Greetings to dearest Sisters in Christ...
Sufferings come to us by a thousand paths. Temptations assault us when least expected. The eyes and ears of even the hardiest souls waver as to where to fix themselves at times. Be of good heart, the saints struggled against the same enemies of the soul. We stand to learn from them…
As Seven Sisters we hold dear and deep our anchor Scripture verse: In quietness and trust is your strength (Isaiah 30:15). Like the saints that precede with examples and words, and continue to ‘cheer us on’, our hearts are indeed strengthened by this trust. And our hope does not confound us (Rom 5:5). There is more. Confidence. It is a virtue. A disposition of soul. Action. After a fall the saints rose without delay, more humbled, more fortified in their dependence on God and assurance of His assistance. Their maturing hearts were growing in confidence.
Fr John Hardon, SJ, explains, “There are three words we commonly use together, and they mean almost the same thing, but not quite: hope, trust and confidence. Hope is the assured desire that we shall obtain some future good things. Trust is the reliance we have on someone that what we hope for we shall obtain. Without trust there can be no hope. … Confidence is the result of hope and trust. It is the peace of heart that comes from the security which is the result of having an assured hope and a firm trust. We can have confidence only if we first trust, and trusting have hope.”
St Thomas Aquinas reminds that confidence is the bloom of hope and requires action: “Confidence is hope fortified by solid conviction.” Perfection of hope merits the title. It is heroic hope and stirs the will to act. Fr Thomas de Saint-Laurent (+1949) in his petite-but-power-packed The Book of Confidence, puts it patently:“Confidence is not, then, a common flower. It grows on the crests; it does not permit itself to be picked except by magnanimous souls.”
The magnanimous souls are among us – and they are YOU! In the wake of the current onslaught of revelations and adversity in the church and in the world, your response has been far from cowering or anguish. Rather there is a standing of ground. The numbers of priests and bishops being covered in prayer by Seven Sisters groups has seen a happy boon. There are now over 600 groups worldwide. Women are taking their efficacious positions in prayer. All this speaks of growing confidence in God and in this call on our lives for such a times as this (Esther 4:14).
Seven (partial to the number!) heartfelt testimonies of Seven Sisters… growing in confidence:
“I strongly believe that this Apostolate is truly a gift of love given to the churches during these trying times. I see it as a renewal of the spirit of love and family with one another. Focusing on strengthening us on the inside, soaking us in the ebb and flow of God's love and mercy. It is there for us if we wish to partake of the gift given. Many thank yous … for listening to God's Love that so often gets washed away in the noise of life. Thank you for being courageous and true to the mission that God has placed in your hands. … May others who hear of the Apostolate understand the spirit of the work and work towards protecting this treasure. - May many decide to Walk with you for the Greater Glory of God! I know I have :) and with Great Confidence...”
“It's a spiritual battle. Our priests need our prayers. This apostolate is an excellent battle plan that I've been looking forward to support our parish priest.”- Homeschooling mama to 7
“I converted to Catholicism two and a half years ago, and I have been praying for my parish priest for a year as part of the Seven Sisters Apostolate. ...Especially in this time of difficulty in our Church, I think it important to uphold our priests in prayer and through this also demonstrate our faith in the Church.”
“Someone told me about this Apostolate. So, I did my research and read the entire website. With every word my heart was affirmed and made stronger. I am so very excited to do this. I am the mother of a priest. When you are the mother of one priest, a wonderful, mysterious thing happens. You instantly become the mother of all his brother priests, no matter how old they are, if you know them or not, if they know you or not. My heart so wants all of my spiritual sons to be covered/lavished with prayer. My prayer is that this Apostolate will spread like wild fire for all our priests. I love the "hidden" aspect of this; it reminds me of all the women who ministered to Jesus in His earthly mission without fanfare, without their names even being recorded. I will begin praying for 6 sisters to join me here in my parish. I will also pray for the spread and success of this apostolate.”
“Hi, I am just a parishioner ... who loves the church; and feels, in this time in history, we can do so much by our constant prayers for our priests. … God is preparing hearts to pray and not stop! He will help us! We each have a duty to pray and must give an answer to that duty.”
“I was convicted at Mass on the Feast of St. John Vianney to proceed. I began to ask the Holy Spirit and our Blessed Mother for help to see the Sisters needed. The women revealed to me were surprising! Initial invitations to parish women have been very well received. I now have six Sisters committed and three more considering. It seems timely to seek official affiliation with your Apostolate.”
“Driven with a desire to save souls, praying for priests is a sure way to help save hundreds of souls. Our shepherds play a critical part in leading the flock to God, and the holier priests we have, the more souls saved. I'm thankful for this ministry, and I will provide any resources I can to keep it strong in my church. Praise be to God for the formation of this group!”
And through the heart of the Lord, an excerpt from the aforementioned The Book of Confidence: “Our Lord once said to a saintly religious, who died in the odor of sanctity: ‘If I am good to all, I am very good to those who confide in Me. Dost thou know which souls take the greatest advantage of my goodness? They are those who hope the most. Confident souls steal my graces!’” (From Soeur Benigne Consolata Ferrero, Roudil, Lyons, pp 95-96) Imprimatur, 1920.
The virtue of confidence affords such great glory to God that it bears exceptional benefits to souls: So, do not throw away your confidence, it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised (Heb 10:35).
And from the beloved disciple himself …we have confidence before God, and receive from him anything we ask (I Jn 3: 21+). This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us (I Jn 5:14). Let us grow in this virtue as we pray for our shepherds, melding hope and trust for the fruit of confidence. Prayers for sanctity, nothing less. In God our confidence is not betrayed. Nay, it finds reward indeed – for such a time as this…
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 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.
SEVEN SISTERS - in and out and about:
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/shipping address
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 NEW groups/Anchoress/priest/other changes thru Web site.
RECENT ... and AHEAD on the calendar:
REGISTER TODAY: 5th Annual St Paul-Mpls Archdiocesan Time of Recollection: First Sat, 3 Nov 2018. St Hubert, Chanhassen, MN. Archbishop Hebda will preside at Mass. Theme: The Priest Understands His True Identity through the Mass. Check in: 8 am. Final Blessing: 2:30 pm. Free Will offering. Online registration here 9/14 - 10/15 Space limited. Register early! Guests welcomed! Questions or need help? Contact Lois at 952-334-4368 or firstname.lastname@example.org
02 October 2018: Marg W and Janette: informational, New Ulm, MN
13 October 2018: Gratitude to Marg W, Jennifer H, Doreen P who will host a Seven Sisters info booth at a Women’s Emmaus event at Transfiguration parish in Oakdale, MN
16 October 2018: Gratitude to Deb T who will offer an informational at St Paschal, St Paul
20 October 2018, Day of Recollection (Sts Peter/Paul, Blue Earth, MN) – Janette - Theme: Seven Privileges of Praying for Priests. Adoration 7 am, Mass 8 am, incl lunch. Free Will offering.
27 October 2018, Day of Recollection (Lincoln, NE) – Janette - Theme: Getting to Know our Patrons. More details will follow on the Web site as they are made available
January 2019: Ave Maria, FL, gathering. Theme: in prayer stage …
04 May 2019, Magnificat Grapevine Chapter breakfast/testimony: Louisville, TX
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. 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 is also in Spanish (on the Web).