Greetings to dearest Sisters in Christ as we herald a new liturgical calendar. In Advent, we are challenged to balance remembrance of Christ’s first coming and anticipation of His second. The promises, fulfilled and yet-to-be fulfilled, are related and one gains from bearing both simultaneously.
The Church’s wisdom invites and draws us into greater understanding and love of God and His Ways not only through liturgical seasons, but through invitations into the awareness of His presence in the days within the seasons and further still, into the moments within the days. A message consistently resounds in each: All is gift. All is grace. This truth is worthy of some thought.
For Seven Sisters, there is a growing awareness as we consider that initial gift given to each of us: desire to pray for another. Firm or vacillating, the desire to offer Holy Hours for a priest or bishop had its origin in God’s desires. Many Seven Sisters intimate this when they share: I sensed God had prepared me for this… I was called to this prayer. … It was as if I was waiting for someone to invite me into this work. … Our testimony is St John the Baptist’s testimony, “No one can receive anything except what has been given him from heaven” (John 3:27). A deep and abiding freedom and insight comes to us when we embrace the grace of detachment from any of this being our own idea. How readily can our Lord then multiply the gifts of intercession, compassion, hope, love and the like, that He entrusts to our care and use. In Mironov’s Parable of Talents a compelling reflective mood is evident in the young man. He seems to be brooding about what to do with the two talents given. Many Seven Sisters have initially verbalized what the painting portrays. How can I pray a full hour for one person? What if I am unable to keep this commitment? Maybe this is actually meant for someone else? The portrait carries some of this reticence and hesitancy in the flushed and sullen facial features and focus on the talents that cannot speak. The flickering flame securely grasped to illumine the coins, could be seen as symbolic of the ever-near graces and guidance of God, inspiring the youth toward fitting and fruitful actions. Scripture informs, we know, that the servant used this entrustment well and even to doubling for its return to the master. And so, it is for us, as well! But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift (Eph 4:7). What God gives, what He stirs in our hearts, evident and hidden, is His invitation to join Him, to cooperate in the gift of graces in abundance and certain guidance along the way. For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable (Rom 11:29).
Our invitation to watch one Hour with the Lord, to come into His Presence, is a gift that keeps on giving. A response to a call, to be sure, it is also a noteworthy gift toward nurturing something fundamental within ourselves as women. Carmelite nun and philosopher, St Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein) explains (bolds added): “To have divine love as its inner form, a woman’s life must be a Eucharistic life. Only in daily confidential relationship with the Lord… can one forget self and become free of all one’s own wishes and pretensions, and have a heart open to all the needs and wants of others. Whoever seeks to consult with the Eucharistic God in all her concerns …cannot but be drawn ever more deeply and powerfully into the flow of divine life… her heart converted to the likeness of the divine heart (Essays on Woman, 1996, #56). Our fidelity to the Apostolate’s Eucharistic work is fortifying our womanly God-ordained nature and gifts, and opening us to more conversion. St Theresa Benedicta continues: “It is most important that the Holy Eucharist become life’s focal point: that the Eucharistic Savior is the center of existence; that every day is received from His hand and laid back therein; that the day’s happenings are deliberated with Him. In this way, God is given the best opportunity to be heard in the heart, to form the soul” (#125). Here St Theresa Benedicta astutely punctuates the reality that all comes from God. All is gift. All is gift to be returned for His purposes and His plan.
Fidelity to the weekly Holy Hours brings the gift of a radiant witness to this touch of the divine in us! The prayer offerings for the priests/bishops for whom we commit to pray are undeniably influenced. Our listening is sharper. The personal joy and freedom increasingly experienced are increasingly desired for the recipient of your prayers, as well. We receive, we give. Those to whom we give, receive and they in turn give. “Life with the Eucharistic Savior induces the soul to be lifted out of narrowness of its individual personal orbit. The concerns of the Lord and His kingdom become the soul’s concerns” (St Theresa Benedicta, Essays on Woman, #125). What conduits of God’s life we are meant to be! This is His way of multiplication of His gifts in us, working all things for good, as He has said. But when there are times where we wonder if the good will truly come about, our saintly friend, St Theresa Benedicta, offers sage counsel: “And when night comes, and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has been, and how much you planned that has gone undone, and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed: just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God’s hands and leave it with Him.” Because, after all: All is gift. All is grace.
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…. “One Ave Maria 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 financial sacrifices are for 100% furtherance of Apostolate. THANK YOU! The letters of testimony are so beautiful and edifying! What glory is given to God through your writing! 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:
Heartfelt welcome: NEW groups that registered in NOVEMBER to cover more priests in daily prayer: Additional groups in Cameroon (Africa), Portugal, Washington, DC and these USA states: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. Let no shepherd be left behind!
RECENT … and AHEAD on the calendar:
> Gratitude for the collective participation and outpouring of positive comments regarding our newly designated annual Day of Remembrance: 7 November. This calendar date will be a special concerted day of prayer for the deceased Seven Sisters and priests for whom we have prayed.
> Gratitude for the invitation from the Evangelization Leadership Summit in Columbus, OH (Ohio Dominican University) at which our Apostolate had 2 break-out sessions and a booth.
