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Proofs of Purgatory Header 

By Tonia Long


When Our Lady came to Fatima, she confirmed the existence of three supernatural realms: heaven, hell and purgatory.

When asked by the three shepherd children from where she had come, she matter-of-factly replied, “I am from heaven,” while pointing to the sky.

On July 13, 1917, during her third visit to the children, she showed them a vision of hell. Lucia described it as:

“Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear.”

What about purgatory? When asked about the soul of Amelia, a 16-year-old girl who had recently died, Our Lady replied, “She will be in purgatory until the end of the world.” A very sobering thought indeed.

 

Purgatory? Prove it!

Other than the words of the Queen of Heaven, what proofs are there of the existence of a place we call purgatory? Is there any actual physical proof, that tangible evidence so required by those of our scientific age?

Taken from the book, Hungry Souls, by Gerard van den Aardweg, (who is from Holland and active in the pro-life movement) this story is just one of many such recounts of burn marks left by those souls from purgatory imploring aid or simply making their existence known. The “burned in hand of Czestochowa” is preserved in the monastery of the Paulinian Order located within the Polish city of Jasna Gora, or “bright hill.” The basilica of Jasna Gora has long been a place of pilgrimage for those faithful intent on honoring the beautiful image of Our Lady there called The Black Madonna.

Basilica of Jasna Gora


Though the exact time and date of this supernatural manifestation has not been recorded in any official capacity, the oldest testimony was made in 1890 by one Father Reichel, the parish priest of Hundsfeld, near Wroclaw. Father Reichel writes:

Burned hand print “I was with two confreres in Czestochowa. When a friar of the monastery…he led us also into an adjoining vault…remarking that this was done only exceptionally…. We saw lying in it a corporale* on which a human hand that must have been red hot had been impressed. The upper layers of the linen were totally burnt through, the lower were browned, increasingly more lightly. … The following had occurred:

“Two clerics of the monastery (of the Paulinian Order) had promised one another many years ago that the one who would die first would give the other one a sign from the beyond. Now one of them was dead already a long time and never had given a sign. This was what the other one was thinking about, when one day he had just finished Holy Mass and, as usual, was folding together the corporale before him, in nine folds. Then the evil doubt went through his head that perhaps there would be no survival after death at all. At that moment, a hand appears, lays itself on the corporale, and immediately disappears again. How much it was ablaze through and through, however, it shown clearly enough by the combustion of the nine times folded up linen, exactly in the form of a hand.”

 

The Saints and Purgatory

In addition to many physical pieces of evidence confirming the existence of Purgatory, of which the above is just one example, we have the testimony of many canonized saints of the Church.

Among the most well-known are: St. John Macias (who was known to have released literally thousands of souls from Purgatory during his holy lifetime), St. Augustine, St. Dominic, St. Francis Xavier, St. Victor, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Nicolas of Tolentino, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, St. Catherine of Genoa, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Gregory the Great, St. Odilon of Cluny, St. Francesca Romana, St. Bridget of Sweden, St. Ambrose, St. Bonaventure, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Efraim, St. Peter Damian, St. Francis de Sales, St. Catherine of Genoa, and in modern times the recently canonized saints Gemma Galgani, and Padre Pio

The book, “The Life of St. Gemma Galgani”  by Venerable Father Germanus Ruoppolo C.P., provides an account of the influence that the prayers of Saint Gemma (1878-1903) had in releasing a holy soul from Purgatory.

God had revealed to Gemma that in the Convent of Passionist Nuns at Corneto, Italy, there was a religious sister very dear to Him who was near death. After her death, this soul appeared to Saint Gemma full of sorrow, imploring her help as she was undergoing great torments in Purgatory. From that moment Gemma gave herself no rest: she fervently offered prayers, tears and loving petitions to Our Lord.

This is what Saint Gemma wrote in her diary regarding this suffering soul:

St Gemma Galgani"It was around 9:30 and I was reading; all of a sudden I am shaken by a hand resting gently on my left shoulder. I turn in fright; I was afraid and tried to call out, but I was held back. I turned and saw a person dressed in white; I recognized it was a woman; I looked and her expression assured me I had nothing to fear: ‘Gemma,’ she said after some moments, ‘do you know me?’ I said no, because that was the truth; she responded: ‘I am Mother Maria Teresa of the Infant Jesus: I thank you so very much for the great concern you have shown me because soon I shall be able to attain my eternal happiness.’

“All this happened while I was awake and fully aware of myself. Then she added: ‘Continue still, because I still have a few days of suffering.’ And in so saying she caressed me and then went away. Her countenance, I must say, inspired much confidence in me. From that hour I redoubled my prayers for her soul, so that soon she should reach her objective; but my prayers are too weak; how I wish that for the souls in Purgatory my prayers should have the strength of the saints.”

Several weeks later, Saint Gemma revealed the following to her confessor:

“Toward half-past one it seemed to me that the Blessed Mother herself came to tell me that the holy hour I was making was drawing to an end. Then almost immediately I thought I saw Sr. Maria Teresa coming toward me clad as a Passionist, accompanied by her Guardian Angel and by Jesus. Oh, how she was changed since the day I first saw her! Smiling, she drew close to me and said: ‘I am truly happy, and I go to enjoy my Jesus forever.’ She thanked me again. Then she made sign of bidding me good-bye with her hand, several times, and with Jesus and her Guardian Angel she flew to Heaven.”


