Greetings to dearest Sisters in Christ iin this grace-filled month dedicated to beseeching the generous mercy of God for those who have entered eternal life in friendship with Him, yet remain in a process of purification. His mercy is tender and unremitting!
From its inception the Church set herself apart in the way she honors the dead. Both written and oral traditions guide. History, then and now, notes that, regarding this perspective, skeptical onlookers keep at a distance from the Church or some within even depart. Another teaching too difficult to understand. The example and words of Christ give model for us on how to respond with His merciful love. The seven Corporal works of mercy include “burying the dead”. The seven Spiritual works of mercy include “praying for the living and the dead”. Funerals and procuring Mass offerings for the departed give us the opportunity to grieve, extend support and pray for the living and the dead in hope. In so doing we example to the world our indisputable respect for both the God-imaged human body and the soul, both meant for union with God for eternity.
The Apostolate respects and desires to remember those Seven Sisters in name and in prayer, who have gone before us to their eternal rest. (See the Remembrance Page on the Website) A Day of Remembrance has now been designated for the deceased Seven Sisters and deceased priests for whom we have prayed. November 7th has been fittingly chosen. This date will always be within the Octave of All Saints Day which carries exceptional graces. Therein the Church deigns that one can gain a plenary indulgence visiting a cemetery each day between November 1 and November 8 and praying for the departed. These indulgences are applicable to one Soul in Purgatory each day. The usual plenary indulgence conditions apply: receiving Communion, going to Confession within 20 days, and praying for the intentions of the Holy Father – all while detached from sin. All Souls Day (Nov 2) is highlighted within the Octave. We are encouraged to visit a Church or Oratory: A plenary indulgence, again applicable only for the Souls in Purgatory, is also granted when the faithful piously visit a church or a public oratory on Nov 2. In visiting the church or oratory, it is required that one Our Father and the Creed be recited. Praying during the Apostolate Day of Remembrance, though optional, is encouraged; and prayer for our brothers and sisters is not limited to this day only.
Here are some other ways to remember our departed Seven Sisters and priests/bishops:
> Mass offerings for their eternal repose: in November, the anniversary of their entrance into eternal life, through a series of Masses, or perhaps arranging for Gregorian Masses (30 consecutive Masses).
> Divine Mercy Chaplets
> Offer the graces of your Holy Communion for a particular soul.
> Routinely remain in prayer after Mass to expressly pray for departed souls.
> Designate rosaries for the souls in purgatory.
> Almsgiving with the expressed intention of helping the souls in purgatory. “Not weeping, but by prayer and alms-giving are the dead relieved” (St John Chrysostom).
> When passing by a cemetery, pray the Eternal Rest prayer – or link to your prayers before/after meals. This prayer carries a partial indulgence applicable to the holy souls and is an easy habit to set.
> Check out this excellent film: Purgatory, The Forgotten Church written and directed by Franciscan Friar John Clote (His newest release is The Miracle Box about confession – also excellent).
> St Gertrude expressed to Jesus her deep desire to pray for the deceased. In return He taught her the following prayer. It is piously believed that 1,000 souls are released from purgatory by praying this prayer with the heart: Eternal Father, I offer You the most Precious Blood of Your Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for all sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, those in my own home and within my family.
In their time on earth the Seven Sisters and priests that have now gone before us, offered sacrifices and prayers for so many, so often – many of us included. Let us not forget them. And let us also be confident that many, to be sure, are already actively praying for us now from the heavenlies and helping us to be generous in our prayers to increase their numbers in heaven! Such is the beauty of the Communion of Saints! Death does not separate those bonded to one another in Christ.
For those in Purgatory, there is great joy as well as great agony, for the souls know for certain they are bound for heaven. St Catherine of Genoa wrote of the “flame of love” in purgatory eradicating what she termed “the rust and stain of sins” yet also filling souls there with an intense yearning for God’s eternal embrace. Yet, they cannot pray for themselves. Thus, they covet our prayers. Jesus said to St. Faustina, “Enter into purgatory often, because [the souls] need you there” (1738). Let us together be stirred to diligently pray for our departed sisters and brothers. Let us together empty Purgatory!
