Our Lady of Sorrows

Our Lady of Sorrows is a title given to the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, in relation to her deep sorrow and suffering during her son's crucifixion and death. It is a devotion that focuses on Mary's intense emotional pain and grief as she witnessed the Passion of Christ.

The devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows has its roots in the early Christian tradition, but it gained widespread popularity in the Middle Ages. The seven sorrows, or dolors, associated with Mary, often represented in art and prayer, are:

  1. The Prophecy of Simeon: When Jesus was presented in the Temple, the righteous man Simeon prophesied that a sword would pierce Mary's heart (Luke 2:34-35).
  2. The Flight into Egypt: Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt with the infant Jesus to escape King Herod's slaughter of the innocents (Matthew 2:13-21).
  3. The Loss of Jesus in the Temple: Mary and Joseph lost the 12-year-old Jesus during their visit to Jerusalem and experienced great anxiety until they found Him in the temple (Luke 2:41-50).
  4. Mary Meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary: Mary encountered Jesus carrying His cross on the way to His crucifixion, witnessing His suffering firsthand (John 19:17).
  5. The Crucifixion: Mary stood at the foot of the cross, enduring the pain of watching her Son die (John 19:25-30).
  6. Jesus Taken Down from the Cross: Mary is often depicted holding Jesus’ lifeless body in her arms, mourning His loss (Luke 23:50-54; John 19:31-37).
  7. The Burial of Jesus: Mary witnessed the burial of Jesus, experiencing the finality of His death (Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42; Mark 15:40-47).

Devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows helps believers reflect on Mary's profound compassion, strength, and faith amid immense suffering. It serves as a reminder of the redemptive value of Christ's sacrifice and the role of Mary as a compassionate and empathetic intercessor.

Feast days dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows include the Friday before Good Friday (sometimes called "Friday of Sorrows") and September 15, the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. On these occasions, special prayers and devotions are offered to honor and seek the intercession of Our Lady of Sorrows.


By Elizabeth Craig

Updated 2023-06-08