Tag: proof of purgatory

Christine The Admirable: Victim Soul Of The Poor Souls In Purgatory. 

Christine The Admirable: Victim Soul Of The Poor Souls In Purgatory. 

Christine the Admirable: Victim Soul of the Poor Souls In Purgatory. 

St. Christine the Admirable lived in Belgium at the close of the twelfth century, and her body is preserved today in St. Trond, in the church of the Redemptorist Fathers. 

The Life of this illustrious virgin was, written by Thomas de Cantimpre, a Religious of the Order of St. Dominic, an author worthy of credit and contemporary with the saint. Cardinal James deVitry, in the preface to the Life of Maria d’Ognies, speaks of a great number of holy women and illustrious virgins but the one whom he admires above all others is St. Christine.
This servant of God, having passed the first years of her life in humility and patience, died at the age of thirty-two. When she was about to be buried, and the body was already in the church resting in an open coffin, according to the custom of the time, she arose full of vigour, stupefying with amazement the whole city of St. Trond, which had witnessed this wonder. The astonishment increased when they learned from her own mouth what had happened to her after her death. Let us hear her own account of it.

She says: “As soon, as my soul was separated from my body, it was received by angels, who conducted it to a very gloomy place, entirely filled with souls. The torments which they there endured appeared to me so excessive, that it is impossible for me to give any idea of their rigour. I saw among them many of my acquaintances, and, deeply touched by their sad condition, I asked what place it was, for I believed it to be Hell. My guide answered me that it was Purgatory, where sinners were punished who, before death, had repented of their faults, but had not made worthy satisfaction to God. From thence I was conducted into Hell, and there also I recognised among the reprobates some whom I had formerly known.

The angels then transported me into Heaven, even to the throne of the Divine Majesty. The Lord regarded me with a favourable eye, and I experienced an extreme joy, because I thought to obtain the grace of dwelling eternally with Him. But my Heavenly Father, seeing what passed in my heart, said to me these words:

‘Assuredly, my dear daughter, you will one day be with Me. Now, however, I allow you to choose, either to remain with Me henceforth from this time, or to return again to earth to accomplish a mission of charity and suffering. In order to deliver from the flames of Purgatory those souls which have inspired you with so much compassion, you shall suffer for them upon earth; you shall endure great torments, without, however dying from their effects. And not only will you relieve the departed, but the example which you will give to the living, and your life of continual suffering, will lead sinners to be converted and to expiate their crimes. After having ended this new life, you shall return here laden with merits.’

“At these words, seeing the great advantages offered me for souls, I replied, without hesitation, that I would return to life, and I arose at that same instant. It is for this sole object, the relief of the departed and the conversion of sinners, that I have returned to this world. Therefore be not astonished at the penances that I shall practise, nor at the life that you will see me lead from henceforward. It will be so extraordinary that nothing like to it has ever been seen”

All this was related by the saint herself; let us now see what the biographer adds in the different chapters of her life.

Christine immediately commenced the work for which she had been sent by God. Renouncing all the comforts of life, and reduced to extreme destitution, she lived without house or fire, more miserable than the birds-of the air, which have a nest to shelter them. Not content with these privations, she eagerly sought all that could cause her suffering. She threw herself into burning furnaces, and there suffering so great torture that she could no longer bear it, she uttered the most frightful cries. She remained for a long time in the fire, and yet, on coming forth, no sign of burning was found upon her body. 

In winter, when the Meuse was frozen, she plunged herself into it, staying in that cold river not only hours and days, but for entire weeks, all the while praying to God and imploring His mercy. Sometimes, whilst praying in the icy waters, she allowed herself to be carried by the current down to a mill, the wheel of which whirled her round in a manner frightful today behold, yet without breaking or dislocating one of her bones. 

On other occasions, followed by dogs, which bit and tore her flesh, she ran, enticing them into the thickets and among the thorns, until she was covered with blood, nevertheless, on her return, no wound or scar was to be seen.

Such are the works of admirable penance described by the author of the Life of St. Christine. This writer was a Bishop, a suffragan of the Archbishop of Cambray and we have, says Beilarmine, reason for believing his testimony, since he has for guarantee another grave author, James de Vitry, Bishop and Cardinal, and because he relates what happened in his own time, and even in the province where he lived.

Besides, the sufferings of this admirable virgin were not hidden. Every one could see that she was in the midst of the flames without being consumed, and covered with wounds, every trace of which disappeared a few moments afterwards. But more than this was the marvellous life she led for forty-two years after she was raised from the dead, God clearly showing that the wonders wrought in her were by virtue from on high. The striking conversions which she effected, and the evident miracles which occurred after her death, manifestly proved the finger of God, and the truth of that which, after her resurrection, she had revealed concerning the other life.

