The 7 Sorrows of Mary commemorate key events in the life of Mary that brought her much pain.
Devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows is very ancient, and over many centuries pious customs have been developed to enter into the heart of Mary, which was pierced so “thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:35).
One such custom owes its origin to the Servite Order, founded in 1233 by a group called the Seven Holy Founders. From the very beginning they sought to live a life dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows.
Through their spirituality they developed a list of the “7 Sorrows of Mary.” It recalls seven events in the life of Mary when she experienced great sorrow. They are as follows:
- The Prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:34–35)
- The Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13)
- The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem (Luke 2:43–45)
- The Meeting of Mary and Jesus on his Way to Calvary (traditional)
- Standing at the Foot of the Cross (John 19:25)
- Jesus Being Taken Down from the Cross (Matthew 27:57–59)
- The Burial of Jesus (John 19:40–42)
They also developed a Rosary that meditates on these events, pondering what was going on in Mary’s heart.