Dedicated Widows of the Holy Family
Prayer of Dedicated Widows of the Holy Family
God the Father,
I offer you the rest of my time on earth
that I may serve with love
and come to eternal life.
May my husband be blessed
on his journey in eternity
and everyone in my family be saved.
Holy Spirit, be a comfort to all widows,
especially the newly bereaved.
Jesus, my bridegroom, savior of my soul, delight of my heart, help me.
Mary, exalted widow, mother of the Church, my model and intercessor; pray for me.
St. Joseph, protector of Mary and the child Jesus, and helper of widows,
guide me in the trials of daily life.
As a widow may I be a spiritual mother to all I meet today.
All you widow saints, pray for me:
St. Monica, pray for me
St. Paula, pray for me
St. Elizabeth of Hungary, pray for me
Bd. Angela of Foligno, pray for me
St. Elizabeth of Portugal, pray for me
St. Bridget of Sweden, pray for me
St. Rita of Cascia, pray for me
St. Frances of Rome, pray for me
St. Catherine of Genoa, pray for me
St. Jane of Chantal, Francis de Sales pray for me
Bd. Marie of the Incarnation, pray for me
St. Louise de Marillac, pray for me
Bd. Marguerite d’Youville, pray for me
St. Elizabeth Seton, pray for me
Servant of God. Praxedes Fernandez, pray for me.
Ven. Conchita of Mexico, pray for me.
All other widows now in heaven,
pray for me.
STATIONS OF THE CROSS FOR WIDOWS – by Ronda Chervin
(from Walk with me, Jesus, Simon Peter Press, 2008)
The First Station: Jesus is Condemned to Death
Your Son, who was to be judge of all the living and the dead, stood before a Roman judge and received an unjust sentence. Though you knew He was the ‘suffering servant’ prophesied by Isaiah, did you wonder why He had to suffer this humiliation and in this way?
As widows, we sometimes question God’s providence – and His love for us.
Why did that drunk driver who killed my husband survive?
Why did God permit that doctor’s mistake?
Was there anything done – or left undone – that hastened the day or the hour?
Why did my husband have to die instead of me?
Holy Mary, pray for us … now and in the hour we cry for justice.
Jesus: You are the Lord of my life. I know that You permit only those things from which You can bring good. Help me to trust that even the day and the hour of my husband’s death was known to You, and that he is enfolded in Your Sacred Heart now as then.
The Second Station: Jesus Accepts the Cross
Many of us spent long hours at the bedside of our husbands, anticipating the separation that would come. Others of us experienced the tragedy of our spouse’s sudden, unexpected death.
Just as nothing you could have said would have persuaded Jesus to evade the cross, we had no choice but to accept what we could not change.
The heaviness of that cross drained us, even as we persevered in hope.
Holy Mary, pray for us, that with each passing day this temporary separation will lead to everlasting joy.
Jesus, You endured all the trials we face, up to and including that final, wooden cross. You are with us every moment, in the pain and up to those final moments of our husband’s earthly life.
Then and now, You want us to rest our weary heads in Your lap so that you can console us … but we are too busy coping to come to You. As we look upon the second station and see You accepting Your cross, let us also see that You were holding us up through the intensity of our pain and loss.
Third Station: Jesus Falls for the First Time
You saw your strong, manly son fall under the terrific weight of those beams. As you watched helplessly, waves of weakness filled your own body.
Did those feelings remind you of the grief you felt when Joseph died?
Watch over us, as our own physical strength dwindles slowly. Stay with us after the funeral, when we can hardly rise from our beds.
We, too, have felt those times of weakness that threatened to overtake us. Sometimes they linger still. Watch over us and lend us your strength and help us to move forward in hope.
Jesus, when widows collapse under the strain of early widowhood, You never chide us for failing to take up daily life tasks with our usual efficiency. Instead You remain at our side each day, and hover over our solitary beds, sending invisible graces. May we never doubt Your love for us as You bring new strength to our new state of life.
Fourth Station: Jesus Meets His Mother
As I meditate upon this station of the Cross, I am struck by what an unforgettable encounter this must have been between you and your Son. It reminds us that deeper even than shared joy is shared agony!
Pray for us now. Some of us looked into the eyes of our husbands as they left this world. Some had no chance to say goodbye – he died far away or instantaneously, without warning.
