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Frequently Asked Questions

It is not possible to answer every question someone might have in this small space, but we have tried to choose the ones asked most often, and give a reply that - while not exhaustive - can at least give you some insight into what it means to be a member of the Community of Our Lady of Sorrows. If, when you are through reading, you feel you may wish to join us, or want more information before making your decision, please contact us and we will be delighted to help you.

Q: What is the Community of Our Lady of Sorrows?
A: The Community of Our Lady of Sorrows was founded as a Private Association of the Christian Faithful, in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, as recommended by the Second Vatican Council:
"Let associations and groups be organized through which the lay apostolate will be able to permeate the whole of society with the spirit of the Gospel" (Decree on Missionary Activity of the Church, 15)
It is important to note that we are not a Third Order, since we are not associated with any existing religious order, although we are a member-based society, using the Third Order model. We are also not a prayer group, but have our own Rule, mission statement and Statutes.

Q: What is the purpose of the Community of Our Lady of Sorrows?
A: The purpose of the Community of Our Lady of Sorrows is, in imitation of our holy Mother, to bring Christ to the world with love and compassion, first through intercessory prayer, but also in service to the Church and our communities, especially through Parish ministries. We also promote a knowledge of, and devotion to, Our Lady of Sorrows and her Seven Sorrows Chaplet. (If you wish to purchase a hand-tied cord chaplet, made by a member of our Community, please go to our Chaplets For All web site).

Q:What is required to become a member of the Community?
A: All Catholic men and women, age 18 or over (clergy or laity), who feel a desire to join us, are welcome to become a part of the Community. We have no formal training or novitiate as is found religious communities, but you must attend a minimum of six (6) meetings, to be sure this is something you are truly called to do. When you are sure, request admission and complete an entrance application. When you return the completed application, you will then attend two (2) Orientation sessions before being admitted as a member.

Q:What is required of a member of the Community?
A: We ask that you be willing to do some simple things:
  • Have a time of daily personal prayer
  • Read from Sacred Scripture, at least once a week
  • Recite the Seven Sorrows Chaplet, at least once a week
  • Frequent participation in the sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation
  • Foster love and devotion to Mary, Sorrowful Mother and our model
  • Have reverence for the sanctity of all life
  • Participate in and foster intercessory prayer
  • Participate in monthly Community meetings and annual retreat day
What you read above is our Rule of Life for all members. Before you are admitted as a member, you will have two Orientation sessions, in which the Rule and how to best accomplish it in your life will be explained to you. Once received as a member, you will continue to learn how to live the Rule fully by participation at meetings and with the encouragement of others of like mind.

Q: What happens if I join, and later decide the Community is not for me?
A: The Community is about living your life in the world, while taking your spirituality to a higher level. When you are received you do make a Promise, however, unlike traditional lay religious Orders, there are no vows under penalty of sin, so if you feel the Community is no longer for you, simply let you Moderator know, and you can leave without prejudice. Should you change your mind later, you can be readmitted.

Q: I feel I may wish to join the Community. What do I do next?
A: Contact us and let us know of your interest. In turn, someone from the Community will contact you, giving you the time and location of the next meeting nearest to you, answer any other questions you may have and welcome you into our fellowship. You will need to attend a minimum of six consecutive meetings before you can make application for membership.

Q: If I decide not to join, can I still come as a visitor?
A: Absolutely! Membership in the Community of Our Lady of Sorrows is a specific call on a member’s life, to which they must willing respond. If you wish to come for prayer, the lesson and fellowship, you are always welcome to do so, for as long as you wish. We always welcome visitors!

Q: What if there is no Chapter near me? What do I do then?
A: If there is no Chapter near you, consider starting one in your parish. We will assist you in every aspect of your formation, and guide you to assure your success. If you would like more information, please contact us.

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