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The Seven Sorrows of Our Lady

Forget not the sorrows of thy mother with thine whole heart,

That thine offering and thy blessing may be perfected.

Let us take our stand by the Cross, in company with Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

On the mountain of the sacrifice, as Mother she gave Her Son, as Bridge she offered herself together with Him; by her sufferings both as Bride and as Mother, she was the co-redemptress of the human race.

Christ dieth now no more; and Our Lady’s sufferings are over. Nevertheless the Passion of Christ is continued in His elect, in His Church, against which hell vents the rage it cannot exercise against Him. To this Passion of Christ’s Mystical Body, of which she is also Mother, Mary still contributes her compassion.

Deposition from the Cross – Jozef Janssens (Belgian)

From the Office of Matins, we read the sermon of St Bernard of Clairvaux:

The Martyrdom of the Virgin is set before us, not only in the prophecy of Simeon, but also in the story itself of the Lord’s Passion. The holy old man said of the Child Jesus, Behold, this Child is set for the fall and the rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; yea, said he unto Mary, a sword shall pierce through thine own soul also. Even so, O Blessed Mother! The sword did indeed pierce through thy soul! for nought could pierce the Body of thy Son, nor pierce thy soul likewise. Yea, and when this Jesus of thine had given up the ghost, and the bloody spear could torture Him no more, thy soul winced as it pierced His dead Side. His Own Soul might leave Him, but thine could not.

The sword of sorrow pierced through thy soul, so that we may truly call thee more than martyr, in whom the love, that made thee suffer along with thy Son, wrung thy heart more bitterly than any pang of bodily pain could do. Did not that word of His indeed pierce through thy soul, sharper than any two-edged sword, even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit? Woman, behold thy son! O what a change to thee! Thou art given John for Jesus, the servant for his Lord, the disciple for his master, the son of Zebedee for the Son of God, a mere man for Very God. O how keenly must the hearing of those words have pierced through thy most loving soul, when even our hearts, stony, iron, as they are, are wrung at the memory thereof only!

Marvel not, my brethren, that Mary should be called a Martyr in spirit. He indeed may marvel who remembereth not what Paul saith, naming the greater sins of the Gentiles, that they were without natural affection. Far other were the bowels of Mary, and far other may those of her servants be!

But some man perchance will say: Did she not know that He was to die? Yea, without doubt, she knew it. Did she not hope that He was soon to rise again? Yea, she most faithfully hoped it. And did she still mourn because He was crucified? Yea, bitterly. But who art thou, my brother, or whence hast thou such wisdom, to marvel less that the Son of Mary suffered than that Mary suffered with Him? He could die in the Body, and could not she die with Him in her heart? His was the deed of that Love, greater than which hath no man; hers, of a love, like to which hath no man, save He.

Fra Angelico’s Mocking of Christ

Mary’s dolours were not necessary for the redemption of the world, by in the counsels of God they are inseparable from it. They belong to the integrity of the divine plan. Are not Mary’s mysteries Jesus’ mysteries, and His mysteries hers? All the mysteries of Jesus and Mary were in God’s design as one mystery. Jesus Himself was Mary’s sorrow, seven times repeated, aggravated seven-fold. During the hours of the Passion, the offering of Jesus and the offering of Mary were tied in one. They kept pace together, perfumed with kindred fragrance and lighted with the same fire and ardour of love. It was but one oblation, interwoven through the thickly crowded mysteries of that dread time, unto the Eternal Father, out of two sinless hearts for the sins of a guilty world.

Let us compassionate our Lady’s dolours, mingling our tears with Mary’s, in union with the sufferings of the great Victim. In proportion as we do this during life we shall rejoice in heaven with the Son and the Mother.

School Life at St Dominic’s

With the sudden notice of closure of school due to lock-downs all over the country, it might be apropos to take a brief look at what has happened the last few months in school. In July we received notice that one of our pupils had received 2nd place in the Creative section of the Shakespeare… Continue Reading

800th Jubilee of the Death of St Dominic

The 800th Jubilee of the entrance into glory of our Holy Father St Dominic was celebrated over two days here in Wanganui. On the 4th of August, a Solemn High Mass was offered in the parish of St Anthony’s, followed by a brunch wherein past-pupils, Tertiaries, friends and benefactors were able to mingle with the… Continue Reading

Novena to St Dominic by Bl Jordan of Saxony

Every year, in the lead up to the Feast of our Holy Father St Dominic on the 4th of August, the Sisters recite in common the prayer composed by Blessed Jordan of Saxony as a Novena. It is a long prayer, broken up over a week, so each day has a specific portion to be… Continue Reading

The Sacred Heart of Jesus

O wounded heart, whence sprang The Church, the Saviour’s bride; Thou door of our salvation’s ark Set in its mystic side. Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus began in the Middle Ages, when the devotion to the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord gained in prominence, in the consideration of the Sacred Wounds He suffered… Continue Reading

The Ascension of Our Lord

St Gregory the Great on the Ascension of Our Lord Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive; thou hast received men in gifts. (Ps 67:19). Ascending on high He has truly led captivity captive; for our mortality is swallowed up by the power of His immortality. Now He has given gifts to… Continue Reading

Holy Week: Photos

Regina Caeli laetare, Alleluia! Quia quem meruisti portare, Alleluia! Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia! Ora pro nobis Deum, Alleluia! The joyful tunes of the Regina Caeli now resound as we celebrate the Pasch. But here are some photographs and notes of the Sacred Triduum in the Dominican Rite. May God bless all of you who are… Continue Reading

Passiontide, the Precious Blood, and the Patience of Our Lord Jesus Christ

This week marks the beginning of the last two weeks of Lent, or Passiontide. The liturgy, already different for the time of Septuagesima and Lent, is marked by further changes: the Gloria is suppressed in the responsaries, and the beautiful antiphon In Pace is no longer chanted in Compline. The statues and the crucifixes are… Continue Reading

Ductus est in desertum

Ductus est Jesus in desertum a Spiritu Sancto ut tentaretur a diabolo. The Church solemnly launches the Holy season of Lent with the Gospel of Our Lord’s temptation in the desert, taking up where she left off the story of our Redemption which started at Christmas with the birth of Our Lord and went up… Continue Reading

Foundresses’ Day

This year, we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Irish Dominican nuns to New Zealand – from which our little Congregation takes its origin. It was 7:30am, 18th February 1871, when the pioneering Dominicans arrived at Port Chalmers with the Reverend Doctor Moran, the newly appointed Bishop of Dunedin, who had travelled… Continue Reading