Theresa Kiser is the author of the new book Caring for a Loved One with Mary: A Seven Sorrows Prayer Companion. It was her own experience caring for a medically complex child that led Kiser to this devotion in her greatest hour of need. “It wasn’t until truly the most difficult days of the caregiving journey that I stumbled across this devotion, and it was a true blessing, offering me heavenly solace when my experience of this world was very much a ‘valley of tears'”, she said. Kiser felt she had to share this wonderful, yet not well known devotion, with other special needs parents and anyone who is a caregiver.
“Our Lady found me, and offered her solace to me through the Seven Sorrows devotion, and by sharing this rich tradition with others, I have been privileged to hear stories of many others who witness to love by their day-to-day self-giving”, she said. “Love is a truly powerful thing, and seeing caregivers love so practically, and at such cost, is a testament to love’s beauty and force.” Kiser’s book is a slim volume, and just the right size to tuck in a purse, diaper bag, or overnight bag as you head out the door to an appointment or the hospital. In it, she covers the history of the Church’s devotion to Our Lady’s sorrows, or dolors, the promises Mary has made to those who meditate upon them, and explains the simple steps for praying along with the seven sorrows of Mary. Caregivers have the option to do a shorter meditation, or, when time allows, recite the longer Seven Sorrows Chaplet.
Kiser’s book also contains her own devotions and prayers for each sorrow that readers can focus on. “I pray the Seven Sorrows devotion every day. It takes four minutes!” she said. “You never forget the people who showed up for you in your hour of need; Our Lady showed up for me, so I will continue to show up for her every day of my life. Our Lady also made some generous promises to those who honored her by praying this devotion daily.”
Many special needs moms, myself included, have a great devotion to Our Lady under her title Mother of Sorrows. It is because we know that, no matter how much we suffer under whatever cross God has placed on us and our family, Mary understands our pain like no one else because she had to watch the unjust suffering and death of her son. I like how Kiser’s book makes this devotion accessible to moms who are already overwhelmed by presenting a simple way to integrate prayer into your daily routine. If saying the rosary, or daily Mass, seem like too much to take on in your current season of life, you’ll appreciate learning about the Seven Sorrows devotion from Kiser’s book.
“As a caregiver, I couldn’t pray the Rosary, and often had to miss Mass as well,” she explained. “My daily prayer with Scripture fizzled as well. But this devotion, I could do. The Seven Sorrows devotion requires no book or instrument, and only takes four minutes. I prayed it while holding my [child] in my arms at night. You can’t lose your spot either; just consider which Sorrow you were just reflecting on if your tired mind drifts. Oh, this devotion is a true gift to us! The only other recommendation I’ll make is that if you struggle to make it to Mass due to your caregiving responsibilities, reach out to your parish so that an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist can bring you the Blessed Sacrament.”
Caring for a Loved One with Mary; A Seven Sorrows Prayer Companion is published by Our Sunday Visitor and is available on their website or wherever you purchase books.