Poor Souls in Purgatory

Why We Should Always Remember the Souls in Purgatory

Why St.Padre Pio Always Remembered the Souls in Purgatory

Padre Pio told this story to padre Anastasio. “One evening, while I was alone in choir to pray, I heard the rustle of a suit and I saw a young monk that stirred next to the High altar. It seemed that the young monk was dusting the candelabra and straightening the flower vases. I thought he was Padre Leone rearranging the altar, and, since it was supper time, I went to him and I told him: “Padre Leone, go to dine, this is not the time to dust and to straighten the altar”. But a voice, that was not Father Leone’s answered me”: “I am not Padre Leone”, “and who are you? “, I asked him. “I am a brother of yours that made the noviciate here. I was ordered to clean the altar during the year of the noviciate.

Unfortunately many times I didn’t reverence Jesus while passing in front of the altar, thus causing the Holy Sacrament that was preserved in the tabernacle to be disrespected. For this serious carelessness, I am still in Purgatory. Now, God, with his endless goodness, sent me here so that you may quicken the time I will enjoy Paradise. Take care of me.” I believed to be generous to that suffering soul, so I exclaimed: “you will be in Paradise tomorrow morning, when I will celebrate Holy Mass”. That soul cried: “Cruel!” Then he wept and disappeared. That complaint produced in me a wound to the heart that I have felt and I will feel my whole life. In fact I would have been able to immediately send that soul to Heaven but I condemned him to remain another night in the flames of Purgatory.”

The Suffering of the Sick Man and Purgatory

Saint Anthony tells the story of a sick person who suffered so atrociously that he considered it beyond human nature and thus continually prayed for death. One day, an angel appeared to him and said, “God sent me here to offer you a choice. You can spend one year of suffering on earth, or one day in Purgatory.” Choosing the latter, he died and went to Purgatory.

When the angel went to console him, he was greeted with this groan of pain, “Deceitful angel! At least twenty years ago, you said that I would spend only one day in Purgatory . . . My God, how I suffer!”

To this the Angel responded, “Poor deluded soul, your body is not even buried yet.”

A Holy Religious Even Suffers Greatly

In 1870, Belgium fought as an ally with France against Germany. In September of that year, Sister Maria Serafina, a Redemptorist nun in Malines, Belgium, was suddenly seized with inexplicable sadness. Soon after, she received the news that her father had died in that war. From that day on, Sister Maria repeatedly heard distressing groans and a voice saying, “My dear daughter, have mercy on me!” Subsequently, she was besieged with torments, which included unbearable headaches. While laying down one day, she saw her father surrounded with flames and immersed in profound sadness. He was suffering in Purgatory and had received permission from God to beseech prayers from his daughter and relate Purgatory’s suffering to her. Thus he said: I want you to have Masses, prayers and indulgences said on my behalf. Look how I am immersed in this fire-filled hole! Oh! If people knew what Purgatory is, they would suffer anything to avoid it and alleviate the suffering of souls here. Be very holy, my daughter, and observe the Holy Rule, even in its most insignificant points. Purgatory for religious is a terrible thing! Sister Maria saw a pit full of flames, spewing black clouds of smoke. Her father was immersed in the pit where he was burning, horribly suffocated and thirsty. Opening his mouth she saw that his tongue was entirely shriveled. “I am thirsty, my daughter, I am thirsty.” The next day, her father visited her again saying, “My daughter, it has been a long time since I saw you last.” “My father, it was just yesterday . . .” “Oh! It seems like an eternity to me. If I stay in Purgatory three months, it will be an eternity. I was condemned for many years, but, due to Our Lady’s intercession, my sentence was reduced to only a few months.” The grace of coming to earth was granted to him through his good works during his life and because he had been devoted to Our Lady receiving communion on all her feast days. During these visions, Sister Maria Serafina asked her father several questions: “Do souls in Purgatory know who is praying for them, and can they pray for us?” “Yes, my daughter.” “Do these souls suffer, knowing that God is offended in their families and in the world?” “Yes.” Directed by her confessor and her superior, she continued to question her father: “Is it true that the sufferings of Purgatory are much greater than all the torments of earth and even of the martyrs?” “Yes, my daughter, all this is very true.” Sister Serafina then asked if everyone who belongs to the Scapular Confraternity of Carmel (those who wear the scapular), is freed from Purgatory on the first Saturday after death: “Yes,” he answered, “but only if they are faithful to the Confraternity’s obligations.” “Is it true that some souls must stay in Purgatory for as long as five hundred years?” “Yes. Some are condemned until the end of the world. These souls are very guilty and entirely abandoned.” “Three main things draw God’s malediction over men: failure to observe the Lord’s Day through work, the very widespread vice of impurity, and blasphemy. Oh my daughter, how these blasphemies provoke the wrath of God!” For over three months, Sister Serafina and her community prayed and offered penance for the soul of her tormented father who often appeared to her. During the elevation of the Host at Christmas Mass, Sister Maria saw her father shining like a sun with matchless beauty. “I finished my sentence, and have come to thank you and your sisters for your prayers and pious exercises. I will pray for you in Heaven.” If Purgatory did not exist to remove the stain of sin from imperfect souls, the only alternative would be Hell. Therefore, Purgatory is a necessary place of expiation. All personal sin carries two consequences: blame (which, in the case of mortal sin, destroys sanctifying grace and leads to Hell) and temporal punishment warranted by the offense to God. Although Confession frees us from blame and part of the punishment, we must still make additional reparation to God. In this life, this can be done through prayer, Mass intentions, alms, penance and acquiring indulgences. One who dies in a state of venial sin or without sufficient reparation goes to Purgatory.

