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By: Sarah Pedrozo on September 10th, 2023

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Mary's Sorrows Are Our Sorrows

Seven Sorrows of Mary  |  Our Lady of Sorrows  |  family life


Over the course of the years in my job at my parish, I have encountered hundreds of moms. These are women from a wide variety of backgrounds, cultures, socio-economic levels, education, and even languages, who meet to learn and worship together. Over time, I’ve heard many of their stories and learned of their sufferings.  We have especially prayed for each other's children during times of trial.  

The month of September is dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of Mary, to those seven events in Mary’s life that were so painful they seemed to thrust a dagger into her heart. Although the Seven Sorrows of Mary devotion focuses on the life of Christ, the experiences shared with me by many mothers and grandmothers reveal that mothers everywhere can relate to many of these events. If we apply the Seven Sorrows to our own times, perhaps we can recognize these sorrows in the lives of our friends or relatives, and support and pray for each other.  


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First Sorrow: The Prophecy of Simeon  

“And you yourself a sword will pierce.” (Luke 2:35) 

How must Mary have felt at that moment when she heard these words? Her beautiful baby boy was not going to grow up like the other boys in his village. He would be different. He would be hurt and rejected. His life would be full of suffering, and she would not be able to stop it. Mary’s sorrow mirrors all those young mothers who have likewise heard similar words when their children were very young, those who received a hard medical diagnosis and knew their child would be different.   




Second Sorrow: The Flight into Egypt  

The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you." (Matthew 2:13). 

Just as the Holy Family suddenly had to flee from their home, leaving just about everything behind them, so, too, have many mothers lost their homes to fire, flood, persecution, divorce, or just plain economic difficulties. Just as Mary wondered how they would survive their new reality, far from family and familiarity, many mothers find themselves abruptly starting a new life with their children. 




Third Sorrow: The Loss of the Child Jesus in Jerusalem 

After three days they found him in the temple. (Luke 2:46) 

There are many different ways by which children can get lost. Sometimes, children can lose their way physically, as in Jesus’ case. But many mothers lose their children spiritually to worldly pursuits, addiction, or simple cynicism. Like Mary, these mothers look and pray, day after day, for their child’s safe return home. 




Fourth Sorrow: Mary Meets Jesus on the Way to the Cross   

A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. (Luke 23:27)

Mary met her son carrying his cross, on the way to his death. He had been bullied, mocked and mistreated, even though he was innocent. Many mothers also know their children are being harmed, abused, and mistreated, and are unable to intervene. 




Fifth Sorrow: Standing at the Foot of the Cross  

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. (John 19:25) 

Mary watched her son die on the cross, slowly and painfully. Many mothers also suffer this sword, sitting by a sickbed, at an accident or in a hospital. 




Sixth Sorrow: The Crucifixion and Descent from the Cross  

After this, Joseph of Arimathea, secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus. And Pilate permitted it. So he came and took his body. (John 19:38) 

What can be harder to bear than the death of a child? Like Mary, many mothers know the pain of this sword, and await the dawning of the resurrection when they will be reunited. 




Seventh Sorrow: Assisting at the Burial of Christ  

The women who had come from Galilee with him followed behind, and when they had seen the tomb and the way in which his body was laid in it, they returned and prepared spices and perfumed oils. (Luke 23:55-56a) 

Now is the time of living with grief. Jesus’ body is wrapped, his tomb is closed. In our time, the funeral is done, the guests have gone. Like Mary, many mothers lean into their faith and trust in God for the strength to keep going in the absence of their child.  




The great, glorious Good News, of course, is that Mary’s sorrows are not the end of the story. Although we may be enduring one or more of these sorrowful swords now, it will not be forever. Praying the Seven Sorrows of Mary can help us meditate on her sorrows, as well as notice when the mothers around us are also living them.  More than just events that happened a long time ago, in another place, the Seven Sorrows of Mary continue in the lives of many mothers today.  During this month especially, let’s pray for them, for each other, and for the safety and protection of all our children. 


About Sarah Pedrozo

Sarah Pedrozo has worked in family faith formation for the past 15 years, helping families learn and live their Catholic faith. With master's degrees in theology and English, she especially likes using stories to catechize. Sarah blogs at BasketsAndBlessings.com, in between working and taking care of her family. She loves bluebonnets, her rescue dogs and the Texas Hill Country.