A Seven Sisters group begins when at least seven women respond to a call to the mission of the apostolate. If more than seven women desire to pray in this manner, a core group of seven should be designated while others may substitute or provide additional hours of prayer. The coordinator of a group is known as the Anchoress.
The initial recipient of a Seven Sisters group should be their parish pastor. After the pastor has a committed group, subsequent groups may be formed for others, such as the parochial vicar, a retired priest, a priest serving in a non-parish assignment, or a bishop.
The group’s intention is directed towards the office of the shepherd more than the individual. In other words, the group prays for the priest until he is reassigned, at which time his successor becomes the recipient of those prayers. This helps us to guard against an undue attachment to a certain priest.
One Hour, One Day
Each member commits to a Holy Hour on a distinct day of the week, thus covering a complete week. The commitment is to that day; the Seven Sister may pray at any time on that day. If she is unable to offer her Holy Hour, she is to secure a substitute, explaining the Apostolate’s mission. The substitute need not be a woman. If unable to arrange a substitute, the member should contact the Anchoress for assistance.
The Holy Hour is ideally prayed in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament – either in an Adoration Chapel or in front of a Tabernacle – but not restricted to the parish of which the Seven Sister is a member. Thus, one can remain faithful to the commitment when traveling, when a parish does not offer Perpetual Adoration, or when there is limited access to a particular church.
This generous commitment of one hour per week of prayer is asked for a period of one year, but can remain open-ended in time as each individual discerns her call to continue. A group may begin at any time of year. The normal commitment extends from June to June, the month of the Sacred Heart. Ideally, the commitment prayer itself would be made on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is fitting that this commitment happens as a group, but it may be made individually if members are not able to gather together. A discernment period to continue or end a current commitment to the Apostolate precedes this during May, the month of the Immaculate Heart.
If someone assumes another’s Seven Sister position outside of the month of June, the Anchoress may either suggest an abbreviated or extended length of commitment. For example, if an intercessor cannot continue past March of a particular year, the Anchoress can suggest the new Seven Sister intercessor commit to 14 months versus 12. Likewise, if a new Seven Sister is secured in November, the Anchoress may suggest she commit to through the following May, discerning then as to a further commitment of prayer.
Starting a Group
If you feel called to begin a Seven Sisters group for your parish pastor or associate, a priest serving in a non-parish setting, a retired priest, or a bishop, you must contact the Seven Sisters Coordinator in order to be officially recognized as members of this apostolate. If you are ready to go, fill out the “Start a Group” form on our contact page to begin the process!