How To: Pray the Chaplet of the 7 Sorrows of Mary

During my Mom & I’s recent completion of “33 Days to Morning Glory” and Our Marian Consecration, we prayed the Rosary of the 7 Sorrows for the first time. We were touched by the beauty of this powerful Marian devotion which has existed since Middle Ages, promoted by the Servite Order, and made better known by Our Lady of Kibeho during her apparitions in Rwanda. This devotion has been approved by the Catholic Church.

Father Leszek Czelusniak, MIC, interviewed Nathalie, one of the visionaries of Kibeho and asked her to summarize the messages of Mary. Here was Nathalie’s response:

“The Holy Virgin insisted on the need for prayer. She said that the world is bad. It is necessary to pray, to pray, to pray a lot for this world that is bad, to pray for sinners, to pray for their conversion. She insisted a lot on the need for conversion: Convert to God! Convert to God! Convert to God! While saying that people don’t respect God’s commands, that people have a hard heart, she also asked us to meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary and to recite it every day. She also taught us the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows. She asked us to pray it every Tuesday and Friday. She asked us to obey the Church, to love God in truth, and to love our neighbor in humility and simplicity. She spoke of the need for mortification, a spirit of penitence and sacrifice. She also spoke of the need for suffering, to bear our sufferings every day. She said that no one enters heaven without suffering. She also told us that acts of charity for the poor make us beautiful flowers that God likes. She wanted a chapel to be constructed here in Kibeho, so everyone would remember her visit and pray for the Church and religious. Holy Mary spoke to us in Kinyarwanda [the language of Rwanda] with her very soft voice.”

The variation of the Chaplet of the 7 Sorrows of Mary below is from the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception & is included in “33 Days to Morning Glory” by Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC. https://www.marian.org/mary/prayers/sorrows.php

For another variation on the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Mary by Our Lady of Kibeho: overview & pictorial representation of the 7 Sorrows Rosary by Our Lady of Kibeho: https://www.immaculee.com/pages/7-sorrows-rosary-prayer

THE CHAPLET OF THE SEVEN SORROWS OF MARY– 7 Decade Chaplet

Though I use a regular 5 decade rosary that I modify, here are links to the Seven Sorrows Chaplet for purchase from EWTN Religious Catalogue & Leaflet Missal.

THE Chaplet OF THE SEVEN SORROWS OF MARY

Sign of the Cross: In the name of The Father, and The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Amen.

Act of Contrition (Optional): O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of hell; but most of all because they offend You, my God, You Who are all good and deserving of all my love.  I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.

1) THE FIRST SORROW- THE PROPHECY (LUKE 2:25-35)

The Prophecy of holy Simeon, who told Our Sorrowful Mother of the bitter passion and death of Jesus:

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

(Pray 1 Our Father and 7 Hail Mary’s)

2. THE SECOND SORROW- THE FLIGHT (MATTHEW 2:13-15)

Our Sorrowful Mother is forces to Flee into Egypt to save her beloved Son from the death decreed by Herod:

“Now when they had departed, behold, 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. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

(Pray 1 Our Father and 7 Hail Mary’s)

3. THE THIRD SORROW- THE LOSS (LUKE 2:43-51)

Our Sorrowful Mother is separated from Jesus for three days when he remains in Jerusalem for three days without her knowing it:

“And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the company they went a day’s journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances; and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.” 49 And he said to them, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them.  And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.”

(Pray 1 Our Father and 7 Hail Mary’s)

4. THE FOURTH SORROW- The Meeting (LUKE 23:27-30)

Our Sorrowful Mother meets Jesus on the road to Calvary and sees him fall under the cruel weight of the cross:

“And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.  For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never gave suck!’  Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’  For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

(Pray 1 Our Father and 7 Hail Mary’s)

5. THE FIFTH SORROW- Jesus Dies (JOHN 19:25-30)

Our Sorrowful Mother watches Jesus die on the Cross:

“So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Mag′dalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”  Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the scripture), “I thirst.” A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth.  When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

(Pray 1 Our Father and 7 Hail Mary’s)

6. THE SIXTH Sorrow- Mary receives jesus (JOHN 19:31-37)

Our Sorrowful Mother receives the dead body of Jesus in her arms:

“Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the sabbath (for that sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him;  but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.  He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth—that you also may believe.  For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled, “Not a bone of him shall be broken.” And again another scripture says, “They shall look on him whom they have pierced.”

