Follow Me

What tongue, human or angelic, may ever describe a power so immeasurable as that exercised by the simplest priest in Mass? Who could ever have imagined that the voice of man, which by nature hath not the power even to raise a straw from the ground, should obtain through grace a power so stupendous as to bring from Heaven to earth the Son of God?
— St. Leonard of Port Maurice
He made them the vicars of His love.
— St. Ambrose

Greetings to dearest Sisters in Christ as we finish this month of ‘so much’ and enter another with ‘continued much’.  Grace upon grace - now and ahead. Truly, as Catholics, we live the richest life!  If posed the question, “Will ye also go away?”, let us trust we will ever-heartily and without hesitation echo the first Pope, St Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” (Jn 6:68).  

During Spring semester, the fourth-year men of our local college seminary offer ferverinos following Mass. Each man’s charge is to consider a model that has ignited the fire in his heart – and talk about it.  Typically, it is a Saint – or one-in-the-making.  When it was our son’s turn, we fully expected a spirited exchange on either his confirmation namesake, St Thomas Aquinas, or prolific writer GK Chesterton. Instead he opened with Tertullian: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” He proceeded to expound on the treasury of our Catholic inheritance through those that held nothing back, giving all. The unexpected subject matter moved my heart into a great silence of listening.  What eventually rose was an inner awareness that almost shouted “that young man is sold out for Christ”.  Next impulse: “I want to follow him.” Then came, “Oh… I know him.”

Time seems to collapse and reality seems to lose its boundaries when the heart is moved.  The priest more than most is imbued with graces destined to move hearts: sending blazing arrows to enflame souls, to challenge one to decision, to beckon a life to shed encumbrances and live fully.  The glory of God is man fully alive (St Irenaeus, 2nd C).  As Alter Christus, a priest is set to imitate and speak goodness, truth and beauty that stirs the soul to follow. Outcomes vary.  When the depth of the Eucharistic life was verbally unfurled by Jesus Himself while on earth, decisions ensued.  First, we learn that “after this many of his disciple drew back and no longer went about with him” (Jn 6:66).  We also learn that St Peter and the twelve firmly chose to stay.  Fully abandoned, all but one found their passage to eternity through martyrdom.  Our modern-day priests have imitated the first priests and assented to a path that is not embraced by great numbers in these days.  The Church aches for more priests.

Recently I was within earshot of someone suggesting a solution: that a “prayer for vocations and the St Michael prayer” should be prayed “at every single Mass, everywhere”.  While not to dispute the value of these prayers, it dawned on me at that moment that our work as Seven Sisters in no small part also serves as a solution to rally the courage of response to the call to the priesthood.

In the priestly Ordination Mass, when the presiding Bishop presents the bread and wine to each newly ordained priest he says, “Receive from the People of God the gifts to be offered to God.  Know what you do, imitate what you celebrate, and conform your life to the mystery of the Lord’s cross.”  Our offered Holy Hours fortify this promise.  Our prayers do nothing less than strengthen the character of the priest, enhancing a growing virtuous attractiveness that appeals to the those in the pew, the confessional line, the street, to those asking the question, “Am I being called to be a priest?”

While the graces of prayer soften one to listen and attend to the ear of the heart (St Benedict), responses to God’s call to the priesthood are invigorated with the appeal of the character and witness of a rightly-ordered priestly life.  Our patron, St John Vianney, is a quintessential example.  He drew thousands to him because of his holiness. God chose him to show us how far the influence of the transcendental can extend. “The priest is another Christ: Alter Christus, he is Jesus Himself; he has the same work as Jesus to accomplish; he must be the same” (Dom de Roton, OSB ).  It is the whole raison d’etre of the priesthood. 

The impetus to pray for Fr Joseph Johnson in the summer of 2010 was the witness of Christ evidenced by his extreme generosity. My query was how can I help fuel what I am witnessing?   Canon Jean Paul Trezieres (in Heidemann’s The Catholic Priest, Image of Christ) expounds, “The most vital element will certainly be generosity, the giving of one self, and it is this which identifies the priest with his Divine Model, as, like Christ, he has charge of souls.  Whether he be a parish priest, an almoner, a curate, a teacher, the superior of an Order or a bishop, following the example of the Good Shepherd, he must forget himself and give of himself without letting up for one moment if his life is to be acceptable in the sight of God.”  Our charge as Seven Sisters is a privileged one.While the world today wants to do without God, we foster the opposite.  We pray forth His Goodness through His chosen vessels, the priests! We call forth the bloom and growth of the priestly nature forever imprinted on these souls.   As the life of Christ matures within them, how unencumbered they may then speak to the heart of another that, in turn, prompts that heart too, to want to follow… as a priest…

Our prayers then, can be seen to serve as a viable solution to the Church’s need for more priests. “The priest… is always suspended in space: He does not touch heaven, but he must make heaven descend to the earth and the earth climb to heaven” (Pere Lamy).  This is the sweet essence that attracts souls to follow with abandonment!  We have a great honor set before us as Seven Sisters intercessors.  We offer not a favor to the priest for whom we pray, but rather recognize our weekly offerings as essential fuel for the life of the Church and its perpetuation.  What a JOY indeed!

