Republished Spiritual Resource: Hour of Mary in Desolation


Hour of Mary in Desolation

A Devotion for Good Friday and the Morning of Holy Saturday until 10:00 a.m.

One of the greatest sorrows of Mary was when, her Son being taken from her and laid in the tomb, she remained entirely alone and desolate: for the time when a mother most feels the loss of her son is after he has been buried and she sees him no more. For this reason those who love Mary try, as of old did John and Magdalen, to comfort her in her profound grief. This the Holy Founders did when, on Good Friday 1240, after having followed Jesus in spirit through all the circumstances of His cruel Passion and sorrowed with His afflicted Mother, they passed the night weeping and mourning with her. And she, in return for their love deigned to appear to them, and gave them for their vocation to mourn with her over the sufferings and death of Jesus, and to propagate devotion to her Sorrows. In imitation of the Holy Founders, the custom has been introduced in the churches of the Servite Order, on Good Friday night, to have, in honor of the Desolation of Mary, a special service which, is called the “Hour of Mary in Desolation.” This devotion began in a monastery of the kingdom of Naples, whence it spread in other provinces and cities, but became more solemn when it was introduced  in the church of San Marcello at Rome in 1814 by Cardinal Odescalchi, who was most devout to our Lady of Sorrows. Pius VII, encouraged this touching devotion by granting indulgences. It may also be practiced privately on and Fridays of the year.


By the sealed and rock-hewn grave,

Where her Son in death is sleeping,

Stands the Mother, mournful, weeping,

And her heart in twain is torn.

Now bereft of Him, her dearest,

All her joy in Him is dying;

Come to Mary in her sighing.

Come, ye faithful souls, and mourn.

An Act of Contrition

GOD of infinite mercy, behold me humbly prostrate at Thy feet, filled with confusion for my ingratitude against Thy divine majesty and goodness. Full well I know that my sins were the cause that my dear Jesus died. Pity me, Lord, who ask pardon with tears, and am firmly resolved to offend Thee no more. And thou, O Mary, my sorrowful Mother, entreat forgiveness for me, and permit me to keep thee company in thy sorrow for the loss of thy dear Son; may I weep with thee and never more pierce, by my sins, thy loving heart and the Heart of thy Son.


Mother, my Mother desolate, I will not leave thee alone to weep. I will join my tears to thine. With thee I will bewail thy Dolors, and those of my dead Redeemer.


Mary desolate at the Sepulchre of her Son

 CONSIDER, O my soul, the desolation of thy Mother, as she stands by the sepulchre, wherein the lifeless body of her dear Son has just been laid,. A cold stone is now between the Son and the Mother, and how great is her woe ! See with what love her eyes are fixed on the tomb ! Before she had some comfort, however sad in holding her Son, though dear, in her arms. But now He is parted from her, and she sees Him no more. What a cruel separation ! She longs to be buried with Him, and in spirit hides herself in the wound of His sacred Heart. Do thou also, O my soul, hide thyself with thy Mother, in the sacred side of Jesus, and with her mourn the ingratitude which caused thee by thy sin to wound so deeply that loving heart.  


 O MARY, my dear Mother, with what grief do I see thee weeping at the tomb of thy Jesus ! The more I grieve that I cannot bring thee any comfort, the more stand I reproved that I am the cause of thy Sorrows. But if the tears of a contrite heart may at all console thee, lo ! Dear Mother, aided by thee, I shed them at thy feet. Do thou deign to receive them and lay them at the Heart of thy Son, who despises not, but welcomes a contrite and humbled heart, and so by thy intercession may these my tears gain from Jesus pardon for my past transgressions.

Say seven Hail Marys, then one Gloria Patri, and the first part of the Stabat Mater                                                                                                                                   

BY the cross of Jesus dying

Stood the mournful Mother crying,

While her Son was hanging there.

For her soul was full of moaning,

Anguish, and of bitter groaning,

And her heart the sword-thrust bare.

O how sad and sore distressed

Now was she, the Mother blessed,

Of the sole-begotten One!

How she grieved, fond Mother, viewing

All the pain He was enduring,

He, the Christ, her glorious Son!

Lives there any so untender,

Thus could see Christ's Mother bend her,

Under woe, and never weep?

Who that saw her anguish, could not

Share it, and once sharing would not

Drink her cup of sorrows deep.

For the sins of sinful nature

Which she bare, a human creature,

She must see her Son in death.

When my body, Lord is dying,

Bring my soul, on Thee relying,

To the realm of Paradise.

Ye, who in the way of dolors,

Pass, and turn your eyes on me,

Tell me did you ever see

Grief like mine and bitter smart?

When I gaze upon the tomb

Where my Jesus lies at rest,

I too die; my head, my breast,

Faint for bitterness of heart.


Mary returning to Jerusalem, passes by Calvary

Follow, O my soul, thy mournful Mother, when with John and the holy women, she leaves the sepulchre to return to her home. She cannot but pass again and see the place where her Son suffered, where He died. Behold her on Calvary. What anguish, what grief were renewed in her heart at the sight of that hill, whereon still was planted the tree of the cross on which her Son expired. She sees the earth still drenched, the cross still stained with His precious Blood. Again there pass through her mind the barbarous Crucifixion, the bitter drink given to Jesus, the insults, the scorn, the agony, His last words, those especially wherein He asked forgiveness for sinners, and gave her to us for our Mother. She prostrates herself at the foot of that sacred tree, to reverence it, and embraces it with tears. Take thy stand, O my soul, with Mary at the foot of the cross, clasp the pledge of thy salvation, and weep for the death to which on that cross thou hast by thy sines delivered the Son of Mary.