Thus, argues Bellarmine: “God willed to silence those libertines who make open profession of believing in nothing, and who have the audacity to ask in scorn,

‘Who has returned from the other world? Who has ever seen the torments of Hell or Purgatory?’ 

Behold the witnesses. They assure us that they have seen them, and that they are dreadful. What follows, then, if not that the incredulous are inexcusable, and that those who believe and nevertheless neglect to do penance are still more to be condemned?”

~Excerpted from “Purgatory” by Rev. F.X. Schouppe.

A Soul In Purgatory Leaves Proof Of Purgatory As She Request For Prayers.

A Soul In Purgatory Leaves Proof Of Purgatory As She Request For Prayers.

The burnt print of the right hand of Sister Teresa Gesta

A Religious sister in Purgatory appears to another sister asking for prayers and leaves a proof of Purgatory.

Fr. Shouppe relates in his book on Purgatory that Teresa Gesta, a religious of the Franciscan Sisters in Foligno, Italy, who had served many years as a mistress of novices and was a model of fervor and charity, died suddenly on November 4, 1859, of a stroke of apoplexy. Twelve days later, the soul of Teresa appeared to Sister Anna Felicia in the sacristy of the same Convent. Sister Felicia described it:

“Then the room was filled with a thick smoke, and the spirit of Sister Teresa appeared, moving towards the door and gliding along by the wall. Having reached the door, she cried aloud, ‘Behold a proof of the mercy of God.’ 

“Saying these words, she struck the upper panel of the door and there left the print of her right hand, burnt in the wood as with a red-hot iron. She, then, disappeared.” 

Because of this apparition, Teresa Gesta’s body was exhumed, and the hand of the deceased, remarkable for its especially small size, fit perfectly into the impression mark. All of this is well documented. If one were to visit that Convent’s chapel today, he would find that very handprint on the upper panel of the door. 

Such a demonstration should help alleviate the skepticism of those who find such stories to be “fantastic” or even “fanatical” and, therefore, not worthy of belief. 

Since this apparition, as well as other visitations of suffering souls, took place in the 19th century, this should counter the tendency to view these stories as “medieval” or something out of the so called “dark” ages. 

God sends us such proofs of His justice to counter the skepticism that leads, not just those outside the Church but even otherwise good Catholics within, to consider these divine manifestations unpalatable to modern ears. Our Lord could rightly say of these people what was stated earlier concerning what Our Lady related to Sister Lucy sometime after the Fatima apparitions, “Both the good and the bad ignore my message.” 

Why did the deceased  Sister Gesta speak about the mercy of God in her great suffering, demonstrated by the vivid and terrifying burn mark left on the door by her hand? I believe that the sign she left behind was, in fact, a mercy, a warning to us of what awaits those of us who are not prepared at death to enter directly into the presence of God. 

As Fr. Schouppe observed, “In giving us a warning of this kind, God shows us a great mercy. He urges us, in the most efficacious manner, to assist the poor suffering souls, and to be vigilant in our regard.” This example is not unique. Fr. Schouppe reports many such incidents.

For persons who are afraid of the justice of God and can become disheartened rather than encouraged by these examples, I believe they could learn something from the example of the three children at Fatima who were shown Hell “where the souls of poor sinners go.” Far from being discouraged at what they saw, they redoubled their efforts to make sacrifices so that sinners could obtain the grace of perfect contrition before death and avoid both the eternal flames of Hell and the transitory flames of Purgatory.

Incidentally, Sister Lucy revealed that the souls that she, Francisco and Jacinta saw in Hell were burning from flames that seemed to come from within them. If such is what the three children saw concerning the souls in Hell who are as yet without their bodies, then it should be no problem to accept that the same can be said for the souls in Purgatory. 

While these stories of Purgatory may not impress us as strongly as did the actual apparition of Hell that Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco saw, it can still inspire us to do more for the Poor Souls to relieve them from the fiery torment and help them leave it as quickly as possible. 

We should not become discouraged, thinking, “Well, if that is the case with that holy Sister, then there is no hope for the likes of me.” We must not read these stories making too close a connection with ourselves. When reading accounts of the deceased, it is prudent to recall that, no matter the similarities to our lives in the details of why this soul or that soul is in Purgatory, we are only getting part of the story. 

It is the whole life of the person that is the subject of one’s Particular Judgment, which includes not just virtues and vices, but circumstances of upbringing, education and any number of other factors that have played a part in making someone what he is at the Judgment. 

Therefore, it is important that we take from these stories what they are meant to instill: an increase in charity and devotion towards the Suffering Souls, and not a morbid curiosity or exact idea of what our own particular judgments will be.

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