The Chaplet of the Seven Dolors (sorrows) of Our Lady has a total of 58 beads and a medal of the first dolor. There is a total of 7 sets of 7 beads, with 3 additional beads and a crucifix. On each of the seven beads if prayed the "Hail Mary...". On the separating beads is prayed the "Our Father...". On the 3 additional beads is prayed the "Hail Mary..." in remembrance of the tears of Mary that were shed because of the suffering of her Divine Son. These are said to obtain true sorrow for our sins.
The 7 groups of 7 Hail Mary's are recited in remembrance of the Seven Sorrows of Mary, namely:
1. The Prophecy of Simeon.
2. The flight into Egypt.
3. The loss of the Child Jesus.
4. Mary meets Jesus carrying His Cross.
5. The crucifixion.
6. Mary receives the body of Jesus from the Cross.
7. The body of Jesus is placed in the tomb.
After each set of seven beads is said the following prayer:
V. Pray for us, O most sorrowful Virgin.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Lord Jesus, we now implore,
both for the present
and for the hour of our death,
the intercession of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother,
whose holy soul was pierced
at the time of Thy Passion by a sword of grief.
Grant us this favor,
O Savior of the world,
Who livest and reignest
with the Father and the Holy Spirit
for ever and ever.
According to St. Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373), seven promises were made to those who meditate on Our Lady's Tears and Dolors. The Blessed Virgin grants seven graces to the souls who honor her daily by saying seven Hail Marys while meditating on her tears and dolors. These are:
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."
Benedict XIII., September 26th, 1724, granted an indulgence of two hundred days for every Our Father and every Hail Mary to those who, with sincere contrition, and having confessed, or firmly purposing to confess their sins, shall recite this Chaplet on any Friday, or on any day of Lent, on the Festival of the Seven Dolors, or within the Octave; and one hundred days on any other day of the year.
Clement XII., December 12, 1734, confirmed these indulgences, and moreover granted:
1. A Plenary indulgence to those who shall have recited this Chaplet for a month every day - Confession, Communion and Prayers for the Church, required as usual.
2. An indulgence of one hundred years to all who should recite it on any day, having confessed their sins, with sincere sorrow, or at least firmly purposing to do so.
3. One hundred and fifty years to those who should recite it on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and Holidays of obligation, with Confession and Communion.
4. A Plenary indulgence once a year, on any day, to those who are accustomed to recite it four times a week, on condition of Confession, Communion, and the Recital of the Chaplet on the day of Communion.
5. Two hundred years' indulgence to all who recite it devoutly after Confession; and to all who carry it about them, and frequently recite it, ten years' indulgence every time they shall hear Mass, hear a sermon, or reciting Our Father, and seven Hail Mary's, shall perform any spiritual or corporal work of mercy, in honor of our Blessed Saviour, the Blessed Virgin Mary, or any Saint, their advocate.
All these indulgences were confirmed by a decree of January 17th, 1747, and rendered applicable to the souls in Purgatory.
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