Our Offerings are Happily Unique

Ours is the Spirit of the Eucharist, the total gift of self.
— St Katherine Drexel

Greetings to dearest Sisters in Christ as we together catch a glimpse of the beautiful Lenten Season awaiting us on the horizon … we enter … then exit … the same, but different…

 My mother, Rosemarie, was the youngest of seven sisters. Memories abound of these women who witnessed strong sisterly love, and at the same time, starkly unique (and strong!) personalities.  When Thanksgiving rolled around, these Belgian-bred ladies donned their well-worn aprons and presented their ‘best pie’ to the expansive table awaiting the annual arrival.  While each sweet confection was offered for the same purpose: a happy ending to the bountiful meal, any of the scores of family members gathered could tell you that they knew (just by eye-ball) ‘which came from which sister’ and chose accordingly.  There was always lively discussion, ribbing and a lot of pointing going on when dessert time approached.  And while I could have been more-than-satisfied with any piece, habit had me reaching for my mother’s pie.  True, the filling was more generous and the crust had no equal, but more so, I preferred it… because it was mom’s …

 

As Seven Sisters, we too, bring our offerings to the table of the Lord.  Our offerings are happily unique.  They are as singly distinctive as the Spiritual Bouquets that we know so well as Catholics.  Experience reminds that until all the Bouquet offerings are set forth, a mystery remains.  Then what a gladsome surprise to realize how generous everyone has been!  What an over-abundant gift for the recipient! Our weekly Holy Hour offerings may seem like a fragile pansy at times, but oh, my – the fragrance and fullness of our united offerings together truly swell the heart of the priest for whom we sacrifice and pray.  We likely underestimate our hunches of the true impact on body and soul of the recipient of our devotions. Yet even appreciating the united influence of prayer, perhaps the individuality of our offerings is where a true and even more colossal hidden treasure lies.

 

This past month I happed upon a short article by Fr Richard Veras (St Joseph Seminary, New York) in the Magnificat (Vol 20, No. 12).  He referenced a stirring encounter in The Song of Bernadette (Franz Werfel’s classic novel) between Bernadette and the Lady in the Grotto.  Another young woman, Pauline, asked to exchange rosaries with Bernadette the day before an anticipated apparition.  Bernadette was disinclined, but agreed.  She took Pauline’s authentic red coral rosary, but with the appeal that Pauline would stay nearby with Bernadette’s simple black rosary. When Our Lady appeared the next day, she and Bernadette began to pray.  Our Lady asked, “Where is your own rosary?” Bernadette was so moved by our Lady’s notice and preference for her unique offering, that she ran to Pauline and retrieved her simple rosary and held it high for our Lady to see.  In reflection, Fr Veras intimates that our encounters with the Lord are not generic.“They are personal encounters in which the Holy Spirit unites to the Lord a particular person with a particular history, a particular temperament, particular weaknesses and wounds, and particular and preciously endearing qualities.” 

 

From the seed of the Apostolate, there stood a sense of strength that would grow kindled by the courage and confidence of each intercessor to trust the workings of the Holy Spirit within her heart.  As the maidens in Waterhouse’s painting, each woman uniquely chooses her offerings in the presence of the living waters of the Eucharist. Whatever prayers are important to the individual are likely ones that flow from the heart with sincerity and would likely bring merit to the soul of the priest for whom is prayed. For we are his workmanship, created for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).

 

While in Ave Maria, Florida, at the end of January for a Seven Sisters gathering, a few women in attendance offered ideas of prayers that they sensed would edify the life of the priest for whom they prayed.  For them, this was most obviously a prayer that rose from deep recesses of their heart and meant something – for them, for the priest.   At the end of the time at Ave, one of the priests presented his ‘piece of pie’ as it were.  When asked how we should, could, would pray for priests, he paused and said, “Well, you could pray for pastoral energy.  We all need that! We are called to go here, then there, then somewhere else.”  He paused … then continued, “But really … don’t worry about what to pray.  You are in the Presence of Jesus Himself.  He will guide you. He knows best what the priest needs that day, that week.  He will guide you.” Father was affirming the uniqueness of each Holy Hour, each individual waiting upon the Lord for direction in prayer.  Quietness. Trust. Strength.

 

As we present our offerings nourished by the life-giving waters of the Eucharist (again referring to Waterhouse’s painting), may we eventually so consistently linger and exist in this milieu that we may be like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and whose leaf does not wither.  In all that (she) does, (she) prospers (Psalm 1: 3).  May this word not return void!

 

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....  Pray that I will not 'spoil the beautiful work that God has entrusted...'  (St Teresa of Calcutta)

... your kind emails and notes and generous support always arrive to my heart door at the right moment! Your letters of testimony are so beautiful and edifying! Don't stop writing to me. Eternal gratitude is mine for YOU! Be assured of my continued daily prayers for you at the altar.

