We cannot rule out the fact that, perhaps before the arrival of the Servants of Mary, the ancient confraternities, namely lay associations (da aggiungere) established to promote the ideals of Christian life among people through works of charity, played an essential role in organising the Historical Processions in Mendrisio, especially after 1852, the year that marked the expulsion of the friars from the canton. The two main confraternities of the town were those of the Blessed Sacrament and of the Holy Rosary. The two congregations were both established in the 16th century (but probably re-established or renamed in a counter reformist perspective), and prospered until 1935, when it was decided to merge them into one due to the small number of members.
The Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament was mainly in charge of maintaining the Church of St. Mary and of managing the Funziun di Giüdee, while that of the Holy Rosary, the older of the two, had various duties, especially that of conveying in procession, every fifty years, the statue of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, which is preserved in a niche of the parish church. During the Good Friday procession the relative importance of the brothers versus the friars of St. John was underscored by their "introductory" position. Only from late 1800 onwards did they enrich the procession with the series of placards of the Mysteries of the Rosary, the work of Abbondio Bagutti (Mendrisio, 1788-1850), while the brothers of the Blessed Sacrament ordered ( da aggiungere) a series of “placards” painted by Giuseppe Monti (1836-1876). The Mysteries, which portray the key events of the life of Jesus and of the Blessed Virgin, are divided into three groups of five, according to the known liturgical division, precisely Joyful (Annunciation, Visitation, Birth of Jesus, Presentation at the Temple and Finding of Jesus among the doctors); Glorious (Resurrection, Ascension, Descent of the Holy Spirit, Assumption of the Virgin and her Coronation in heaven), and Sorrowful (Jesus prays in the garden of Gethsemane, Flagellation, Crowning with thorns, The Climb to Calvary and the Crucifixion).
Introduced much later, to date the Good Friday procession can count on the presence of the Confraternity of Salorino and, from 1860, on that of Morbio Superiore, which was willing to replace the Capuchin friars (minuscolo) through affection for Fr. Gaetano Pollini, who was appointed Prevost of Mendrisio but until that moment had been appreciated as parish priest of the village at the entrance to the Muggio Valley.
Instead, the Confraternity of Our Lady of Sorrows is not present anymore. In the past they accompanied the Servite Fathers in carrying the statue of the dead Christ. Only a few clothes have survived today, recalling their past presence in the Magnifico Borgo.