How to Avoid Purgatory….

Mother Angelica explains how to avoid purgatory


Mary’s Intercession For the Holy Souls

Since November is the month in which we pray for the poor souls in Purgatory, I’d like to offer great hope and consolation to those who are eagerly praying for their departed loved ones. No doubt, our Protestant friends will be taken back a bit since both Purgatory and Mary are controversial for them – and now we are bring them together. Tradition and Scripture state that Mary has a special dominion over the faithful departed. The reason for this is that Our Lady was not required to die since she was preserved from original and actual sin. “The wages of sin is death,” writes the Apostle, and our Lady did not have sin.
Tradition states that Our Lady begged Christ that she might be allowed to die in order to be more perfectly conformed to Him. This prayer was granted and so Christ gave her a special dominion over the faithful departed.
Concerning the Blessed Virgin, the Scriptures speak of her rein over the departed. The following passages speaks of the “Mother of Fair Love”:

For I make doctrine to shine forth to all as the morning light, and I will declare it afar off. I will penetrate to all the lower parts of the earth, and will behold all that sleep, and will enlighten all that hope in the Lord. (Ecclus 24:44-45)

Saint Peter Damian, Saint Ildefonse, and Saint Frances of Rome assure us that it is the feast of the Assumption of Mary (Aug 15) on which the most souls are released from Purgatory each year. Moreover, her role is especially confirmed by the Catholic Church’s teaching regarding the Brown Scapular give by Mary to Saint Simon Stock. Enrollment in the Brown Scapular and faithful living, Mary teaches, will lead to the delivery of a soul from Purgatory in less that a week’s time.
Saint Bernardine of Sienna, a great preacher and reformer, taught that Mary was the “plenipotentiary” for souls in Purgatory. Saint Teresa received a vision in which the souls in Purgatory received a spray of cool water whenever the Holy Rosary is prayed for them. Saint Alphonsus Liguori, also a Doctor of the Church, confirmed that praying the Rosary is a great means to bring relief to souls in Purgatory. Saint Pio, when giving a Rosary to someone said, “Let us empty Purgatory.”
So then, devotion to Mary and devotion to the poor souls are interlinked. Let us rely on our sweet and stainless Mother as the “plenipotentiary” for our brothers and sisters being refined for the eternal happiness of Heaven.
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Padre Pio’s Encounters With the Holy Souls

God chose Saint Pio of Pietrelcina to reveal the supernatural life to our tepid era. His supernatural interior life was made visible through his immense suffering and his well-known stigmata. As we move into November and pray for the Poor Souls in Purgatory, we do well to recall a few encounters of Padre Pio with the souls of Purgatory.

Padre Pio once described an encounter he had with testified the following to the Bishop of Melfi, His Excellency Alberto Costa and also the superior of the friary, Padre Lorenzo of San Marco.
Below is third person written testimony of the words of Padre Pio:
“While in the friary on a winter afternoon after a heavy snowfall, he was sitting by the fireplace one evening in the guest room, absorbed in prayer, when an old man, wearing an old-fashioned cloak still worn by southern Italian peasants at the time, sat down beside him. Concerning this man Padre Pio states: ‘I could not imagine how he could have entered the friary at this time of night since all the doors are locked. I questioned him: ‘Who are you? What do you want?’
The old man told him, “Padre Pio, I am Pietro Di Mauro, son of Nicola, nicknamed Precoco.” He went on to say, “I died in this friary on the 18th of September, 1908, in cell number four, when it was still a poorhouse. One night, while in bed, I fell asleep with a lighted cigar, which ignited the mattress and I died, suffocated and burned. I am still in Purgatory. I need a holy Mass in order to be freed. God permitted that I come and ask you for help.”
According to Padre Pio: “After listening to him, I replied, ‘Rest assured that tomorrow I will celebrate Mass for your liberation.’ I arose and accompanied him to the door of the friary, so that he could leave. I did not realize at that moment that the door was closed and locked: I opened it and bade him farewell The moon lit up the square, covered with snow. When I no longer saw him in front of me, I was taken by a sense of fear, and I closed the door, reentered the guest room, and felt faint.”
A few days later, Padre Pio also told the story to Padre Paolino, and the two decided to go to the town hall, where they looked at the vital statistics for the year I908 and found that on September 18 of that year, one Pietro Di Mauro had in fact died of burns and asphyxiation in Room Number 4 at the friary, then used as a home for the homeless.
Around the same time, Padre Pio told Fra Alberto of another apparition of a soul from Purgatory which also occurred around the same time. He said:
One evening, when I was absorbed in prayer in the choir of the little church I was shaken and disturbed by the sound of footsteps, and candles and flower vases being moved on the main altar. Thinking that someone must be there, I called out, “Who is it?”
No one answered. Returning to prayer, I was again disturbed by the same noises. In fact, this time I had the impression that one of the candles, which was in front of the statue of Our Lady of Grace, had fallen. Wanting to see what was happening on the altar, I stood up, went close to the grate and saw, in the shadow of the light of the Tabernacle lamp, a young confrere doing some cleaning. I yelled out, “What are you doing in the dark?” The little friar answered, “I am cleaning.”
“You clean in the dark?” I asked. “Who are you?”
The little friar said, ‘I am a Capuchin novice, who spends his time of Purgatory here. I am in need of prayers.’ and then he disappeared,”
Padre Pio stated that he immediately began praying for him as requested, and it is not known if he had any further dealings with this particular soul. However, in regards souls in Purgatory it is very interesting to note that later in life Padre Pio once said that ‘As many souls of the dead come up this road to the monastery as that of the souls of the living.”
Without a doubt, many souls from Purgatory visited Padre Pio seeking his prayers, sacrifices and sufferings to obtain their release.
Pray for the Poor Souls daily.
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St Faustina’s Experiences of Purgatory