Janette
+JMJ+
joy2day2u@aol.com

A Study: Maidens Picking Flowers by a Stream ~  John William Waterhouse

A Study: Maidens Picking Flowers by a Stream ~ John William Waterhouse

SEVEN SISTERS - in and out and about:

Heartfelt welcome:  New groups registered in February in these states to cover more priests in daily prayer: Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, Nevada (NEW state!) North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.   These 1o states in the USA do not YET have the joy and benefit of a Seven Sisters group: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Wyoming.

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

 SEVEN SISTERS Tri-fold BROCHURE:  So beautifully designed by a Seven Sister, Diane S, of Wichita, Kansas.  They can be effectively used in parish pamphlet stands (ask your pastor’s approval prior), Adoration Chapels, Retreat Centers, Bags/Packets for Women’s Conferences/Retreats, Women’s clubs, Serra club.  There is a full color version and one with a color exterior and B/W interior (my personal favorite and a bit cheaper to print).  Available on Web as free download.  Recommend 80# silk for best printing results.  You may also order through sending an email through the Web.  Indicate address/quantity.  May God bless Diane, for this labor of love and generous spirit to share it!

 NOTES to Anchoresses:  If you do not receive a Communiqué within the first 7 days of a new month, contact me directly or through the Web site email. In turn, when received, please pass the Communiqué within one week's time to your group members, if able - or have another in the group do this for you.

REMINDER:  Some of you have a genuine gift to encourage participation of others in the Apostolate – do not squelch the zeal!  You may have heard that we encourage women to be an Anchoress for only one group. This way the joy of leadership is extended and it is a more manageable role for each Anchoress. The focus and energies remain in the best place: the prayer efforts!

ALSO:  While all Seven Sisters are happily remembered in daily prayer, the Apostolate only keeps record of the names and contact information of the Anchoresses. Each Anchoress is responsible to keep record of her group's members and assist in keeping them in the loop of communication. Team work at its best!  Please inform of all NEW groups/Anchoress/priest/other changes thru Web site.

 RECENT ... and AHEAD on the calendar:

 > Gratitude:  Eileen W (Seven Sisters Phoenix Diocesan Coordinator) hosted an informational booth and spoke in re: Apostolate at the Phoenix Catholic Women’s Conference (Xavier College Prep) 09 Feb 2019.  Apostolate Brochure given to each attendee. Several new groups within one week’s time!

14 March 2019: Archdiocese Team (St Paul- Mpls) prayer and meeting

6 April 2019: Prayer and informational.  Seven Sisters Holy Cross campus, St Hedwig, NE Mpls, MN

> 11 April 2019: MOSAIC Luncheon (Iowa Catholic Radio) Des Moines, IA (details forthcoming) 

> 04 May 2019: Magnificat Grapevine Chapter breakfast/testimony: Louisville, TX

> 10-11 May 2019: Retreat in Waverly, NE. Theme: In quietness and trust is your strength

> 1 June 2019 – ½ Day of Reflection – St Joseph parish, Owatonna, MN (8 am Mass – 1 pm, incl lunch) Diocese of Rochester -Winona. All welcome – need not be Seven Sister. Theme: Vessel of generosity: the hand and heart of Mary are open to all.  Bishop Quinn, Fr Jim Starasinich, Janette to speak. Registration preferred for lunch count.  Free will offering. Check Apostolate Web site for contact info.

> 1 June 2019 – Second Annual Seven Sisters ½ Day of Reflection – Diocese of St Cloud (MN) (details and contact info forthcoming)

> Plans for Kansas visit first Sunday of August (possible w/e visit prior in Spring, to include Omaha)

> Plans for Georgia and North Dakota visit in the prayer stages.

 BISHOP groups: These groups officially commence with seven intercessors.  However, within six months’ time it is recommended that two additional groups of seven be added.  The Bishop thus receives three Holy Hours each day. The idea is that we pray “morning, noon, and night” for our Bishops (figurative more than literal, although some Bishop groups have chosen to have distinctive times for each group of seven).  NOTE: One Anchoress for entire group of 21 intercessors.

 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 or to my email address. Please check site monthly for additions!

 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.  Several groups have/are offering Holy Hours for an entire year for their beloved deceased priest.  What a witness of love!

 SPANISH translation of Communique:  This is generously done every month by Zahyra B, Anchoress for a Seven Sisters group in Venezuela.  EXTRA PRAYERS for VENEZUELA! They are then posted (and archived) on the Website.  If it is easier to receive through an email account, please let me know. Expect 2-3 days for translation. Commitment Prayer/Booklet in Spanish (on the Web).