Andrea Bear shares how you can help your local pastor become a strong shepherd to his flock through the Seven Sisters Apostolate.
As Catholics we know that if we don’t have priests, we don’t have the sacraments. No Mass, no Confession, no Eucharist. Our priest are our shepherds, anointed holy men. But because of this, they are also open to more spiritual attacks, as the last few decades have shown. Yet how often do we take the time and offer a Rosary or special prayer for them?
A woman from Saint Paul, Minnesota, recognized this. In 2010, Janette Howe felt the nudge to pray more directly for her pastor, Father Joseph R. Johnson, who attended to the many needs of his community. Her son was also entering the seminary, and Father Johnson became a great support to him. To show her gratitude to God for all the graces she and her family were receiving, she decided to offer up an hour of Adoration each week to pray for Father Joseph.
It was in these moments of Adoration where the Holy Spirit spoke the words "Seven Sisters" to her. Unsure of what this meant, she continued to pray—and eventually the message was clear. She was called to pray for her local priest with the help of six other women (seven women praying one hour a week each for each day of the week for one year), and the Seven Sisters Apostolate came to be.
Janette’s call included six other women who would also dedicate one hour a week of prayer on behalf of their priest. The seven women (or sisters in Christ) had someone praying for their priest every day. They continued this for a year, starting on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and concluding the same time the following year.
As the anchoress to the six women, Janette conveyed this message to her pastor, who suggested they shared with their bishop. The bishop was so moved that he wanted to begin a similar program in the other area parishes for each pastor: seven parishes, equaling forty-nine women.
This movement has since grown, and many parishes across the United States have expanded on daily prayers for their pastors and priests. Janette has received feedback that the churches who have participated find more peace, communal support with their members, stronger homilies from their priest, a deeper love and respect for their priest, and overall a stronger Church. This momentum also caught the attention of EWTN, who endorses this movement.
While there are specific prayers and each group can adapt to its parish, the goal remains simple: Seven women, one priest, one holy hour a week, Adoration.
If you’d like to learn more about the movement or would like to start such a program in your parish, visit SevenSistersApostolate.org.
Copyright 2023 AUTHOR
About the Author
Andrea Bear is a wife, mom, and teacher in Stockton, California. In addition to CatholicMom.com, she also writes for HerLife Magazine and Catholic Stand. She recently completed her debut novel, Grieving Daughters Club. When she's not writing or taking her kids to volleyball practice you can find her sipping coffee from the neighborhood coffee establishments or tasting wine from the local vineyards. Visit AndreaBearAuthor.com.