Devotion to the sorrows of Mary can be traced back to the 12th century, when the newly formed Servite Order embraced it as their primary devotion. In 1817, Pope Pius VII declared the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows as a feast day for the worldwide Church (not just certain regions, as had been the practice); and in 1913, Pope Pius X fixed the date of the feast as September 15.
In remarks made in 1980, Pope John Paul II reminded us: "Mary Most Holy goes on being the loving consoler of those touched by the many physical and moral sorrows which afflict and torment humanity. She knows our sorrows and our pains, because she too suffered, from Bethlehem to Calvary . . . Mary is our Spiritual Mother, and the mother always understands her children and consoles them in their troubles."
The Seven Sorrows of Mary
1. The Prophecy of Simeon ("and your own soul a sword shall pierce . . .")
2. The Flight into Egypt
3. Loss of the Child Jesus in Jerusalem
4. Meeting Jesus on the Way of the Cross
5. The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus
6. Jesus taken down from the Cross
7. Jesus wrapped and laid in the tomb
“Truly, O Blessed Mother, a sword has pierced your heart.... He died in body through a love greater than anyone had known. She died in spirit through a love unlike any other since His.” (St. Bernard)