|Seven Sorrows of Mary|
The seven sorrows refer to the seven events in Scripture in which the suffering of Our Lady is mentioned: Hearing the Prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:34-35); Fleeing into Egypt with Joseph (Matthew 2:13); Losing the Child Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:43-45); Meeting Jesus on the Way to Calvary; Standing by the Cross (John 19:25); Receiving the Body of Jesus (Matthew 27:57-59); Placing the Body of Jesus in the Tomb (John 19:40-42). A special seven decade Rosary was developed to be used in prayer. The purpose of the devotion was to promote union with the sufferings of Christ through union with the special suffering that Our Lady endured.
The devotion has a long history, but was not officially promulgated by the Church until the early nineteenth century. Before its formal approval, both the Servite Order and the Dominicans had permission to celebrate it because they were so instrumental in popularizing the devotion. Connection between Saint Dominic and this feast later became obscure although we know Saint Dominic practiced this devotion and promoted it among his followers. The Dominican Saint, Peter the Martyr, then the Inquisitor-General of Italy, helped to popularize the devotion and recommended the foundation of the Servite Order in 1243. Since that time this devotion has been attributed more to the Servites than the Dominicans although Dominicans were instrumental in their founding. The painting referred to by Mother Frances Raphael Drane has been lost to antiquity. The place now associated with the devotion is Monte Senario where the Servite founders had their visions rather than Suriano where the miraculous picture had been. The seven sorrows are now popularly depicted by an image of the Blessed Mother with seven swords piercing her heart. The fifth sorrow has been memorialized by the hymn Stabat Mater while the sixth sorrow is most famous as the Pietá by Michelangelo.
Drane, Augusta Theodosia (Mother Frances Raphael), The Life of St. Dominic and a Sketch of the Dominican Order with an Introduction to the America edition by Rev Joseph Sadoc Alemany, D.D., P. O’Shea Publisher, New York, New York, 1867, (p. 217).