The seven sorrows of Mary – then and now

The Friday before Holy Week is, in many parts of Latin America, the celebration of Our Mother of Sorrows – la Virgen Dolorosa.


Icon by Father Bill McNicols

We remember especially the seven sorrows of Mary, when she experienced profound dolor.

  1. At the presentation of Jesus in the temple, when Simeon prophesied that a sword would pierce her heart. (Luke 2: 22-35)
  2. When the Holy Family fled into Egypt to escape the fury of King Herod. (Matthew 2: 41-50)
  3. When Jesus was lost in the temple when he was twelve years old. (Luke 2: 41-50)
  4. When Mary met Jesus when he was carrying the Cross to Calvary.
  5. When she stood at the cross of Jesus, her son. (John 19: 17-30)
  6. When the body of Jesus was taken down from the Cross. (Mark 15: 42-46)
  7. When the body of Jesus was placed in a borrowed tomb. (John 19: 38-42)

It would be good for us to contemplate these mysteries today and during the coming week, not only from the perspective of Mary almost 2000 years ago, but also from the perspective of all those who are suffering these days.

Consider what Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, said in 2015, to 100,000 pilgrims at a Marian shrine in Myanmar, spoke of “seven swords that pierce Mary’s heart in Myanmar”:

The seven swords of Our Lady of Sorrows in Myanmar, are:

  • crony capitalism, so few families have everything;
  • the refusal to resolve conflicts through dialogue, but with the use of violence;
  • unjust laws that continue to deprive the poor of their lands;
  • the criminal economy of drugs and human trafficking;
  • discrimination of ethnic minorities;
  • the destruction and looting of natural resources;
  • the lack of opportunities for education and employment for the poor.

These are also the swords that pierce the heart of our people here in Honduras and in many parts of the world.

Mother of sorrows, be with us.



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