Greedy for Graces

At a time in our history as the One True Church founded by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the doctrine of Purgatory has become lost in the post-Vatican II shuffle. “Many modern Catholics don’t know what purgatory is anymore,” said Father Longenecker, who blogs at Standing on My Head. “They’ve bought into the idea that sin has no consequences, that everyone goes to heaven because God is too nice to send anyone anywhere else.”

It is our intent at ANF to remind our readers of this “forgotten doctrine” and restore this teaching as the doctrine of true hope and mercy it has always been. Purgatory offers every imperfect human the hope that he or she may “Be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). The doctrine of Purgatory is very much in keeping with our belief in a God Who is at once just, as well as merciful.

Souls in Purgatory and the Blessed SacramentReferred to as “the Church Suffering,” the Holy Souls in Purgatory cannot do anything for themselves, but they can help you and I, members of the Church Militant. Susan Tassone, author of seven books on purgatory, writes “We have such great intercessors in the holy souls.

They’re interested in our salvation. They want to help ensure that we understand the malice of sin and the importance of conforming our lives to God’s will, so that we can go straight to heaven when we die.”

And what can we do in return? “We need to be greedy for graces for the souls in purgatory,” said Tassone. “When the soul leaves the body, the time for merit is up. The soul is helpless. That’s why they need our prayers — the Rosary, adoration, the Way of the Cross and, most of all, the Mass. The Masses we have offered for the souls in purgatory are the best thing we can do for our beloved dead. That’s because the Mass is the highest form of worship, the highest form of prayer.” 

Click here for more ways to help the Holy Souls.


In conclusion, we leave you with a powerful prayer revealed by Our Lord to Saint Gertrude the Great. It was promised that each time this prayer is said with confidence in God’s mercy 1,000 souls would be released from Purgatory.

 

St Gertrude“Eternal Father,
I offer You the most precious blood
of thy Divine Son, Jesus,
in union with the Masses said
throughout the world today,
for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory,
for sinners everywhere,
for sinners in the universal Church,
for those in my own home,
and in my family. Amen.”

 


*A square white linen cloth upon which the chalice and paten, and also the ciborium containing the smaller hosts for the Communion of the laity, are placed during the celebration of the Catholic Eucharist (Mass).

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for August 2, 2021

The state of grace is nothing other than purity, and it give...

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August 2

 

The state of grace is nothing other than purity,
and it gives heaven to those who clothe themselves in it.
Holiness, therefore, is simply the state of grace
purified, illuminated, beautified by the most perfect purity,
exempt not only from mortal sin but also from the smallest faults.
Purity will make saints of you!
Everything lies in this.

St. Peter Julian Eymard


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Eusebius of Vercelli

The Arians dragged him through the streets and shut him up i...

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St. Eusebius of Vercelli

Eusebius was born on the island of Sardinia where his father died a martyr. His mother took him and his sister to live in Rome where Eusebius eventually joined the clergy and was ordained a lector. He was sent to Vercelli and served the Church so well there that he was chosen as its bishop. He is the first bishop of Vercelli whose name was recorded.

In 354 he was sent by Pope Liberius to persuade the Emperor Constantius to call a council to settle Catholic-Arian disputes. When it was called at Milan, Eusebius went reluctantly, sensing that the Arians would have their way. He refused to go along with the condemnation of Saint Athanasius, who’s  refusal to tolerate Arian heresy was the cause of many trials and persecutions. Eusebius insisted on Athanasius’ innocence and reminded the emperor that secular force should not be used to influence Church decisions. At first the emperor threatened to kill him, but later sent him into exile in Palestine. There the Arians dragged him through the streets and shut him up in a little room, releasing him only after Eusebius undertook a four-day hunger strike. They soon resumed their harassment.

His exile continued in Asia Minor and Egypt, until the new emperor permitted him to return to his see in Vercelli. He died in 371.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by h...

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The Virgin Mary Rewards a Bandit

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways. Bandits plagued travelers and made their living by depriving others of their goods and often their very lives.

A young woman in the Papal States, who was very devout towards Mary, met in a certain place a chief of the bandits. Fearing some outrage, she implored him, for love of the most holy Virgin, not to molest her.

"Do not fear," he answered, "for you have prayed me in the name of the mother of God; and I only ask you to recommend me to her." Moved by the woman’s mention of the Blessed Virgin, the bandit accompanied her himself along the road to a place of safety.

The following night, Mary appeared in a dream to the bandit. She thanked him for the act of kindness he had performed for love of her. Mary went on to say that she would remember it and would one day reward him.

The robber, at length, was arrested, and condemned to death. But behold, the night previous to his execution, the blessed Virgin visited him again in a dream, and first asked him: "Do you know who I am?"

He answered, "It seems to me I have seen you before."

"I am the Virgin Mary," she continued, "and I have come to reward you for what you have done for me. You will die tomorrow, but you will die with so much contrition that you will come at once to paradise."

The convict awoke, and felt such contrition for his sins that he began to weep bitterly, all the while giving thanks aloud to our Blessed Lady. He asked immediately for a priest, to whom he made his confession with many tears, relating the vision he had seen. Finally, he asked the priest to make public this grace that had been bestowed on him by Mary.

He went joyfully to his execution, after which, as it is related, his countenance was so peaceful and so happy that all who saw him believed that the promise of the heavenly mother had been fulfilled.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways.