September 15

Commemoration of Our Lady of Sorrows

 Mary “joined the desolate cadre of women through the ages who experience the terrible human condition of outliving one’s child. There is no speaking this racking sorrow. It is out of the natural order of things. Worse yet, this death did not occur in the natural order of things but was violently inflicted…`her suffering places her memory in solidarity with mothers of children dead by state violence everywhere. Calling on her memory grieving mothers, wives and daughters find strength in their bitter struggle against state oppression and personal despair.”
Truly Our Sister, Elizabeth Johnson


Mary, comforter of the afflicted, pray for us.


Reflect on the violence that destroys the lives of children and particularly young men throughout the world. In what small ways can you break through the culture of violence and death and help to build peace? It may be as practical as education and good example and nonparticipation in the kind of talk that solidifies stereotypes.

Suggested Reading

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary Magdalene.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
Jn 19:25-27

“Now I am numb.” Burmese author and rights advocate, Sayamagyi Kyi Oo, after her son had been arrested four times for public acts in protest.

“I go to sleep at night, and the first thing I do is dream of my son,” said Iris, a Honduran immigrant mother separated from her son by immigration agents.

“Is it possible not to be worried?,” said Shahrzad Kariman, the mother of Iranian imprisoned human rights activist advocate Ms. Shiva Nazar Ahari, …”there was a flood of people, just like myself, who didn’t know where their children were.”

“Our group of ailing mothers know that time is running short,” said Ding Zilin in a newsletter released by the Tiananmen Mothers. “But even on the edge of death we continue to move forward.”

“I lost Sohrab for the crime of freedom, love, and peace (in Iran),” said Parvin Fahimi. “Let remain and live the rest of the children of this land.”

“I was surprised there was so little compassion,” Diane Foley told ABC News today of the three separate warnings she said U.S. officials gave the family about the illegality of paying ransom to the terror group ISIS. “It just made me realize that these people talking to us had no idea what it was like to be the family of someone abducted… I’m sure the U.S. official didn’t mean it the way he said it, but we were between a rock and a hard place. We were told we could do nothing… meanwhile our son was being beaten and tortured every day.”

I am Shirley Sotloff. My son Steven is in your hands. You, the caliph, can grant amnesty. I ask you please to release my child. I ask you to use your authority to spare his life.”