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The Seven Sorrows chaplet is centuries old, going back to the Middle Ages, but it has grown in popularity since the Church’s approval of the Marian apparitions in Kibeho, Rwanda in the early 1980s. In these apparitions Our Lady foretold the terror of the Rwandan genocide and urged the world to prayer – both the Rosary and the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows.

Nathalie, one of the visionaries of Kibeho, summarized our Lady’s appearance saying,  “The Holy Virgin insisted on the need for prayer. […] 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.” (Source)

As for the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows, it reminds us that Mary plays a key role in our Redemption and that she suffered along with her Son Jesus to save us. It is prayed using a special rosary comprised of seven “decades” containing seven beads each.

She (the Holy Virgin) promised that when prayed with an open and repentant heart, the rosary would win us the Lord’s forgiveness for our sins and free our souls from guilt and remorse. She also promised that over time, the rosary would develop within us a deep understanding of why we sin, and that knowledge would give us the wisdom and strength to change or remove any internal flaws, weaknesses of character, or personality faults causing unhappiness and keeping us from enjoying the joyous life God intended for us…

Here is how the Chaplet of Seven Sorrows is prayed, taken from this site:

THE ROSARY OF THE SEVEN SORROWS OF MARY BY OUR LADY OF KIBEHO

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

Introductory Prayer: My God, I offer You this Rosary for Your glory, so I can honor your Holy Mother, the Blessed Virgin, so I can share and meditate upon her suffering. I humbly beg you to give me true repentance for all my sins. Give me wisdom and humility, so that I may receive all the indulgences contained in this prayer.

Act of Contrition: 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.

(Pray 3 Hail Mary’s)

Most Merciful Mother, remind us always about the Sorrows of your Son, Jesus.

1) THE FIRST SWORD OF SORROW: THE PROPHECY OF SIMEON (LUKE 2:22-35)

Prayer: Beloved Mother Mary, whose Heart suffered beyond bearing because of us, teach us to suffer with you and with love, and to accept all the suffering God deems it necessary to send our way. Let us suffer, and may our suffering be known to God only, like yours and that of Jesus. Do not let us show our suffering to the world, so it will matter more and be used to atone for the sins of the world. You, Mother, who suffered with the Savior of the world, we offer you our suffering, and the suffering of the world, because we are your children. Join those sorrows to your own and to those of the Lord Jesus Christ, then offer them to God the Father. You are a Mother greater than all.

(Pray 1 Our Father and 7 Hail Mary’s)

Most Merciful Mother, remind us always about the Sorrows of your Son, Jesus.

2. THE SECOND SWORD OF SORROW: THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT (MATTHEW 2:13-15)

Prayer:  Beloved Mother, who has suffered so much, give to us your courageous heart. Please pray for us to have strength so that we can be brave like you and accept with love the suffering God sends our way. Help us to also accept all the suffering we inflict upon ourselves and the suffering inflicted upon us by others. Heavenly Mother, you, in union with Jesus, purify our suffering so that we may give glory to God and save our souls.

(Pray 1 Our Father and 7 Hail Mary’s)

Most Merciful Mother, remind us always about the Sorrows of your Son, Jesus.

3. THE THIRD SWORD OF SORROW: THE LOSS OF JESUS IN THE TEMPLE (LUKE 2:41-52)

Prayer: Beloved Mother, teach us to accept all our sufferings because of our sins and to atone for the sins of the whole world.

(Pray 1 Our Father and 7 Hail Mary’s)

Most Merciful Mother, remind us always about the Sorrows of your Son, Jesus.

4. THE FOURTH SWORD OF SORROW: MARY MEETS JESUS ON THE WAY TO CALVARY (LUKE 23:27-31)

Prayer: Beloved Mother, so stricken with grief, help us to bear our own suffering with courage and love so that we may relieve your Sorrowful Heart and that of Jesus. In doing so, may we give glory to God Who gave you and Jesus to humanity. As you suffered, teach us to suffer silently and patiently. Grant unto us the grace of loving God in everything. O Mother of Sorrows, most afflicted of all mothers, have mercy on the sinners of the whole world.

(Pray 1 Our Father and 7 Hail Mary’s)

Most Merciful Mother, remind us always about the Sorrows of your Son, Jesus.

5. THE FIFTH SWORD OF SORROW: MARY STANDS AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS (JOHN 19:25-27)

Prayer: Beloved Mother, Queen of the Martyrs, give us the courage you had in all your sufferings so that we may unite our sufferings with yours and give glory to God. Help us follow all His commandments and those of the Church so that Our Lord’s sacrifice will not be in vain, and all sinners in the world will be saved.

(Pray 1 Our Father and 7 Hail Mary’s)

Most Merciful Mother, remind us always about the Sorrows of your Son, Jesus.

6. THE SIXTH SWORD OF SORROW: MARY RECEIVES THE DEAD BODY OF JESUS IN HER ARMS (JOHN 19:38-40)

Prayer: We thank you, Beloved Mother, for your courage as you stood beneath your dying Child to comfort Him on the Cross. As our Savior drew His last breath, you became a wonderful Mother to all of us; you became the Blessed Mother of the world. We know that you love us more than our own earthly parents do. We implore you to be our advocate before the Throne of Mercy and Grace so that we can truly become your children. We thank you for Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer, and we thank Jesus for giving you to us. Please pray for us, Mother.

(Pray 1 Our Father and 7 Hail Mary’s)

Most Merciful Mother, remind us always about the Sorrows of your Son, Jesus.

7. THE SEVENTH SWORD OF SORROW: THE BODY OF JESUS IS PLACED IN THE TOMB (JOHN 19:41-42)

Prayer: Most Beloved Mother, whose beauty surpasses that of all mothers, Mother of Mercy, Mother of Jesus, and Mother to us all, we are your children and we place all our trust in you. Teach us to see God in all things and all situations, even our sufferings. Help us to understand the importance of suffering, and also to know the purpose of our suffering as God had intended it.

You yourself were conceived and born without sin, were preserved from sin, yet you suffered more than anybody else. You accepted suffering and pain with love and with unsurpassed courage. You stood by your Son from the time He was arrested until He died. You suffered along with Him, felt His every pain and torment. You accomplished the Will of God the Father; and according to His will, you have become our Mother. We beg you, dear Mother, to teach us to do as Jesus did. Teach us to accept our cross courageously. We trust you, most Merciful Mother, so teach us to sacrifice for all the sinners in the world. Help us to follow in your Son’s footsteps, and even to be willing to lay down our lives for others.

(Pray 1 Our Father and 7 Hail Mary’s)

Most Merciful Mother, remind us always about the Sorrows of your Son, Jesus.

Concluding Prayer: Queen of Martyrs, your heart suffered so much. I beg you, by the merits of the tears you shed in these terrible and sorrowful times, to obtain for me and all the sinners of the world the grace of complete sincerity and repentance. Amen.

Three times, say: Mary, who was conceived without sin and who suffered for us, pray for us.

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

We have created a simple printable version of this to help guide you in your prayers.

Let us join together in praying this prayer as our Church goes through this period of terrible suffering. Our prayer is that these simple and wearable Seven Sorrows bracelets will empower you to take this devotion to heart and make it a part of your regular devotions.