Greetings to dearest Sisters in Christ as we share the Alleluia-laden course of Eastertide! St Athanasius termed all 50 days as one “great Sunday”! Alleluia is indeed our song!
Heaven is near – not merely so evidently in Eastertide, but always. St Catherine of Siena mused, “All the way to heaven is heaven, because Jesus said, “I am the way.” Our Lord also allocates heaven’s influence through our Guardian angels that light, guard, rule and guide. The saints (foremost, Our Lady) are for us family, friends and fetching models of life to the full. We are near them in a unique way. Scripture intimates we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses (Heb 12:1). Our Faith’s history affirms that the saints are not as spectators encircling us in a sport’s arena, but rather interfacing with our lives. As our truest brothers and sisters whose resolute desire is our sanctity, they fittingly rouse in us longings to be like them and to live in the Light of Christ with them. The saints carry holy expectancy for our heavenly arrivals. They are not idle in waiting, but intentionally dynamic to spur each of us Homeward through the moments of our lives. Seven Sisters share that eagerness of heaven for the souls of the priests/bishops for whom we pray!
From the earliest days of the Church, the faithful have sought the companionship in prayer of those holy ones who have gone before us to their reward. Pursuing the intercession of a saint does not suggest that one cannot directly approach God in prayer. Rather, it is asking a friend to pray alongside. In this case our friend is in heaven and can intercede with and for us without ceasing.
The Apostolate is consistently bolstered in prayer through our own divinely-assigned tri-patrons: Madonna of the Grapes (overseer of the Eucharistic life), St John Vianney (patron of all priests) and St Margaret Clitherow (martyr and defender of the Eucharistic life and priests). This trifecta deeply loves us and the recipients of our prayers. A communion of saints in sweet actuality! Other saints with fitting patronages related to the lives of priests/bishops may also be worthy of our solicitation as Seven Sisters. While our patrons are always in the ready to help priests and help us pray for them, consider these of that “great cloud” to assist in our Holy Hours:
+ St Charles Borromeo, an Italian Cardinal and Bishop and prominent figure in the counter-reformation, is patron of bishops, cardinals, spiritual leaders, seminarians. (+1584)
+ St Leopold Mandić, a humble Capuchin Friar, is patron of Confessions. He sometimes spent up to 13-15 hours in the confessional. Several Bishops sought his spiritual guidance. (+1942)
+ St John Nepomucene is patron of the Confessional Seal. He was the Confessor to the Queen of Prague. King Wenceslaus IV pointedly asked Father to divulge his wife’s confession. Upon refusal to disclose, he was imprisoned, tortured and finally, by order of the king, heaved into the river. The waters are said to have shown a strange brightness where he drowned. (+1393)
+ St Joseph is patron of the Universal Church, Workers and a Happy Death, all these, important to a priest/bishop. St Thomas Aquinas had this to say: “Some Saints are privileged to extend to us their patronage with particular efficacy in certain needs, but not in others; but our holy patron St. Joseph has the power to assist us in all cases, in every necessity, in every undertaking.”
+ St John Chrysostom, an Eastern Church Father and Archbishop of Constantinople, is patron of Orators. This fearless reformer gifted in preaching was dubbed “golden mouthed”. He especially loved to preach St Paul’s writings, calling him the “trumpet of heaven.” (+407)
+ St Therese of Lisieux, a French Carmelite nun and Doctor of the Church, is patroness of Sacristans. How fitting to her deep love of sacristy work, holy Mass and priests. She composed a splendid poem, “The Sacristans of Carmel”, that is worth the search to find! (+1897)
+St Manuel Gonzalez Garcia, a Spanish Bishop called the “Bishop of the Abandoned Tabernacle”, challenged the faithful to realize how much Christ is left alone in the tabernacle of hearts and lives. He tirelessly encouraged Eucharistic visits. He is a patron of Eucharistic revival, and loved his priesthood, “If I would be born a thousand times, a thousand times I would be a priest.” (+1940)
The journey of holiness asks a continual strength. God beckons both His heavenly and earthly family into that marvelous mission. Aside from the aforementioned saints, we might consider calling upon the Baptism and Confirmation namesake saints of the priest/bishop for whom we pray. Consider the patron of the parish, monastery, city, diocese, country, continent where the priest/bishop serves. Does Father have a particular kinship to certain saints? Is Father needing special intercession for a patron related to his particular service to the Church (parish, monastic life, missionary work, seminary studies, spiritual direction, canon law, hospital chaplaincy, school educator, media work, retired from an assigned duty), for health concerns or the like? Help is all around!