MOTHER most afflicted, my sorrow it is to see thee languishing at the foot of the cross and all the more that I have received thee as my Mother and thou hast taken me as thy son. Heavy is my heart that I have proved unworthy of this blessing. I hate those times wherein my sins have separated me from thy Son and from thee. Do thou with Jesus ask pardon for me from the Eternal Father. Grant that by thy intercession, I may willingly take all tribulation from His hand, and that untied to my crucified Lord I may, imitating His and thy patience, be made worthy to obtain the reward of life eternal.

Say seven Hail Marys, then one Gloria Patri, and the second part of the Stabat Mater.

By the cross of Jesus dying,

Stood the mournful Mother crying,

While her Son was hanging there.

After scourges, after scorning,

She saw Him forsaken, mourning,

Till He drew His latest breath.

Ah, my Mother, whence love floweth,

As who sorrow's power knoweth,

Grant me that with thee I mourn.

Be my willing soul's one pleasure,

Love of Christ beyond all measure,

Make my soul with ardor burn.

Holy Mother, hear my pleading.

Fix the wounds of Jesus bleeding

On the cross, within my heart.

In those wounds and cruel bruises

Thy Son suffered for my uses,

Give me thus to bear a part.

Made me vie with thee in grieving.

While I tread this land of living.

Suffering with the Crucified.

When my body, Lord, is dying.

Bring my soul, on thee relying,

To the mount where myrrh is found,

To the hill of frankincense,

I return with grief intense,

Here had died my one fair Flower.

Sacred cross, whereon was hanging,

Bathed in His own precious Blood,

He my Son, my only Good,

I embrace thee and adore.


Mary Desolate in her home

ENTER, O my soul, into the house, wherein is Mary thy Mother, all sorrowful and in tears.  Jesus is no more with her, and she looks for Him in vain. Her thoughts fly to the sepulchre, but only to new memories of sorrow. Stay awhile, O my soul, in this house with thy Mother, with John the beloved disciple, with the holy women, and scarce wilt thou bear to see such desolation. Weep with her, with her seek Jesus, and she will be comforted if she finds Him living by grace in thine heart.


MOTHER most loving, as I think of thee in thy poor home without thy Son, my heart is sore within me. And I too have lost Him, but through my sin. I know now how great an evil I have done, when I have committed sin. O Mary, my only hope after Jesus, obtain that my God may return to my heart. Make me to hate and amend my faults; be this the fruit of my having dwelt with thee in thy desolation, that by repentance I may obtain forgiveness. Do thou assist me in this my exile that I sin mo more; do thou and thy Son stand by me in the hour of death. With the names of Jesus and Mary on my lips, may I breathe out my soul in thine arms, and live for all eternity in the joy of God. Amen.

Say seven Hail Marys, then one Gloria Patri, and the third part of the Stabat Mater.

BY the cross of Jesus dying

Stood the mournful Mother crying,

While her Son was hanging there.

Now may I with thee ally me,

Smite my breast and mortify me,

'Neath the Rood and at thy side.

Maid than highest maidens higher,

Scorn not thou my deep desire,

Grant that I may mourn with thee.

Make me bear thy Jesus dying,

Lie with Him as He was lying,

That His stripes may fall on me.

Make me wounded with the wounding,

Fill me with the grace abounding,

Of His Blood and of His cross.

Shield me from the flames infernal,

Save me lest in that eternal

Judgment, I may suffer loss.

Christ, when earthly war is ended,

By Thy Mother dear befriended

May I win the battle prize.

When my body, Lord, is dying

Bring my soul, on thee relying,

To the realm of Paradise.

Though the loved disciple tend

As a son my deep distressed

In His home, yet none the less

Do I seem bereft of all.

Scarce I hear, and scarce I speak,

Scarce can turn my weeping eyes

Jesus hearkens not my cries,

All my heart is turned to gall.


 Before I leave thee, Mother most desolate, I give into thy care a contrite and humbled heart, praying thee to give me ever thy holy benediction. Bless me as thy son, and may thy blessing assist me in life and death, and follow me to Paradise.

Mother, thou whose heart was sore,

Hold within thy holy keeping

Us, who join with thee in weeping,

Till this earthly life is o'er.

V. May the Sorrowful Virgin Mary

R. Bless us with her loving Child


 I. PLENARY, on the day of their Easter Communion, to all the faithful who, between 3 P.M. on Good Friday and 10 A.M. On Holy Saturday, shall keep company with Mary in her desolation after the death of her divine Son, for one hour, or at least half an hour, spending that time in meditation or payers, either in public or privately. II. 300 DAYS, to all the faithful who shall, on any week, from 3 P.M. On Friday to Sunday morning, do the same exercise. III. PLENARY on one of the last days of the month, to those who shall practice it every week.