seven sorrow rosary

The Spark

Have you ever considered making a Seven Sorrows Rosary?” This question from Megan Madden at in January 2024 lingered in my mind. As a cradle Catholic from a devout family that prayed the rosary almost every night, I had never heard of the Seven Sorrows Rosary. Growing up in Indonesia, the only rosary I knew was the traditional five-decade rosary. Intrigued, I began my research and learned about Our Lady of Sorrows.

Our Lady of Sorrows

Our Lady of Sorrows, also known as Mater Dolorosa, is a revered title for Mary, the mother of Jesus, highlighting her profound grief and suffering, especially during the Passion of Christ. This title reflects Mary’s deep empathy and solidarity with the suffering of her Son, Jesus, and with all humanity.

Mary’s sorrow is poignantly captured in the devotion to her Seven Sorrows: the prophecy of Simeon, the flight into Egypt, the loss of the child Jesus in the temple, meeting Jesus on the way to Calvary, standing at the foot of the cross, receiving Jesus' lifeless body, and his burial. Each of these events underscores Mary’s role as a mother who experienced profound anguish alongside her Son. This devotion invites us to reflect on Mary's grief and to seek her intercession, especially in times of personal trials. Through Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, we find a compassionate mother who understands and shares in our pain.

The Lady and Me

The story of Our Lady of Sorrows instilled in me a sense of solemnity and grief, yet it was profoundly powerful. Her sorrow is elegant yet brittle, heavy yet calming. This deep sense of sadness and strength influenced my desire to create a rosary embodying these emotions. For months, I searched for materials to represent these feelings in my design. Nothing felt right until Lent, during the Stations of the Cross, when I personally felt the presence of The Lady.

Since the passing of my father in 1994, I had prayed to go to heaven first to avoid experiencing another death in my family. This prayer intensified after marrying my wonderful husband, Daniel. Instead of granting my request, I had to face my biggest fear, losing my mother and possibly my husband.

During Lent 2022, my mother passed away in Bali while I was in the USA preparing to take my husband to his oncology appointment. The doctor told us that my husband had only three months to live as traditional treatments had failed, and he refused surgery. Surprisingly, I felt calm, as if surrounded by a warm blanket. I was in a state of complete surrender. I was curious, though, why I had to face losing both my mother and husband on the same day.

During my mother's funeral, two white doves circled her grave, and the next morning, they perched on it. White doves are not native to Indonesia. Interestingly, on the same day in the USA, as I was about to get out of my car, a morning glory bird flew onto my windshield, perching right in front of me and stared at me for quite some time. I didn’t understand its significance, but it brought me peace and reassurance that everything would be okay. A year later, Lent 2023, my husband's cancer miraculously disappeared without any medical intervention.

During the Stations of the Cross in Lent 2024, at the 12th station, "Jesus dies on the Cross", as I was about to kneel down, I burst into tears, and suddenly I felt the pain of the Father and Mother in witnessing their beloved Son tortured to death. At that moment, I felt the immense sadness and grief  yet a sense of peace at the same time. After almost two years, I had my answer. I finally understood that God wanted my ultimate sacrifice. As a daughter and a wife, I would gladly take my mother’s and husband’s pain away if I could, but when you have no control over their suffering and yet remain faithful to HIS will, that is the ultimate sacrifice. 

Just as God sacrificed His beloved Son for our sins, He wanted to test my faith and commitment. While it was easier to ask God to take me instead of facing the pain of losing my loved ones, especially when I had no control over their suffering, He wanted to see how I would respond if He took them from me. At that moment, all I could think about was the Lady of Sorrows. I came to understand her profound grief and strength, yet she remained faithful at the foot of the Cross.

image of mater dolorosa

Crafting the Vision

Back on the drawing board, I finally knew that I needed to feel the pain while holding this rosary, to see the Mother’s tears reflected in every bead. Artistically, Our Lady of Sorrows is depicted with a heart pierced by one or seven swords, symbolizing her sorrows. She is shown with a sorrowful expression, often with tears on her face, embodying the pain and grief of a mother witnessing the suffering and death of her child.

Not long after, I received a Swarovski brochure featuring square crystal beads in the color of Our Lady's mantle. Swarovski crystals, known for their unmatched sparkle, are now rare due to Swarovski’s decision to limit their availability. In November 2020, Swarovski made the decision to pull themselves out of the jewelry-making sector. Their crystal beads will only be available to the producers and designers of luxury finished products who sign an agreement with Swarovski Brand and must be ordered directly from Austria. Fortunately, The Luminous Beads is one of them.

A Gift of Devotion

The design was completed after almost six months of prayerful crafting and personal revelations, making this piece extra special for me. This rosary captures the essence of these sorrows with square and teardrop Swarovski crystals. Each Hail Mary bead is a deep blue square Swarovski crystal, symbolizing Mary's sorrow and her mantle. As you glide your fingers over each bead, you will feel a gentle pricking sensation, reminding you of her suffering. This tactile experience invites you to unite your own sufferings with hers.

The Our Father beads are represented by teardrop Swarovski crystals, symbolizing the tears Mary shed. When you look at these teardrop crystals, you are invited to see through Mary's teary eyes, imagining the profound sadness and love she felt. The sparkly crystal teardrops reflect light in a way that resembles tears slowly falling down her cheeks, creating a visual and emotional connection to her sadness and sorrow.

At the center is a medallion depicting Mater Dolorosa, Our Lady of Sorrows, reminding us of Mary's compassion and grief. The rosary is completed with a crucifix featuring Mary at the foot of the cross, signifying her presence during Jesus' crucifixion. This poignant combination symbolizes Mary's immense sorrow and her constant support during her Son's ultimate sacrifice, calling us to reflect on the depth of her suffering and the strength of her faith.

our lady of sorrows rosary

The Lady of Sorrows rosary will be revealed on June 7th on the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows and the Sacred Heart of Jesus are deeply interconnected, both highlighting themes of suffering, compassion, and profound love. Mary's sorrows, symbolized by her pierced heart, reflect her intimate participation in Jesus’ passion and her deep, compassionate intercession for humanity. This connection enriches our spiritual lives, inviting us to unite our own sufferings with those of Jesus and Mary, and to trust in their boundless love and mercy.

Each bead in the Our Lady of Sorrows Rosary is a testament to this solemn yet powerful grief, capturing the essence of Mary's profound and compassionate sorrow. The devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows invites us to reflect on Mary’s suffering and to seek her intercession in times of personal trials. She stands as a beacon of comfort and hope, demonstrating that even in the midst of great sorrow, faith and compassion can provide solace and strength. Through her example, we are encouraged to bear our own sorrows with patience and trust in God’s plan, finding in Mary a compassionate mother who understands and shares in our pain.

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.


How to Pray The Seven Sorrows Rosary

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