October Communiqué

Sunday, October 01, 2023 05:54am

Greetings to dearest Sisters in Christ in this month bursting with celebration of so many saintly brothers and sisters known for their abiding Eucharistic love and life.   October honors St Thérèse of Lisieux, St Francis of Assisi, St Faustina, St Bruno, St John XXIII, St JP II, St Margaret Mary, St Ignatius of Antioch, St Anthony Claret, the North American martyrs – naming only a few!  The streams of their steadfast prayer prompt us to be more fully united through Eucharistic love as one family.  They imitate Christ Himself, as should we, who prays that we may be brought to complete unity… (John 17:23).   Life centered on the Eucharist is life centered on the very Sacrament of Unity. 

Every Sunday Mass, in every language, Catholics collectively profess belief in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. These four marks of the Church are her inseparably linked characteristics.  They singularize the Church and reflect her mission.  The Catechism explains that the Church is one for three reasons: 1) her source, the perfect unity of the Holy Trinity; 2) her founder, Jesus, who reconciled all mankind through His crucifixion and Resurrection; and 3) her “soul”, the Holy Spirit, who dwells in the souls of the faithful, uniting them into one communion of believers and who guides the Church. Unity is the essence of the Church (CCC,813). In Unam Sanctam (1302) Pope Boniface VIII compared the unity of the Church to Christ’s seamless garment, unable to be torn or rent.

My own reconciliation with the Church in March 1999 roused a deep sense that while the oneness of the Church endured despite my departure, the reconciliation somehow fortified the unity.  This is true for anyone returning to the Church or joining anew. Unity is reinvigorated.  Each assent to the Faith is a genuine grafting into the true Vine, the very life of Christ and His Church, and set to bear that good fruit from the good and true Source. One Lord, one baptism, one bread, one body.

Seven Sisters are poised to also strengthen the accord of the Church.  For the sake of our brothers in Christ, each week we open our hearts anew to the Eucharist, that which implies unity but also generates its bonds.  Week after week, as our friendship deepens with our Eucharistic Lord, our love is likewise set to well up for the bishop/priest for whom we are committed to pray.  Early Church Father, St Irenaeus, articulates something central to our Apostolate:  “Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking.” As we enter our Holy Hours as students of intercession relying on the Holy Spirit, we stand to gain guidance and insights into how to proceed in prayer. At the same time, we are refreshing a bond of charity with the priest/bishop and the Church at large, whom he serves and of which we are a part.  As the Lord draws us to Himself, He brings us closer to one another – slowly, subtly, surely.

The Catechism asserts something worth pondering: God wills to make human beings holy and to save them, but “not as individuals (emphasis added) without any bond or link between them, but rather to make them into a people who might acknowledge him and serve him in holiness” (CCC, 781). We are in this together because God has designed and deigned it to be thus.  “God’s love for us is not a private affair, but a communal reality” (St. Thomas Aquinas).  In an intentional, recurring and beautiful way, Seven Sisters live this reality through one heart of prayer!  

Frequent reception of Communion unites us more closely to Christ, but also to all who belong to Christ.  It strengthens our love and respect for one another. The Eucharist recalls, makes present, and brings about charity.  There is more!  Msgr Ronald Knox muses that unity also finds its place in our own interiors“The Blessed Sacrament is the Sacrament of Unity; and when you receive it, it does not merely produce in you more charity toward your neighbor, more loyalty toward the Church, more unselfishness in your human attachments.  It makes you more at unity with yourself; it catches up your life into a rhythm that echoes the heavenly music… It comes from you… full of that unifying love which is the bond of the Blessed Trinity (emphasis added).  Oh, sisters in Christ, do we not see these very descriptors in our saintly brothers and sisters! Do we not seek it for ourselves!  

In our oneness as an Apostolate, God has called forth a noteworthy diversity: of age (from teens to centenarians), nationalities (6 continents), expression of worship (Novus Ordo, Latin, Byzantine, Ordinariate, Maronite), vocation (married, single, consecrated), fields of work/interest (at-home-moms/G’mas, physicians/nurses, farmers, attorneys, entrepreneurs, teachers, parish/ministry staff, students, retired).  What a marvel!  Jointly opening our hearts anew to the Eucharist, the source of our strength and our unity, opens the way to a strengthening of the Body of Christ, the Church.  May we be one, so that the world may believe! With St Augustine let us acknowledge the gift of our call and unreservedly embrace it: “O sacrament of devotion! O sign of unity! O bond of charity!” 