Pray for us, your abandoned daughters.
Jesus, You knew Your mother’s heart inside out. Though it comforted You to receive her last touch and glance, it also must have grieved You to be the cause of her pain.
Thank You for the family and friends, priests, and parishioners who stayed with us as we made our way of the cross with our husbands. Even if no one walked with us, You, Jesus, Your mother, our angels and the widow saints were there.
Let us never be so frantic in our widowhood that we push away the love of those who reach out to us.
The Fifth Station: Simon Helps Jesus Carry the Cross
You wished you could carry that cross for Your Son. You must have sighed in relief to see Simon bearing the weight.
As widows, even after many years, we can feel lonely, overwhelmed, and hopeless, desperately wishing for help.
Holy Mary, pray for your daughters in our hour of need.
Jesus, You are the God-man, yet You let another help when You were unable to keep going. Why, then, should we be too proud to beg? So often a cry brings assistance that does not come to those who hide their weakness.
In the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit promises rewards to those who aid widows. Show us who can help us in our neediness … and, when there really is no one, let us always fall back on You, the Second Bridegroom of widows. Strengthen our backs even as the cross still weighs us down.
Sixth Station: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
Most likely you knew this valiant disciple, and saw the imprint on your Son’s face on that cloth long after His ascension.
Did you wipe the face of St. Joseph, just as we wiped the brow of our beloved husbands in their final moments? Did the image of your husband’s face remain with you long after? When words can do little, gestures can do much.
All of us treasure the image of our husbands, if not on a cloth, then in photographs. Holy Mary, pray for us as we remember.
Jesus, we hope our husbands asked forgiveness for their sins before their deaths, even if we did not witness this. We believe that they are either in purgatory of heaven. The fully resurrected body will not be theirs – or ours – until the Last Judgment. Yet, as we struggle along without our husbands, we like to imagine their faces looking down on us with compassion and, often, humor.
Seventh Station: Jesus Falls the Second Time
Mary …refuge of sinners …
More than any other witness , you understood how the cross of Jesus was part of the Father’s plan of salvation.
As your Son fell again, did you think of us sinners, through the centuries, coming to repentance? In your great distress, did your heart rejoice to see us repenting as we prayed these very stations?
During our long widowhood we have ample time to remember how often we fell from grace, when our own faults and sins hurt our spouses.
Mother Mary, pray for us your daughters, as we look to God for mercy.
Jesus, give us courage to confess the major sins of our married lives in the sacrament of reconciliation. You want us to have peace. Help us to believe that, in eternity, our husbands have repented of their sins against us. They do not judge us harshly now, for the are participating in the compassionate love of Your Sacred Heart for themselves and for us.
Eighth Station: The Women Console Jesus
Were the women who braved the jeering crowd to console Jesus on the way of the cross, the same women who surrounded you when Joseph died? Surely they would not have left the mother of Love alone at her hour of need!
When we first became widows, more seasoned widows came forward to comfort and inspire us with their survival skills and their trust in you and in Jesus.
Holy Mary, pray for us with the compassion of your mother’s heart.
Jesus, deep is the consolation you wish to pour into our frazzled and forlorn widowed hearts. You would have us know that we are never, never, never, alone. But we need much grace to stretch ourselves beyond our senses to know You now in an even more intimate spiritual way than before. Only You can settle us down in the peace that comes with Your presence.
Ninth Station: Jesus Falls Again
Despite your unique and exalted privileges as Mother of God, you must have felt your status in the world fall when you were no longer “Joseph’s wife” but only a poor widow.
In our times, most of us grieve our new state each time we fill out a form and are forced to check the “widow” box instead of the “married” box. Sometimes our social life falls because we are not part of a couple. Often, our income falls as well.
Mother Mary, pray for us your daughters as we feel our place in the world diminish.
Jesus, throughout Scripture, Your people were exhorted to honor needy widows. Purify the minds of all widows from negative images of widowhood. Show us if You want to provide us with second husbands. In Your new covenant, we are offered a new consecrated state, living to serve Your church. If our new vocation is to have You as our Second Bridegroom, show us how.
Tenth Station: Jesus is Stripped
Did you keep any of your Son’s things after His death? Perhaps, you even kept some of Joseph’s belongings. We cannot know for certain. What we do know is that Jesus was parted from his clothes by force, an act of violence.
