Praying the Seven Sorrows Rosary, with Sacred Scripture, and
our Providence History
Each Friday, the Mother House of the Sisters of Providence ensures the fulfillment of a vow pronounced in the name of the Community by Bishop Bourget in 1847:to burn seven candles in honor of Mary, Our Mother of Sorrows. This vow was taken when the Bishop asked Mary to intervene so that no more sisters would die among those nursing the immigrants who had arrived by boat with the typhus plague. On July 7th,1855, the Sisters of Providence adopted the Feast of Our Mother of Sorrows as a principle feast of the Community. One of the Communityís devotions is saying each Friday the Seven Sorrows Rosary, which consists of seven sets of seven Hail Marys, with each set preceded by an Our Father. Following is a variation of this devotion:
LEADER: We enter into this prayer following our Mother Mary in her path of sorrows. May Mary guide us to her Son in order that we may imitate her compassion toward all in need. May we follow Maryís example and let our hearts be filled with a divine sensitivity which moves us to act with loving care when we meet individuals experiencing misery, weakness or suffering.
OPENING SONG: Come Holy Ghost,by Louis Lambillotte, SJ,
or OPENING PRAYER: Come Holy Spirit (see page 5 for words for Come Holy Spirit)1st Sorrow: The Prophecy of Simeon, from Luke 2:25-35
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."
L: We pray for all who have received sudden and bewildering news and for those needing conversion of heart ... R: Mary, our Mother of Compassion, pray for these your children.Readings from Providence in Alaska, by Pauline Higgins, SP
If in making a foundation we wait until we do not have to deny ourselves, we shall never take on new works, for we shall never be without work. Mother Joseph
Social justice demands that oneís daily decisions take into account the value and dignity of every human being. Judith Lang, SP
L: We pray for a heart open to hear words spoken in prophecy. R: Mary, our Mother of Compassion, grant us your spirit of generosity, in responding to Godís will even when the path is unclear.
1) quiet reflection or
2) pray together: Our Father, 7 Hail Marys
(see page 5 for words of Hail Mary)
2nd Sorrow: The Flight into Egypt , from Matthew 2:13-18
Behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt ... "
When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.
L: We pray for exiles, refugees, persons in hiding, those whose loved ones are under threat of danger; and for peace among followers of all religions. R: Mary, our Mother of Compassion, pray for these your children.Reading from The Way It Was in Providence Schools, by Dorothy Lentz, SP
The poor and the orphans had first place in the hearts of the sisters ... The sisters admitted all who applied, relying on Providence to provide an income to support them ... An editorial in an 1869 Vancouver Register speaks of the orphan asylum of the sisters as "made up partly of scholars whose relatives pay tuition and partly of those who have no friends but God and the sisters." Most fell into the latter category.
L: We pray for a heartfelt reliance on God. R: Mary, our Mother of Compassion, grant us your spirit of trust in Providence.
3rd Sorrow: Loss of Jesus in the Temple, from Luke 2:41-52
His mother said to him, "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety." And he said, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Fatherís house?" But they did not understand what he said to them ... and his mother kept all these things in her heart.
L: We pray for run away and street youth, for lost or abducted children, for those who abuse the vulnerable. R: Mary, our Mother of Compassion, pray for these your children.Reading from Dear Sourdoughs, by Merilu Vashon, SP
After the windy trip to the shore, there was no one, not a soul, to step forward and welcome the four religious women who had crossed the northern face of the Western Hemisphere to bring comfort and medical aid to Nomeís sick and poor. Was it because no one knew? Had the mails failed to reach those who were so eager to have the services of these women? Where were those who had made such bold promises to help in urging the sisters to come? No one smiled; no one spoke to them. "Come," said Sister Mary Conrad, "we shall go to the church first, and offer our travelersí prayers."
L: We pray for a heart open to self sacrifice for the sake of others. R:Mary, our Mother of Compassion, grant us your spirit of selflessness.
