History of the Devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows
The seven founders of the Servite Order, in 1239, five years after they established
themselves on Monte Senario, took up the sorrows of Mary, standing under the Cross, as the principal devotion of their order.
The feast originate by a provincial synod of Cologne (1413) to expiate the crimes of the iconoclast Hussites; it was to be
kept on the Friday after the third Sunday after Easter under the title: "Commemoratio angustix et doloris B. Marix V".
Its object was exclusively 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. Being termed "Compassio" or "Transfixio",
Commendatio, Lamentatio B.M.V.", it was kept at a great variety of dates, mostly during Eastertide or shortly after
Pentecost, or on some fixed day of a month. Dreves and Blume (Analecta hymnica) have published a large number of rhythmical
offices, sequences and hymns for the feast of the Compassion, which show that from the end of the fifteenth century in several
dioceses the scope of this feast was widened to commemorate either five dolours (sorrows), from the imprisonment to the burial
of Christ, or seven dolours, extending over the entire life of Mary.
Towards the end of the end of the sixteenth century the feast spread over part
of the south of Europe; in 1506 it was granted to the nuns of the Annunciation under the title "Spasmi B.M.V.", Monday
after Passion Sunday; in 1600 to the Servite nuns of Valencia, "B.M.V. sub pede Crucis", Friday before Palm Sunday.
After 1600 it became popular in France and was termed "Dominx N. de Pietate", Friday before Palm Sunday. To this latter date
the feast was assigned for the whole German Empire (1674). By a Decree of April 22, 1727, Benedict XIII extended it to the
entire Latin Church, under the title "Septem dolorum B.M.V.", although the Office and Mass retain the original character of
the feast, the Compassion of Mary at the foot of the Cross. At both Mass and Office the "Stabat Mater" of Giacopone da Todi
(1306) is sung (see words in Latin and English below).
A second feast was granted to the Servites, June 9 and September
15, 1668. Its object of the seven dolours of Mary (according to the responsories of Matins).
* at the prophecy of Simeon;
* at the flight into Egypt;
* having lost
the Holy Child at Jerusalem;
* meeting Jesus on his way to Calvary;
* standing at the foot of the Cross;
being taken from the Cross;
* at the burial of Christ.
This feast was extended to Spain (1735); to Tuscany (1807). After his return
from his exile in France Pius VII extended the feast to the Latin Church (September 18, 1814). A feast, "B.M.V. de pietate",
with a beautiful medieval office, is kept in honor of the sorrowful mother at Goa in India and Braga in Portugal, on the third
Sunday of October; in the ecclesiastical province of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, last Sunday of May, etc. A special form of
devotion is practiced in Spanish-speaking countries under the term of "N.S. de la Soledad", to commemorate the solitude
of Mary on Holy Saturday. Its origin goes back to Queen Juana, lamenting the early death of her husband Philip I, King of
(Principal source - Catholic Encyclopedia - 1913 edition)
Promises to Those Who Say this Rosary
The Dolors, or Seven Sorrows of Mary, is a beautiful devotion to Our Lady. Those who
recite 7 Hail Marys daily while meditating on each of the 7 Sorrows of Our Lady are promised the following: Four Special Graces
Promised to those Devoted to the Dolors of Our Lady According to St. Alphonsus Liguori, Our Lord revealed to St. Elizabeth
of Hungary four special graces that are given to those who are devoted to the dolors of His holy Mother.
1. That those who before death invoke the Blessed Mother in the name of her sorrows
should obtain true repentance of all their sins.
2. That He would protect in their tribulations all who remember this devotion, and that
He would protect them especially at the hour of death.
3. That He would impress upon their minds the remembrance of His Passion, and that they
should have their reward for it in Heaven.
4. That He would commit such devout clients to the hands of Mary, so that she might
obtain for these souls all the graces she wanted to lavish upon them.
Seven Promises to Those who Meditate on Our Lady's Tears and Dolors According to St.
Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373), the Blessed Virgin grants seven graces to the souls who honor her daily by saying seven Hail
Marys while meditating on her tears and dolors:
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
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."