By l'Abbé Bérenger Saunière, priest of Rennes-le-Château 1885-1909
St Lawrence was born in Spain, in the town of Huesca, in the kingdom of Aragon. The historians have nothing to say about his childhood, nor the reason that led him to Rome, but we find him in the latter city as an Archdeacon and guardian of the treasures of the Church, which Pope Sixtus II had entrusted to him. This was at the peak of the persecution by the Emperor Valerian.
Sixtus, as "head of the flock", was arrested and
martyred. When Lawrence saw him being hauled off to prison
without him, expressed his regrets in
side of the crucified Saviour and at the same time made in the heart of Mary her seventh wound. Oh Mary, here are the seven swords that were plunged into your heart! There remains in your heart no place that is without pain, there is no longer anywhere in all your being where suffering has not poured out its bitterness in full flood.
2nd festival of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin. The aim of this festival is to honour the martyrdom of Mary at the foot of the Cross. It is also called the Commemoration of the Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the festival of Our Lady of Mercy. It was instituted in 1423 (or 1413) by the provincial council of Cologne to repair the insults that the Hussites had inflicted on the Mother of God by laying sacrilegious hands on sacred images. Surius thinks that the name given to this festival comes from the monks of the order of Servites, who relied on evidence in the Gospels to show that seven swords pierced the heart of their August Patron.
Benedict XIII, in a Letter of August 22 1725, fixed its Office as the sixth public holiday of Passion Week. It was formerly celebrated, in several places, on the Friday of the fourth week of Lent. On the day of Compassion is sung the "Stabat Mater dolorosa" : "The Mother of Sorrows, bathed in tears, stood near the Cross." This beautiful lament, composed by Innocent III, is especially appropriate on a day devoted to honouring the anguish of Mary on the Calvary; a day when, according to the terrible oracle once uttered by the aged Saint Simon, the heart of this tender mother was pierced with a sword; a day, finally, when - without actually shedding any blood - She earned the glorious title of Queen of the Martyrs, because she then suffered more than all the martyrs put together.
On return from his captivity, Pius VII prescribed another festival of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin, for the third Sunday in September.