Tenth Anniversary

Monday, March 01, 2021 03:21am

“In looking back over the years we can discover how a red thread goes through the pattern of our life: the Will of God.”

— Maria von Trapp

Greetings to dearest Sisters in Christ!  The month of March is providentially enveloped in the season of Lent and within the glad embrace of the Year of St Joseph. Silence. Challenge. Insight. Prayer. Fasting. Almsgiving. Graces sufficient. Let us also make room for celebrating: St Joseph’s Solemnity (19th) and what God has done through YOU!  Read on…

St Padre Pio shared a story about a youngster who each afternoon sat near the lap of his grandmother while she sewed. The boy kept happily occupied with his toys.  For days into weeks, he often glanced up to heed his grandmother’s voice and smiles.  In those moments, he caught glimpses of what seemed a puzzling, even peculiar, design of her handiwork.  One afternoon the grandmother excitedly invited the lad to stand near her.  There he surveyed her outstretched finished piece, and was stilled by its detail, harmony and beauty.  Weeks of viewing only the underside of the project had not prepared him for the exquisiteness of the work, now fully and rightly viewed.

March 24 marks the tenth anniversary of the Inspiration Day of the Apostolate.  Divine Providence reserved the day (Thursday) and the moment (during the Hour of Divine Mercy) long before any of us or any priests existed.  A heaven-sent plan showed itself in the humility of a whispered idea in the hush of an Adoration Chapel.  A mere thread-of-a-plan lay destined to weave its beauty into the existing tapestry of not just St Paul, Minnesota, history, but eventually into that of all 50 states and into lands across the great ponds.

In June of that year (2011), seven groups of seven women formed to test the spirit of the inspiration through committed Holy Hours for seven St Paul-Minneapolis diocesan pastors.  Positive testimonies abounded after the first full year of their intentional, consistent prayer for these seven priests.  Since that ordained time, hundreds, then into thousands, of generous hearts have bolstered the prayer discipline of the Apostolate – you included!  The Master Weaver continues to weave the threads of His Will and Way for such as time as this for His Plans, His Purposes.

While we hold an encouraging benefit today of witnessing a great deal of growth and fruit through the Apostolate, in large part, as the youngster in St Padre Pio’s story, we have a limited view.  We cannot see better than God Himself, the master weaver. No eye has seen nor ear has heard nor mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him (I Cor 2:9).

For 10 years our sacrifices and prayers for priests have gone forth, joining those of centuries past.  We claim nothing novel.  We heed a call, do our part, during our time, in cooperation with a colossal plan of God that directs all things in the universe. His sovereignty, our collaboration.  For now, the Apostolate work is appealing to many and blessing many.  God’s Hand and Heart will direct what is ahead. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Truly, as St Paul reminds, let us only boast in Him (II Cor 10:17).  “In all your affairs lean solely on God’s Providence,” counsels the saint dubbed the “Saint-Maker” (St Francis de Sales), “by means of which alone your plans can succeed. Meanwhile, on your part work on in quiet co-operation with Him, and then rest satisfied that if you have trusted entirely to Him you will always obtain such a measure of success as is most profitable for you, whether it seems so or not to your own individual judgment.’”

Let us remain as handmaids, both docile to His Providence and ready and willing to act.  Humility and endurance have their reward.  On the other side of the veil, as we are made aware of our patterns of life, may we appreciate and recognize that red thread of the Will of God (Maria von Trapp) woven frequently, firmly and surely in our life’s tapestries, which for some length of time for each of us, has included the threads of this Apostolate.  Every breath of prayer has merit.

Work in the Apostolate under the attention of God’s guidance brings about a tremendous liberty of heart, anticipation and ensuing peace, and perhaps especially in the midst of our perplexing times.  “We are entirely in the care of Divine Providence,” reminds St Rose Philippine Duchesne, “and it is very sweet to remain so in peace.  The Cross is never lacking; may it be our consolation.” Amen.

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)

The Apostolate received a most exquisite GIFT for our TENTH anniversary!

A Seven Sister, Lamp-Bearer and seamstress par excellence created a stunning piece of handwork in counted cross stitch to commemorate our 10th anniversary of service.  Nancy H (Minnesota) used 77,678 stitches with 78 distinct colors to fashion a replica of our patron, Madonna of the Grapes.  First stitch: 1 June 2020 (month of our commitment renewals).  Last stitch: 4 August 2020 (Feast of St John Vianney).  With each stitch she prayed, “Jesus, Mary and Joseph:  bless each Seven Sister for Priests.” Photos attached: (1) Nancy and her pastor who blessed the image. The blessing was unrushed, thorough and very, very moving.  (2) Image in my home where it has pride of place!  Nancy added, “May the Seven Sisters Apostolate joyfully celebrate the first of many decades of prayerful support for priests!”  Eternal gratitude in every language, Nancy, for your time, talent and treasure!

Virtual Celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Founding Graces
24 March 2021, Wednesday, 7 pm
Fr Joseph Johnson and Janette
Includes: two short pre-taped talks and live Q and A
Total time: 1 hour, FREE