Kendra Tierney

The Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows: Teaching Kids About the Cross

Feast Day to Celebrate for September: Our Lady of Sorrows (September 15)

Question: My four year old daughter asks me a lot of questions about the statues and other art at church, like why Jesus is bleeding, or why those people are hitting Jesus, or why Mary is crying. I mostly just tell her it's because Jesus loves her and change the subject, because I’m just not sure how to explain any of it in a way that won’t scare or upset her. How do you handle this with your kids?

Answer: Well, first off, I like your short answer, it’s definitely true! But then I have to say, I think kids can handle more than that. Not only do I think it’s okay for little kids to know the details of what happened to Jesus and why, I think it’s okay for them to be upset about it! (To a point, of course.)

If you’ve got a kid who asks a lot of questions, who wants to understand, that’s a good thing! I know in my own life, answering my kids’ questions has been a big part of my own faith journey, and has helped me keep learning about our faith. So, if my child asks why Jesus on the crucifix is bleeding, I might take her around to look at all the stations of the cross, and explain what’s happening in each one, so she can see and hear the whole story. And I’d emphasize what you’ve already emphasized, that Jesus went through all of this because of how much he loves us. 

But then I would also explain that Jesus conquered death! That he rose again on Easter Sunday. That what he went through hurt, but he was willing to do it for us, so we could be with him in heaven. And how when we love people, we are willing to suffer for them, and that though we probably won’t ever have to suffer in the way that Jesus did, we do make small sacrifices every day for other people, like doing our chores and being obedient.

I especially like how the Virgin Mary is traditionally depicted at the foot of the cross, in tears . . . but standing tall. Suffering, but trusting that all will be right in the end. That’s how we want to view Jesus’ suffering, too. We don’t want to discount or overlook it, but we know that it has a happy ending. 

You know your own child best, and what she can handle at her age and maturity and sensitivity level, but that perspective seems to make sense to my kids.

More Resources from Kendra to celebrate Our Lady of Sorrows at your home:

1. Our Lady of Sorrows Prayers (Click on picture)

2. Our Lady of Sorrows Printable Prayer (Click on picture)

Kendra Tierney is a wife and a mother of nine children (almost 10!) from little to teenager. She's a homeschooler and a regular schooler, and an enthusiastic amateur experimenter in the domestic arts. She writes the award-winning Catholic mommy blog Catholic All Year, is a contributor to the Blessed Is She and Take Up and Read Ministries, and is the voice of liturgical living here at Endow. She is the author of A Little Book about Confession for Children, the Traditional Catholic Prayers for Awesome Catholic Kids series of prayer books, and the Catholic All Year Compendium: Liturgical Living for Real Life. 


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