotions, and Meditations
Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows September 15

"Teach Souls to Love The Heart of My Mother
Pierced by The Very Sorrows Which Pierced Mine."

(Our Lord to Berthe Petit, at Midnight Mass Dec. 25, 1909)

Miraculous Image of Our Lady of Quito

" Behold, your Mother."
(John 19:27)

     Weeping she hath wept in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks:
there is none to comfort her among all them that were dear to her:
all her friends have despised her, and are become her enemies.

Lamentations 1:2

"Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Pray for us who have recourse to thee."

     At the urging of His Eminence Cardinal Granito di Belmonte, ex-Nuncio to Brussels, and zealous apostle of the Sorrowful Heart of Mary, His Holiness Pope Benedict XV granted 100 days indulgence on Sept. 28, 1915 for this invocation, and then enriched it to 300 days just one year after his original sanction.

"The time is now ripe.  I wish mankind to turn to 
The Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of My Mother. 
Let this prayer be uttered by every soul.... 
Let this prayer dictated by My Love as a supreme succor
be approved and indulgenced, no longer partially
and for a small portion of My flock, 
but for the whole universe, 
so that it may spread as a refreshing and purifying balm 
of reparation that will appease My anger."

Our Lord to Berthe Petit (1870-1943)

The Church and Devotion to
The Sorrowful & Immaculate Heart of Mary:

Cardinal Bourne:

   "There is no question here of introducing a new devotion, but rather of deepening our understanding, and of giving greater force to thoughts long dear to our hearts, and rooted in the history of our race.  This is why we wish to intensify our supplications to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary - now especially when the circumstances of our time so urgently demand it."

Cardinal Mercier:

   "Let us never forget the title to our gratitude that Mary has won by Her Sorrows."

Pope Benedict XV:

On May 31, 1915, His Holiness Pope Benedict XV wrote at the end of a letter addressed to His Eminence Cardinal Venutelli, Dean of the Sacred College the following recommendation addressed to the bishops of the world:

    "Let us lift our prayers, ardently and frequently, more than ever, towards Him in whose hands lie the destinies of nations, and let us all address ourselves with confidence to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, the most sweet Mother of Jesus and of us, so that by her powerful intercession, she may obtain from her divine Son, the prompt end of the war and a return to peace and tranquillity."

The Seven Dolors of Mary
Scripture Passages & Meditations

To what shall I compare thee?
Or to what shall I liken thee, O daughter of Jerusalem?
To what shall I equal thee, that I may comfort thee,
O virgin daughter Sion?

Lamentations 2:13

The Seven Dolors of Mary

1. The Prophecy of Simeon.
2. The Flight into Egypt.
3. The Loss of the Child Jesus
4. The Meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross.
5. The Crucifixion
6. Jesus' body Struck by a Lance, Taken Down from the Cross
7. The Burial of Jesus.


1. The Dark Prophecy of Simeon

(Luke 2:33-35)
'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."


At the prophetic words of Simeon, the first cruel sword has passed. Mary's great joy is turned suddenly into great she plummets from the heights to the depths.

Great tears well up in the beautiful eyes of the Gentlest of Mothers. The words of the prophesy sink deep into her heart like a burning knife. Mary's tears fall gently upon the tiny babe held securely in her arms. The tender baby Jesus too, is visibly effected ~ drawing closer to his mother in fear and trembling. Although horrified at the thought of what he must endure to save sinners from Hell ~
their answer in unison to the Father is,"yes." A complete and trustful surrender to the Will of God.
Both Jesus and his Immaculate Mother would endure this great sorrow ~ this great fear for the rest of their lives...A living martyrdom. Every waking moment, Mary lived with the dread and unbearable mental anguish of her beloved Son's impending death...knowing not the hour.


"Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pray for us."
Hail Mary...

2. The Desperate Flight of The Holy Family
Into Egypt.

(Matthew 3: 13-15)
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt have I called my son."


(Matthew 3:16-18)
'Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:

"A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation;
Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled,
since they were no more."


Mother Angelica once said that the Holy Innocents had in fact, given their lives for God ~ like a shield ~ so that the Christ Child might live.


"Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary pray for us,
and all your children yet unborn."

Hail Mary...

