Greetings to dearest Sisters in Christ! On May 29th a Mass was celebrated on the Feast day vigil of St Joan of Arc beseeching graces for the July Seven Sisters pilgrimage to France. Every Seven Sister was enveloped in the intention that evening, for every Seven Sister was destined to travel along - by foot or in the hearts of the pilgrims. The pilgrims gathered from California, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Together (with you in heart!) we lived utterly transcendent days. Your generous prayers preceded, accompanied and met us at every turn. And we reciprocated! Many followed on Facebook too or kept in touch through emails. All was appreciated.
On pilgrimage Day 7 on 07/07/19, following a 3 pm Holy Hour in the crypt of the Basilica of St Louis de Montfort, an unexpected blessing came in the gladsome sighting of heirloom roses called Seven Sisters. The photo above is a detail from a massive hedge in full fragrant bloom. The pilgrims were ecstatic! A splendid and distinctive feature is that the rose clusters hold multi-colored two-inch blooms ranging in hues from magenta to deep rose to pink to light pink to white. More so – the colors change on the petals themselves as they mature - moving from dark to light! These roses experience a single bloom each year in late Spring or early Summer. Yes, we were in the right place at the right time!
As seen in the photo, coexisting on the same cluster and even on a single flower were petals of varied shades and tints. The image hearkens to the diverse weekly prayer offerings of Seven Sisters. The outcome is analogous too: striking beauty, fragrance and a mysterious, pleasing unity!
The Church over and again reminds us that the Eucharist is the Sacrament of Unity. “By means of the Eucharistic Sacrifice Christ our Lord willed to give the faithful a striking manifestation of our union among ourselves and with our divine Head, wonderful as it is and beyond all praise” (Pope Pius XII). Our call as intercessors in the presence of our Jesu Hostia puts us in the finest milieu. Love unites. What happens in our hearts and in the hearts of those in our group is not immediately recognized or perhaps even understood. He Who is Love is our Guide. Pope Benedict explains: “The personal relationship which the individual believer establishes with Jesus present in the Eucharist constantly points beyond itself to the whole communion of the Church and nourishes a fuller sense of the membership in the Body of Christ.” Our Lord is accomplishing the work. This reality can do nothing less than strengthen the priest for whom we pray, the Church, our specific Seven Sister group, the larger Apostolate, and ourselves! For Christ’s love compels us… (II Cor 5:14).
Our current Pontiff challenges: “What do I do with my life? Do I create unity around me? Or do I cause division by gossip, criticism or envy?” (Pope Francis in The Church of Mercy). Seven Sister intercessors often disclose that there is a welcomed heart conversion occurring that they link to their commitment of frequent Holy Hours. Graces seem to be helping to curb tendencies to lean toward criticism or airing differences regarding a priest or bishop. Disparaging tones and words are vanishing and being replaced by rightly ordered and edifying conversations. More prayer is applied where needed versus more gossip. St John Paul II links the Eucharistic life: “Were we to disregard the Eucharist, how could we overcome our own deficiency?”
The Seven Sister roses are weak against fungus, especially mildew. Interestingly, the problem is mitigated by placing the plants in full sun. In such a setting they are vigorous growers and climbers if not pruned. The design for us to come before the Blessed Sacrament with the full Son, as it were, is a benefit without measure. This is where the gardens of our hearts get the best pruning and life-giving nutrients. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. – Romans 15:5-7
In a special and intentional way, the Church turns toward the Eucharist and Adoration in the month of August. Let us join her in this orientation – and intentionally live lives more fully oriented toward both. Such lives can only serve to boast of the unity of heart through Christ.
A Seven Sister: One holy hour/one priest/each week/one heart of prayer is a moniker-of-sorts that describes in-a-nutshell the heart of the Apostolate life. It is a proven and sure conversation starter that brings a person to a quick understanding of the simple structure. Sometimes the conversation lingers in the “how-to’ of the Apostolate. Let us not shy away from emphasizing the rich reward of this simple structure of prayer – a growing love and unity with Christ, with others and within ourselves. For Christ Himself prays it to be so: “The glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them, that they may be one even as We are one. I in them and Thou in Me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me and hast loved them even as Thou hast loved Me” (John 17: 22, 23).
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.