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 | Mitchell Palmquist

Seven Sorrows at St. Augustine

St. Augustine Parish on Spokane’s South Hill is home to a series of statues depicting the Seven Sorrows of Mary. Monsignor Stephen Buckley, who served as pastor from 1939 to 1968, installed the statues. In 1959, Monsignor Buckley, with the help of parish gardener Hidejiro Yamagiwa, began turning the broken basalt outcrop along the edge of the parish grounds into a terraced garden. The Sorrows of Mary statues were installed during the 10 years of construction.

Seeking to refresh the parish’s landscaping, current pastor Father Brian Mee moved the statues off the terrace and into the gardens surrounding the parking lot. Many statues were badly damaged; their repair has focused the parish’s attention to this devotion. Father Mee pointed out that devotions such as Our Lady of Sorrows speak to people because they can see Mary in their own sufferings. The statues will have new plaques identifying each Sorrow. St. Augustine Parish has a small prayer book available in the church office for those interested in praying with the devotional status.

Our Lady of Sorrows

Devotion: The devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows focuses on the suffering the Blessed Virgin faced in the Gospels. Six of the seven sorrows of Mary are found in the Gospel; the fourth sorrow comes from the traditional Stations of the Cross:

  1. The prophecy of Simeon
  2. The flight into Egypt
  3. The loss of the child Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem
  4. Mary meets Jesus on the way to Calvary
  5. The crucifixion of Jesus
  6. The body of Jesus being removed from the cross
  7. The burial of Jesus

In devotional art, Our Lady of Sorrows is often depicted with seven swords piercing her heart. The Servites, or Servants of Mary, a religious order founded in Florence, formalized this devotion in the 12th century. Many turn to Our Lady of Sorrows in times of pain, most especially mothers who have lost children. September is traditionally the month of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Feast Day: Sept. 15