(Pray 1 Our Father and 7 Hail Mary’s)

7. The Seventh Sorrow- The Burial (mark 15:40-47)

Our Sorrowful Mother sees Jesus placed in the sacred tomb:

“And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,  Joseph of Arimathe′a, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus.  And Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph.  And he bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud, and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Mary Mag′dalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.”

(Pray 1 Our Father and 7 Hail Mary’s)

Concluding Prayer (x3)

Hail Mary Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.

[Three Hail Mary’s are said in honor of the Tears if Our Sorrowful Mother]

Sign of the Cross: In the name of The Father, and The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Amen.

Burying the Dead During Advent: Asking “How” & Not “Why”

“When I closed the eyes of my dear little children and buried them, I felt sorrow through and through… People said to me, ‘It would be better to never have had them.’ I couldn’t stand such language. My children were not lost forever; life is short and full of miseries, and we shall find our little ones up above again.”

St. Zellie Martin

After a very risky and complicated identical twin pregnancy, my family and loved ones buried my niece Isabella born to heaven at 25 weeks. There are no pictures or videos of her funeral, but the memories and emotions are seared forever in my heart and mind. There are few words to adequately describe witnessing your eldest brother carry a tiny white casket out of the Chapel after his daughter’s funeral Mass or watch him place her int he ground. Or hold your niece and godchild for minutes while she cries into your wool coat. Or tell your teary eyed and recovering sister-in-law, “I’m so grateful you’re here, and I don’t take that for granted.” We could have experienced a double to triple funeral. And there is still the hopeful but unknown future for her sister Sara.

We did this together as a family and faith community. Withing the sacraments, we commended and entrusted this beautiful, precious girl to God. I’ve learned through the years not to ask “why” anymore but “how.” How has this child transformed our lives? How has this child reflected God? How have I responded to this gift? How can I act with compassion? Am I grateful for this life? Am I open to this life? Am I open to love- the love of a child? Yes.

Dear, Isabella, Aunt Hannah loves you and misses you. Your entire family loves and misses you. I hope to join you in Heaven someday. Requiem Aeternam, baby girl.

Advent Preparation, Anticipation, & Funerals

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist- Savannah, GA

“O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.”
– O, Antiphons

Advent a season of preparation- preparation for the gift of a child. While we prepare in joyful  anticipation for the Christ child’s birth, we also prepare to bury a child. During the 2nd week of Advent, my family & I will celebrate her life & mourn the loss of my 23 week old niece while her 26 week old sister fights to develop & grow in the NICU. Advent for us is a season of joy & sorrow & of loss & life. Mostly unwavering love.

This Advent heightens that the joyful birth of Christ is intertwined with the Cross of Christ & the Resurrection. One doesn’t exist separate from the other as with the Christian life. As a Catholic Christian, the crucifix & the manger bring me great comfort & perspective. The wood of the manger leads to the wood of the Cross, but neither is the final word. Because we look forward to the Resurrection of the Dead & the Life of the world to come.

Our family friend & priest that baptized me offered Mass for my family & for the repose of the soul of my niece Isabella at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. My best friend is travelling in the Philippines praying for our family. Two innocent little children deemed less than human by many have not only touched our hearts but people all over the world. In the Spirit of Advent, the season of preparation & anticipation of the birth of a child, we find the profound beauty & importance of the presence of a child- a child in utero.

Happy Advent!

Love, Babies, & Loss

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you…” -Jeremiah 1:5

I’ve kept mostly quiet about the TTTS (Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome) pregnancy my brother & sister-in-law are navigating. After 2 emergency fetoscopic surgeries 4.5 hours away, dozens of local Maternal Fetal Medicine appointments, & hospital bed rest, my precious identical twin nieces were born via emergency extraction at 25 weeks Thursday, November 29th. Isabella was born to heaven, and Sara is in the NICU. Mom is struggling with complications, but she is beginning to show signs of improvement.

Both baby girls are so loved & cherished by their parents, siblings, & extended family. Our lives are forever transformed by their presence! They’re parents have fought hard for their girls health and wellness despite the many challenges and risks.

We’ve experienced extraordinary medical situations & miscarriages in our family, but our present situation is uncharted territory. The fragility of earthly life is inescapable, changing within a moment with minimal control or certainty. The prolonged reality unavoidable. Our holidays will be involved in the best and most challenging sense. The intensive, specialized NICU care of Sara will continue into the New Year and beyond. And eventually our family will gather to celebrate her life and mourn the loss of Isabella.

