Stabat Mater dolorosa

Also known as

  • At The Cross Her Station Keeping


Sequence for the Masses of the feasts of the Seven Dolors on the Friday after Passion Sunday and on 15 September. For the Breviary Office the hymn is divided into three parts and assigned to the least on the Friday after Passion Sunday: Stabat Mater dolorosa, for Vespers; Sancta Mater, istud agas, for Matins; and Virgo virginum prreclara, for Lauds. Other hymns are used in the Office on 15 September. The hymn is attributed to Jacopone da Todi, also to Pope Innocent III, and to others. It has over 80 translations; the English title given above is by E. Caswall and is the most widely used.

The beauty and pathos of this hymn have made it a favorite subject of composers. As it was not introduced into the Missal as a Sequence until 1121, its history in music dates largely from modern times. The first setting of importance is an elaborate one by Josquin des Pres (15th century). Palestrina wrote two beautiful settings. Among those with orchestra accompaniment the ones of Pergolesi, Haydn, Steffani, Clari, Baron D’Astorga, Von Winter, Pietro Raimondi, Vito, Lanza, Chevalier Von Neukomm, and Dvorak should be mentioned. Rossini’s setting has been criticized because its sensuous beauty is inappropriate to the theme. The first verse of this hymn reads

At the Cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last:
Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
All His bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword had passed.

MLA Citation

  • “Stabat Mater dolorosa”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 22 December 2010. Web. 24 January 2019. <>