Stabat Mater Dolorosa

The liturgical hymn Stabat Mater takes its title and inspiration for St John’s Gospel, “near the cross of Jesus stood His Mother.” (Jn 19:25) The hymn was written in the thirteenth century and is attributed to either the Franciscan, Jacopone di Todi or, more likely, Pope Innocent XIII. Today this popular hymn usually accompanies the Stations of the Cross and so it is a fitting setting for the meditations for Holy Week.

The Gospel tells us that Mary “stabat” by the cross which, in Latin, means “stood” or “to stand”. This is an important insight given by the Sacred Author who accompanied our Blessed Mother at this moment. Mary does not allow herself to be overcome with a grief that could be perceived as a refutation of God’s Will but, rather, she simply remained there with her Son sharing in His pain and suffering. With each sigh from Our dear Lord she must have felt the words of Simeon’s prophecy, “a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Lk 2:35)

During Holy Week, Our Lady is the one to show us how to “stay” or “stand” with her Son and accompany Him on His journey to Calvary. Christ is the innocent Victim given for our sins and she, the Mother who will receive His body always maintaining the hope of the Resurrection that the words of the angel would be fulfilled: “He will rule over the House of Jacob and His reign will have no end” (Lk 1:33)

This version of the Stabat Mater was composed by Marco Frisina and is sung by Mother Rebecca Nazzaro of the Missionaries of Divine Revelation accompanied by Paolo Tagliaferri. It was filmed during the conclusion of the Lenten devotions for the “Rosary with Art” programme in Rome.

The text is translated below.


Immersa in angoscia mortale
la Madre dell’Unigenito
geme nell’intimo del cuore
trafitto da una spada.


Per il peccato del mondo
vide il Figlio tra i tormenti,
vide il suo dolce nato
quando emise lo spirito

At the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to her Son to the last.

Immersed in mortal anguish
The mother of the Only Begotten One
Cries in the intimacy of her heart
That was pierced by the sword

At the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to her Son to the last.

For the sins of the world
She saw her son wrenched with grief
She saw her sweet son
When he gave up His spirit.