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Saint of the Month - Our Lady of the Sorrows

by Father Scott Donahue

Our Lady of the Sorrows
Feast day - September 15

Often time's, life can be very difficult and hard to understand. Sometimes, it is necessary to remind ourselves how much pain and rejection Christ felt throughout his lifetime. During the month of September, we put time aside to remember particularly the hardships the Blessed Mother faced as well. September is a month to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Sorrows.

Our Lady of the Sorrows focuses on the intense sorrow Mary felt during the passion of her son. This feast day is one of two feast days celebrated in honor of the many sorrows felt by Mary throughout her life. However, known as the seven dolors, the seven sorrows are the focus of the Feast of Our Lady of the Sorrows.

These seven sorrows include the prophecy of Simeon, the flight into Egypt, the loss of Jesus in the temple, the meeting of Mary and Jesus while he carries the cross, the crucifixion, the taking down of Jesus from the cross, and the burial of Jesus. These are moments that caused Mary an immeasurable amount of pain and sorrow throughout Jesus's lifetime.

A popular way to show gratitude to Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, is through devotions. This involves concentrating on the seven sorrows while saying seven Hail Marys for our Mother. This important practice gives us time to focus on the strength it took for her to prevail through the hardships involved in being the Mother of our Lord.

This feast day became popular during the eleventh and twelfth centuries under many different titles. This feast and the devotions were especially popular among the Benedictine Monks throughout the twelfth century but became an official feast day in 1482. It was originally recognized as the Feast of Our Lady of Compassion; however, this feast occurred during Lent. It was not until 1814 that Pope Pius X established a feast day in honor of the seven dolors, which is to be celebrated on Sept. 15.

As we remember Mary and her sorrows throughout this month, we also remember the contextual significance of each one. Although they may start as only words and warnings or the simple scare many mothers face throughout their life, such as their child running off while shopping at the store. These events increase in intensity throughout Mary's lifetime and test her faith.

Our Blessed Mother is a beautiful example of the strength and courage we should continue to let guide us down the path of faith. Mary's strength as a mother and faith as a follower shows us that this day and every day we shall walk hand in hand with her, especially when in the face of hardship.

As we focus on Mary, we remember the words written in 1153 by St. Bernard regarding the strength of her love, "Truly, O Blessed Mother, a sword has pierced your heart… He died in body through love greater than anyone had known. She died in spirit through a love unlike any other since His."

Fr. Donahue is the president of the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls.

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