3. The Child Jesus is Lost to Mary and St. Joseph,
Who in great sorrow, search and mourn for him for three long days.


(Luke 2:41-52)

     And his parents went every year to Jerusalem, at the solemn day of the pasch, and when he was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast, and having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and his parents knew it not. And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day's journey, and sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And not finding him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking him.

     And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers. And seeing him, they wondered, And his mother said to him:
"Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing." And he said to them: "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know, that I must be about my father's business? And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men.


The Prophesy of Simeon is Mary and St. Joseph's greatest fear. This ever-present dread is foremost in their minds as she and poor St. Joseph search desperately for their lost son Jesus. The same fears that any parent would have for their lost child must have indeed been keenly shared by poor Mary and St. Joseph. "Where could he possibly be? Is he hungry or thirsty? Is he cold? Is he alone or afraid? Is he in danger? Is he dead? Is it my fault he is lost? Will we ever see our precious child again?


'O Sorrowful St. Joseph and Mary, in the pain of your broken hearts at the loss of the Child Jesus for three days, have pity on the parents of all lost or abducted children, comfort them, protect them
and bring the children home to safety. May it please the Holy Will of God, in Jesus Name we pray.  Amen.'

'O Precious Blood of Jesus, Save and Protect all your little lost children. Amen.'

'O Lord, that you may ever gently beckon all your little lost sheep ~ that they may ever find you waiting for them in the safety of Your Holy Catholic Church, and in her Sacraments.'

  "Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pray for us."

Hail Mary...


4. The Sorrowful Meeting of Jesus and Mary
Along the Way of His Cross to His death at what is called the Place of the Skull, In Hebrew, Golgotha. (John 19: 16-18)

(John 19:17)
And bearing his own cross, he went forth to that place which is called Calvary, but in Hebrew Golgotha.


What does the anguished Mother witness as she is jostled by the riotous mob?

Mary's eyes behold for the first time, a glimpse of the distant bent figure of her Son, as he slowly rounds a corner,  weighed down by a very large heavy cross on his shoulder.  At the same time, she sees the mass of cruel thorns they have placed on his head.  As he nears, she can see the ropes that bind him around his neck and waist, and how they shove him, and prod him along with the blunt end of spears, like a driven lamb to the slaughter.  Her ears are assaulted by the loud angry insults and blasphemies they heap upon him.  Jesus stumbles and falls ~ her arms reach for him in reflex but he is too far away ~ as he lies there in the filth and dust of the city street. This first fall, one of many before His journey's end.

(The Stabat Mater)

'Weakened, prodded, cursed, and fallen,
His whole Body bruised and swollen,
Jesus tripped and lay in pain.'

Weakened from the loss of blood and pain suffered in the cruel scourging, suffering terribly from the painful crown that pierces his skull and pricks his eyes and ears at every movement ~ he can barely see for the blood that stings his eyes.  Only his tears relieve the stinging some as he blinks to see.
His breathing is fast and gasping, his pulse races. The soldiers manhandle him to his feet ~ afraid he'll die before they can nail him to the cross ~ shove him and yank him around by the ropes to revive him, he catches his breath and grits his teeth as all his pain is renewed with the violent treatment.

(The Stabat Mater)

'Prostrate on the dust He crumbled,
Flogged in Body He resembled
All our brothers poor and scorned.'

He walks on ~ one, slow, painful, step at a time. Jesus strains with all his heart, to bear the immense weight of the whole world on his shoulder.  He is nearer his mother now.  She tearfully watches as he slowly, painfully, lifts his head ~ and she gasps ...His once beautiful face ~ swollen and bruised, covered in filth and blood and spittle!  His thick dark hair and beard matted with sweat and blood.  Can you feel her anguish as their tearful eyes meet, "...My son, My son!"  You can hear her cry.

So many silent swords of pain passed between them in that brief look. It was not for this innocent creature that he must suffer. She alone ~ The Immaculate Mother of the Word Incarnate. Despite himself ~ what pain Jesus felt to see Mary's unbearable anguish. The soldiers shout and push the crowds back, and He is stolen from view.

(The Stabat Mater)

'Jesus met his grieving Mother,
She who made the Lord our Brother;
Now the sword her heart has pierced.'

