April 2024 Communiqué

Monday, April 01, 2024 08:19am

Greetings to dearest Sisters in Christ as we begin reveling in the 50 days of Eastertide. The entire month of April is within this festal season. Let us be attractive witnesses to authentic joy, an extension of Jesus in the midst of suffering and lost humanity, and ready to give the reason for it.  And so too, let us recall that these days are also lived within the Year of Prayer, inaugurated by Pope Francis in late January as preparation for the Jubilee of 2025.  What a time, teeming with graces, to nurture our understanding to the call of intercession – and invite others along!

“Teach us to Pray,” a booklet prepared by the Dicastery for Evangelization as a resource for this special year, became available in multiple languages in early March. A roster of translations is found here: Disponibile il sussidio “Insegnaci a Pregare” The guide is presented in concise, easy-to-read style.  This nugget from it should hearten every Seven Sister: “In this Year of Prayer, all communities are invited to promote times of Eucharistic Adoration, an indispensable element for encountering the Lord. … Each community should find the most appropriate ways and times to develop this practice that brings so many fruits of holiness to the Church.”  Suggestions are proposed and may assist many of us who have carried a long-time desire for this to happen more widespread. 

Our call to prayer serves as a compass that consistently directs us to the bidding of our True Vine, “Abide in me, and I in you” (John 15:4).  Here, the seeds of holiness find their sap.  We are invited to live as friends of Christ, not servants.  He further explains:  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you (John 15:16).  God’s plans (Jer 29:11) are marked by prosperity, not harm.  For a hope and a future.  Knowing the choice was His first, offers a prevailing confidence.  What is true for us is, of course, also true for the priests/bishops for whom we pray. He chooses each. He calls each. His gifts and His call are irrevocable (Rom 11:29).  How wide-ranging are God’s appointments of His priests. While each is to draw life from the Vine, each labors in the Vineyard in unique ways, albeit sometimes as close as shoulder-to-shoulder.  At times, those ways are a call to a hiddenness, even a call within the call – for a length of time or the duration of one’s priesthood.  Regardless, the Apostolate determines to pray for them all at all times.  

As Seven Sisters our prayers are guided in how the priestly recipients of our prayers serve the Church.  We pray daily for Bishops serving in these ways: the Pope (9 groups), Cardinals, Archbishops, Abbots, corBishops, Bishops, Coadjutor Bishops, Auxiliary Bishops, retired Bishops, Bishops-elect.   We pray daily for priests serving in these ways:  Pastors, Parochial vicars, Cathedral rectors, Parochial Administrators, Sacramental Ministers, Seminary rectors and Spiritual Directors, Retreat Center Directors, Vocation Directors, Military Chaplains, Professors and teachers, University presidents, Newman Center Chaplains, Judicial Vicars, Hospital Chaplains, Exorcists, Chancery staff, Radio/media ministry priests, Counselors, Scholarly studies (sent by Diocese), Prison Ministry Chaplains, Chaplains of Third Orders.   We pray daily for those called to live as monks, friars, missionaries, hermits.  We pray daily for priests on sabbatical, living through critical circumstances, ailing, in final moments on earth and after death.  Hearts are open to welcome more priests into our daily prayers and sacrifices.  Let us not be reticent to invite others to join us, especially in this Year of Prayer!

Seven Sisters’ prayers fundamentally find solid guidance from the commonalities these men share in the one Priesthood of Jesus Christ.  Regardless of where each is put to task in the Vineyard, each began as personally chosen and called, ordained through Apostolic succession, and anointed for the sake of the sacraments. Each is commissioned at Christ’s initiative.  Each undergoes an ontological transformation, and bears a permanent mark.  Each is engendered by Christ’s call to closely share in His Cross.  These men of Christ stand beyond compare as they are consecrated for and entrusted in the sacred mysteries and mission of the Eucharist.  Fr George Welzbacher, a priest of over 70 years in St Paul-Mpls, offered this truth in my hearing to a transitional Deacon readied for Holy Orders: “The work of the priest is eternal.  There are many commendable things many people can do… and do do, but the work of the priest is to keep people out of hell and get them into heaven.  That is eternal work.” All this carries us, as sisters in Christ, to prayerful gratitude, support and the strongest of hopes for fidelity to this eternal call.   For the priests/bishops and us alike: We are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them (Eph 2:10).  May we be loyal sons and daughters to the abiding works God has prepared.