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 OCTOBER to cover more priests in daily prayer: Additional groups in Bangladesh (NEW country!) Canada (Ontario), Poland (NEW country!), Washington, DC and these USA states: Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. Let no shepherd be left behind!
RECENT … and AHEAD on the calendar:
> Gratitude to Diocesan Coordinator, Jean, for organizing a Seven Sisters Day of Reflection “(Seven) Privileges of Praying for Priests” (Janette) on 7 Oct in Spokane, WA. What intense joy in Spokane!
> Gratitude to all attendees of a Workshop/Retreat for Apostolate Diocesan Coordinators on 12-14 Oct. Spiritual Life Center, Wichita, KS. Special thanks to locals, Carmen & Amy, for love and care!
> Gratitude to Diocesan Co-Coordinators, Andrea and Beth, for organizing 3rd Annual Diocesan Day of Recollection on 14 Oct: Finding Jesus with Therese and Teresa (Fr John Riley) in Chantilly, VA. https://www.catholicherald.com/article/local/seven-sisters-pray-for-priests/ What a topic! Wow!
> Gratitude to Diocesan Coordinator, Doreen, and team, alongside hosting parish team, led by Terese, for organizing 10th Annual Archdiocesan Time of Reflection and Renewal on 28 Oct. Burnsville, MN. “Can you not watch with Me for an Hour? (Sr Amelia Hueller, OP) Graces galore!
> Gratitude to Stacy for organizing a Seven Sisters Day-long Retreat on 28 Oct: “Praying for Holy Priests: Contributing to Spiritual Renewal” (Fr Thomas). Princeville Priory, IL. 100% attendance!
> 7 November: Remember the deceased Seven Sisters and priests for whom we have prayed.
> Sat, 11 Nov 2023: Evangelization Leadership Summit in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio Dominican University. 8-4 pm. Janette will offer 2 break-out sessions. Check Web for Registration
> 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:
- “Being the Anchoress for our group has been an honor and grace that only God knew how this was going to change my heart and devotion. It has moved me to be in closer with our priest and changed things in our home, as well. May the Lord continue to add many more sisters on the world map.” (Ana, Minnesota)
- “I am a nurse. Father was diagnosed with lung cancer. God has been very gracious and merciful and helping us to obtain and provide the medical care and health that Father needs, while the Seven Sisters continue to pray for him, his health, his ministry.” (Mary, Ohio)
- “I am grateful and honored to be the Anchoress for the Seven Sisters Apostolate. When I reflect back to all the situations that had occurred in my life, I have realized that God has given and continue giving my family and I tremendous amounts of blessings and grace. Therefore, as a way of giving thanks to our Lord and giving back to society, I volunteer – like for the Seven Sisters. I love it!” (Hien, Georgia)
- “Fr M is the embodiment and true representative of Christ here on earth. He is an inspiration and a blessing. He will be reassigned from the US to his home country of Poland. He goes with our gift of prayer.” (Joetta)
- “These last few weeks I have been overloaded with life and I told myself, “Just say no to the next request.” I was approached about Seven Sisters. When I heard the requirements one hour, one year, one priest, find six other sisters, the pressure was extremely short lived. I felt this instant “There is a need!” and finding six other busy sisters in Christ was God- led!” (Lori, New York)
- “We love our parish priest & know he needs our prayers and so I got on-line & checked you out! I was able to secure Seven Ladies & I ordered the booklets & we have been praying faithfully, our days of the week, ever since! We have noticed Father’s powerful homilies and confidence in preaching the Gospel!
What a beautiful Apostolate! Thank you.” (Kathy, Minnesota)
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.
SPANISH translation of Communique: Posted (and archived) on the Website. The translation link is sent with every Communique. Commitment Prayer/Guidelines Booklet in Spanish (on the Website – free download)