Greetings dearest Seven Sisters...
It might should go without saying that I pray for you and the Seven Sisters Apostolate daily. I bring you to the altar each morning at Mass and quite often through the day (and night) you are brought to heart and mind. As I run through the woods of the day, as Spitzweg's subject in the painting portrays, I am happily stopped in my tracks to lift you heavenward... sometimes in pleas, sometimes in thanksgiving, sometimes simply to consider the pleasantries of the Apostolate in the midst of a harried day. Most often I stand overwhelmed with joy at the reality that so many priests and bishops are being seamlessly covered in prayer by you- day after day. They are so in need of our every prayer!
Praying for you, I am learning how to pray for the Apostolate and not vice versa. You are the very heart of the Apostolate.
Your example of His love for 'the other' is the love that compels (II Cor 5:14) my heart with an invigorating grace of prayer. In prayer for you and in witness of the growing numbers of intercessors, the colossal generosity of the love and mercy of God is made boldly manifest, as He chooses to continue this work among and for His priests. Story after story indicates that a plentitude of graces are already working in the hearts of women, who, then, when asked about serving in this way of prayer for priests, are all too delighted and have sensed they have been prepared all along for this Apostolate. Likewise, stories also arise where there may be some hesitation, but the unwavering persistence ofyour prayer, coupled with fasting at times, has not only dissipated the reluctance, but often the situation is blessed in abounding ways.
Praying for you humbles my heart as I consider (and hear about) the many sacrifices made to persist in prayer to perhaps begin a Seven Sisters group and also those heroic testimonies to remain faithful to the committed Holy Hours of prayer.
Some of you...
> go early to holy Mass to begin your Holy Hour and remain after Mass to finish the hour.
> have helped begin Eucharistic Adoration in your parish as a way of having the Blessed Sacrament available for the Seven Sisters Holy Hours! (and the parish at large benefits!)
> have responded to a prompting to bring the Apostolate to a neighboring diocese or state.
> travel to a near-by parish's Adoration Chapel 'as a pilgrim' to remain faithful to your Hour
> have recognized when the baton needs to be handed to another so that the prayers may continue as committed.
> delight in the nuances of 'more peace, more joy, more energy' in the priest for whom you pray and understand this is 'all in God's Will and Way' and are grateful to accept this call on your life to participate in that plan.
Finally, while fidelity and fruitfulness within the Apostolate are certainly a joy to my heart, the most edifying testimony that comes to me through you is the recognition that you too are being transformed. I remain eternally grateful for all of the notes and emails sent to me in this regard. They are edifying, uplifting and serve to help form prayers for you and the Apostolate.
A parting reflection related to this - through the sure thoughts of St Teresa of Avila: 'Within us there is a palace of immense magnificence. The entire edifice is built of gold and precious stones....truly there is no building of such great beauty as a pure soul, filled with virtues, and the greater these virtues, the brighter these stones sparkle. In this palace the great King lodges, Who has been pleased to become your Guest... He sits there on a throne of tremendous value: your heart."
I am quite certain that your edifice within is growing in magnificence as you so consistently and generously offer these selfless sacrifices of prayer for the holiness of a priest or bishop. All has merit. Love remains, love is eternal. Let us continue in our fidelity and fruitfulness of efforts.
United in prayer and mission -
that our prayers may find the heart of every bishop and priest
PS I will be meeting with several lovely souls in Ave Maria, Florida, for a Seven Sisters gathering on Sunday, January 31. One woman there learned of the Apostolate in the last few months from a visiting Seven Sister 'snow bird' from Minnesota. An ember was lit and a fire has started, with the result of several groups being established, including one for the Bishop of the area. Attached find a flyer with contact info, if you know of anyone (or you!) who may be interested.
I rely on your daily wee Hail Marys, and pledge to try not to squander any of the graces!