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.

Janette (Howe) +JMJ+  

SEVEN SISTERS – in and out and about:

Heartfelt welcome: NEW groups that registered in MARCH to cover more priests in daily prayer:  Additional groups in Africa (Cameroon), Canada (Nova Scotia), England, Archdiocese of Washington, DC and these USA states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Louisianna, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.  Our sure and steady mission in every diocese of every country:  Let no shepherd be left behind! 

RECENT … and AHEAD on the calendar:

> Gratitude to Meghan for designing a striking flyer to use “where-ever, when-ever” to encourage more prayer support for more priests.  It is linked on this Communique, on the Website, or can order. 

> Gratitude to Iowa Catholic Radio for live 21 March interview by Jeanne Thill with Seven Sisters Des Moines Diocesan Coordinator, MaryJo, and Janette. 

> Sat, 20 April: Time of Reflection and Renewal.  “Madonna of the Grapes: Overseer of the Eucharistic Life and model to us.” Janette to offer Reflections.  Includes Mass, 1st class relics veneration, breakfast and lunch. St Mary’s (Bruce, WI). Contact:  Amy: sevensisterssuperior@gmail.com

> Sat, 4 May: Day of Reflection. St Thomas Becket, Ft Worth, TX. “Cultivating a Heart of Prayer: Praying for Priests & Curbing Distractions” Janette to offer Reflection. Info  mariarose173@gmail.com

> Fri/Sat, 10/11 May: Our Lady of Good Counsel Retreat House. Waverly NE.  “Let’s talk Roses!” (Roses all around: the rosary, titles/apparitions of Mary, St Rose of Lima, St Therese’s shower of roses).  Janette to offer Reflections.  Attend wearing something “rose-y”. https://www.goodcounselretreat.org 

> Fri/Sat, 17/18 May: Star of the North Eucharistic Congress (Sanford Center in Bemidji, MN) Seven Sisters booth there! Visit for a free gift!  Star of the North Eucharistic Congress – Crookston, MN

Contact:  Seven Sisters Coordinator, Anna. sevensistersduluth@gmail.com

> Sat, 8 June: Archdiocese of Dubuque (IA) celebrating 10 years of the Apostolate! Morning event, incl Mass, reflection, testimonies, lunch.  St. Columbkille (Dubuque). “Heaven’s Blessings for the Priest and Pray-er” Fr. David Schatz, Seminary rector/keynote.  RSVP: Leone: r1berge@msn.com

> Sat, 8 June: Save the Date. Olympia, WA. Contact for info: Holly: sevensistersseattle@gmail.com

Impressive LOGO pendants available:  Seven Sister Annie W collaborated with Seven Sister Jean M from Fount of Grace, to design and strike a beautiful medallion of the Apostolate logo.  Go to www.fountofgrace.com and click onto Apostolate top right.  A portion of sales to the Apostolate. The design and appearance are perfectly fitting to our Work! 


  • “We were asked to consider this Apostolate for our retired priest.  The Holy Spirit brought forth women that I would not have ordinarily asked!  At times I am challenged in the Hour, with interruptions, or sometimes lack of sleep. I recognize this is to be expected the closer one grows to God. I look forward to this prayer hour each week, and find myself visiting the Lord on other days also. This is a very rewarding ministry, not just for the one being prayed for, but for those who offer the prayers.” (Mary, Wisconsin)
  •  “I am a wife and mother of three children, one of them being a Dominican priest.  I have always prayed for all our religious.  They are in need of prayer constantly. I ordered materials and made each woman a packet and gave them time to pray about it. We are now on our way!”  (Katherine, Louisianna)
  •  “I live six months a year on the island of Molokai.  It is a spiritual place with very joy filled people.  Four weeks ago, we had a visitor from Minnesota. She asked if we had a Seven Sisters program.  After talking with her and doing some research, I was moved by the mission and ministry.  I firmly believe in the power of prayer and that the visitor was brought to introduce the program to me.  I feel compelled to use my time and talent in stewardship towards a Seven Sisters group on Molokai and firmly believe that it will strengthen our priest, churches and us as Seven Sisters directly through our prayers.” (Diane, Hawaii)
  • “I enjoy prayer and adoration so much! I feel such joy when I can pray for others. I love the closeness I feel to God thru Virgin Mary and Jesus. Our priests really need prayer in this day and time.  What better way is there than prayer and adoration?”  (Alice, Texas)
  • “I am a nurse by profession. After Sr. Theresia Itor explained the mission of the group, I felt drawn to it as it will help me to be more committed and focused in praying for the priest.  Sister also asked if I could take the leadership. I saw it as a challenge and so accepted it.” (Adele, Cameroon, Africa
  • “I was in the Adoration Chapel in a neighboring town and saw a brochure about the Seven Sisters.  I read it and also went to the website.  I was drawn to your mission and structure statement.  Priests need our prays to be strong and to faithfully serve.  I specifically like the idea of seven women devoting one hour a week on a specific day praying for one priest.” (Shelly, Minnesota)
  • “My mother has helped start many groups in South Carolina. We have prayed St. Faustina’s prayer for priests at our family dinner table for many years.  Diocesan priests do some very heavy lifting.  Many don’t have family to pray for them regularly. We need to be that family.”  (Mary Kay, New York)