4th Sorrow: Mary meets Jesus carrying his cross, from Luke 23:27-32
A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him.
L: We pray for those who are suffering, especially those who face a death sentence or long-term or mental illness. R: Mary, our Mother of Compassion, pray for these your children.Reading from Seattleís Sisters of Providence, by Ellis Peters
In 1878, the sisters did not realize the potency of typhoid and the danger from continued exposure. Three sisters came down with the disease and for a week two of them hung between life and death. The situation grew more critical and rumors spread that "we had the fever" and critics said the hospital should be closed. Then good Mother Joseph arrived with Sister Florence to keep the place running. The poor and suffering all found sympathetic understanding through the door marked, "Providence Hospital."
L: We pray for a desire to love without expectations of a return. R: Mary, our Mother of Compassion, grant us your spirit of charity.
1) quiet reflection or
2) pray together: Our Father, 7 Hail Marys
5th Sorrow: The Crucifixion, from John 19:25-30
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, "It is finished." Bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.
L: We pray for all people impacted by crime: victims, criminals, families, communities. R: Mary, our Mother of Compassion, pray for these your children.Reading from A Shining from the Mountains, by Providencia Tolan, SP
Noel Campbell, a tribal member, said: "When the Indians saw the crucifix with Jesus on the Cross, it said something to them. They saw what Jesus did for his people. Here was somebody who put his money where his mouth was. He was obedient to the Great Spirit. He would sacrifice for the Great Spirit and be obedient to death. The Indians understood then and still understand an atonement sacrifice. One of our old medicine manís ceremonies was to pierce the flesh in an act of sacrifice.
L: We pray for a heart open to hear the cry of those least among us. R: Mary, our Mother of Compassion, grant us your spirit of obedience, even in times of darkness.
6th Sorrow: Descent from the Cross, from John 19:31-38
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.
L: We pray for those grieving for loved ones who have died, for all killed because of working for justice and peace; and for those who experience failure, defeat, or despair. R: Mary, our Mother of Compassion, pray for these your children.Reading from He Has Given Me a Flame by Mary Gleason, SP
"The union of my soul with our Lord is being accomplished," Mother Joseph wrote to Mother Mary Antoinette. "Now more than ever, I enjoy total abandonment of my interests into his divine hands." Referring to her last retreat, she spoke of being "drawn into one of those heart to heart embraces ..." and "We must admit that suffering is hard on poor human nature, and still it is so salutary."
L: We pray for a heart centered in Godís love thus letting God lead in all things. R: Mary, our Mother of Compassion, grant us your spirit of simplicity.
Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried. They laid Jesus there.
L: We pray for parents who mourn their children, for those who long for dignity, justice and peace, for all in need - and for healing for all of creation. R: Mary, our Mother of Compassion, pray for these your children.Reading from He Has Given Me a Flame, by Mary Gleason, SP
Speaking of her lifetime habit of pausing before the chapel whenever she passed it, and praying that "He would hide me in His Divine Heart and send a ray of light into mine," Mother Joseph confided to Mother Mary Antoinette, "He has given me more than a ray; He has given me a flame and made fruitful my striving for union."
L: We pray for a heart humbled by Jesusí gifting all by his life, death, resurrection. R: Mary, our Mother of Compassion, grant us your spirit of humility.
Closing Song: The Servant Song by Richard Gillard
PREPARATION PAGE FOR LEADER
1) Have copies available for participants:
2) An option for group faith sharing to close this prayer:
a) What is your experience ... of a Providence person who helped someone who was suffering or when youíve been helped in your own sorrow?
LEADER: Having heard each otherís stories,
pause for a moment of awareness, both global and local,and then notice what is stirring within that draws us toward a commitment to act.
b) What are we called to do new or to continue to do as part of Jesusí mission?
LEADER: Let us share our prayers of petition.
CLOSING SONG: The Servant Song by Richard Gillard