But the certainty of God’s merciful & unending love never changes. He has never abandoned us or the girls. Through the confusion, heartache, & stress, the gentle breath of the Holy Spirit sustains our weary spirits. The sacramental life of the Church brings purpose, perspective, meaning, & grace. The twins’ lives are a catalyst for entering into a deeper understanding of authentic love, trust, hope, & joy. The twins are bringing us closer to heaven if we chose to respond to them through the eyes of God. By love refined…

🌹

Prayers are much appreciated! God bless. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

NFP for the Unmarried- Women By Design

My friend and I laughed like hyenas over bagel sandwiches when we both realized that “Oh yeah, we don’t use trying to achieve or avoid pregnancy protocols.” Single and unmarried we truly forgot in that moment that most individuals and couples use Natural Family Planning or Fertility Based Awareness Methods for fertility and infertility related reasons- as the name implies, Family Planning. But for this duo of laughing single gals, sex (the responsibilities and pleasures) had little do with why or why not we practiced Creighton Method. We practice Creighton NFP for medical reasons- women’s health. And that is a message I hope to share with others.

If you’re a women, whether married, unmarried, consecrated or religious, you qualify to learn & practice NFP or FABMs. Being in a sexual relationship with a man does not activate or call into existence your womanhood. You are a woman by God’s design whether you “use” your reproductive organs for unitive & procreative functions, i.e., babies and bonding, or not. Baby girls develop their ovaries in-utero by week 16-20 holding about 6-7 million oocytes. By birth, a baby girl is born with 1-2 million oocytes. This occurs years before a girl enters into puberty & biological sexual maturity. God designed us intricately and deliberately.

Does a women’s reproductive system remain frozen in-time & space until sacramental marriage & the marital embrace? Or what if the women never engages in God’s mystery of sex because she is called to a celibate vocation (i.e., single, consecrated, or religious life)? All these women deserve the same care and concern for their reproductive health too. (Read Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae!)

Like myself, many women are struggling with their reproductive health within a limited and archaic ideology infested healthcare system that seems to equate hormonal poisoning & the insertion of unsafe devices with the height of medical sophistication for a variety of women’s health conditions. The increase of hormonal birth control therapies contributes to the general decline and demise of health and wellness, especially anything endocrine related. We are all swimming in a cesspool of synthetic estrogen 24/7. Whether you or I take hormonal birth control, globally we’re all living out the biological, environmental, cultural, and spiritual effects. (Did I mention my Undergraduate Environmental Sciences Lab final involved a presentation on EDC/PPCPs effect on fish & amphibians?) Cause & effect- science and facts.

Where do we turn for reproductive health help? Where do we find good medicine? First, you need to “know thyself.” Your cycles and bodily functions, whether for good, mediocre, or ill, are telling you something. Your body is waiting for you to listen. FABM or FAM apps are gaining popularity. Learning a NFP method is best when taught by a licensed professional because each women is different and therefore her cycle can vary. A trained professional can help you (and a spouse) walk through your unique questions and concerns. You can locate specialist in your area via Diocesan websites, Fertility Care Centers of America, social media, search engines, etc.

Within the spectrum of Fertility Based Awareness protocols resides Natural Family Planning and within NFP resides the Creighton Method which I chose because of the scientific and research evidence based medical knowledge and protocols used for the diagnosing and treatment of reproductive health issues. And diagnose and treat my specialists have. My naprotechnologists have diagnosed and treated about a dozen different reproductive health issues with treatment protocols ranging from quick procedures, medications, supplements, injections, dietary changes, diagnostic imaging, various blood work panels, referrals to other specialists, and exploratory laparoscopic & hysteroscopic surgery. Am I miraculously healed? No, I struggle & suffer, and I’m open and honest about those struggles. Naprotechnology stretches me thin like butter over thick toast. It’s become my spiritual fitness regime building up my spiritual metabolism and building & toning virtue muscles. I’ve found breaking points I never knew existed. Most importantly I found healing- primarily within my relationship with God as a Daughter of the King.

Somewhere amidst the struggles of learning, practicing, and treatment with Creighton NFP as an unmarried woman, I recognized something profound. When the dust of confusion and pain settled momentarily, I found myself authentically beautiful and whole as a woman despite my physical brokenness. In the world of hedonism and utilitarianism, I fail, but in the realm of God’s authentic female design and the feminine genius, I’m whole and beautiful. And that’s what NFP can do for women (and for men) when you cooperate with God’s design for the body. For a brief glimpse, I saw myself as God does- awesome, Made in His Image & Likeness. Then those storm clouds returned, but those storm clouds can’t rob me of my glory beams anymore.

We are fearfully & wonderfully made. May God bless and keep you now and always!