As Seven Sisters, how valuable is our holy habit to call upon Mary, queen of heaven and earth, in every Holy Hour. She listens and guides, and especially in this month of May helps us discern God’s call regarding our continuance with the Apostolate prayer for another year.
In a time gravely crippled by despair and mediocrity, the billows of our prayers join those of the “great cloud of witnesses” in the sure hope of fueling and strengthening magnanimous, saintly priests and bishops to lead us. “Fly not to God’s enemies… but to His friends, the martyrs, the saints, and those who were pleasing to Him, and who have great power (in God)” (St John Chrysostom).
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.
SEVEN SISTERS – in and out and about:
Heartfelt welcome: NEW groups that registered in APRIL to cover more priests in daily prayer: Additional groups in Cameroon (Africa), Kenya (Africa), Lisbon (Portugal), Rome (Italy) and these USA states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. We pray daily for priests and bishops in over 3200 groups serving 6 continents, 27 countries, all 50 USA states, most Canadian Provinces. Let no shepherd be left behind!
NEW- to serve YOU! Want to plan a Seven Sisters information session, Morning of Reflection, Day of Retreat, Overnight Retreat? Or just need ideas to getting the word out about the Apostolate? A group of Seven Sisters with creative and organizational gifts will help you get started, keep you going and pray all along the way like sisters do! No idea too small or too big! Contact: SevenSistersEvents4U@gmail.com
RECENT … and AHEAD on the calendar:
- 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. Bring a friend! 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
- Sat, 03 June: Day of Reflection, Prayer, Recommitment. St Mary’s Cathedral, St Cloud, MN. Theme: Heart…to Heart…to Heart (Talks: Fr Aaron Nett//Michelle Steele) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sat, 10 June: Eucharistic Congress. Mankato Civic Center (Minnesota). Bishop Robert Barron. Talks, Adoration, Confessions, Eucharistic Procession, concluding Mass with all Winona-Rochester priests concelebrating. We have a booth and a banner for the Procession! Seven Sisters: claim a free gift at booth. Join us in worship and witness of Jesus! This Is My Body – Eucharistic Congress 2023
- Sat, June 10: Conference (8-2). Christ the King, Milwaukie, OR SevenSistersPortland@gmail.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
- Sat, 8 July: Seven Sisters Day of Retreat. Olympia, WA. Holly: email@example.com
MATTERS of the HEART:
- “When I think about the gift Jesus gives His bride in the heart of each priest, it just pierces my heart with gratitude and joy and pain. Our sacramental life, our reception of our Eucharistic Lord is dependent on their fiat. I have to respond and what a beautiful gift the Seven Sisters Apostolate is.” (Lindsey, Indiana)
- “Our priest informed us of the Seven Sisters. My group of seven is the third group formed. I visited York, England, and learned about St Margaret Clitherow. I feel she guided me to join.” (Marilou, New York)
- “I have been a Spiritual Director for 17 years. Today a Directee told me about the Seven Sisters Apostolate and my spirit soared at the idea of praying this committed hour for our priest. This is our beginning to lift up our parish priest to the protection of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.” (Joan, Louisiana)
- “Priests can fall prey to spiritual attacks and I wanted to offer some protection.” (Julie, Virginia)
- “I am a lay Carmelite, one of our charisms is contemplative prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. This Apostolate is the perfect opportunity to share this gift for the good of our Shepherds.” (Janine, Ohio)
- “Strengthening our priests strengthens our parish, diocese, and more! A consistent wave of prayer brings the Lord’s graces and blessings to our priests. I want to be part of strengthening our priests in prayer, and supporting the other six sisters praying.” (Renee, Virginia)
- “I am a practicing Catholic, single mother of three kids, doing a small business. Sr Theresia Itor introduced this group to me. l like praying for people especially for priests.” (Judith, Kumba, Cameroon)
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)
ANCHORESSES: Please pass this Communiqué on to group members
Visit the Apostolate website today… www.sevensistersapostolate.org
Please like our Facebook page! www.facebook.com/sevensistersapostolate
…in quietness and trust is your strength. – Isaiah 30:1
Madonna of the Grapes, pray for us!
St John Vianney, pray for us!
St Margaret Clitherow, pray for us!