Almost 70 ‘Seven Sisters’ groups in diocese make holy hours for spiritual fathers
LINCOLN (SNR) – Members of the Seven Sisters Apostolate in the Diocese of Lincoln invite women across the diocese to consider a special gift for their priests in 2018: holy hours of prayer.
The Seven Sisters Apostolate is a call to strengthen the Church by ensuring that a holy hour is prayed each day of the week, for the sole intention of a specific priest or bishop. A Seven Sisters group is comprised of seven women, with each one selecting one day per week to pray, Monday through Sunday, preferably before the Blessed Sacrament, for one year—totaling 52 holy hours of prayer for a specific priest.
When a Seven Sisters group is formed in a parish, the initial recipient should be the parish pastor. After the pastor has a committed group, subsequent groups may be formed for the assistant pastor, a senior priest in residence, a retired priest, a priest serving in a non-parish assignment, or a bishop.
“The Seven Sisters Apostolate is a beautiful way for us as women to join together like the women in the Gospels who encountered and followed Jesus,” said Rhonda Litt, Lincoln Diocesan coordinator. “Our priests stand ‘in persona Christi,’ in the person of Christ. In the Gospels we read of the many times Jesus spoke to women—healing, forgiving, acknowledging and protecting them.”
She recounted the story of Saint Veronica in the Gospel of Luke, when she wiped the face of Jesus as he carried the cross to Calvary, as well as the women at the foot of His cross in the Gospel of John.
“We as women have a role in salvation history,” she said, “and I believe praying for our priests is a significant contribution.”
Seven Sisters was founded in Minnesota in 2011 by Janette Howe. The apostolate came to the Diocese of Lincoln last year, with a group from Cristo Rey Parish in Lincoln. Around the world, priests are covered in prayer with Seven Sisters groups in more than 250 parishes, and in the Diocese of Lincoln there are almost 70 priests with a group of women praying for them.
“Praying for our priests reaches way beyond special graces for them and strengthening our Catholic Church,” Litt said. It also changes and brings new spiritual fervor and life to the hearts of those women who commit to an hour of prayer each week.”
As coordinator for the diocese, Litt frequently fields questions from women who aren’t sure if they can commit the time in prayer.
“One lady I visited with hesitated for several months,” Litt shared, “as she did not want to dedicate an hour of prayer solely for one priest, as she had so many other intentions she wanted to pray for. After she made the commitment to join a Seven Sisters group and make a weekly holy hour for a priest, she could not believe the miracles of answered prayers for those past intentions! Jesus cannot be outdone in His generosity!”
She also said her heart was touched when an anchoress—the coordinator of a Seven Sisters group—contacted her about a woman who desired to join a Seven Sisters group but was incarcerated.
“She was afraid she couldn’t, with her inability to pray in a Church before a tabernacle. Although holy hours are encouraged before the Blessed Sacrament, it is not a requirement of the apostolate. Her prayers, and those of any other ‘shut-in,’ are welcome and will most certainly be heard and answered by Our Lord!”
Litt said the organization would like to cover every priest in the Diocese of Lincoln by Friday, June 8, 2018, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as a spiritual gift to Him, and also as a gift to Seven Sisters Apostolate foundress Howe. She will return to the Diocese of Lincoln to speak at a Magnificat meeting June 9, the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
While encouraging interest, Litt did ask participants for patience. Since the apostolate is growing so rapidly in the diocese, it is sometimes difficult for Howe and the handful of other national coordinators to get materials ordered and to respond as soon as they would like.