ELIJAH’s HELPERS: Intercessors in this group are dedicated to offering Holy Hours for priests in various forms of crisis (no names known).  These are special Hours for special circumstances and carry special supportive graces.  It is growing! Please consider this vital, hope-filled offering for our priests!  All inquiries to Nancy at ElijahsHelpers@gmail.com  or cell: 612-756-1107.  She will help!

APPRECIATED and LOVED quilt project:  A double cloaking for RETIRED PRIESTS: Seven Sisters prayer and a quilt! The priests love both!  To learn more regarding a single quilt for a retired priest or on how to get this started in your Diocese, contact QuiltsBySevenSisters@gmail.com  

FASTING BROTHERS is growing: Groups of men offering various forms of fasting to augment the prayer efforts of a Seven Sisters group.  Each man prayerfully discerns the type of fasting he will offer and commits to fast a designated day of the week (excepting Sunday/Solemnities). Our Chaplain, strongly urges formation of these groups. Form on the Website for FB leader to register.

LAMP-BEARERS: Lamp-Bearers, so-named for their action of continually ‘filling of their lamps with the oil of prayer’, was launched to pray for the Apostolate at large.  Each intercessor offers prayers every day for the Apostolate.  Intentions are gleaned from topics and calendar points in the monthly Communique and also sent to members on the second or third Sunday of the month.  Additional intercessors welcomed.  Inquire through Website.

SEVEN SISTERS Guideline BOOKLETS: Available as free download from Web site.  Hard copies passed on for printing cost of $2 each + P/H. Order thru Web email with amount desired/address

SEVEN SISTERS Tri-fold BROCHURE:   Effectively used in parish pamphlet stands (ask pastor’s approval prior), Adoration Chapels, Retreat Centers, Bags/Packets for Women’s Conferences/Retreats, Women’s clubs, Serra clubs – or simply handing out!  Available on Web as free download.  Recommend 80# silk for best printing results.  May also order through Web site.  Indicate address/quantity.  50 cents each or 25 for $10 + P/H.  Available in ENGLISH and SPANISH.  

SEVEN SISTERS Tri-fold LITANY for PRIESTS: Beautifully printed on 100# silk (a bit thicker than brochures).  Original artwork (inspired by the Diary of St Faustina) by Seven Sister in Minnesota, Litany by Richard Cardinal Cushing.  50 cents each or 25 for $10 + P/H.  

REMEMBRANCE of those SEVEN SISTERS who have PASSED: We want to remember those Seven Sisters in name and in prayer, who have gone before us to their eternal rest. Visit the Web site. Click on ABOUT folder and scroll to bottom, choose: IN REMEMBRANCE.  Follow prompts… OR you may submit info via the Website email. Please check site monthly for additions and to pray!  

PRIEST who has PASSED to ETERNAL REST: If the priest for whom you pray has entered eternal life, the group may be led to continue to pray for a length of time for the soul of that priest. Perhaps a novena of Holy Hours or the offering of holy Mass(es) for the priest.  You will know.  Some groups have/are offering Holy Hours for an entire year for their beloved deceased priest.  Groups may be started following the death of a priest that did not have a group prior.  This is commendable and welcomed.  Please register these special groups through the Web site.