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+

SEVEN SISTERS – in and out and about:

Heartfelt welcome: NEW groups that registered in SEPTEMBER to cover more priests in daily prayer:  Additional groups in Africa (Cameroon), Ecuador, Portugal and these USA states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.  Let no shepherd be left behind! 

The Priest is Not His Own (Sheen): A syllabus for study has been generously written and gifted to us by Seven Sister, Ginger (Texas).  It is a recommended read for every Anchoress, and will be made richer by this discussion-provoking study.  Now available for free download on the Website.

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 Bev for organizing a Seven Sisters Retreat “Building a Bridge to Heaven” on 16 Sept.  in Minot, ND. Reflection (60 min) preserved on YouTube: https://tinyurl.com/4p2tbz6v

> Gratitude to Ivet, Lee, and MaryKay for organizing a Seven Sisters gathering with Mass, Supper, Reflections on 19 Sept in Roseville, MN. From Heart… to heart…to heart… It was all heart – truly!

> Sat, 7 Oct 2023. St Thomas More parish, Spokane, WA.  Seven Sisters Day of Reflection and Renewal.  “(Seven) Privileges of Praying for Priests” (Reflection by Janette).  All are welcome!  Contact: sevensistersspokane@gmail.com (Jean)

> Thurs-Sat, 12-14 Oct 2023.  Workshop/Retreat for Apostolate Diocesan Coordinators.  Spiritual Life Center, Wichita, KS.  Encourage your Diocesan Coordinator to attend!

> Sat, 28 Oct 2023.  10th Annual Archdiocesan Time of Reflection and Renewal.  Mary, Mother of the Church, Burnsville, MN.  8am-2pm.  “Can you not watch with Me for an Hour?  Reflection: Fr James Mason.  Archbishop will preside at holy Mass. Contact:  sevensistersstpaul@gmail.com (Doreen)

> Sat, 11 Nov 2023: Evangelization Leadership Summit in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio Dominican University.  8-4 pm.  Janette will offer 2 break-out sessions.  Registration forthcoming.


    • “I am promoting Seven Sisters. I feel passion for this gift of the Holy Spirit that intersects prayer and priests.  My Holy Hour for my priest is at 3 am.  Gloria to the Lord!” (Angelina, Texas)
    • “When it was announced that our Parish would be receiving a new priest, I told Our Lord in prayer that I would do whatever the new priest may request of me.  Within a week’s time I received an email from the Parish Secretary saying that Father wanted the Seven Sisters Apostolate at our Parish and he thought I should be the one to take this on. What a beautiful ministry.  Our priests need our prayers. I am happy to be a part of this very intentional and focused form of prayer to sustain and protect them.” (Gwen, Missouri)
  • “I am a member of Rosaire, choir and the social communication groups. I love praying for Priests because of the numerous challenges they face in their priestly duties. The temptation they go through on daily basis cannot be overcome without prayers. Our Priests need our prayers.” (Pascaline, Cameroon)
  • “Thank you for your continued prayer for priests.  I can feel its saving power for me.  And the same gratitude for my priest-brothers (biological), Fr John (+July ’23) and Fr Leonard (+Jan ’23).  I will be 91 this month on Sept 24. Praise and thank God!” (Fr Martin Siebenaler, Minnesota) (B-day card sent from all of us!)
  • “I’ve been praying for God to lead me in service within my parish. I’m a cradle Catholic and have served in many ministries throughout my years.  In conversation with a friend, she presented this ministry.  I immediately felt I was being called and said yes. It is an honor. Thank you, Jesus!”  (Marilynn, Idaho)
  • “To watch the growth of the Apostolate has been very empowering and inspiring. I feel so grateful for this Apostolate and have witnessed the blessing and fruit for my son (ordained in 2019) who can testify to the great power of the prayers being offered for him.” (Julie, California)
  • “I started a Rosary group a few years back, we would pray for priests as a group. I always felt a pull to do more for individual priests.  I was asked to be a Seven Sister and saw the fruits. I then felt the need to start a group for this dear priest as he started as a pastor for the first time.” (Margaret, Illinois)
  • “I was introduced to the Apostolate in a parish other than my own. I did some searching and thought that this should happen in my own parish. Shortly after deciding to move forward, I discovered a meeting in my area to learn all I needed to know to begin a group! I immediately went home and began contacting women of my parish. There was nothing but good support. I feel so blessed to be able to answer this call to support our priest who certainly needs to be wrapped in daily prayer.” (Deborah, Michigan)

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

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.