WHAT HAPPENS TO THOSE WHO ARE NEGLECTFUL OF THE HOLY SOULS?

ST. ANTONINUS AND HIS FRIEND

St. Antoninus, the illustrious Archbishop of Florence, relates that a pious gentleman had died, who was a great friend of the Dominican Convent in which the Saint resided. Many Masses and suffrages were offered for his soul. The Saint was very much afflicted when, after the lapse of a long time, the soul of the poor gentleman appeared to him, suffering excruciating pains.

“Oh, my Dear Friend, ” exclaimed the Archbishop, “are you still in Purgatory, you who led such a pious and devout life?”

“Yes, and I shall remain there still for a long time, ” replied the poor sufferer, “for when on Earth I neglected to offer suffrages for the souls in Purgatory. Now, God by a just judgment has applied the suffrages which have been offered for me to those souls for whom I should have prayed. ”

“But God, too, in His Justice, will give me all the merits of my good works when I enter Heaven; but first of all, I have to expiate my grave neglect in regard to others. ”

So true are the words of Our Lord: “By that measure with which you measure, it will be measured to you again. ”

A Prayer for the Souls in Purgatory

O gentle Heart of Jesus, ever present in the Blessed Sacrament, ever consumed with burning love for the poor captive souls in Purgatory, have mercy on them. Be not severe in Your judgments, but let some drops of Your Precious Blood fall upon the devouring flames. And, Merciful Savior, send Your angels to conduct them to a place of refreshment, light and peace. Amen.

OFFERING OF DAILY ACTIONS FOR THE HOLY SOULS

We Should Do This at Least Once a Week for The Holy Souls

ETERNAL Father, by virtue of Thine generosity and love, I ask that

Thou accept all my actions, and that Thou dost multiply their value in favor of every soul in Purgatory. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

FOR THOSE WHO REALLY WANT TO GO ALL THE WAY FOR THE HOLY SOULS

THE HEROIC ACT IN FAVOR OF THE SOULS IN PURGATORY

O MY GOD! for Your greater glory, and to imitate as closely as possible the generous Heart of Jesus, my Redeemer, and also to testify my devotion to the Blessed Virgin, my Mother, who is also the Mother of the Souls in Purgatory, I place in her hands all my satisfactory works, as well as the fruit of all those which may be offered for my intention after my death, that she may apply them to the Souls in Purgatory according to her wisdom and good pleasure. Amen.

This Heroic Act of Charity is the completely unselfish offering to God of all the satisfactory value of one’s prayers and good works — plus the value of any that might be offered for one after one’s death — for the benefit of the Souls in Purgatory, rather than for oneself. The “satisfactory value” of a good work is its value with regard to making up for our sins and reducing our stay in Purgatory. However, the “meritorious value” of our good works is inalienable, i.e., our merits, which give us a right to an increase of glory in Heaven, cannot be applied to anyone else. Moreover, a person who has made the Heroic Act may still pray for himself, friends and other intentions.

The Heroic Act is revocable at will and is not a vow. Its actual ratification depends on the will of God. By making this act with purity of intention, one is relying upon the mercy of God and the prayers of the Communion of Saints to assist his soul after death. The Heroic Act was approved and encouraged by Pope Benedict XIII [1724-1730].

According to the Raccolta of 1932: The faithful who make the Heroic Act in favor of the Souls detained in Purgatory, may gain an indulgence.” At the time this was a plenary indulgence with special conditions attached , such as attending Mass, receiving Holy Communion in supplication for the Holy Souls, etc.

