Greetings to dearest Sisters in Christ as we live life-to-the-full in the torrent of Pentecost graces! What a grand celebration of gratitude near and far for our Apostolate Chaplain, Fr Joseph Johnson, as he commemorated his 25th Jubilee of priesthood on Pentecost Sunday (Ordination date: 31 May). Let us keep him ever-close in mind and heart as he surely and steadily leads us onward in this Work.
As Seven Sisters, we find ourselves in the sweet spot: at the close of our discernment in May moving into our profession of God’s Will for us in June (on or near the Feast of the Sacred Heart – this year June 16). Please inform your Anchoress TODAY (if you haven’t already) whether you will remain with your group another year or depart from its schedule and commitment. We hope to keep the Holy Hours seamless, as we have guaranteed them, for each priest and bishop. Keeping your Anchoress updated is vital, especially if adjustments are needed.
Whether continuing or leave-taking – eternal gratitude! Every sacrifice, every prayer bears eternal worth, for love is the lasting thing. New beginnings and renewals alike hold great graces – each entering the Will and vivacity of the infinite love of Christ through His Sacred Heart for you!
My return to the Catholic Faith (03/20/99) is intimately linked to the Sacred Heart. The first holy image purchased for our home was of the Sacred Heart. It hung on the bedroom wall. Early morning moments were oft spent gazing upon Jesus and His bulging Heart wrapped in thorns. Grace building upon grace, deep assurance developed – then deeper still – of the truth and love of God through His Church, specifically through the Eucharist. “In the Sacred Heart every treasure of wisdom and knowledge is hidden. In that Divine Heart beats God’s infinite love for everyone, for each one of us individually” (St John Paul II). All told, everyone is intimately linked to the Sacred Heart for the defining assurance of the full truth of the Eucharist as source and summit of our life, our Faith. It is wholly fitting that the Apostolate universally renews its commitment in this month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Its Eucharistic and pastoral themes are the firm influence. Many Seven Sisters (myself included) use the Novena to the Sacred Heart (pg. 10 in Guidelines Booklet) every offered Holy Hour. St Padre Pio prayed it for all asking him for prayer, and witnessed its power.
According to the Directory on Popular Piety (written for bishops and collaborators as a pastoral guide linking liturgy and piety), devotion to the Sacred Heart has been a vital part of Christian devotion since the beginning. When viewed, “in the light of the Scriptures, the term ‘Sacred Heart of Jesus’ denotes the entire mystery of Christ, the totality of his being, and his person considered in its most intimate essential: Son of God, uncreated wisdom; infinite charity, principal of the salvation and sanctification of mankind. The ‘Sacred Heart’ is Christ, the Word Incarnate, Saviour, intrinsically containing, in the Spirit, an infinite divine-human love for the Father and for his brothers.” Every word dovetails into the heart of our Apostolate!
“There is in the Sacred Heart the symbol and express image of the infinite love of Jesus Christ which moves us to love in return” (Pope Leo XIII). Recommitting our work of prayer in this month of special meaning and special graces fortifies our mission. His love indeed compels us! As we take hold of the truth of the immense personal love that the Sacred Heart of Jesus bears for us and remain open to learn and pray forth the immense personal love Jesus bears for the priest/bishop for whom one prays… we can do nothing short of persevering in prayer – and rejoicing. “Love overcomes, love delights, those who love the Sacred Heart rejoice” (St Bernadette Soubirous). It (super)naturally flows that we beseech sanctity and nothing less for the recipients of our prayers. “I must become a great saint – my Jesus wants it” (St Bernadette Soubirous).
As the Apostolate grows in height (number) and width (globally), there presents a call for a challenge to grow in depth. Many Seven Sisters have given testimony to that very thing: to the joy of increased focus and sensitivity in prayer, and a greater liberty and peace in relying on the Holy Spirit for the development of prayer during the Hour. Others share they are motivated to additionally offer sacrifices for the priest during the day they are committed to the Holy Hour. Still others sense a call to pray an additional Hour in another Apostolate group. All these movements seem the marvelous fruit of obedience and fidelity to these prayer endeavors compelled by the Love of Christ. “O Sacred Heart of Jesus, fountain of eternal life,” says St Gertrude, “Your Heart is a glowing furnace of Love.”
Among customs linked to the Sacred Heart is a traditional enthronement (consecration) of one’s home (and heart) to Jesus. Jesus promised St Margaret Mary Alacoque, who received extensive revelations regarding the Sacred Heart, “I will bless the homes where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.” In keeping with the simplicity of the Apostolate work coupled with the call of growing deeper in the love that is asked of us through it, there is a strong encouragement for Seven Sisters to prayerfully consider placing an image of the Sacred Heart in a place of honor in their home. Various types of enthronements have developed. Here are three: (1) Fr James Kubicki: A Heart on Fire: Rediscovering Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Includes history, its relevance and a prayer service. (2) Cardinal Raymond Burke presents clear instructions on preparing spiritually for enthronement along with a liturgical celebration in: The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. (3) In Consoling the Heart of Jesus, Fr Michael Gaitley offers a moving retreat designed at uniting one’s heart closer to that of Jesus, culminating in a consecration to the Sacred Heart. Whatever method one might use, the emphasis is on the spiritual preparation. In so doing, many are moved to link the inseparable Twin Hearts, honor the dual images and consecrate their home to both Jesus and Mary. As Seven Sisters we are mystically linked to the Sacred Heart. An invitation was opened to us in the very roots of the Apostolate and is reinvigorated annually as we sincerely recommit to our prayerful duties. Jesus extended an invitation to St Gertrude that is fully alive for us too: “Let the soul who is desirous of advancing in perfection hasten to my Sacred Heart.” Together we respond!
