Greetings to dearest Sisters in Christ! This month we together experience and pray within two holy liturgical seasons. Advent swells our hope, love, joy and peace. In Christmastide we rightly rejoice that these are wholly fulfilled in our Emmanuel. Further, the holy Year of St Joseph ends this month on the 8th, yet we remain happily mindful that graces will continue to flow in plenitude!
The wisdom of the Church gives its children entire seasons and periodic holy Years to linger and to live a gradual understanding and delight in the truths of the Faith. The psalmist proclaims it well: The unfolding of thy words gives light: it imparts understanding to the simple (Psalm 119:130). One might imagine a quilt being unfolded and an ever-growing intricacy of design and color being appreciated. The quilt is complete, but only gradually revealed.
As we contemplate the incomparable Gift of the Incarnation of our Lord, an awareness arises of all that preceded for its fruition. Sacred writings have preserved myriads of related prophecies, extensive genealogies, testimonies of individuals cooperating with God’s plan and as Early Church Father, Ignatius, reminds, “He who forms all men in the womb, was Himself really in the womb, and made Himself a body of the seed of the Virgin…” All this has taken time. He Who is outside of time, uses time for His purposes. In Advent, then, a wakefulness is experienced as to what Divine Providence precisely deigned to precede the Incarnation. But then, in the midst, mother Church invites us to also gaze to the future, Christ’s second coming. Hence, all the while firmly rooted in these events of the past, these future marvels guide us in the present. What a plan!
Embracing the rich, rhythmic seasons of our apostolic life serves as a reminder of sorts that we can apply this to our individual, everyday lives. As Seven Sisters it merits our meditation to consider all that is set to be birthed through our fidelity to prayer, but also that which was set in motion – maybe even centuries before! – for this to come to fruition. All this takes time.
Over and again, your voices affirm that you have been called to this effort of prayer… in this time, in this place, for the sake of sanctity. This is eternal work! What a thrill of heart to consider all that preceded this call in the wisdom of God. Our reflection can literally take us back to the prophecies and genealogy of Christ Himself, the High Priest, who precedes and calls every priest and bishop for whom we commit to pray. We providentially exist in this spectacular Divine unfolding of history. Our hidden littleness in the Divine plan serves great import. All this takes time.
A wakefulness to the multi-dimensions of our offerings as intercessors imparts understanding. Our “yes” takes the baton of those preceding us in history with the same call upon their hearts. Eventually we will pass the baton to another, likewise predestined for this particular work of intercession. Today, with baton-in-hand, we have our unique and collective parts and places in history. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1). There is a delicacy and a strength all at once to the work. What an immense entrustment given to us as we persistently call forth graces for the sanctity of another. This sanctity of another is set to affect generations of souls – our own included! All this takes time.
It has been said that a seed knows how to wait, but is alive while it waits. Knowing there is a seed can stir immense hope to expect marvels. At the same time, a freedom can grow within our hearts that we offer our part in cooperation with God’s over-arching providence, in and outside of time. It can become an abiding weekly lesson extraordinaire in humility to let go and let God. This discipline helps us to detach from any pridefulness linked to the labor and to allow a quietness and trust to become our strength (Isaiah 30:15). All this takes time.
While there is a certain joy of experiencing perceived answers to our supplications, it behooves us to be cognizant that the fruit of our prayers that we might experience is likewise interrelated to the fidelity of others. What unity in the body of Christ exists here! Most often, though, we are not aware of the outcome from our prayers. Accepting this reality helps us persevere and perhaps summons us to walk more deeply and surely in the heart of God’s design. French spiritual author, Fr Jean d’Elbee, heartens us: “Hold fast, always with the same tenacity, hold fast to an immense confidence. Often our Lord hides from the apostle the fruit of his work, of his fatigue, in order to keep him humble and to test his faith, by wholly divine wisdom. … Even if you do not see the result of your prayers, of your supplications, of your efforts, believe, believe!” All this takes time.
United in prayer and mission…that our prayers may find the heart of every bishop and priest…… eternal gratitude continues as you each remember to offer a wee Hail Mary for me every day…. “One Ave Maria makes hell tremble” (St John Vianney). Pray that I will not ‘spoil the beautiful work that God has entrusted…’ (St Teresa of Calcutta) … your kind emails and notes and phone calls and generous support always arrive to my heart door at the right moment! Your financial sacrifices are for 100% furtherance of Apostolate. THANK YOU! The letters of testimony are so beautiful and edifying! What glory is given to God through your writing! Eternal gratitude is mine for YOU! Be assured of my continued daily prayers for you at the altar.
