Greetings dearest Sisters...
As is habit, when my birthday draws near, I ask the Lord, He who makes all things new, about the 'theme' of the new year ahead. In 2002 I did not depart from the inquiry. When the response came back, however, I took it a bit stiffly. "Pray the rosary every day." Having returned to the treasury of the Catholic Church in March of 1999, I had only infrequently picked up the beads. "Well, Lord, I am going to need a lot of help if this is the plan. I don't even know the Mysteries." Three days after this conversation and two days after my birthday, Pope JPII declared the Year of the Rosary along with the gladsome debut of the Luminous Mysteries within the context of his Apostolic letter of said date, The Rosary of the Virgin Mary. I savored and studied every word. Oh, happy day. Oh happy year, and bountiful grace upon grace. A life changer.
The love affair with the Rosary continues: my contentment in the dark of restless nights, my solace when my mother passed, my go-to gift for RCIA candidates, my essential hiking gear and my ever-ready work commute companion. In this month dedicated to the Rosary, it is fitting to encourage its use for your weekly Seven Sister Holy Hour. If it isn't part of your normal Hour, perhaps in October you could make an exception and include it for Father's benefit. Praying for Father's own love of the rosary may be a companion prayer to include too.
In each of the six apparitions of Fatima (this year holding the special graces of the centenary), Mary urged with great insistence that we pray the Rosary every day. The Rosary is both meditation and supplication. Pope St JPII reminds, "Insistent prayer to the Mother of God is based on confidence that her maternal intercession can obtain all things from the heart of her Son." As we pray for the priest or bishop to whom we are committed to pray, this is good news! All things obtainable from the heart of Jesus!
Here are seven (a favored number!) insights from champions of the Rosary:
"I could conquer the world if I had an army to say the rosary." - Bl Pope Pius IX
"We should meditate on the mysteries (of the rosary), applying them to the circumstances of our own lives." (so too, the lives of the priests for whom you pray) - St Anthony Mary Claret
"We honor her (Mary) by praying the rosary with love and devotion and by radiating her humility, kindness, and thoughtfulness towards others." - St Teresa of Calcutta
"The flowers of the rosary never perish." - Ven Pope Pius XII
"Today, as in other times, the rosary must be a powerful weapon to enable us to win in our interior struggle, and to help all souls." - St Josemaria Escriva
"The rosary of Mary is the great lever, it is the anchor of salvation for society and for individuals. Lepanto (Oct 7) and Vienna (Sept 12) are names associated with the rosary. The victories over the Albigensians, over French philosophies, over liberalism and modernism find their explanation in the rosary." - Bl James Alberione
"There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the holy rosary."- Servant of God Lucia dos Santos (Fatima seer)
Recently I met with Bishop Conley of Lincoln, NE, regarding Seven Sisters. Knowing that he knew our Apostolate Chaplain, Fr Joseph Johnson, I asked if perhaps they studied in Rome together. He explained that at the time of their meeting he was already a priest working at the Vatican, but was residing at the NAC (North American College) where Fr Johnson was then a seminarian. While recalling this, Bishop Conley gazed off a bit in the distance, appeared to be holding something imaginary in his hand, and said, "He was the sacristan for the NAC Chapel and I fondly recall him moving along on his rosary beads in one hand as he set up for the holy Masses there with the other." It comes as no surprise then that years later this seminarian-ordained-priest who carries a serious weapon (the rosary) would hold a witness of generosity so strong that it would spark the genesis of this international Apostolate, Seven Sisters. May God richly reward Fr Joseph Johnson.
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 Mother Teresa)
SEVEN SISTERS - in and out and about:
SPANISH translation of Communique: This is done every month by Zahyra B, Anchoress for a Seven Sisters group in Venezuela. They are then posted (and archived) on the Web. If easier to receive through an email account, please let me know. Zahyra, your generosity teaches...
RESOURCES for encountering the ROSARY more deeply: Champions of the Rosary (2016, Donald Calloway, MIC), The Rosary "The Little Summa" (4th ed, 2003, Robert Feeney), Praying the Rosary like Never Before (2017, Edward Sri). The list could go on - but this is a happy start...
UPDATE: And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching. - Hebrews 10:24-25
Nov 4, Saturday: Seven Sisters 4th Annual St Paul/Mpls Archdiocesan Day of Recollection/Retreat. Theme: Getting to Know our Patrons (Heb 12:1a) This event is fittingly within the octave celebration of All Saints Day and hosted by All Saints parish in Lakeville, MN. Our Seven Sisters mission, of course, is sanctity of our priests. Let us anticipate grace upon grace upon grace that day! Registration went live Sept 23. Need not be from St Paul-Mpls Archdiocese to attend. All welcome! Best if Anchoresses can register for all those in her group wishing to attend. Registration fee is $10 each. Pre-registration requested and preferred by Oct 23. If you have questions or need help with registration,please contact Kim T at 952-393-5594 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
SEVEN SISTERS as TOPIC:
Gratitude to both Angela M and Cindy C who organized an informational booth for Seven Sisters when St Peters in Forest Lake, MN, hosted a Spiritual Maternity Conference on Sept 9
Gratitude to Rhonda L who organized the very well attended Sept 30 Morning of Recollection in Lincoln, NE. Theme: The Privilege of Praying for Priests. The weekend included the visit with the Bishop and a stop for holy Mass and discussion at the Diocesan home for retired priests. Priests in residence are delighted they may receive Seven Sisters groups.
Gratitude to Leone B, Joann O, and Corrine S who are organizing an informational booth for Seven Sisters for a Fatima Conference in Dubuque, Iowa on 10/14
Oct 10: CCW Deanery workshop in Brainerd, MN. Topic: History of Apostolate and mission
Oct 28, Saturday: Women's Conference - St John the Baptist, Mankato, MN
Mid-Nov: Fr Johnson and Janette will speak together at a Regional/District Serra Club meeting (MN/Dakotas).
Ahead: Lorrie E will staff an informational booth at the Beauty in Christ Women's Conference in Cedar Rapids, IA, on January 27,2018 (8 am - 3 pm)
NOTEWORTHY: Just today learned that the EWTN spot (providentially?) necessitated a reschedule. Likely to be in January 2018. All has purpose...
Gatherings in North Dakota, Georgia and Florida remain in the prayer/discernment stage.
RAISING AWARENESS: Let us together remain open to starting groups for priests that are perhaps less visible (those not in a traditional parish setting). Examples: Hospital Chaplains, Military Chaplains, Monasteries, Professors in Universities, School Chaplains, Retirement Home Chaplains, Canon Lawyers, priests serving in Seminaries, Chanceries, Exorcists, and Retired priests. If you sense a call to this Apostolate, there is a priest or bishop who needs your prayers!