His Holiness, Leo XIII, Jan. 17, 1888, granted to the faithful who shall perform some pious practice for the relief of the Souls in Purgatory, every day during the whole month of November, whether in public or in private, an indulgence of seven years and as many quarantines on each day of the month; a plenary indulgence, once during the same month, on any day of the month, on the usual conditions: confession and communion, and a visit to a church or public oratory, and there praying for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

Hell, Poor Souls in Purgatory

St.Veronica Giuliani Saves a Sister from Hell and Sees a Vision of Purgatory

Saint Veronica recieved an extra Gurdian Angel from Jesus after being continuously attacked by the devil. Her angels accompanied her on her visits to hell. God revealed to Veronica that upon the election of a new Pope, Heaven appoints to him an additional ten guardian angels to assist him. At one point in Saint Veronica’s Life, she took great care of her fellow Sister, Sister Angelica Berioli during her last illness. According to the accounts of the convent, Sister Angelica was not very observant of the rules and had always been Veronica’s adversary. However, Veronica offered many prayers and penances for the salvation her soul and prayed at her bedside day and night saying, “My Lord, Your Most Precious Blood and Your infinite merits can obtain this grace.”

One day, when Sister Angelica was still semiconscious, Veronica told her: “Before I go, I want you to tell me something, and I want you to call on Jesus and not on the devil as you do.” Sister Angelica listened to her and promised she would do it and asked Veronica not to abandon her. After this incident, Sister Angelica lost the use of reason for the most part and only once in a while would be heard saying the name of Jesus. The devil was not happy that Veronica was taking this soul from him and tried to prevent her many times from praying. Saint Veronica wrote “On two occasions the devil gave me many blows and told me I would pay for this. One night while I was watching over this sister, he appeared under the form of a cat, and he wanted to jump unto her bed. I tried to shoo him away, and he came close to me as when he tried to jump on me, more and more I would visibly see the demons here around her bed and they would threaten to make me pay for this.”

On the evening that Sister Angelica died, June 21, 1701, Veronica saw how four demons were tempting the dying sister, telling her there was no hope for her. Veronica was made to understand; however, that the demons had lost. When she realized that Sister Angelica was about to die, Veronica asked permission to her Confessor to visit the Blessed Sacrament. On her way to the Chapel, the devil appeared to her under the form of a cat and jumped on her. She had to fight the cat off up to the door of the chapel, whereupon he disappeared, saying, “You won, but you will pay for it.” After Veronica prayed before the Blessed Sacrament, she understood that she needed to go back to Sister Angelica who would soon expire, and it did happen that way. Then, the Lord let her know that Sister Angelica had been saved but that she would be in Purgatory for a long time and showed Veronica the place of expiation. Veronica commented, “A very dark and scary place.” Then, Veronica had a vision of this soul who had turned into “a terrifying animal.”

Sister Angelica appeared to Veronica the following night and told her: “This is not diabolical. It is true that I suffer. If you understood my suffering, you would die of pain.”

On another occasion, Veronica saw the place where she was in purgatory: “I saw a place so terrible and full of torment that I thought it was hell. I can’t explain it in writing but it struck me with fear and terror. It seemed to me that I saw all sorts of tortures that tormented many souls at the same time. One soul, among the others, suffered more than the others and I seem to understand that it was this soul (Sister Angelica).”

Veronica understood, however, that this soul could not benefit from the prayers said for her because during her life she had not prayed for the requests of others. The penances and prayers that Veronica was offering for this soul were being applied to other souls in purgatory. The second time that this soul appeared to Veronica, she told her, “I can’t and I shouldn’t” Veronica understood that ‘can’t’ referred to ‘what she was suffering’ and ‘shouldn’t referred to ‘why she was suffering’. But then the soul of Angelica said, “It is up to you to get me out of this great suffering. I will not forget (your help).”

Even though the Lord made Veronica understand that this soul should have remained in purgatory until the Final Judgement, He also was willing to accept for Love of Veronica, sacrifices for this soul. Veronica suffered greatly and even experienced her own personal judgment in atonement for this soul, which she was finally able to release from purgatory. Sister Angelica was only one of many souls that Veronica got out of purgatory by taking upon herself the expiation they required to enter into Heaven, often telling these souls, “Go on to Heaven, I will remain here in order to atone for your sins.” In expiation, she had even suffered her own final judgement, and to inflame her with a desire for the salvation of souls God had allowed her to see, hell and also purgatory. She often visited purgatory: “I spent tonight as usual in Purgatory, in the midst of fire and ice, sorrows and sufferings, in complete abandonment and without any one’s help. May the Will of God be praised.”

