Greetings to dearest Sisters in Christ – The holy fires of Pentecost (June 5) reach us and seem to fittingly launch our deeply cherished month of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The universal time of recommitment in accepting the invitation given us for this Work is on or near the Solemnity (this year, June 24). We unite in pledge and in prayer!
When our son, Spencer, turned 6 or so, we extended invitations seeking “shipmates” to search for a hidden treasure in a nearby beach. (Yes, adults and life jackets for all in the canoes). The summons took the form of a parchment “map” with charred edges. It was rolled, dropped in a bottle alongside sand and rocks, capped with a cork and delivered to the doorsteps of a few neighborhood chums.
Sometimes invitations take resources and pre-planning, most often they arrive in the spontaneity of the breaths of life itself. We are formed by the profusion of both the small and soaring daily invitations we receive and our responses to them. Invitations are sometimes subtle, sometimes sly, sometimes misjudged. At times we can backtrack from regrettable choices, other times we bear consequences.
Our Faith is rich with invitations of the best kind because they follow the Master Himself who is generous and trustworthy in invitation: Come and see (John 1:39); Follow Me (Mark 1:7) Come unto Me, all that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matt 11:28). To Zacchaeus: Come down, for today I must abide in your house (Luke 19:5) and to his friend: Lazarus, come forth (John 11:43). Not even the grave can thwart His call.
Sacred Liturgy, formed by both oral and written Tradition, echo the truth, goodness and beauty that mark the invitations of the Trinity. Grace, peace and mercy are extended throughout our Liturgies, inviting us ever-deeper into that river of graces that prepares us to receive both the living Word and the living Bread. Concurrently, a beckoning to offer heartfelt praise and glory to God is woven throughout. At the proper time, we burst into a chorus of Alleluia, Alleluia (literally “Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord”), inviting the reading of the Gospel, where we fittingly stand to listen and catch every word. We are invited (and often challenged) to live more deeply, as its truths are unfolded through the homily. Prayers and silences prepare us for the profound moments of consecration, that we may hear and respond properly to the invitation to the supper of the Lamb. This Sacrament of Unity unites us as one, but also touches each as a unique individual. That is indeed an invitation par excellence! In the remaining moments of the Mass, a final Trinitarian blessing is extended inviting us to go forth in renewed zeal and strength to fulfill God’s Will in our daily lives. We are blessed to be a blessing!
In these continuing uncertain times, this powerful and sure invitation can ironically seem fragile or even impossible. This month especially, Seven Sisters should sense the exact opposite. In our recommitment to the prayer support for our shepherds, we are poised to take this invitation surely and seriously. We are poised to imitate the way of the Master Himself and extend invitation to others to join in the work He has called us to in sacrifices of prayers for priests. Our work strengthens the priest and strengthens the Church. Yes, we are blessed to be a blessing! And why not call forth more blessing in these times that try to silence the invitations of Christ Himself. The Church is currently undergoing a Eucharistic Revival and our prayers are potent fuel for these efforts. Let us throw the nets far and wide in invitation for others to join in these efficacious endeavors of praying for priests through the offering of seamless Holy Hours. In this Revival we will need fortified and tireless priests!
You may not sense the nudge to invite someone to the prayer efforts of the Apostolate by dropping off a corked bottle at their doorstep. Be assured, there is a way that best suits you and those you may ask. Perhaps it may come in the echo of the Master Himself, “Come and see” … “Can you not watch … for an hour?” … “Follow me…I will show you how”. Over and again, I receive testimonies from women who joined our efforts because of the personal invitation of another. Such invitations hold eternal promise – for the impetus is love, the eternal thing. To those anxious about the future of the world or the future of the Church, to all who might question the place of charity in a world who has abandoned God, let us find encouragement in the words found in the Apostolate Guidelines Booklet from Pope Benedict XVI: “Love is never finished.”
May we solicit the aid of our Advocate, the Holy Spirit, “O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart…. Scatter there Thy cheerful beams” (St Augustine). Then, let us go forth, with joy, dear Sisters in Christ, to spread the good news of God’s work through the merits of this Apostolate – and invite!
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+ sevensistersapostolate@gmail.
SEVEN SISTERS – in and out and about
Heartfelt welcome: New groups registered in MAY to cover more priests in daily prayer: Additional groups in British Columbia (Canada), Cameroon (Africa), Co. Derry (Ireland) and these USA states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. We pray daily for priests and bishops on 6 continents, 25 countries, all 50 USA states, and nearly every Province in Canada.
Reminders: (1) Gather together as many as possible to offer the commitment prayer. (2) If the priest you pray for is reassigned, continue praying until he finishes, then your group will pray for the priest who takes on that role of service of the former priest. (3) Distinct Anchoress for each group. If you are Anchoress for more than one group, please pass the baton to another to share in the joy of leadership. (4) Bishop groups have 21 intercessors, one Anchoress. (5) Holy Hours are the offering through this Apostolate work. Ideal is before the Blessed Sacrament exposed. Prayer before the Tabernacle is acceptable. (6) Contact your Anchoress, volunteer Coordinator in Diocese, or Website for questions.
