The Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows is an important one in the Society of the Sacred Heart, because it was important to Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat. We offer here a contemporary version of Sophie's prayer and a poem by Sister Eve Kavanagh.
A Contemporary Rendering of St. Madeleine Sophie’s Prayer to Our Lady of Sorrows
O, Mary, Mother who has known deepest sorrow and deepest love,
moved by profound gratitude for the innumerable gifts
you have poured out on this little Society,
we come together today as Province and Society
to acknowledge what we owe to your motherly protection,
and to the goodness of your Mother’s heart,
wounded by the sight of your suffering children everywhere.
Continue your work in and for us, dear Mother.
Love gave you the cross,
grant that the cross may give us love.
May there never be for Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,
any other cross than the cross of Jesus.
May we have the courage
to bear His cross;
both the sufferings of His passion
and the remembrance of His woundedness for others,
so that in ministering to the wounded and torn of our world,
we may find in His cross
less the pain and suffering He experienced
than the height and depth of His love and compassion
for the Poor and Suffering of our world.
We ask this in and for Christ Jesus our Lord.
Vision on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows
I saw god today in east harlem
as i was walking up third avenue
low grade despair the yoke upon my back
my eyes intent upon the broken glass
upon the broken lives the dealers
dealing those who hunger and thirst cocaine
and crack my ears assaulted by
that raging scream satanic symphony
of noise without beginning end or pause
i saw her sitting on a sun drenched stoop
no longer young but not quite middle-aged
clothed with the low cost beauty of the poor
bleached hair her halo of strange holiness
around a face dark brown and tired but now
transformed to utter loveliness as she
leaned down welcoming the little child
who ran to her with shout of joy that in an instant changed all noise to music
when their two lips kissed all thirst was quenched
their eyes were locked in that eternal gaze
of mutual and pure delight that moves
the galaxies and moved me there to shed
my old and worn-out skin and put on
wisdom for a while and gentleness and
walk with reverence on that holy ground.
Eve Kavanagh, RSCJ
September 15, 1989