Seven lay women pray for one priest or bishop for one hour each week as part of the Seven Sisters Apostolate. At stake, they say, is the Church itself.

One day a week, Donna Mohr kneels before the tabernacle at St. Dominic Church for an hour to pray for Dominican Father Michael Hurley, pastor. She said she brings a chaplet of prayers for St. Michael the Archangel to keep her “focused” on him.

“I had never in my life said to anyone, ‘I’m going to pray a Holy Hour for you,’” Mohr said. “But I believe my prayers can help strengthen our pastor. When he is fortified by prayer, he can do more for others.”

The longtime parishioner is one of seven laywomen at the parish who pray especially for the intentions of Father Hurley as part of a ministry called the Seven Sisters Apostolate. Each has committed to a full year of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, praying a Holy Hour of their choice on different days of the week.

Laywomen have enthusiastically responded to the call to pray for priests since the San Francisco parish introduced the apostolate four years ago. St. Dominic formed not just the Seven Sisters ‘team’ that supports its pastor, but four others that support the individual priests of the parish and other members of the Dominican community.

St. Dominic was also the springboard for a Seven Sisters team supporting the ministry of San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone. Today the archbishop has three separate Seven Sisters teams praying for him throughout the Archdiocese, with several members at Church of the Nativity. The Menlo Park parish offers perpetual adoration.

Kathleen Folan, St. Dominic’s director of family and youth ministries, admits that she thought the Seven Sisters Apostolate sounded “a little new age-y,” when she first heard about it. Still, the more she learned of the apostolate formed just over 10 years ago by a laywoman in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the more she saw a Dominican connection and a future for it at her parish.

Before founding the Order of Preachers friars, St. Dominic first set up a monastery of cloistered nuns in Prouilhe, France. He knew that prayer would be needed for this new order to fulfill its missionary role.

“Convents have declined in number, but laywomen are ready and willing to rise to the occasion and fill in the gap as best we can in the midst of our busy lives,” said Folan.

“Priests are always the first targets of demonic attack,” said Eva Muntean, a parishioner at Star of the Sea Parish in San Francisco, who started a Seven Sisters team for Father Joseph Illo, pastor, and parochial vicar Father Michael Konopik. “We must surround them with the armor of our prayers to protect them.”

Full story at Archdiocese of San Francisco.