It seems that her confessors abused her charity by making her expiate for many souls. Among the souls she atoned for are the soul of her father, Francesco Giuliani, Pope Clement XI, some of her confessors and many sisters such as sister Angelica.

Poor Souls in Purgatory

Sermon of St.John Vianney on Purgatory

The Cure of Ars Sermon on Purgatory

I come on behalf of God. Why am I up in the pulpit today, my dear brethren? What am I going to say to you? Ah! I come on behalf of God Himself. I come on behalf of your poor parents, to awaken in you that love and gratitude which you owe them. I come to bring before your minds again all those kindnesses and all the love which they gave you while they were on earth. I come to tell you that they suffer in Purgatory, that they weep, and that they demand with urgent cries the help of your prayers and your good works. I seem to hear them crying from the depths of those fires which devour them: “Tell our loved ones, tell our children, tell all our relatives how great the evils are which they are making us suffer. We throw ourselves at their feet to implore the help of their prayers. Ah! Tell them that since we have been separated from them, we have been here burning in the flames!

Oh! Who would be so indifferent to such sufferings as we are enduring?” Do you see, my dear brethren, do you hear that tender mother, that devoted father, and all those relatives who helped and tended you? “My friends,” they cry, “free us from these pains; you can do it.” Consider then, my dear brethren: (a) the magnitude of these sufferings which the souls in Purgatory endure; and (b) the means which we have of mitigating them: our prayers, our good works, and, above all, the holy sacrifice of the Mass. I do not wish to stop at this stage to prove to you the existence of Purgatory. That would be a waste of time. No one among you has the slightest doubt on that score. The Church, to which Jesus Christ promised the guidance of the Holy Ghost and which, consequently, can neither be mistaken herself nor mislead us, teaches us about Purgatory in a very clear and positive manner. It is certain, very certain, that there is a place where the souls of the just complete the expiation of their sins before being admitted to the glory of Paradise, which is assured them. Yes, my dear brethren, and it is an article of faith: if we have not done penance proportionate to the greatness and enormity of our sins, even though forgiven in the holy tribunal of Penance, we shall be compelled to expiate them…. In Holy Scripture there are many texts which show clearly that although our sins may be forgiven, God still imposes on us the obligation to suffer in this world by temporal hardships or in the next by the flames of Purgatory. Look at what happened to Adam. Because he was repentant after committing his sin, God assured him that He had pardoned him, and yet He condemned him to do penance for nine hundred years, penance which surpasses anything that we can imagine. See again: David ordered, contrary to the wish of God, the census of his subjects, but, stricken with remorse of conscience, he saw his sin and, throwing himself upon the ground, begged the Lord to pardon him. God, touched by his repentance, forgave him indeed. But despite that, He sent Gad to tell David that he would have to choose between three scourges which He had prepared for him as punishment for his iniquity: the plague, war, or famine. David said: “It is better that I should fall into the hands of the Lord (for his mercies are many) than into the hands of men.” He chose the pestilence, which lasted three days and killed seventy thousand of his subjects. If the Lord had not stayed the hand of the Angel, which was stretched out over the city, all Jerusalem would have been depopulated! David, seeing so many evils caused by his sin, begged the grace of God to punish him alone and to spare his people, who were innocent. See, too, the penance of Saint Mary Magdalen; perhaps that will soften your hearts a little. Alas, my dear brethren, what, then, will be the number of years which we shall have to suffer in Purgatory, we who have so many sins, we who, under the pretext that we have confessed them, do no penance and shed no tears?

How many years of suffering shall we have to expect in the next life? But how, when the holy Fathers tell us that the torments they suffer in this place seem to equal the sufferings which our Lord Jesus Christ endured during His sorrowful Passion, shall I paint for you a heart-rending picture of the sufferings which these poor souls endure? However, it is certain that if the slightest torment that our Lord suffered had been shared by all mankind, they would all be dead through the violence of such suffering. The fire of Purgatory is the same as the fire of Hell; the difference between them is that the fire of Purgatory is not everlasting. Oh! Should God in His great mercy permit one of these poor souls, who bum in these flames, to appear here in my place, all surrounded by the fires which consume him, and should he give you himself a recital of the sufferings he is enduring, this church, my dear brethren, would reverberate with his cries and his sobs, and perhaps that might finally soften your hearts. Oh! How we suffer! they cry to us.

Oh! You, our brethren, deliver us from these torments! You can do it! Ah, if you only experienced the sorrow of being separated from God! … Cruel separation! To burn in the fire kindled by the justice of God! … To suffer sorrows incomprehensible to mortal man! . . . To be devoured by regret, knowing that we could so easily have avoided such sorrows! … Oh! My children, cry the fathers and the mothers, can you thus so readily abandon us, we who loved you so much? Can you then sleep in comfort and leave us stretched upon a bed of fire. Will you have the courage to give yourselves up to pleasure and joy while we are here suffering and weeping night and day? You have our wealth, our homes, you are enjoying the fruit of our labors, and you abandon us here in this place of torments, where we are suffering such frightful evils for so many years! … And not a single almsgiving, not a single Mass which would help to deliver us! … You can relieve our sufferings, you can open our prison, and you abandon us. Oh! How cruel these sufferings are! … Yes, my dear brethren, people judge very differently, when in the flames of Purgatory, of all those light faults, if indeed it is possible to call anything light which makes us endure such rigorous sorrows. What woe would there be to man, the Royal Prophet cries, even the most just of men, if God were to judge him without mercy. If God has found spots in the sun and malice in the angels, what, then, is this sinful man? And for us, who have committed so many mortal sins and who have done practically nothing to satisfy the justice of God, how many years of Purgatory! “My God,” said Saint Teresa, “what soul will be pure enough to enter into heaven without passing through the vengeful flames?” In her last illness, she cried suddenly: “O justice and power of my God, how terrible you are!” During her agony, God allowed her to see His holiness as the angels and the saints see Him in heaven, which caused her so much dread that her sisters, seeing her trembling and extraordinarily agitated, spoke to her, weeping: “Ah! Mother, what has happened to you; surely you do not fear death after so many penances and such abundant and bitter tears?” “No, my children,” Saint Teresa replied, “I do not fear death; on the contrary, I desire it so that I may be united forever with my God.” “Is it your sins, then, which terrify you, after so much mortification? ” “Yes, my children,” she told them. “I do fear my sins, but I fear still another thing even more.” “Is it the judgment then?” “Yes, I tremble at the formidable account that it will be necessary to render to God, Who, in that moment, will be without mercy, but there is still something else of which the very thought alone makes me die with terror.” The poor sisters were deeply distressed. “Alas! Can it be Hell then?” “No,” she told them. “Hell, thank God, is not for me. Oh! My sisters, it is the holiness of God. My God, have pity upon me! My life must be brought face to face with that of Jesus Christ Himself! Woe to me if I have the least blemish or stain! Woe to me if I am even in the very shadow of sin!” “Alas!” cried these poor sisters. “What will our deaths be like!” What will ours be like, then, my dear brethren, we who, perhaps in all our penances and our good works, have never yet satisfied for one single sin forgiven in the tribunal of Penance?

Ah! What years and centuries of torment to punish us! … How dearly we shall pay for all those faults that we look upon as nothing at all, like those little lies that we tell to amuse ourselves, those little scandals, the despising of the graces which God gives us at every moment, those little murmurings in the difficulties that He sends us! No, my dear brethren, we would never have the courage to commit the least sin if we could understand how much it outrages God and how greatly it deserves to be rigorously punished, even in this world. God is just, my dear brethren, in all that He does. When He recompenses us for the smallest good action, He does so over and above all that we could desire. A good thought, a good desire, that is to say, the desire to do some good work even when we are not able to do it, He never leaves without a reward. But also, when it is a matter of punishing us, it is done with rigor, and though we should have only a light fault, we shall be sent into Purgatory. This is true, for we see it in the lives of the saints that many of them did not go to Heaven without having first passed through the flames of Purgatory. Saint Peter Damien tells that his sister remained several years in Purgatory because she had listened to an evil song with some little pleasure. It is told that two religious promised each other that the first to die would come to tell the survivor in what state he was. God permitted the one who died first to appear to his friend. He told him that he was remaining fifteen years in Purgatory for having liked to have his own way too much. And as his friend was complimenting him on remaining there for so short a time, the dead man replied: “I would have much preferred to be flayed alive for ten thousand years continuously, for that suffering could not even be compared with what I am suffering in the flames.” A priest told one of his friends that God had condemned him to remain in Purgatory for several months for having held back the execution of a will designed for the doing of good works. Alas, my dear brethren, how many among those who hear me have a similar fault with which to reproach themselves?

