By Amanda Eich | One Accord Area Catholic Community
Four years ago, the new associate priest at my parish at the time, Father Derek Wiechmann, said he would like to chat with me about something. We met and he introduced me to the Seven Sisters Apostolate. The 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.” Each priest has seven “sisters” who observe a holy hour on their given day of the week each week.
He asked me if this was something I’d consider starting. I said without hesitation, “Yes! I’ll do it!”
When I gave my “yes,” I thought it was solely for the benefit of the priest. I quickly discovered that I needed this. This apostolate was God’s way of sanctifying me, too. I have offered about 200 holy hours as a sister. Every single one of them has transformed me. I had no idea that this was how God was going to answer my everyday prayer, “Show me who you are, show me who I am, and show me who you want me to be.”
What happens in these hours? When you sit before Jesus each week you are transformed. His rays penetrate you even if your every intention is for another.
As a sister, I bring the priest before the Lord. I place him into the Sacred Heart of Jesus, hidden in the Eucharist. It is there the priest is refined with the fires of Jesus’ heart. I don’t leave. I step back. I stay with the two of them in the hidden silence of adoration and offer my “wasting hour” with Our Blessed Mother: where Jesus is, she too remains. She teaches me in that hour to be another Mary Magdalene at the foot of the cross, this time helping the priest carry his.
God speaks to me in those hours. It doesn’t matter which priest I pray for, what prayer I say or book I read, God uses whatever it is to reveal himself to me.
On June 13, the Seven Sisters from the St. Cloud Diocese gathered for an annual retreat. Father Derek was one of the guest speakers. He said the priest is Christ in all that he does, not just the Mass. He said whether he is home milking cows or celebrating the sacraments, he is a priest. A priest has an indelible mark that doesn’t go away if he milks cows.
The priest brings Jesus into the world in everything he does.
As a Seven Sister, I saw my priest’s life and his sacrifices. He freely gave his entire life for the sanctification of all. Who else did this? Jesus. This total gift of self from a man I knew right here, right now, that I talked to and saw all the time brought Christ to me in a whole new light. I no longer saw Father so-and-so. I saw Christ giving himself to me daily in a whole new way. He was living and active.
Christ filled me with his love in those hours and made it so real through the priest. He showed me who he is. A total gift of self. His life on the cross in a real tangible way still given today. This is the love of Christ. It never stops and permeates everything, even the depths of a stinky barn with cows.
My holy hour was hard at times and Mary carried me. She helped me see that God is God and I am not. Mary, with all of her sweetness, would say you are a child of God. You are his beloved. You are chosen to be here, wounds and all. See how he loves you? I started to feel like Mary Magdalene. I was an imperfect sinner, but the one who was chosen to anoint Jesus for burial with my “holy wasting” of oil. My oil was my hour. I wanted nothing more than to love God like she did.
I was asked what effect my prayers have had on the priests. I cannot speak for them. Their hearts are their own. I can only share my heart. If my transformation is but a tiny, indirect, fruit of the Seven Sisters Apostolate, I can only imagine how God is using it for his priests.
To learn more about becoming a part of the Seven Sisters Apostolate in the St. Cloud Diocese, contact Carrie Ellis at 320-253-1692 or visit the website https://sevensistersapostolate.org.