A medieval pièta in Corrèze, France.
Today it is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. For many Christians this is a time of prayer, penance and fasting in preparation of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Ave Regina Coelorum by Guillaume Dufay
The early Renaissance composer Guillaume Dufay was born in 1397 and died on November 27, 1474.
He had requested that his motet Ave Regina Coelorum be sung for him as he was dying, with pleas to Mary interpolated between verses of the antiphon. However, time was insufficient for this to be arranged.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Church season of Lent.
It is a time when Christians worldwide start preparing themselves for Easter through prayer, penance, repentance, almsgiving, and self-denial.
A statue of the Mater Dolorosa covered in votive offerings in Vicari, Sicily.
Seven swords for seven sorrows.
Another German copper engraving of the Mother of Sorrows, depicting a tearful Mary with seven swords piercing her heart. These stand for the seven sorrows she endured during her life.
One week from now it is Good Friday. Until 1969 today would have been the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, according to the Roman Catholic calendar of saints.
On the modern calendar there is just one feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, celebrated on 15 September. However, in a 1727 a universal feast was introduced dedicated to Mary’s sorrows on the Friday before Palm Sunday, just before Holy Week. It was thought to be an appropriate time to remember Mary’s suffering beside her Son.
In 1962 the status of the feast was reduced to a commemoration and seven years later it was removed from the calendar altogether, as it was considered a duplication of the feast of 15 September.
17th century German engraving of Mary as the Mother of Sorrows and an cherub holding Veronica’s veil with the imprint of the face of Christ.
Baroque altar of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows at the foot of the cross in Porto, Portugal.
Note that Mary’s dress is purple, the same colour used for the cloths that cover statues in many Catholic churches during the last weeks of Lent.
The lamentation of Christ in St Peter’s abbey church in Moissac, France.
The church is located along the Camino de Compostela, the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.
This is an image I created for Lent last year.
It was inspired by a German statue from the 14th century known as the Rottgen pietà, a very graphic image of Mary holding Jesus’ body after the crucifixion.
A postcard reproduction of a painting by the Early Netherlandish artist Rogier van der Weyden (1400-1464) of Mary as the Sorrowful Mother.
Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. In the tradition of the Church the 46 days leading up to Easter are marked by prayer, repentance, the giving of alms, fasting and other forms of self-denial.
The last week of Lent is called Holy Week, when Christ’s Passion is remembered. Devotion to the Mother of Sorrows is a reminder that Mary also shared in her Son’s suffering.