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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 April 8, 2020

Every virtue in your soul is a precious ornament which makes...

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April 8

Every virtue in your soul
is a precious ornament
which makes you dear to God and to man.
But holy purity, the queen of virtues, the angelic virtue,
is a jewel so precious
that those who possess it become like the angels of God in Heaven,
even though clothed in mortal flesh.

St. John Bosco

 
My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

 

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Julie Billiart

She was miraculously healed of the paralysis of her legs on...

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St. Julie Billiart

Born on July 12, 1751 in Cuvilly, France, Marie Rose Julie Billiard was the daughter of fairly well-to-do peasant farmers who also owned a small shop. From early childhood Julie had a keen interest in spiritual things and by seven years of age she had memorized the catechism and attained an understanding of it beyond her years.

During her youth, her father’s shop was robbed and her father attacked. This so traumatized his daughter that she became ill and gradually a physical paralysis took hold of her. Deprived of the use of her legs, she eventually had great difficulty in even speaking. Julie's paralysis lasted for twenty-two years, and throughout this whole trial she continued to teach her beloved catechism to children and to trust unwaveringly in the everlasting goodness of “le bon Dieu”. Her infirmities drove her to an even deeper life of prayer and union with God.

During the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution when the pastor of Cuvilly was superseded by a constitutional priest sworn to the new atheistic government, Julie influenced her friends and neighbors to boycott the intruder. Though an invalid herself, she worked to hide and assist fugitive priests who remained loyal to the Catholic Church, and for this charitable work she was herself persecuted and obliged to escape from place to place – on one occasion, hiding all night under a haystack.

While taking refuge with the aristocratic family of Gézaincourt, Julie met Françoise Blin de Bourdon, a noblewoman who had barely escaped the guillotine by the fall of Robespierre before her execution. The two became close friends and collaborators.

After the Terror, they both dedicated themselves to the spiritual care of poor children, and the Christian education of girls in a generation sorely neglected by the ravages of the Revolution.

In 1804, after a novena to Him, Julie Billiart was miraculously healed of the paralysis of her legs on the feast of Sacred Heart of Jesus. Now physically free to pursue a full range of activity, her educational work increased rapidly.

At odds with the bishop of Amiens through the meddling influence of a misguided young priest, Julie and Françoise were obliged to move to Namur, in present-day Belgium, where with the full support of the local bishop, they proceeded with their work, eventually founding the Institute of Notre Dame de Namur, today in sixteen countries around the world.

Julie Billiart died on April 8, 1816 while praying the Magnificat. She was canonized in 1969.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

He hung on a cross that day, writhing in pain and discomfort...

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And He Stole Heaven

He hung on a cross that day, writhing in pain and discomfort, the infamous highwayman.
 
On his left hung another man, covered in the matted blood of his wounds. Yet, with the exception of a few intermittent words, there was no sound from him.

As time passed, the thief became more and more engrossed in the silent crucified beside him, and less and less in his own plight.St Dismas Picture

Indeed life is ironic, mused Dismas, this man who had lived in the open, and was acclaimed as a healer and even as a king, now hung beside him who had spent his life lurking and hiding.

And now they were lifted up, both on a high parallel. He could see the roof tops of the city, he could see the highways he had stalked, and he could see the way they had walked. Now he looked down on those gathered around this place of execution, the Roman soldiers, the Pharisees, the curious, the friends of the man beside him…and a young man supporting a lady directly beneath them...

And then he knew her; that upturned face, that maidenly majesty now wracked by sorrow, her tear-filled eyes fastened on the man on his left–Yes, he knew that face.

As the wheels of time rolled back in his mind,  his heart gave a jolt as he remembered that blessed day in the desert, decades ago, when a young family making its way to Egypt, sought refuge for the night in his family’s hovel. The man was strong and kind, the woman was the fairest his child’s eyes had seen, and she carried a golden haired babe, as if nothing in the universe was more precious.

He remembered the lady’s gaze on him, her beautiful eyes full of concern for the leprous sores on his young body. Then she and his mother talked. And next, he was being bathed in the same water the lady had just washed her infant son.

And then the sores were gone.  His mother wept for joy, and kissed the lady’s hands, and the baby’s feet. And even his robber-father was moved, and offered the strong man and his family the best in the house.

Now, in one revealing flash, he knew the identity of the wounded man on his left.  He looked again at the lady, and her eyes, those same sweet eyes of old, were on him once more.  
He felt his heart quiver, as the power of gratitude filled his being and softened his criminal soul.  And then came tears, rivers of tears.  When he could speak, he turned to the left,

“Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

And the Lord turned his face to him, His divine eyes on him, and he heard the most beautiful voice he had ever heard, a voice at once full of pain and full of strength, full of sweetness and full of majesty, a judge’s voice, and a father’s voice,

“Amen, amen I say to you, today you shall be with me in paradise.”

 

By Andrea F. Phillips
Based on: A Legend of St. Dismas and Other Poems,
Copyright by P. J. Kenedy and Sons. 1927, p. 18.

 

Free Meditation Booklet - Be Still and Know That I AM GOD

He hung on a cross that day, writhing in pain and discomfort, the infamous highwayman.

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