Barb Y, an Anchoress from Minnesota to one of the original groups started in 2011, offered a simple outline this year to her group of Praying a Virtue a Week for their Pastor.  She emphasized to her group members that the suggestion was completely optional. Each week is a one sentence prayer that can be enfolded into the weekly Hour. Find the attachment here and on the Web outlining this.

As we pray for growth in virtue and strength for the recipients of our prayers, it happens that Divine economy blesses us, as well.  We too become more attractive in the living out of our rich sacramental lives and may be used to challenge others to come alongside.   “Lord, to whom shall we go?”  We have found the pearl of great price, dear Sisters in Christ!   We can do nothing but share it!  And you have:  At this writing, there are over 1000 active Seven Sisters groups! What a fitting offering to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 28th!  Together let us make this offering with gratitude to God for His call on our lives to cooperate in His work through this Apostolate!

 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....  that ‘one Ave Maria that 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 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. 


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SEVEN SISTERS - in and out and about:

ANNUAL RENEWAL: Commitment Prayer on/near June 28, Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

PRAYER - France pilgrims (July 1-12): Let us keep one another in thoughts and prayers!  See Web for itinerary: that your prayers may precede and follow! Be assured ours will do the same for you!

Heartfelt welcome:  New groups registered in June to cover more priests in daily prayer: NEW country:  Mexico. Additional groups also formed in Rome, Italy, and Ontario, Canada and in these USA states this month: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.    10 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.   

IN a WORD:  A clarification/reminder:  There is ONE Apostolate (Seven Sisters Apostolate), with multiple individual groups (Seven Sisters groups) organized under that umbrella title.  An Anchoress is the leader/coordinator for a group formed for a priest, not the Anchoress for a parish.

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 with amount desired/address

SEVEN SISTERS Tri-fold BROCHURE:  So beautifully designed by a Seven Sister, Diane S, of Wichita, Kansas.  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.  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.  May also order through sending an email through the Web.  Indicate address/quantity.  25 for $10 + P/H.  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 by the beginning of a new month, contact me directly or through the Web site email.  (Goal is to send the last week of preceding month)

Some of you have a genuine gift to encourage participation of others in the Apostolate – do not squelch the zeal!  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 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 to Bridget K/Lola B for organizing 1 June 2019 – First Annual Diocesan ½ Day of Reflection - Diocese of Winona-Rochester. Theme: Vessel of generosity: the hand and heart of Mary are open to all.  Gratitude to Bishop Quinn and Fr Jim Starasinich (celebrating 20 yrs of Ordination)

> Gratitude to Carrie E for organizing 1 June 2019 – Second Annual Diocesan (St Cloud) Seven Sisters Morning of Reflection/Renewal –Theme: In quietness and trust is your strength (Is 30:15).

> 1-12 July 2019: Seven Sisters Pilgrimage to France. Let us pray: one for the other!

> 1 Aug 2019 – Atchison, KS – Benedictine College – informational (Fr Howe and Janette)

> 8-13 Aug 2019 – Tour de North Dakota: taking 7 Sisters on the Road. (Kathy N, Janette from MN meeting Kathy L, Sue M, Bev C – and a whole lot more! - in ND) Yes, we will fasten our seat-belts!

> 8 Sept 2019 (Nativity of Mary) – One day Pilgrimage to National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help (near Green Bay, WI). Bus from Twin Cities (MN). Approx time frame: 5 am-8:30 pm.  Mass 11 am at Shrine, 12 noon Blessing of the Grapes (Madonna of the Grapes, pray for us!) followed by farm-to-table Luncheon.  Special guests and speakers.  Exciting details forthcoming on the Seven Sisters Web site.  If other locations of Seven Sisters members desire to attend, contact the Shrine directly for individual arrangements (esp if groups >10).  Visit the site:

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!

 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.  

SPANISH translation of Communique:  This is generously done every month by Zahyra B, Anchoress for a Seven Sisters group in Venezuela.