She follows quickly and catches sight of him once more as he stumbles and falls again. If only she could take his place ~ she gladly would.

Her fervent prayers are to the Father, offering herself in his stead.
To spare the life of her Divine Son from the agony that yet lay ahead.

She prays for someone come to the aid of her Son.  The soldiers grab Simon the Cyrenian, a large strong man coming in from the fields and force him to carry the heavy cross behind Jesus.

(The Stabat Mater)

'Simon stopped in hesitation,
Not foreseeing his proud station,
Called to bear the Cross of Christ.'

The Holy Mother prays still more fervently, and a pious woman is moved by great compassion for this poor wretched man condemned to die. Courageously, she breaks through a startled line of soldiers to wipe his bloody face with her veil.

(The Stabat Mater)

'Brave but trembling came the woman,
None but she would flaunt the Roman,
Moved by love beyond her fear.'

As Veronica gently presses the veil to Jesus' face, she can feel it's features beneath the cloth.  Jesus again slowly, painfully raises his precious head to thank Veronica with his eyes, his heart ~ and the gift of His Sacred Image left on her veil ~ as a visible testament to her act of kindness to this day.

Veronica never forgot the face of her savior as he looked on her with love. Despite his disturbing appearance ~ she is enraptured with love ~ and sorrow for him.  The moment is suspended in time ~ and the angry world disappears. She will never be the same ~ as she has seen Heaven in his face.
The soldiers grab her indignantly and shove her back into the crowd. Our Savior is lead away to continue his slow, agonizing walk of death.


"Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pray for us."
Hail Mary...

5. The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus
Mary Witnesses With the Greatest of Sorrows
Her Dear Son's Cruel Torments and Slow Death on the cross.

(John 19:25-30)

     Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: "Woman, behold thy son." After that, he saith to the disciple: "Behold thy mother". And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.

Afterwards, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said: "I thirst". Now there was a vessel set there full of vinegar. And they, putting a sponge full of vinegar about hyssop, put it to his mouth.

(Psalm 69:22)
Rather they put gall in my food,
and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

Jesus therefore, when he had taken the vinegar, said: It is consummated. And bowing his head,
he gave up the ghost.


(The Stabat Mater)

'Stripped and jeered by his own nation,
Jesus stood in desolation,
Giving all He had to give.'

For just a moment, place yourself at the foot of Jesus' Cross. The cruelest violences, insults and indignities the Son of God was not spared! Turn, and behold his poor mother standing there... hardly willing to breath the air, dissolved in an ocean of tears as she watched him slowly die in writhing agony!  Her tortured heart pierced through with burning swords of unimaginable pain and sorrow for her beloved Son... to the point of death.  If not for the grace of God, Mary surely would have died a thousand deaths that day.

Mary had been dreading this moment for more than 30 years since the Prophesy of Simeon.  Do you not think that every time she even looked at her tender son ~ in all that time ~ it did not pain her to think of the terrible death that awaited him?

Think about the Sacred Hands and Feet of Jesus for just a moment. Think about Mary who smothered them with kisses ~ as any tender mother would her sweet baby.  These same sacred hands used to heal and to bless ~ these same precious feet used to bring the good news to the poor and the hopeless ~ she saw driven through with cruel nails, bloodied and pinned to a crude wooden cross.

(The Stabat Mater)

'Pierced the hands that blessed and cured us,
Pierced the feet that walked to free us,
Walked the hill of Calvary.'

(John 19:26,27)

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved,
he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son."
Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother."
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

Can we see Mary's suffering and not help but have compassion for her also? And in imitation of the beloved apostle St. John, not want to take her into our homes care for, comfort her... even as our own mother?

(The Stabat Mater)

'Life eternal, death defiant,
Bowed his head ~ the world was silent,
Through his death came life anew.'


"Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pray for us."
Hail Mary...

