Our Lady of Kibeho Calls for the Seven Sorrows Rosary

What is the Seven Sorrows Rosary? And promises to those devoted to Our Lady’s Seven Sorrows

Titian, “Mater Dolorosa,” 1555
Titian, “Mater Dolorosa,” 1555 (photo: Public Domain)

The often-forgotten Seven Sorrows Rosary came to light again 40 years ago in Kibeho when Our Lady again asked for it through the visionaries, and now through Rwandan genocide survivor Immaculée Ilibagiza.

This 40th anniversary of the visions and messages of Our Lady of Kibeho in Rwanda again brings to light not only the necessity of praying the Rosary which Our Lady told the visionaries — and all of us — to pray daily, but it also reminds that Our Blessed Mother reintroduced the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows. Let’s look at what that is and how to pray it.

First, consider what Immaculée says about this Seven Sorrows Rosary (Chaplet):

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.

This particular chaplet dates back hundreds of years and developed from the devotion to the Sorrowful Mother, which stretches back to the Middle Ages.

“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,” explain the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. “It is prayed using a special rosary comprised of seven ‘decades’ containing seven beads each.”

Each of the seven decades corresponds with one of the Seven Sorrows of Mary:

  1. The prophecy of Simeon
  2. The flight into Egypt
  3. The Child Jesus Lost in the Temple
  4. Mary meets Jesus carrying the cross to Calvary
  5. Mary stands at the foot of the cross
  6. Mary receives the body of Jesus in her arms
  7. The body of Jesus is placed in the tomb.

The chaplet of the Seven Sorrows looks very much like a familiar rosary with its decades of 10 Hail Marys, but in this one there are seven groups of seven Hail Marys, each group separated by an Our Father.

The Rosary or Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows begins with the Sign of the Cross, an (optional) Act of Contrition, then three Hail Marys to honor Our Lady’s tears. (Another variation puts the three Hail Marys at the end). Next come the seven groups of seven Hail Marys for each of the Seven Sorrows of Our Blessed Mother. (Sites, including Immaculée’s, explaining this simply chaplet also provide a shorter or longer meditation on that particular sorrow as we would do with the mysteries of the Holy Rosary.) The other short opening and closing invocations/prayers are found on the linked sites.

(Closing prayers can vary such as on Immaculée’s site — “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” — and this one.)


Why This Chaplet?

Immaculée said recently:

The Seven Sorrows Rosary is saying to Jesus and Mary, I am your friend. I love you this much. … Praying the Seven Sorrows of Mary for her Son, you become one with her. And you love him more. You love him with his Mother. And that is where our blessing comes from. Loving God above all. Then going through it you will always come out felling so much better — I have no more pain — focusing on Jesus and Our Lady. … Our Lady also said, ‘I really ask you just to renew this prayer and spread this Seven Sorrows Rosary in the whole world.’

Marian Father Leszek Czeluśniak, director of the Marian Evangelization Center of Kibeho, repeated what the Kibeho visionaries told him in a summary of Our Lady’s messages in which she mentions the Seven Sorrows:

The Holy Virgin insisted on the need for prayer. She said that the world is bad. It is necessary to pray, to pray, to pray a lot for this world that is bad, to pray for sinners, to pray for their conversion. She insisted a lot on the need for conversion: Convert to God! Convert to God! Convert to God! While saying that people don’t respect God’s commands, that people have a hard heart, she also asked us to meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary and to recite it every day. 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. She said that no one enters heaven without suffering. She also told us that acts of charity for the poor make us beautiful flowers that God likes.


Promises of Our Lord and Our Lady

While not mentioned or directly attached to Kibeho and what is said about the Seven Sorrows Chaplet, it’s necessary to recall the promises made.

Our Blessed Mother revealed these seven promises to St. Bridget of Sweden in the 14th century. Our Lady said she would bestow seven graces to those souls honoring her daily by saying seven Hail Marys while meditating on her tears and sorrows:

  1. “I will grant peace to their families.”
  2. “They will be enlightened about the divine mysteries.”
  3. “I will console them in their pains and I will accompany them in their work.”
  4. “I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my divine Son or the sanctification of their souls.”
  5. “I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.”
  6. “I will visibly help them at the moment of their death — they will see the face of their mother.”
  7. “I have obtained this grace from my divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness, since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son will be their eternal consolation and joy.”

In The Glories of Mary, St. Alphonsus also lists the four promises Jesus made for those devoted to his Mother’s sorrows. Alphonsus recounts the revelation made to St. Elizabeth of Hungary…

…that after the assumption of the Blessed Virgin into heaven, St. John the Evangelist desired to see her again. The favor was granted him; his dear Mother appeared to him, and with her Jesus Christ also appeared; the saint then heard Mary ask her Son to grant some special grace to all those who are devoted to her sorrows. Jesus promised her four principal ones:
First, that those who before death invoke the Divine Mother in the name of her sorrows should obtain true repentance of all their sins.
Second, that he would protect all who have this devotion in their tribulations, and that he would protect them especially at the hour of death.
Third, that he would impress upon their minds the remembrance of his Passion, and that they should have their reward for it in heaven.
Fourth, that he would commit such devout clients to the hands of Mary, with the power to dispose of them in whatever manner she might please, and to obtain for them all the graces she might desire.

It appears time to consider the Seven Sorrows devotion, comfort Our Lady, and thereby love her Son.

In addition to the links, there is also a free eBook picturing the Seven Sorrows with prayer from EWTN, and also chaplet beads available.