DAILY prayer for Apostolate GROWTH:
During this Year of St Joseph (12/08/20 to 12/08-21) every Seven Sister is asked to offer DAILY the Act of Confidence:
++Heart of Jesus, I adore Thee. Heart of Mary, I implore thee. Heart of Joseph, meek and just. In these three Hearts I place my trust.++
10th Anniversary Year of our Founding Graces (03/24/11 – 03/24/21)
In celebration: Send me a SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope) to receive the newest Apostolate Holy Card. The striking image was rendered by Annie W, Seven Sister in MN. The prayer meditation regards the merciful merits of the wounds of Christ for a priest/bishop.
SEVEN SISTERS – in and out and about:
Heartfelt welcome: New groups registered in NOVEMBER to cover more priests in daily prayer: Additional groups in Washington, DC, and these USA states: Alaska, California, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Virginia. We pray daily for priests and bishops on 6 continents, 25 countries, all 50 USA states, nearly every Province in Canada and in the context of 2600 groups (many groups have more than 7)!
RECENT… and AHEAD on the calendar:
> Gratitude to Andrea and Beth for organizing the 11/06/21 Day of Recollection for the Diocese of Arlington, VA. Graces in abundance!
> Gratitude to Doreen and team for organizing the 11/06/21 annual Morning of Reflection and Renewal for the Archdiocese of St Paul-Mpls, MN. The attendees brought flowers to honor Mary and were dressed as a beautiful sea of every shade of blue. Mary, we love you!
> Gratitude to Laurie for an invitation to Janette to share her testimony on 11/16/21 to the Women at the Well group at St Elizabeth Anne Seton parish, Hastings, MN. Our lives boast of Him!
> Gratitude to Lee for hosting a prayerful informational 11/20/21 in Brooks, MN. Crookston Diocese welcomes their new Bishop Andrew Cozzens on 12/06/21, and his new group is already praying!
> Appreciated and Loved Quilt Project, spearheaded by Deb T, was featured in the St Paul-Mpls Archdiocesan paper on 11/02/21: Wrapping retired priests in quilts and prayers – TheCatholicSpirit.com
> 01/21-22/22: St Felix Retreat Center, Huntington, IN. Real Women Wear Armor (Eph 6:10-18)
Janette will lead. Capacity met, but waiting list. Contact Tammie: firstname.lastname@example.org
>05/6-7/22: Our Lady of Good Counsel Retreat House, Waverly, NE. Janette will conduct the retreat on this topic… Inseparable: Our Eucharistic Lord and Our Lady. Registration through Retreat Web.
MATTERS of the HEART:
“Our priest has so many responsibilities. We are very concerned about him. The Holy Spirit brought this apostolate to our attention and we had no problem finding seven.” (Rose, Nebraska)
“I was at daily Mass and felt a tap on the shoulder after Mass. It was a Seven Sister and she asked me if I might want to offer Holy Hours for our new priest. I said yes! Since then, I have been learning more about the Seven Sisters and I am so happy to be part of this holy ministry. I love to pray!” (Liliana, Virginia)
“I was a member of the Seven Sisters in my old parish and realized how important this apostolate is for our priests and bishops! It also taught me how to pray so fervently for one person for one hour that I started a Holy Hour for my husband on another day!! Many blessings have occurred! Our pastor has been such a great leader during these crazy times. I easily found 7 women to pray for him. He always points us to the Blessed Sacrament and the Cross!! He has a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother and we all feel the need to protect him through prayer all week! Thank you for starting this wonderful Apostolate!!!” (Catherine, N Carolina)
“I have been praying for Priests, Deacons, and Seminarians for over 25 years. A priest friend who is benefiting from the Seven Sisters Apostolate told me to look into it. I love it. Praise God.” (Eileen, New Jersey)
“I have a love for adoration and the Blessed Sacrament. I am a daily communicant and through that have established wonderful relationships with others, which led to a Seven Sister asking me if I would become an Anchoress. I am happy and blessed to be asked to serve in this way.” (Leandra, New Mexico)
“I’m a Catholic wife and mother of seven and I’m very grateful for Fr B‘s example and conversations that he has with his students. He really made an impact on my oldest who just graduated. I see the importance of good, holy priests and I want to support them through prayer!” (Anne, Kansas)
“I attended a Conference where a priest spoke of how both Religious and Laity are being spiritually attacked and some even receiving hate letters. His parish has the Seven Sister Apostolate active and has felt the much-needed prayers. The Holy Spirit moved me to visit the Apostolate Table that day. I felt the call immediately to respond and commit to weekly Holy Hours.” (Tammy, Iowa)