Greetings to dearest Sisters in Christ as we move to encompass our holiest days, then embrace Eastertide, all to encourage the world to rally with us in our love of Christ! Alleluia!
An invitation to “watch with Me for an Hour” was made in the Garden. The first Good Friday held another Holy Hour invitation. Fr Mateo Crawley-Boevey explains, “The chants of the heavenly Jerusalem are interrupted. The entire court of Heaven waits in order to receive the last throb of the Heart of the Man-God, the victim of Golgotha. Fervent loving souls, we are truly at the summit of Calvary: it is the Holy Hour!” Drowsiness prevailed over any watching at Gethsemane, despite Jesus’ repeated attempts to arouse. Interestingly, the Synoptic Gospels (Matt 27:55, Mark 15:40, Luke 23:49) echo this same verb of Gethsemane at the place of Golgotha. All describe the women “watching” at a distance. St John places Mother Mary, and the women accompanying, near the Cross (Jn 19:25). Could it be that in the darkness over the whole land (from the sixth to the ninth hour or 12 to 3 pm) that the women, stirred by intensified love, were drawn from “watching at a distance” to be near their suffering Lord? Here, in keeping vigil, not slumber, they attended our Lord in a firm witness of boldness, deep affection and fidelity.
What a marvelous model and encouragement for Seven Sisters intercessors! What a powerful link to Calvary itself as we consider and follow these earliest companions of Christ that show us the full Way of love where they joined the newly-ordained virginal priest of Jesus Christ, St John. Truly, even now, Our Lady accompanies us as a first disciple, as well as Mother, to every Holy Hour. St Peter Julian Eymard, dubbed the Apostle of the Eucharist, believed that Eucharistic Adoration is the most necessary mission to the Church and believed that the Blessed Virgin desires to create a “court of devoted adorers.” (Seven Sisters?!!) Her company, and those of our saintly sisters, nurtures loyalty to our commitment and instills courage even in the face of suffering. “We are not called to great penances,” reminds Ven Fulton Sheen, “but the Holy Hour is a sacrifice in union with Christ.” Catholic author, Caryll Houselander, adds this fortifying thought to what compels our actions of prayer offerings. “A sacrifice is not, as so many people imagine, a mortification; it is not something that is meritorious according to its degree of unpleasantness. On the contrary, in real sacrifice, there is joy which surpasses all other joys, it is the crescendo and culmination of love.”
While a whole spectrum of offerings for the well-being and sanctity of priests lay before the Lord, it is the queen of all devotions, the Holy Hour, that He has assigned to our Apostolate. It is a gift brimming with blessings: “A Holy Hour brings Heaven’s choicest blessings on those who are faithful to their Hour” (Pope St Paul VI), and brimming with graces: “There is no doubt that a flood of graces will descend upon your family and the world if more souls would become docile pupils of adoration” (Pope St John XXIII).
While the Mass is arguably the highest form of prayer, the form of prayer ascribed to us in this mission is Holy Hours. We have been rewarded over and again as we collectively stay close to the inspiration, submitting to God’s Will and Way. His thoughts and ways are higher. When access to a Church or Chapel is limited, some Seven Sisters keep fidelity to their Hour by arriving early for a Mass on ‘their day” and beginning the Holy Hour for their priest/bishop. They then attend the Mass, then pray the balance of the Holy Hour after the Mass. In his book, Those Mysterious Priests, Archbishop Sheen states that a Mass never interrupts a Holy Hour.
Why are we called to offer Holy Hours? While the answer did not accompany the inspiration, it seems to continually unfold by the witness of our obedience and fidelity to it. Our patron, St John Vianney, describes you: “When Our Lord sees pure souls coming to visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament, He smiles on them. They come with the simplicity that pleases Him so much. … “Our Lord is hidden there in the Blessed Sacrament, waiting for us to come and visit Him, and make our requests to Him.”
Connecting our Hour to the Good Friday Hour at Calvary can serve to deepen our fervor as we remain faithful to watch with Our Lord at His personal invitation. Is this not the heart of our Apostolate – to answer His call? “Our Lord hears our prayers anywhere, but He has revealed to His servants that those who visit Him in the Eucharist will obtain a more abundant measure of grace” (St Alphonsus Ligouri). In this abundance of grace, our mission of sanctity for each bishop and priest, is affirmed by St John Paul II: “We contribute to the radical transformation of the world during our Holy Hour of Eucharistic Adoration.” If a priest is a saint, his people will be holy!