6. Jesus Is Taken Down From The Cross.


(Psalms 22: 15) (John 19: 31-37)


Before Jesus is taken down from the cross, His adorable body is struck by the lance of a soldier.  Blood and water issue forth from his side. The nails are pulled from his hands and feet, and He is lowered down the cross on a ladder. Jesus ~ all bloodied, bruised, torn and lifeless ~
is placed in his poor mother's arms. The Crown of thorns having been removed, Mary can now see with horror ~ the deep puncture wounds left in His forehead by the long sharp thorns;

(Venerable Mary of Agreda, The Mystical City of God, Bk. 6. chap. 20):

"They placed upon His sacred head a cap made of plaited thorns to serve Him as a crown.  This cap was woven of thorn branches and in such a manner that many of the hard and sharp thorns would penetrate into the skull, some of them to the ears and others to the eyes.  Hence one of the greatest tortures suffered by the Lord was that of the crown of thorns..."

The Sorrowful Mother beholds the holes in Jesus' Hands and Feet that bore the weight of His body as he hung on crude nails; the terrible wound in His side.  His once beautiful face, now swollen and bruised from the reed used by the Romans to strike him viciously about the head after crowning him with thorns and veiling his face.

The Most Sorrowful Mother ponders with deepest emotions all the multiple cruel and mortal wounds her Divine Son willingly endured for humanity. But mixed with her unspeakable pain and grief is a certain motherly pride in her Son ~ as she knows of the countless souls he has saved by this greatest act of His unselfish love. Does she tenderly kiss his adorable head, and wash his Face with her tears ~ or does she have any tears left to cry?

(The Stabat Mater)

'Stunned and stricken, Mary, Mother
In your arms was placed our Brother,
"Full of grace" now filled with grief.'


"Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pray for us."
Hail Mary...


7. Jesus is Buried in The Tomb.

(Isaiah 53:8)

Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away, and who would have thought any more of his destiny? When he was cut off from the land of the living, and smitten for the sin of his people.
A grave was assigned him among the wicked and a burial place with evildoers, Though he had done no wrong nor spoken any falsehood.

(John 38:42)
And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea (because he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews) besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus. And Pilate gave leave. He came therefore, and took away the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus also came, (he who at the first came to Jesus by night), bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.

They took therefore the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths, with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now there was in the place where he was crucified, a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein no man yet had been laid. There, therefore, because of the parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus, because the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

(John 19:  38-42) (Matthew 27:57-61) (Mark 15:42-47) (Luke 23: 50-56)
(Douay Rheims Version)


Jesus body is wrapped in a cloth, and he is buried quickly and without ceremony in a borrowed sinners’ tomb.  His sweet mournful mother bids farewell to the precious body of her son ~ all bloodied and torn for us.  She gently kisses his wounded hands and lays them back over his body.  She takes her place with the other women as they roll the heavy stone back over the entrance to the tomb.

She watches as the stone falls in place with a final great thud. There are no birds singing, the world is silent. And silently, one by one they slowly, tearfully depart.

The pain in her soul is so great that surely if not for the grace of God, she would have died of grief a thousand times over that day. O Poor Sweet Holy Mother!

The beloved apostle St. John urges the Blessed Virgin Mary to leave with him ~ but she is frozen to the spot, unable to move.  Placing his arm gently around her shoulders ~ choking back the tears St. John speaks softly the word,


The Blessed Virgin Mary raising her tearful eyes to meet John's realizes her duty towards her beloved Son Jesus now lies with his children ~ begotten at his death.  Mary then became for us the adopted mother of us all. Jesus' final gift to us before his dying breath.

Slowly the beloved apostle of her Divine Son leads the stricken mother away from the scene to his home.

Special Meditation


'Prepare my poor wretched soul, O Sweet Virgin Mary, to receive the body of thy precious Divine Son in Holy Communion.  Prepare my heart as thou thyself prepared to conceive Jesus in thy womb.  Adorn my heart with all the merits of thy tender love and compassion and good works.

"That I may conceive Jesus in my heart, as thou conceived Him in thy womb. May I be made worthy to bear the fruit of Christ."

'When I receive Thee into my heart in Holy Communion, O Jesus, make it a fit abiding place for Thy adorable Body. Amen.'

"Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pray for us."
Hail Mary...


Let Us Pray:

 'Let intercession be made for us, we beseech You, O Lord Jesus Christ, now and at the hour of our death, before the Throne of Thy Mercy, by the Blessed Virgin Mary, Your Mother, whose most holy soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow in the hour of your bitter Passion. Through You, O Jesus Christ, Saviour of the world, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost lives and reigns world without end.   Amen'


The Seven Promises:

These are the SEVEN PROMISES that God grants to those who honor The Blessed Virgin Mother daily by saying seven Hail Mary's while contemplating her tears and sorrows during her life. This devotion was passed on to us by St. Bridget.

