In the Middle Ages, Catholic theology concentrated mostly on Christ’s passion. At the side of the Man of Sorrows, however, was the Sorrowful Mother, sharing his suffering.

John 19:25 says, “Near the Cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Cleopas and Mary Magdalene.” Devotion to the Crucified Christ and to Our Lady of Sorrows grew side by side. On Sept. 15, the day following the ancient feast of the Holy Cross, the Church celebrates the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

The Seven Sorrows of Our Lady are taken from scriptural events. The devotion has a long history, although it was not officially promulgated by the Church until the early 19th century. Before Pope Pius VII’s formal approval, the Servite Order had permission in 1668 to celebrate the feast of the Seven Sorrows because the order was instrumental in popularizing the Seven Sorrows devotion.

The purpose of the devotion of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady is to promote union with the sufferings of Christ through union with the special sufferings that Our Lady endured for the sake of her Son and our salvation.

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