The feast of today was extended to the whole Church in 1817 by Pope Pius VII to try to make atonement to the Blessed Mother of God for the horrors inflicted on all those she loved by the Masons and the Jews of the French Revolution. It was also raised to a solemn feast by Pope Saint Pius X in 1908 when he saw the outrages that were coming to the world with the approach of the First World War
No heart ever burned with love of God or was united with Him more intimately in grief than was the heart of Mary. Simeon in prophecy told Our Lady when she presented Jesus in the Temple how complete and absolute her grief would be. He said to her, “Thine own soul a sword shall pierce.” The Seven Sorrows of Our Lady, as we commemorate them in loving and mystical remembrance, are: (1) the prophecy of Simeon, (2) the flight into Egypt, (3) the losing of Jesus in the Temple when He was twelve years old, (4) Mary’s meeting with Jesus on the way to Calvary — the Fourth Station of the Cross, (5) the Crucifixion and Death of Jesus — the Twelfth Station of the Cross, (6) the taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross and the placing of it in Mary’s arms — the Thirteenth Station of the Cross, (7) the burial of Jesus in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea on the afternoon of the first Good Friday — the Fourteenth and last Station of the Cross.