In accord with the ancient tradition, the Blessed Virgin Mary paid a visit to the sites of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection on a daily basis after his ascension into Heaven.
Many other traditions also claimed that Mary followed Jesus as he took his cross to Calvary. In this way the Virgin Mary was said to be the first to accompany Jesus along his Via Crucis (“Way of the Cross”), giving an example that many Christians have followed ever since.
Franciscans made the practice famous with their Stations of the Cross, which was not the only way of walking in the sorrowful footsteps of Mary. They also developed a devotion called the Via Matris (“Way of the Mother”), which focuses on the seven sorrows of Mary — not only at the crucifixion, but also throughout her life.
Meanwhile, the Seven sorrows of Mary recalls the seven events in the life of Mary when she experienced great sorrow.
They are as follows:
1. The Prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:34–35)
2. The Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13)
3. The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem (Luke 2:43–45)
4. The Meeting of Mary and Jesus on his Way to Calvary (traditional)
5. Standing at the Foot of the Cross (John 19:25)
6. Jesus Being Taken Down from the Cross (Matthew 27:57–59)
7. The Burial of Jesus (John 19:40–42)
And the devotion is carried out by saying the Chaplet of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows.
How to Pray the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Mary
The custom on how to pray this chaplet in the memory of Our Lady’s Seven Sorrows, is to pray the Our Father once and then the Hail Mary seven times at each division. At the end, three Hail Marys should be prayed in honor of the tears of Our Lady.
When praying the chaplet, it is suggested to say an Act of Contrition at the very beginning, thereby, recognizing the role our sins had in Our Lady’s sufferings.
Announce each sorrow before praying the seven Hail Marys.
You begin as thus – With confidence in my heart, I meditate on the First Sorrow, where Mary, Virgin Mother of my GOD, presented JESUS her only Son in the Temple, placed Him in the arms of holy and aged Simeon, and heard his prophetic word, “The sword of grief shall pierce your soul,” foretelling thereby the Passion and Death of her Son JESUS.
The Second Sorrow of the Blessed Virgin was when she was told to fly into Egypt by due to the persecution of a cruel Herod, who impiously wanted to slay her well beloved Son.
The Third Sorrow of the Blessed Virgin was when, after she had gone up to Jerusalem at the Paschal Feast with her spouse (Joseph) and JESUS her beloved Son, she lost Him on the way back to their poor house, and for three days she bewailed the loss of her only Love.
The Fourth Sorrow of the Blessed Virgin was when she met her dearest Son JESUS, carrying the heavy Cross to Mount Calvary on his tender shoulders where He was to be crucified for our salvation.
The Fifth Sorrow of the Blessed Virgin was when she saw her Son JESUS crucified upon the hard tree of the Cross, and blood gushing out from every part of his sacred Body, and then she beheld his death after three hours of agony.
The Sixth Sorrow of the Blessed Virgin was when she saw the Soldier pierce the sacred Side of her beloved Son JESUS, the nails withdrawn, and his holy Body placed in her purest bosom.
The Seventh and last Sorrow of the Blessed Virgin, Queen and Advocate of us, her servants and miserable sinners, was when she saw the Holy Body of her Son being buried in the grave.
V/. Pray for us, Virgin most sorrowful.
R/. That we may be made worthy of the promises of CHRIST.
Let us pray.
GRANT, we beseech Thee, O LORD JESUS CHRIST, that the most blessed Virgin Mary, thy Mother, may intercede for us before the throne of thy mercy, now and at the hour of our death, whose most holy soul was transfixed with the sword of sorrow in the hour of thine own Passion. Through Thee, JESUS CHRIST, SAVIOR of the world, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen
In Accordance with the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows , “Modeled on the Via Crucis, the pious exercise of the Via Matris Dolorosae, or simply the Via Matris, developed and was subsequently approved by the Apostolic See.
This devotion already existed in embryonic form since the sixteenth century, while its present form dates from the nineteenth century.