Seven Sorrows Chaplet

The Seven Sorrows Chaplet is my latest chaplet design.  There is a tradition of recognition of the seven sorrows and seven joys of the Blessed Virgin Mary that goes back to the 13th century. The sorrows of Mary are also represented by Our Lady of Sorrows and the Mater Dolorosa (Mother of Sorrows).  The sorrows of Mary are represented by a sword through her heart, and the seven sorrows by seven swords in her heart. The Seven Sorrows have long been a theme for prayer beads. These are usually long chaplets with medals and beads for each of the sorrows as found here.

15th century cross replica
Seven Sorrows center

Anglican chaplets are ideally designed for the seven sorrows devotion because there are seven beads on each “week” of beads (analogous to a decade of a Catholic rosary).  The metal used in this chaplet came from Gardens of Grace, all bronze replicas of antique pieces. The cross is a replica of a 15th century cross, the small medal attached to the cross is a tiny miraculous medal, and the three-way connector is a heart pierced with seven swords.  The reverse of the three-way connector features the symbol of the sacred heart of Jesus. The beads are 10 mm mother of pearl.

This chaplet is designed in a Anglican format and can be used as an Anglican rosary or as a chaplet. The seven “week” beads (in the loop) could be used to remember the seven sorrows (or the seven joys). The single bead attached to the cross is the invitatory bead used for special intentions or a prayer to lead into the the other meditations. In this chaplet the three-way connector of the heart with seven swords functions as the cruciform bead. A full Anglican rosary can be done with this chaplet if the cruciform and week beads are repeated four times. Anglican rosaries and chaplets are free-form in so much as there is no set group of prayers. Each person can use them as they see fit. I am still thinking about how I will use this chaplet, what prayers to assign to each bead, cross or medal. I think I will use the week beads to meditate on each of the sorrows and pray for similar groups in the modern world, such as the homeless and refugees on bead 2 (flight into Egypt). Traditional Marian prayers can also be assigned to other parts like the cruciform bead (center) or the cross.

The Seven Sorrows I will be observing are listed below with the traditional seven designated by the number in brackets.  I added my fourth sorrow, Mary’s fears over the crowds and authorities following Jesus, because it is  based in scripture and it helps bridge the gap between his childhood and Good Friday. Further some of the traditional sorrows are not mentioned in the gospel and are heavily clustered on Good Friday. Meeting Jesus on the road to Calvary is part of the stations of the cross but it is not in the Gospel. Likewise, Mother Mary is not listed among those present at the tomb. Having four of the seven sorrows on Good Friday seems to me like they are trying to stretch to reach seven. How might you adjust these seven sorrows?

  • [1] Prophecy of Simeon. (Luke 2:33-35)
  • [2] Flight into Egypt (Matt  2:13-15)
  • [3] Loss of the child Jesus in Jerusalem for three days. (Luke 2:41-51)
  • Mary fears the crowds and authorities following Jesus. (Mark 3:20-33, Matt 12:46-50,  Luke 8:19-21)
  • [4] Mary meets Jesus on the road to Calvary
  • [5] Mary stands at the foot of the Cross. (John 19:25-27)
  • [6] Jesus is taken down from the cross and laid in his mother’s arms; and [7] is laid in the tomb.

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