1. "I will grant Peace to their families.

2. "They will be enlightened about the Divine Mysteries."

3. "I will console them in their pains and I will accompany them in their work."

4. "I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my Divine Son or the sanctification of their souls."

5. "I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives."

6. "I will visibly help them at the moment of their death, they will see the face of  their mother."

7. "I  have obtained (This Grace) from my Divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors, will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son will be their eternal consolation and joy."


The Approved Prayers
Honoring the Seven Dolors of Mary
(Approved by Pope Pius VII in 1815)

V. O God, come to my assistance;
R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
V. Glory be to the Father, etc.
R. As it was in the beginning, etc.

1.  I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in affliction of your tender heart at the prophecy of the holy and aged Simeon. O dearest Mother, by your heart so afflicted, implore for me the virtue of humility and the Gift of the holy Fear of God.
Hail Mary...

2.  I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the anguish of your most affectionate heart during the flight into Egypt and your sojourn there.  O dearest Mother, by your anxious heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of generosity, especially toward the poor, and the Gift of Piety.
Hail Mary...

3.  I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in those anxieties which tried your troubled heart at the loss of your beloved Child Jesus.  O dearest Mother, by your exeedingly troubled heart implore for me the virtue of chastity and the Gift of Knowledge.
Hail Mary...

4.  I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, on account of the horror with which your mother-heart was stricken when meeting Jesus bearing the Cross.  O dearest Mother, by your exeedingly oppressed heart implore for me the virtue of patience and the Gift of Fortitude.
Hail Mary...

5.  I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, on account of that martyrdom which tortured your generous heart at the death-agony of Jesus.  O dearest Mother, through this thy martyred heart, implore for me the virtue of temperance and the Gift of Counsel.
Hail Mary...

6.  I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the wounding of your tender heart, by the thrust of the lance that opened the side of Jesus and pierced His most adorable Heart.  O dearest Mother, by this vicarious transfixion of thy own heart, implore for me the virtue of brotherly love and the Gift of Understanding.
Hail Mary...

7.  I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, on account of that agony which racked your most loving heart at the burial of Jesus.  O dearest Mother, through this extreme torment that filled thy burdened heart, obtain for me the virtue of zeal and the Gift of Wisdom.
Hail Mary...

V. Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let Us Pray:

'Let intercession be made for us, we beseech You, O Lord Jesus Christ, now and at the hour of our death, before the throne of Your mercy, by the Blessed Virgin Mary, Your Mother, whose most holy soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow in the hour of Your bitter Passion.  Through You, O Jesus Christ, Saviour of the world, who with the Father and the Holy Ghost lives and reigns world without end.  Amen.'

Novena Prayer in Honor of the Sorrows of
The Blessed Virgin Mary

'Most holy and afflicted Virgin, Queen of Martyrs, you stood beneath the cross, witnessing the agony of your dying Son.  Look with a mother's tenderness and pity on me, who kneel before you.

I venerate your sorrows and I place my requests with filial confidence in the sanctuary of your wounded heart.

Present them, I beseech you, on my behalf to Jesus Christ, through the merits of His own most sacred passion and death, together with your sufferings at the foot of the cross. Through the united efficacy of both,
obtain the granting of my petition.

To whom shall I have recourse in my wants and miseries if not to you, Mother of Mercy? You have drunk so deeply of the chalice of your Son,
you can compassionate our sorrows.

Holy Mary, your soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow at the sight
of the passion of your Divine Son. Intercede for me and obtain for me from Jesus (mention request) if it be for His honor and glory and for my good.  Amen.'

* The Novena finds it's origin in ancient Church tradition.  A Novena is simply any prayer said faithfully for a period of dedicated time. Generally it is said for nine consecutive days, nine Sundays, Fridays or Saturdays, or even nine hours in a row.  Novenas have traditionally been known to be very powerful ~ used since the time of the Apostles when most notably, they and the other disciples prayed and fasted for nine days prior to receiving the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentacost.

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