top of page


Dear Friends of ADMA,

We are fully immersed in the Lenten season that prepares us for the celebration of the Christian Mystery centered on the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. To reach the light, it is necessary to pass through the cross.

Pope Francis in his message for Lent this year invites us to contemplate the experience of the Transfiguration where the voice that was heard from the cloud said, “Listen to him” (Mt. 17:5). Therefore, the first instruction is very clear: “listen to Jesus”. Lent is a time of grace in listening to the One who speaks to us. And how does He speak to us? First of all, in the Word of God which the Church offers us in the liturgy. Let us not let it fall on deaf ears. If we cannot always attend Mass, let us meditate on the daily Bible readings, even with the help of the Internet. Besides speaking to us in the Scriptures, the Lord does so through our brothers and sisters, especially in the faces and stories of those in need.

The same voice a little further on says, “Arise, do not be afraid.” When they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus alone” (Mt 17:6-8). Here is the second indication for this Lent: ‘do not take refuge in a religiosity made up of extraordinary events, fascinating experiences, for fear of facing reality with its daily labors, difficulties and contradictions.’ The light Jesus shows the disciples is a foretaste of the Easter glory, and toward it we must go, following him ‘alone.’ Lent is oriented toward Easter. The ‘retreat’ is not an end in itself, but prepares us to live the passion and cross with faith, hope and love, leading to the resurrection.

It is not easy to face difficulties, to overcome obstacles, to live through the sufferings that daily life presents to us. That is why we contemplate Mary, the grieving mother. No one like her can understand our ‘sorrows.’ We know that in God’s saving plan (cf. Lk 2:34-35), they are associated with Christ crucified and the Virgin of Sorrows, just as they are in the liturgy and popular piety.

Just as Christ is the “man of sorrows” (Is. 53:3), and so took upon himself all the sorrows of the world, to “reconcile with himself all beings: those in heaven and those on earth, pacifying them by the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:20), so Mary is the ‘woman of sorrows,’ whom God wished to associate with His Son, as mother and sharer in his Passion.

We can affirm in a special way during this time of penance that Our Lady’s whole life, from the very beginning of Jesus’ earthly life, has been put on the line by participating in the rejection of her Son (cf. Lk 2:35). However, the piety of the Christian people has over time pointed to seven main episodes of the Mother’s sorrowful life and considered them as the ‘seven sorrows’ of the Virgin Mary.

Thus, following the model of the Via Crucis, the pious exercise of the Via Matris dolorosae, or simply Via Matris, approved by the Apostolic See, was born. From the 16th century, there are incipient forms of the Via Matris, but in its present form it is not earlier than the 19th century. The fundamental insight is to consider the entire life of Our Lady, beginning with the prophetic announcement of Simeon (cf. Lk. 2:34-35) and ending with the death and burial of her Son, as a journey of faith and sorrow: a journey articulated in seven ‘seasons,’ corresponding to the ‘seven sorrows’ of the Mother of the Lord.

The exercise of piety of the Via Matris harmonises well with some of the themes proper to the Lenten itinerary. Just as Our Lady’s sorrow has its cause in the rejection Christ suffered from men, the Via Matris constantly and necessarily refers back to the mystery of Christ, the suffering servant of the Lord (cf. Is 52:13-53:12), rejected by His own people (cf. Jn 1:11; Lk 2:1-7; 2:34-35; 4:28-29; Mt 26:47-56; Acts 12:1-5). It also refers to the mystery of the Church: the stations of the Via Matris are stages in the journey of faith and sorrow in which Our Lady preceded the Church. The Via Matris has ‘Pieta’ as its highest expression.

Dear friends, I invite you to pray together to Mary for so many suffering people in our world: “O God, you willed that together with your Son, lifted up on the cross, His grieving Mother should be present: grant that, united with her in the passion of Christ, we may share in the glory of the resurrection.

Holy Lent to each one of you with Mary’s gaze.

Renato Valera, President, ADMA Valdocco.

Alejandro Guevara, Spiritual Animator, ADMA Valdocco.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page