How many are there, perhaps, who during the course of eight or ten years have received from their parents or their friends the work of having Masses said and alms given and have allowed the whole thing to slide! How many are there who, for fear of finding that certain good works should be done, have not wanted to go to the trouble of looking at the will that their parents or their friends have made in their favor? Alas, these poor souls are still detained in the flames because no one has desired to fulfill their last wishes! Poor fathers and mothers, you are being sacrificed for the happiness of your children and your heirs! You perhaps have neglected your own salvation to augment their fortune. You are being cheated of the good works which you left behind in your wills! … Poor parents! How blind you were to forget yourselves! … You will tell me, perhaps: “Our parents lived good lives; they were very good people.” Ah! They needed little to go into these flames! See what Albert the Great, a man whose virtues shone in such an extraordinary way, said on this matter. He revealed one day to one of his friends that God had taken him into Purgatory for having entertained a slightly self-satisfied thought about his own knowledge. The most astonishing thing was that there were actually saints there, even ones who were beatified, who were passing through Purgatory. Saint Severinus, Archbishop of Cologne, appeared to one of his friends a long time after his death and told him that he had been in Purgatory for having deferred to the evening the prayers he should have said in the morning. Oh! What years of Purgatory will there be for those Christians who have no difficulty at all in deferring their prayers to another time on the excuse of having to do some pressing work! If we really desired the happiness of possessing God, we should avoid the little faults as well as the big ones, since separation from God is so frightful a torment to all these poor souls!

November Feast Days, Poor Souls in Purgatory

All Souls Feast Day

The Church, after rejoicing yesterday with those of her children who have entered the glory of heaven, today prays for all those who, in the purifying suffering of purgatory await the day when they will be joined to the company of saints. At no place in the liturgy is stated in more striking fashion the mysterious union between the Church triumphant, the Church militant and the Church suffering; at no time is there accomplished in clearer fashion the twofold duty of charity and justice deriving for every Christian from the fact of his incorporation in the mystical Body of Christ. By virtue of the consoling doctrine of the communion of saints the merits and prayers of each one are able to help all; and the Church is able to join her prayer with that of the saints in heaven and supply what is wanting to the souls in purgatory by means of the Mass, indulgences and the alms and sacrifices of her children.

The celebration of Mass, the sacrifice of Calvary continued on our altars, has ever been for the Church the principal means of fulfilling towards the dead the great commandment of charity. Masses for the dead are found in the fifth century. But it was St. Odilo, fourth abbot of Cluny, who was responsible for the institution of the general commemoration of all the faithful departed; he instituted it and fixed its celebration on November 2, the day after All Saints. The practice spread to the rest of Christendom.

Daily in a special Memento in the Canon of the Mass, at which the priest remembers all those who have fallen asleep in the Lord, the priest implores God to grant them a place of happiness, light and peace. Thus there is no Mass in which the Church does not pray for the faithful departed; but today her thoughts are directed towards them in a particular fashion, with the maternal preoccupation of leaving no soul in purgatory without spiritual aid and of grouping them all together in her intercession. By a privilege that Benedict XV’s decree has extended to the whole world every priest can today celebrate three Masses; for the liberation of the souls in purgatory the Church multiplies the offering of the sacrifice of Christ, from which she draws forever on behalf of all her children, infinite fruits of redemption.

~Do pious practices to help the Poor Souls: attend three Masses for the Poor Souls on this day; remember your family and friends who are deceased and make an extra sacrifice for them; pray the rosary for the most forgotten soul in purgatory.

~The faithful who visit a cemetery to pray for the faithful departed, saying the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed (even if only mentally), may gain a plenary indulgence once only under the usual conditions: sacramental confession (eight days before or after the act), Eucharistic Communion on that day, and prayer for the Pope’s intentions (usually one Our Father and Hail Mary as minimum). Each day between November 1 and November 8, this gains a plenary indulgence that can only be applied to the poor souls in purgatory. Any other time of year this gains a partial indulgence.

Poor Souls in Purgatory

The Location of Purgatory and the Suffering Endured by the Souls in Purgatory

It has pleased God to show in spirit the gloomy abodes of Purgatory to some privileged souls, who were to reveal the sorrowful mysteries thereof for the edification of the faithful. Of this number was the illustrious St. Frances,foundress of the Oblates, who died in Rome in 1440. God favoured her with great lights concerning the state of souls in the other life. She saw Hell and its horrible torments; she saw also the interior of Purgatory, and the mysterious order —I had almost said hierarchy of expiations—which reigns in this portion of the Church of Jesus Christ.

In obedience to her superiors, who thought themselves bound to impose this obligation upon her, she made known all that God had manifested to her; and her visions, written at the request of the venerable Canon Matteotti, her spiritual director, have all the authenticity that can be desired in such matters. Now, the servant of God declared that, after having endured with unspeakable horror the vision of Hell, she came out of that abyss, and was conducted by her celestial guide into the regions of Purgatory. There reigned neither horror nor disorder, nor despair nor eternal darkness ; there divine hope diffused its light, and she was told that this place of purification was called also sojourn of hope. She saw there souls which suffered cruelly, but angels visited and assisted them in their sufferings.

