Love Unites

Make every effort to keep the unity of Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
— Eph 4:3-6
The Eucharist is the sacrament of ecclesiastical unity, which is brought about by many being ‘one in Christ’.
— St Thomas Aquinas

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. 




SEVEN SISTERS - in and out and about:

 HOLY MASS for Apostolate: A Mass of gratitude was offered for Apostolate members on the Feast of St Mary Magdalene, July 22nd, at Holy Cross parish, Minneapolis, MN.  Expect blessings!

 In CELEBRATION of St John Vianney’s Feast Day and his generous and loving patronage: Will once again offer FREE St John Vianney medals, individually touched to a first-class relic of our dear Patron (making them third-class relics).  Send SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope): Janette Howe, 43 Nord Circle Road, St Paul, MN 55127. Limit one medal request per envelope please.

HOLY HOUR for you: While I do remember you each day at the altar during Mass, on the Feasts of St Margaret Clitherow (March 26) and St John Vianney (Aug 4) I offer a HOLY HOUR for the personal intentions of all Seven Sisters. Partnering in prayer with our beloved St John Vianney this coming Sunday will be a real JOY.  Be open to the graces!

FASTING BROTHERS: In the June Communique I mentioned learning of an initiative that grew out of an observance of the positive influence of a Seven Sisters group in North Carolina (initiated 10/2018). Men in the parish were inspired to join in the prayer efforts in their own way.  What bloomed forth was a desire within each of these men to fast on distinct days of the week, every week, specifically for the pastor whom the Seven Sisters were offering Holy Hours. Each man fasts to different degrees, “Holy Spirit driven”.  They call themselves the Fasting Brothers. Their work is quiet and supportive and welcomed by both the pastor and the Seven Sisters group.  A word of clarification from our Apostolate Chaplain, Fr Joseph Johnson.  While supportive of the effort he asks that a Fasting Brother refrain from fasting on Sunday, a day of feasting, not fasting.  The other six days are fine.

Heartfelt welcome:  New groups registered in July to cover more priests in daily prayer: NEW state: Alaska. Additional groups Rome, Italy, and Ontario, Canada and in these USA states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Texas.  Only EIGHT USA states do not YET have the joy and benefit of a Seven Sisters group:  Idaho, Maine, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Wyoming.

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 – or simply handing out!  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 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:

> 1-12 July 2019: Seven Sisters Pilgrimage to France. Holy wowser best sums it up!

May God richly reward Fr Johnson for the exquisite plans and inviting us to enter these holy endeavors!  He said something about Belgium next year… God’s Will and Way…                      

> 1 Aug 2019 – Atchison, KS – Benedictine College – informational (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).  4:45 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 with special speakers.  Details on the 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: What a terrific meeting spot for Seven Sisters on this special day!

>26-27 Oct 2019 – THIRST Conference – Bismarck, ND (Janette)

>9 Nov 2019 – SAVE the DATE – 6th Annual St Paul-Mpls Archdiocesan Time of Recollection

 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.  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/Booklet in Spanish (on the Web for free download).