Our prayerful fidelity to Eucharistic Adoration begets benefit to our own souls. “Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is the best time you will spend on earth! Eucharistic Adoration will make your soul everlastingly more glorious and beautiful in Heaven” (St. Teresa of Calcutta). “During our Holy Hour we grow more and more into His likeness” (Ven Fulton J. Sheen). “A Holy Hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament is worth more than a thousand years of human glory” (St. Padre Pio). Let our lives bear sure witness to this as we live close to Jesus, not content to watch at a distance!
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+ email@example.com
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 Cameroon (Africa), Portugal, and these USA states: Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia. We pray daily for priests and bishops in over 3000 groups serving 6 continents, 27 countries, all 50 USA states, most Canadian Provinces. Let no shepherd be left behind!
RECENT … and AHEAD on the calendar:
> Gratitude to Nadine and Kim for organizing the March 10-12 Retreat in Prior Lake, MN. Embracing the Gift of the Eucharist. Mary and the Eucharist: Inseparable.
> Sat, 6 May: St Mary’s in Bruce, WI. Time of Reflection and Renewal. Janette will offer a Reflection: The Privilege of Praying for Priests. Contact Amy: firstname.lastname@example.org.
> Sat, 20 May: KC Ladies Auxiliary Minnesota State Convention. Bloomington, MN. Janette will share Past, Present, Future: God’s Will and Way. Inquiries Deb: email@example.com
> Sun, 25 June: Day of Reflection. Cathedral of Notre Dame (South Bend, IN). 9:30-4 pm: Mass, Brunch, Reflection (Nicole Bobay), Cathedral/grounds tour. Tammie: sevensistersFWSB@gmail.com
Giving glory to God: Especially seeking testimonies from Priests, Bishops, Fasting Brothers regarding the Apostolate. Send email thru Web or Janette Howe, 43 Nord Circle Rd, St Paul, MN 55127
MATTERS of the HEART:
- “The Apostolate has drawn so many women into Chapels on their knees praying for our priests at a time when there are so many attacks on all fronts, both inside and outside the Church. May your Apostolate grow until every priest has Seven Sisters!!” (Meredith, Texas)
- “This apostolate has been an awesome personal journey. The first time I knelt in front of the monstrance to pray for my priest I just bawled! It was joyous bawling. I was just so overwhelmed by being alone in a small quiet room – just Jesus and me – and praying for an hour for someone else. I had never done anything like that before. Now I can’t wait to get to go be with Jesus!” (Carol, Iowa)
- “This is a vital ministry for the life of the Church. I am the mother of a newly ordained priest, and well aware of the need for prayers for these men who have sacrificed all for Christ and His Church. May Our Blessed Mother continue to guide and nurture your ministry.” (Elizabeth, Wisconsin)
- “All is good and we are growing in our faith and building a beautiful prayer life through this extraordinary and beautiful Apostolate!” (Sylvia, Arizona)
- “I love praying at the Blessed Sacrament. I pray for our priest for his divine assignments to lead Christians to God to be accomplished.” (Abwe, Kumba, Africa)
- “The Holy Spirit ignited a fire in my heart to respond to an article in our Archdiocesan paper. Our priests can change our world. We love them and our prayers are much needed.” (Debra, Louisiana)
- “The greatest blessing is to be privileged to pray for our priests and make a difference in their physical and spiritual lives. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.” (Bernadette, South Carolina)
- “I have been praying for priests daily for over 20 years. I’ve been very pleased by the reaction from the women asked to join Seven Sisters. It is a serious commitment, but they’re not intimidated in the least. I think that must be the power of the Holy Spirit in His effort to renew the face of the earth!” (Eileen, Indiana)
- “Thank you for starting this wonderful apostolate! My weekly Holy Hour has been a virtual School of Prayer for me. I’m finally learning to listen to the Lord as well as speak to Him.” (Ruth, Kentucky)
ELIJAH’s HELPERS: By prayerful desire and directive of our Apostolate Chaplain, Fr Johnson, a pilot group of Seven Sisters intercessors dedicated to offering Holy Hours for priests in various forms of crisis (no names known) within the Archdiocese of St Paul-Mpls, began in June 2021. In June 2022, this fruit of the Apostolate opened to form more groups in more Dioceses. All inquiries to Nancy at ElijahsHelpers@gmail.com or cell: 612-756-1107. It is growing! Please consider this!
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. There is a form on the Website to register.
LAMP-BEARERS: In January 2020, 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 prays a minimum of once per week, many are offering prayers every day. Intentions 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. 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. 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.
SPANISH translation of Communique: Posted (and archived) on the Website. If it is easier to receive through an email account, please let me know. Allow a few days for translation. Commitment Prayer/Guidelines Booklet in Spanish (on the Website – free download)