After the death of our husbands, it was a painful process to go through their possessions. As we stripped away those clothes, we felt the memories connected to those clothes slip away as well.
In another sense we feel stripped of everything our husband’s presence meant to us, especially on anniversaries, birthdays, family holidays and religious holy days. Holy Mary, pray for your daughters as we struggle to place all our losses into the hands of God.
Jesus: You wept at the death of Lazarus – and though it is not recorded, no doubt You cried when Joseph died, too. Even so, You also told us not to grieve as unbelievers do. Grief takes many forms; some of these forms are surprising, such as mourning over and article of our husband’s clothing. We beg You to turn each experience of loss into gratitude for the good times.
We hope for that day when our resurrected bodies will be clothed in unimaginable splendor, and we will be reunited with our loved ones. In the meantime, give us grace to be glad to be stripped of what we no longer need, and to help those who have less especially the starving and homeless.
Eleventh Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
You had to watch your Son endure one of the worst deaths ever devised. You saw the nails, blood, wounds, and his horrible, agonizing pain. At the crucifixion, you reflected the pain and strain your Son was experiencing. You became a mirror of His crucifixion.
Many widows recall having witnessed the awful, gut-wrenching miseries of a husband’s suffering Like you, Mary, we became mirrors of that suffering. Our faces, previously ore often expressive of light hearted joy, now manifest the heavy sadness of death.
Jesus, through our baptism each of us is incorporated into the pachal mystery. This means that, like You, we will all experience the passion, death and resurrection. Seen in this light, the loss of our husbands writes us to You in a profound way. Your mother shows us how to endure our cross and how to unite it to Yours. Help us to use our suffering and grief as a conduit of redemptive love that can lead others to You. Mary, our Mother, pray for us now and at the hour of death.
Twelfth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross
How often the ways of God must have surprised you, from the Annunciation on through all the mysteries of your life. Perhaps as Jesus was being crucified you waited expectantly for another miracle, hoping that somehow the resurrection would occur right then.
But that did not happen. Instead Jesus gave you another unexpected gift: the gift of spiritual motherhood. You were to become mother of His Church, symbolized in the person of John, the beloved apostle.
Jesus, even in the last moments, we prayed for our husband’s healing and health. Even when they died suddenly, without warning, we prayed over their bodies helping that they, like Lazarus, could be raised from the dead. We wanted them to remain with us here on earth.
As we pray for the souls of our husbands, we are reminded that there is still work that You have for us to do. As we mourn, let our tars never blind us to the need for love in the people around us.
Thirteen Station: Jesus is Taken from the Cross
Great artists and sculptors have depicted the tender moment when you held the body of Jesus for the last time. Did you also remember holding the body of St. Joseph for the lat time? How often we wish that we could see our husbands again in the flesh, and embrace them in love.
Pray for us, O Holy Mary, that we might offer these longing back to God. Turn our grief into powerful seeds of prayer.
Jesus, You want us to grieve but not to beg for what is not Your will. Instead of physical contact with our husbands, bodies, You want to stretch us to make contact with them through prayer. Please wean us from wanting what is gone and help us to want what we can have in a spiritual way now, and in eternity. Some widows experience the souls of their spouses with them always, and others, rarely, if at all. Help us to trust in the signs of eternal life You choose for each of us as individuals. Many of us have found healing races through groups each of us as individuals. Many of us have found healing graces through groups each of us as individuals. Many of us have found healing graces through groups on bereavement and grief. If we could benefit from such ministries, help us to overcome our desire to hide our pain. Let us not reject what would bring hope.
Fourteen Station: Jesus Is Buried
Some who write about you believe that Jesus first appeared to you, his mother privately. We do not know how that was, but we do know that you understand how we feel at the burial of those we love. Even with the numbness that often comes with a death, the farewell at the gravesite is always poignant.
Jesus, You want to increase our faith in life eternal. In the meantime, You teach us to believe in Your mystical body, experienced in its highest form on earth at Holy Mass and in the reception of Holy Communion. Help us to believe that our communion with You at the sacred rites is also a communion with the one to whom we were joined in the sacrament of marriage. You have made saints of some widows, known to us, or hidden from the public eye. What more can we pray for than that, like them, our hearts be free from doubt, bitterness, anxiety and despair and be filled, instead, with the joys You send us (even as we suffer) and with love, love, and LOVE.