Purgatory, she said, is divided into three distinct parts, which are as the three large provinces of that kingdom of suffering. They are situated the one beneath the other, and occupied by souls of different orders. These souls are buried more deeply in proportion as they are more defiled and farther removed from the time of their deliverance.

The lowest region is filled with a fierce fire, but which is not dark like that of Hell ; it is a vast burning sea, throw- ing forth immense flames. Innumerable souls are plunged into its depths : they are those who have rendered themselves guilty of mortal sin, which they have duly confessed, but not sufficiently expiated during life. The servant of God then learned that, for all forgiven mortal sin, there remains to be undergone a suffering of seven years. This term cannot evidently be taken to mean a definite measure, since mortal sins differ in enormity, but as an average penalty. Although the souls are enveloped in the same flames, their sufferings are not the same; they differ accord- ing to the number and nature of their former sins.In this lower Purgatory the saint beheld laics and persons consecrated to God. The laics were those who, after a life of sin, had had the happiness of being sincerely converted; the persons consecrated to God were those who had not lived according to the sanctity of their state.

At that same moment she saw descend the soul of a priest whom she knew, but whose name she does not reveal. She remarked that he had his face covered with a veil which concealed a stain. Although he had led an edifying life, this priest had not always observed strict temperance, and had sought too eagerly the satisfactions of the table.

The saint was then conducted into the intermediate Purgatory, destined for souls which had deserved less rigorous Chastisement.It had three distinct compartments, one resembled an immense dungeon of ice, the cold of which was indescribably intense; the second, on the contrary, was like a huge caldron of boiling oil and pitch,

the third had the appearance of a pond of liquid metal resembling molten gold or silver.The upper Purgatory, which the saint does not describe, is the temporary abode of souls which suffer little, except the pain of loss, and approach the happy moment of their deliverance.

Such, in substance, is the vision of St. Frances relative to Purgatory.

The following is an account of that of St. Magdalen de Pazzi, a Florentine Carmelite, as it is related in her Life by Father Cepare. It gives more of a picture of Purgatory, whilst the preceding vision but traces its outlines.

Some time before her death, which took place in 1607, the servant of God, Magdalen de Pazzi, being one evening with several other Religious in the garden of the convent, was ravished in ecstasy, and saw Purgatory open before her. At the same time, as she made known later, a voice invited her to visit all the prisons of Divine Justice, and to see how truly worthy of compassion are the souls detained there.

At this moment she was heard to say, ” Yes, I will go.’ She consented to undertake this painful journey. In fact, she walked for two hours round the garden, which was very large, pausing from time to time. Each time she inter- rupted her walk, she contemplated attentively the sufferings which were shown to her. She was then seen to wring her hands in compassion, her face became pale, her body bent under the weight of suffering, in presence of the terrible spectacfe with which she was confronted.

She began to cry aloud in lamentation, ” Mercy, my God, mercy ! Descend, O Precious Blood, and deliver these souls from their prison. Poor souls ! you suffer so cruelly, and yet you are content and cheerful. The dungeons of the martyrs in comparison with these were gardens of delight. Nevertheless there are others still deeper. How happy should I esteem myself were I not obliged to go down into them.”

She did descend, however, for she was forced to continue her way. But when she had taken a few steps, she stopped terror stricken, and, sighing deeply, she cried, ” What ! Religious also in this dismal abode ! Good God ! how they are tormented! Ah, Lord ! ” She does not explain the nature

tormented of their sufferings ; but the horror which she manifested in contemplating them caused her to sigh at each step. She passed from thence into less gloomy places. They were the dungeons of simple souls, and of children in whom ignorance and lack of reason extenuated many faults. Their torments appeared to her much more endurable than those of the others. Nothing but ice and fire were there. She noticed that these souls had their angel-guardians with them, who fortified them greatly by their presence ; but she saw also demons whose dreadful forms increased their sufferings.

Advancing a few paces, she saw souls still more unfortu- nate, and she was heard to cry out, ” Oh ! how horrible is this place ; it is full of hideous demons and incredible tor- ments ! Who, O my God, are the victims of these cruel tortures ? Alas ! they are being pierced with sharp swords, theyarebeingcutintopieces.” She was answered that they were the souls whose conduct had been tainted with hypocrisy.

Advancing a little, she saw a great multitude of souls which were bruised, as it were, and crushed under a press and she understood that they were those souls which had been addicted to impatience and disobedience during life. Whilst contemplating them, her looks, her sighs, her whole attitude betokened compassion and terror.

