The Angels

Greetings to dearest Sisters in Christ...

In recent days one might be feeling akin to St Peter finding himself sinking in the waters. …but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord save me.”  Jesus immediately reached out His hand and caught him, “O man of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matt 14:30,31). We may unabashedly echo St Peter’s cry, but let us also confidently anticipate the outstretched, sure Hand and Heart of Jesus to fortify us.  There is help all around. 

As Seven Sisters, Mary is also our ever-ready support in whom we have recourse.  Likewise, our patrons, St John Vianney and St Margaret Clitherow, assist in prayer and as inspiring models of perseverance.  Further, our Holy Hours are mystically united and strengthened with the reality that other Sisters share the week’s prayer responsibility for the same priest or bishop.  Our benevolent Lord lavishes us with the riches of His grace (Eph 1:8) and sends yet more help:  His angels!

The Apostolate had an angelic link from day one.  Inspiration Day was 24 March 2011, the traditional Feast of St Gabriel, the messenger.  What a message indeed!  At the end of this month (29 September) we will celebrate the now-shared Feast Day of St Gabriel, St Raphael and St Michael. Celebrate well!

These celestial servants of Christ enlighten, guide, watch over and protect individuals, churches, cities, countries and the world.  They offer a unique friendship. Their existence is a truth of faith (Catechism, 328).  Holy Scripture makes mention of them some 230-400 times (sources vary on the number because of differing use of semantics). It is one thing to consider the presence of angels, quite another to embrace the truth that we are quite literally surrounded by them.  We are never alone on our earthly pilgrimage nor in our prayer. 

In his enlightening book (EWTN publishing, 2018), His Angels at our Side, Fr John Horgan states that the angels’ work is threefold:  adoring the Lord, carrying out His will, and mediating His communication with His bodily creatures (that’s us!).  It struck me that all three aspects of this work are realized during our Seven Sister Holy Hours.

Imagine the gift to our Guardian angel when we enter the Adoration Chapel.  The Chapel is filled with more angels who encircle Our Lord in the monstrance.  Together we are swept up in enduring adoration and love.  Guardian angels of the other adorers in the Chapel are present, as well.  What sweet air we breathe as we settle into these holy environs for our Hour! 

Our Guardian angel intercedes with us and is the mediator, bringing our prayers, as incense, to the heights. Remember the angels of Jacob’s ladder – ascending and descending (Gen 28: 10+).  “The angels in particular serve as intermediaries between God and the faithful here below; they reveal to them the design of God; they intervene in the battle as His ministers…” (Dom Cyprian Vagaggini, OSB, Theological Dimensions of the Liturgy).  They are missioned to carry out the Will of God, and likely assist us in praying that Will into being for our priest to whom we are committed to pray. “The prayer of an angel is like a flame; he is consumed by it, not in the sense that he is destroyed by it, but in the sense that his entire being becomes prayer” (Fr John Horgan). We stand to learn from the angels: how to perfect the charity of our prayer and seek the Will of God above all else in our intercessions.

This may be a novel idea: Consider praying for the Guardian angel of the priest/bishop for whom you pray. It is a given he has one and with the mission to light, guard, rule and guide.  But there is more.  The angel of a priest has a special relationship and deep respect for his dignity and duties.  After having conferred Holy Orders on a man, St Francis de Sales noticed that the newly ordained priest stopped at the door as if to give precedence to another. When asked, the priest answered that God favored him with the visible presence of his Guardian angel.  Before his ordination the angel remained at his right and preceded him, but afterwards he walked on his left and refused to go before him.  St Francis of Assisi echoes the same (later quoted by St John Vianney) in saying, “If I saw an angel and a priest, I would bend my knee first to the priest and then to the angel.”

When my son, then-seminarian-Spencer, prepared to leave for his initial studies in Rome, my mind was a whirr at what sage send-off advice could be offered at the airport.  Then through my heart and lips it tumbled out, “Get to know and love your Guardian angel.”  The sound of the words brought both a bit of surprise and a bit of solace for both of us.  It proved to be sage advice...

