The Mother Who Always Stayed Near

The memorial of the Sorrowful Mother reminds the faithful of the role of Mary’s Coredemption and how we should accept suffering in adversity.

Newsroom (14/09/2021 18:40, Gaudium Press)

On September 15, the Holy Church commemorates something exceptional; among the numerous commemorations of the Liturgical calendar, today’s memorial is distinguished by a strong note of compunction and suffering, not without leaving its festive character: the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.

The cult to the Sorrows of Mary

From the first centuries of Christianity, devotion to the Blessed Mary as Mater Dolorosa[1] aroused great piety among the faithful, so that the commemoration of the Seven Sorrows of Mary was introduced into the cult. In the middle of the 13th century, a new charism arose to spread this devotion: the Order of the Servants of Mary – or Servites[2] – whose vocation was to stimulate the contemplation of the Passion of Christ and his Mother, and thus convert sinners and sanctify souls.

As a fruit of this apostolate, in less than two centuries much of the Christian world was celebrating the mysteries and splendors of the Coredemption of Mary.

After the Synod of Cologne (1423), the anguish and pains of the Blessed Virgin were invoked, especially in expiation for the profanations and sacrileges of heretics and the sins committed against the Mother of God.

Popular piety, then, consecrated the devotion under the title of Our Lady of Pity, so widespread in the subsequent centuries until our days. Among the pontiffs who most exalted this commemoration are Popes Pius VII (1800-1823) and St. Pius X (1903-1914), and countless saints and religious institutes.

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However, since the memorial of the Sorrows of Mary lost some of its value because it was celebrated in the middle of Lent, it was finally transferred to the third Sunday of September, and with the reform of the Breviary, it was definitively established on September 15, the day after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

The Marian love song par excellence: the Stabat Mater

The memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows is one of the few liturgical dates in which there is a sequence, that is, a specific hymn for the feast, recited before the proclamation of the Gospel.

It fell to an illustrious writer and son of St. Francis of Assisi, Blessed Jacopone of Todi (1236-1306), to compose one of the most beautiful and eloquent Marian hymns, the only one to penetrate deeply into the mystery of the Virgin Mary’s sufferings: the Stabat Mater.

In it, the devout soul contemplates the Blessed Virgin, tearful, suffering, but standing beside the Cross, whose hope, at the moment when God Himself “died” and seemed to abandon her forever, succeeded in keeping her faith alive and participating in the august mystery of Redemption, suffering in her own soul every step of the Passion of her Son.

Let us ask the Sorrowful Mother for this piety towards her Son and our God, and for the strength to face all adversities on the Calvary of our lives, as the prayer says:

At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.

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Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
All His bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword had pass’d.

Oh, how sad and sore distress’d
Was that Mother highly blest
Of the sole-begotten One!

Christ above in torment hangs;
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep,
Whelm’d in miseries so deep
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that Mother’s pain untold?

Bruis’d, derided, curs’d, defil’d,
She beheld her tender child
All with bloody scourges rent.

For the sins of His own nation,
Saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.

O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above;
Make my heart with thine accord.

Make me feel as thou hast felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ our Lord.

Holy Mother! pierce me through;
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Saviour crucified.

Let me share with thee His pain,
Who for all my sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.

Let me mingle tears with thee,
Mourning Him who mourn’d for me,
All the days that I may live.

By the cross with thee to stay,
There with thee to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of thee to give.

Virgin of all virgins best,
Listen to my fond request
Let me share thy grief divine.

Let me, to my latest breath,
In my body bear the death
Of that dying Son of thine.

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Wounded with His every wound,
Steep my soul till it hath swoon’d
In His very blood away.

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
Lest in flames I burn and die,
In His awful Judgment day.

Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
Be Thy Mother my defense,
Be Thy cross my victory.

While my body here decays,
May my soul Thy goodness praise,
Safe in Paradise with Thee.

Por André Luiz Kleina


PIRES DE SOUSA, Geraldo. [Notas ao livro Glórias de Maria] In: AFONSO DE LIGÓRIO, Santo. Glórias de Maria. 4. ed. Rio de Janeiro: Vozes, 1951.

[1] From Latin: Mother of Sorrows or Sorrowful Mother.

[2] Founded in 1240 by St. Alexius Falconieri and six companions.


A memória da Mãe Dolorosa vem lembrar aos fiéis o papel da Corredenção de Maria e o modo como devemos aceitar os sofrimentos nas adversidades. Redação (14/09/2021 18:40, Gaudium Press) 

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