A moment later her agitation increased, and she uttered a dreadful cry. It was the dungeon of lies which now lay open before her. After having attentively considered it, she cried aloud, ” Liars are confined in a place in the vicinity of Hell, and their sufferings are exceedingly great. Molten lead is poured into their mouths ; I see them burn, and at the same time tremble with cold.”

She then went to the prison of those souls which had sinned through weakness, and she was heard to exclaim Alas ! I had thought to find you among those who have

sinned through ignorance, but I am mistaken for you

you burn with an intenser fire.”

Farther on, she perceived souls which had been too much

attached to the goods of this world, and had sinned by avarice.” What blindness,” said she, ” thus eagerly to seek a perishable fortune.Those for whom riches could not sufficiently satiate are here gorged with torments.They are smelted like metal in the furnace”.

From thence she passed into the place where those souls were imprisoned which had formerly been stained with impurity. She saw them in so filthy and pestilential a dungeon that the sight produced nausea. She turned away quickly from that loathsome spectacle. Seeing the ambi- tious and the proud, she said, ” Behold those who wished to shine before men ; now they are condemned to live in this frightful obscurity.”

Then she was shown those souls which had been guilty of ingratitude towards God.. They were a prey to unutteraable torments, and, as it were, drowned in a lake of molten lead, for having by their ingratitude dried up the source of piety.

Finally, in a last dungeon, she was shown souls that had not been given to any particular vice, but which, through lack of proper vigilance over themselves, had committed all kinds of trivial faults. She remarked that these souls had share in the chastisements of all vices, in a moderate degree, because those faults committed only from time to time rendered them less guilty than those committed through habit.

After this last station the saint left the garden, begging God never again to make her witness of so heartrending a spectacle : she felt that she had not strength to endure it. Her ecstasy still continued, and, conversing with Jesus, she said to Him, ” Tell me, Lord, what was your design in discovering to me those terrible prisons, of which I knew so little nd comprehended still less? Ah! I now see; you wished to give me the knowledge of your infinite sanctity, and to make me detest more and more the least stain of sin, which is so abominable in your eyes.”

~Source:”Purgatory Explained by the Lives and Legends of the Saints”

Poor Souls in Purgatory

St.Teresa of Avila Aids the Holy Souls in Purgatory

St. Teresa had great charity towards the souls in Purgatory, and assisted them as much as lay in her power by her prayers and good works. In recompense, God frequently showed her the souls she had delivered; she saw them at the moment of their release from suffering and of their entrance into Heaven. Now, they generally came forth from the bosom of the earth. I received tidings she writes, of the death of a Religious who had formerly been Provincial of that province, and afterwards of another. I was acquainted with him, and he had rendered me great service. This intelligence caused me great uneasiness. Although this man was commendable for many virtues, I was apprehensive for the salvation of his soul, because he had been Superior for the space of twenty years, and I always fear much for those who are charged with the care of souls.

Much grieved, I went to an oratory; there I conjured ourDivine Lord to apply to this Religious the little good I had done during my life, and to supply the rest by His infinite merits, in order that this soul might be freed from Purgatory.Whilst I besought this grace with all the fervour of which I was capable, I saw on my right side this soul come forth from the depths of the earth and ascend into Heaven in transports of joy. Although this priest was advanced in years, he appeared to me with the features of a man who had not yet attained the age of thirty, and with a countenance resplendent with light.

This vision, though very short, left me inundated with Joy, and without a shadow of doubt as to the truth of what I had seen. As I was separated by a great distance from

the place where this servant of God had ended his days,it was some time before I learned the particulars of his edifying death ; all those who were witnesses of it could not behold without admiration how he preserved consciousness to the last moment, the tears he shed, and the sentiments of humility with which he surrendered his soul to God.

A Religious of my community, a great servant of God,had been dead not quite two days. We were saying the Office for the Dead for her in choir, a sister was reading the lesson, and I was standing to say the versicle. When half of the lesson had been said, I saw the soul of this Religious come forth from the depths of the earth, like the one of which I have just spoken, and go to Heaven.

” In this same monastery there died, at the age of eighteen or twenty years, another Religious, a true model of fervour, regularity, and virtue. Her life had been but at issue of maladies and sufferings patiently endured. I had no doubt, after “having seen her live thus, that she had more than sufficient merits to exempt her from Purgatory. Nevertheless, whilst I was at office, before she was interred, and about a quarter of an hour after her death, I saw her soul likewise issue from the earth and rise to Heaven.”

~Source:”Purgatory:Explained by the Lives and Legends of the Saints”