In these days when clerical scandals bring suffering to us, to the priests, to the Church … perhaps we may look to another angel for comfort, the Angel of Gethsemane. Fr John Horgan (His Angels at our Side) speaks of Catholic nurses who often recited prayers (as exampled below) to this angel that comforted Jesus Himself after He accepted the chalice of suffering for us and for our salvation (Luke 22:43).  They prayed for “strength to tend to patients entrusted to their care, particularly during the long and lonely hours of the night.” He continues, “devotion to this angel may be a source of great grace and wisdom to help find the right words to say to those who suffer.  It is in Christ and His sacrifice that we find significance and meaning for our human pains.” Our prayers for our priest/bishop may benefit from the concerted intercession of this angel of consolation.  We can solicit the grace of God through the intercession of that angel who was chosen by God to bring comfort to His Divine Son on the night of His Passion.  Truly, our priests/bishops who each live as an “alter Christus” share deeply in His Passion and in His priestly prayer for us in that Passion.  Let us pray:

O Angel of Gethsemane, chosen by the Father to bring strength and consolation to Jesus during His agony, I ask you to be with me now as I keep watch over my loved one who is sick and suffering.  Help me to offer my best care, love, and protection to this child of God.  May my words and my touch be filled with gentleness, my presence bring comfort, and my prayers bring rest and healing sleep. Do what I cannot do, O loving Angel, to bring healing and strength to soul and body, according to the Father’s will.  Amen.

In the vitality of these graces, we gain a clear-sightedness to cooperate with this lavishness of graces. There is help all around.  From the fullness of His grace, we have all received one blessing after another. (John 1:16).

 MORE on ANGELS: St Padre Pio (several writings)

Visit Web site/retreat schedule: Opus Sanctorum Angelorum

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.

651-484-3404 (h)
651-283-0929 (c)

Christ is the center of the angelic world. They are His angels. ... They belong to Him because they were created through and for Him. ... They belong to Him still more because He has made them messengers of His saving plan.
— Catechism of the Catholic Church, 331

SEVEN SISTERS - in and out and about:

SEVEN SISTERS BOOKLETS: Available as free download from Web site.  Hard copies are passed on for printing costs of $2 each + postage. Order thru Web email or email above.

NOTES to Anchoresses: Continued gratitude for your prompt, cooperative efforts with Seven Sister, Marg, who through a tireless labor of love, is updating the spreadsheet.  Almost completed!

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:

> Gratitude to Denice B and companions who hosted a Seven Sisters Apostolate booth at the 19th annual Midwest Family Catholic Conference in Wichita, KS, 3-5 August 2018.

> Gratitude to Kathy and Sue M who arranged a Google Hangout presentation w/Janette in Minot, ND, on 23 August 2018.  (We’ve come a long way from tin cans and strings!) Well attended, groups forming!

> Gratitude to Marg W and Doreen P who will host a Seven Sisters Apostolate booth at a Women’s Emmaus event on 13 October 2018 at Transfiguration parish in Oakdale, MN.

> Joy filled Seven Sister groups from Holy Name of Jesus in Medina, MN, gathered for Mass, concerted commitment prayer, testimonies and lunch on 30 August 2018.

REGISTER:  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.  Click here for details. On-line registration opens 09/14/18

> Marg W and Janette will travel to New Ulm, MN, for a presentation: 02 October 2018

> Last weekend in October: Day of Recollection (Lincoln, NE) Theme: Getting to Know our Patrons. More details will follow on the Web site as they are made available

> Blue Earth/Winnebego, MN, area: local Seven Sisters are praying/planning a near future informational for encouragement and to boost participation

> Ave Maria, FL, gathering in January 2019

NEW groups: We welcome two new countries to our Apostolate family: Canada and Peru. There are now 35 US states with groups – 15 to yet discover the JOY of the Apostolate graces! Janette will be meeting with someone next month in France who is full of zeal in igniting the Seven Sister flame there and has connections in several European countries.  All in God’s Will and Way.

 The PRIEST is NOT His OWN (Fulton Sheen): Copies available: $15 each.  Order through my email or Web email.  Guaranteed to be edifying and enhance your Holy Hours. SUPERB to consider the role/dignity of the Priest! Recommended reading for each Anchoress. AUDIO version on also for a read along! A Seven Sister in Michigan is forming a book study through her parish – details will be forthcoming.  (Special mailing!)

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. The Commitment Prayer is also in Spanish (on the Web).