> Gratitude for a grace-filled Diocesan Coordinator workshop/retreat in mid-October and this article that the Bishop in Colorado Springs, CO, asked to have written by the Diocesan Coordinator, Patty O:
> Fri-Sat, 26-27 Jan 2024: “All or Nothing: Living Every Moment for Christ” (Reflections by Janette on deCaussade’s writing and life of Sr Clare Crockett) St. Felix Catholic Center, Huntington, IN. Bishop Rhoades will celebrate Mass on Saturday aft. Contact: Tammie, sevensistersFWSB@gmail.com
FREEBIE! The annual Holy Card is issued. They are blessed and beautiful. If you desire one, send a SASE (Self-addressed stamped envelope) to Janette Howe, 43 Nord Circle Rd, St Paul, MN 55127
Stunning LOGO medallions available: Seven Sister Annie W has been collaborating with Seven Sister Jean M from Font of Grace, to design and strike a beautiful medallion of the Apostolate logo. Go to www.fountofgrace.com and click onto Apostolate top right. A portion of sales to the Apostolate.
MATTERS of the HEART:
- “With the recent difficulties in our Parish and the efforts of our Priests, only prayers can assist them to overcome the challenges they face. Their prayers alone are not enough. All Christians have to get involved to see that things go well.” (Ngong, Cameroon, Africa)
- “We moved here four years ago in an act of obedience to the Lord, as He made it clear it was a mission field. It is extremely secular (yoga and the mountains are the primary “religion”). Fr. M is the first priest in 20 years sent to this tiny parish. He moved here shortly after we did. The parish is thriving and growing under his care but is now under attack. Priests at a Seminary shared with me the power of the Seven Sisters who were praying for them. This stirred in me a burning need to rally a group for our priest.” (Katrina, Colorado)
- “How beautiful it is to see this Apostolate spread like wildfire. One day may every priest have Seven Sisters praying for them.” (Rene, North Carolina)
- “It has been an effort to align my Tuesdays for 7 Sisters Adoration. Because of travel, babysitting, illness and/or company I have to actively plan or it wouldn’t happen. Despite this trouble to keep my holy hour a priority, I feel so enriched and grateful for this experience of the time spent for our pastor. It can many times be my best hour of the week. This special holy hour is carried into other days of the week and my regular prayer life – I now pray for Father in many other circumstances throughout the week. My desire to remain a Seven Sister is solid. I am so well supported by my Sisters who will take my hour when I cannot or trade days. This Apostolate has been a blessing and a grace in all areas of my life.” (Carolee, South Dakota)
- “I have learned how powerful prayer is over the course of my life and recently have begun to fully understand the importance of intercessory prayer. This is what led me to be a part of Seven Sisters. It is an important vocation to support our priests through prayer and why I chose to be a part of this.” (Cynthia, Colorado)
- “I told my husband about this apostolate and he agreed it would be a beautiful way to support our priest. The very next morning, a daily devotional email arrived. The last part said this: “I will offer myself to collaborate in a parish ministry or other Catholic apostolate out of the love for the Church.” That was God’s crystal-clear message to me in perfect timing, and has motivated me to do this as soon as possible! I admire and care for our priest, and I want to support him.” (Sharon, Indiana)
- “I am lab Scientist by profession. With the recent happenings in the Church and numerous challenges faced by our Priests, there is urgent need to pray for them. This Apostolate gives us a good if not perfect way to assist our Priests with prayers.” (Asonganyi , Cameroon)
ELIJAH’s HELPERS: Intercessors in this group are dedicated to offering Holy Hours for priests in various forms of crisis (no names known). These are special Hours for special circumstances and carry special supportive graces. It is growing! Please consider this vital, hope-filled offering for our priests! All inquiries to Nancy at ElijahsHelpers@gmail.com or cell: 612-756-1107.
APPRECIATED and LOVED quilt project: A double cloaking for RETIRED PRIESTS: Seven Sisters prayer and a quilt! The priests love both! To learn more regarding a single quilt for a retired priest or on how to get this started in your Diocese, contact QuiltsBySevenSisters@gmail.com
FASTING BROTHERS is growing: Groups of men offering various forms of fasting to augment the prayer efforts of a Seven Sisters group. Each man prayerfully discerns the type of fasting he will offer and commits to fast a designated day of the week (excepting Sunday/Solemnities). Our Chaplain, strongly urges formation of these groups. There is a form on the Website to register.
LAMP-BEARERS: Lamp-Bearers, so-named for their action of continually ‘filling of their lamps with the oil of prayer’, was launched to pray for the Apostolate at large. Each intercessor offers prayers every day for the Apostolate. Intentions are gleaned from topics and calendar points in the monthly Communique and also sent to members on the second or third Sunday of the month. Additional intercessors welcomed. Inquire through Website.
SEVEN SISTERS Guideline 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: 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! Available on Web as free download. Recommend 80# silk for best printing results. May also order through Web site. Indicate address/quantity. 50 cents each or 25 for $10 + P/H. Available in ENGLISH and SPANISH.
SEVEN SISTERS Tri-fold LITANY for PRIESTS: Beautifully printed on 100# silk (a bit thicker than brochures). Original artwork (inspired by the Diary of St Faustina) by Seven Sister in Minnesota, Litany by Richard Cardinal Cushing. 50 cents each or 25 for $10 + P/H.
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 and to pray!
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. Some groups have/are offering Holy Hours for an entire year for their beloved deceased priest. Groups may be started following the death of a priest that did not have a group prior. This is commendable and welcomed. Please register these special groups through the Web site.