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 within the Archdiocese of St Paul- Mpls, began in June 2021. This fruit of the Apostolate will be opening up to form more groups in more Dioceses beginning in June 2022. All inquiries to Nancy at ElijahsHelpers@gmail.com or cell: 612-756-1107.
ANNUAL Holy Card Design: As promised, this Communique announces that the upcoming Holy Card design was submitted by Susan S who prays for priests in Minnesota. Her beautiful icon of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is surrounded by these calligraphed words: Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart. As I read this my own heart leaped with a sure recognition that this is the unceasing invitation to every woman who commits to prayer for priests through the Apostolate! Know I remain very, very grateful to all the others who submitted their works of love.
RECENT … and AHEAD on the calendar:
> Gratitude to Katie for a well-organized and well-attended informational at Sacred Heart parish in rural Norfolk, NE, on Thurs, 05/05/22. These ladies love to pray and know how to cook!
> Gratitude to Fr Gary Coulter for invitation to Janette to offer a silent retreat at Our Lady of Good Counsel Retreat House, Waverly, NE, on 05/6-7/22. Topic: Inseparable: Our Eucharistic Lord and Our Lady. We employed the use of Visio Divina.
> Gratitude to Kristen & Natalie (North Platte, NE) requesting Janette join them for their weekly Zoom Rosary (Facebook) on 05/11/22. What a generous endorsement they gave to the Apostolate work!
> Gratitude to Kathy, the Bible Chicks and Fr Michael of St Dominic’s in San Francisco, CA, for hosting a 05/21/22 Retreat. Prayer: opening the heart wider still. Archbishop Cordileone joined us in the afternoon, offered a reflection, personal blessing to Janette and to all those in attendance. WOW!
> Sat, 06/04/22: St Mary’s Cathedral, St Cloud, MN. Day of Reflection, Prayer, Recommitment. 8:30-2:45. Talks: Fr Brady Keller/Fred Blonigan. $15. Contact: Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org
> Sat, 06/11/22: Morning of Renewal: Getting to Know our Patrons. St Vincent de Paul, Ft Wayne, IN. Talks: Fr Daniel Scheidt/Janette. Contact Tammie: sevensistersFWSB@gmail.com
> Sat, 06/18/22: Retreat and Recommitment. St. Michael Westside Chapel (Olympia, WA). All are welcome. Contact Holly: email@example.com
MATTERS of the HEART:
Ø “Recently attended the retreat on Mary & the Eucharist at the Good Counsel Retreat Center in Waverly, Nebraska. It was a blessed weekend, and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to attend. I wanted to share a grace that I received in doing Visio Divina with the Madonna of the Grapes. As I looked at the painting, the way Jesus was holding Mary’s veil captured my attention. It seemed to me that there must be more to that than just Jesus’ playfulness as a baby. I pondered this, and it seemed to me that Jesus was inviting us behind the veil. Mary veiled Jesus’ divinity by giving him flesh in the Incarnation, just as Jesus’ divinity is veiled in the Eucharist under the appearances of bread and wine. It seemed to me that Jesus is saying “Come and see,” inviting us to enter the mysteries behind the veil of the appearances of bread and wine and the human flesh He took on.” (Prefers anonymous, Nebraska)
Ø “Words cannot express the experience of partaking in this protective dome of grace surrounding our priests through our prayers.” (Sandy, Wisconsin)
Ø “Two years ago, I became a Seven Sister. I was so unsure but once I started in Adoration I was swept away by the love and mercy found there in listening, asking how prayers should be directed, and focusing on supporting our priest. It has become a favorite time in my week.” (Mary Ann, Wisconsin)
Ø “What called my attention is the commitment and true need for our prayers in gratitude for our priests. Father E is an incredible priest, always supporting the community, helping with vocations, keeping our community, ministries, and activities running, and bringing new people into our Church. His efforts, energy, ideas, and guidance are greatly appreciated. Having the opportunity to commit together with sisters from my community to pray for him is such a blessing. I cannot thank God enough for giving us, faithful priests who dedicate their entire life to serving others. (Karla, Texas)
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. Anchoresses: let us know the Seven Sisters group to which the Fasting Brothers are linked, name of lead Brother, his contact info and the start date.
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, but many are offering prayers every day. 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. Those desiring to learn more, send an email of interest/inquiry through the 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. Available in ENGLISH and SPANISH.
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: This is generously done every month by Zahyra B, Anchoress for a Seven Sisters group in Venezuela. They are then posted (and archived) on the Website. If it is easier to receive through an email account, please let me know. Expect a few days for translation. Commitment Prayer/Guidelines Booklet in Spanish (on the Web – free download).