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.
Janette (Howe) +JMJ+
651-283-0929 (c); 43 Nord Circle Rd, St Paul, MN 55127
SEVEN SISTERS – in and out and about:
Heartfelt welcome: NEW groups that registered in MAY to cover more priests in daily prayer: Additional groups in Cameroon (Africa), India, Lisbon (Portugal) and these 33 USA states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. We pray daily for priests and bishops in over 3300 groups serving 6 continents, 27 countries, all 50 USA states, most Canadian Provinces. Let no shepherd be left behind!
RECENT … and AHEAD on the calendar:
> May-October: Champion Shrine’s Shepherd Project. A season of prayer for each and every Bishop in the USA. One daily prayer provided. To sign up: https://championshrine.org/shepherd-project/
> Gratitude to Amy for organizing the 6 May Time of Reflection and Renewal in Bruce, WI.
> Gratitude to Deb for organizing the 20 May KC Ladies Auxiliary Minnesota State Convention where Doreen (Diocesan Coordinator) and Janette shared Past, Present and Future of the Apostolate.
> Sat, 03 June: Day of Reflection, Prayer, Recommitment. St Mary’s Cathedral, St Cloud, MN. Theme: Heart…to Heart…to Heart (Talks: Fr Aaron Nett//Michelle Steele) firstname.lastname@example.org
> Sat, 10 June: Eucharistic Congress. Mankato Civic Center (Minnesota). Bishop Robert Barron. Talks, Adoration, Confessions, Eucharistic Procession, concluding Mass with all Winona-Rochester priests concelebrating. We have a booth and banner for the Procession! Seven Sisters: claim a free gift at the booth. Join us in worship and witness of Jesus! Consider a donation to Apostolate for Brochures/Holy cards that we may pass without cost. This Is My Body – Eucharistic Congress 2023
> Sat, 10 June: Conference (8-2). Christ the King, Milwaukie, OR SevenSistersPortland@gmail.com
> Sun, 25 June: Day of Reflection. Cathedral of Notre Dame (South Bend, IN). 9:30-4 pm: Mass, Brunch, Reflection (Nicole Bobay), Cathedral/grounds tour. Tammie: sevensistersFWSB@gmail.com
> Sat, 8 July: 2nd Annual Seven Sisters Day of Fellowship, Renewal and Reflection. St Michael’s Westside Chapel, Olympia, WA, w/Bishop Etienne, Seattle Diocesan Coordinator, Holly, and Janette. 9-3:30. To register: https://form.jotform.com/231278269003151 No admission fee, free will offering.
> Fri/Sat, 4-5 Aug: Strongsville, OH. Contact Brooke: email@example.com
*NEW- to serve YOU! Want to plan a Seven Sisters information session, Morning of Reflection, Day of Retreat, Overnight Retreat? Or just need ideas to getting the word out about the Apostolate? A group of Seven Sisters with creative and organizational gifts will help you get started, keep you going and pray all along the way like sisters do! No idea too small or too big! SevenSistersEvents4U@gmail.com
MATTERS of the HEART:
- “Thank you for the beautiful opportunity to pray for our Priests. It is my greatest joy!” (Linda, No Dakota)
- “As a Christian who wants to assist the church in my own little way, I try to support my Priests in the discharge of their duties and the best way to do so is by praying for them.” (Anyi, Cameroon, Africa)
- “I am in love with Christ’s Church and our beautiful shepherds. I find great comfort reading the Communiques, knowing I am connected in heart to so many others in prayer and love.” (Sue, Minnesota)
- “I read an article in the East Tennessee Catholic about the apostolate. I have always prayed for my priest but this apostolate is something that can continue even after I am gone.” (Rose, Tennessee)
- “I find the Apostolate to be an opportunity to join with members of my faith family in praying specifically for our priests, which both pleases God and strengthens us as a faith family.” (Kathleen, Florida)
- “I felt a calling to support our Catholic Church in a positive way during these times of turmoil. I am completely committed to this wonderful movement. I am so grateful for it.” (Marjorie, Indiana)
ELIJAH’s HELPERS: By prayerful desire and directive of our Apostolate Chaplain, Fr Johnson, a pilot group of Seven Sisters intercessors dedicated to offering Holy Hours for priests in various forms of crisis (no names known) within the Archdiocese of St Paul-Mpls, began in June 2021. In June 2022, this fruit of the Apostolate opened to form more groups in more Dioceses. All inquiries to Nancy at ElijahsHelpers@gmail.com or cell: 612-756-1107. It is growing! Please consider this!
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: In January 2020, 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 prays a minimum of once per week, many are offering prayers every day. Intentions 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. 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. 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.
SPANISH translation of Communique: Posted (and archived) on the Website. If it is easier to receive through an email account, please let me know. Allow a few days for translation. Commitment Prayer/Guidelines Booklet in Spanish (on the Website – free download)
ANCHORESSES: Please pass this Communiqué on to group members