“My mercy does not want this, but my justicedemands it.”

The next night, I saw my Guardian Angel, who ordered me to follow him. 

In a moment I was in a misty place full of fire in which there was a great crowd of suffering souls. They were praying fervently, but to no avail, for themselves; only we can come to their aid. 

The fIames, which were burning them did not touch me at all. My Guardian Angel did not leave Me for an instant. 

I asked these souls what their greatest suffering was. They answered me in one voice for that their greatest torment was longing for God. 

I saw our Lady visiting the Purgatory. The souls call her “The Star of the Sea”. She brings them refreshment. I wanted to talk with them some more, but my Guardian Angel beckoned me to leave. We went out of that prison of suffering. [I heard an interior voice] which said, My mercy does not want this, but my justice demands it. Since that time, I am in closer communion with the suffering souls. (Diary 20) 

Once I was summoned to the judgement seat of God. I stood alone before the Lord. Jesus appeared such as we know him during his passion. After a moment, His wounds disappeared except . for five, those in his hands, His feet and His side. 

Suddenly, I saw the complete condition of my soul as God sees it. I could clearly see all that is displeasing to God. I did not know that even the smallest transgressions will have to be accounted for. What a moment! Who can describe it? To stand before the Thrice-Holy God! 

Jesus asked me, Who are you? I answered, “I am your servant Lord.” You are guilty of one day of fire in purgatory. I wanted to throw myself immediately into flames of purgatory, but Jesus stopped me and said, Which do you prefer, suffer now for one day in purgatory or for a short while on earth? I replied, “Jesus, I want to suffer in purgatory, and I want to suffer the greatest pains on earth, even if it were to the end of the world.” Jesus said, One [of the two] is enough; you will go back to earth, and there you will suffer much, but not for long; you will accomplish My will . and My desires, and a faithful servant of Mine will help you to do this Now, rest your head on My bosom, on. My heart, and draw from it strength and power for these sufferings, because you will find neither relief nor help nor comfort anywhere else. Know that you will have much, much to suffer, but don’t let this frighten you; I am with you. (Diary.36)

One evening; one of the deceased sisters who had already visited me a few times, appeared to me. The first time I had seen her, she had been in great suffering, and then gradually these sufferings had diminished; this time she was radiant with happiness, and she told me she was already in Heaven… And further as a sign that she only now was in Heaven, God would bless our house. Then she came closer to me, embraced me sincerely and said, “I must. Go now” 

I understood how closely the three stages of a soul’s life are bound together; that is to say, life on earth, in purgatory and in heaven [the Communion of Saints]. (Diary 594) 

After Vespers today, there was a procession to the cemetery. I could not go, because I was on duty at the gate. But that did not stop me at all from praying for ther souls. As the procession was returning from the cemetery to the chapel, my soul felt the presence of many souls. 

I understood the great justice of God, how each one had to payoff the debt to the last cent. (Diary 1375)

One day, I saw two roads. One was broad, covered with sand and flowers, full of joy, music and all sorts of pleasures. People walked along it, dancing and enjoying themselves. They reached the end without realizing it. And at the end of the road there was a horrible precipice; that is, the abyss of hell. The souls fell blindly into it; as they walked, so they fell. And their number was so great that it was impossible to count them. And I saw the other road, or rather, a path, for it was narrow and strewn with thorns and rocks; and the people who walked along it had tears in their eyes, and all kinds of suffering befell them. Some fell down upon the rocks, but stood up immediately and went on. At the end of the road there was a magnificent garden filled with all sorts of happiness, and all these souls entered there. At the very first instant they forgot all their sufferings. (Diary 153)

St Catherine of Genoa on Purgatory

Saint Catherine of Genoa – Doctrine on Purgatory Saint Catherine of Genoa - Doctrine on Purgatory  

She was born in Genoa in 1447, and died in 1510

Of a noble family she grew up very inclined to holiness, at the age of sixteen she was given in marriage by her parents to Giuliano Adorno, and she suffered with a very difficult marriage that lasted until her husband died ten years later.

At the age of twenty six she had a great spiritual experience in which she was shown her soul the way God sees it. As a result she began a dialogue between her soul and her humanity. Guided by the Holy Spirit, she wrote what the soul experiences in Purgatory. She lived her life as a soul in purgatory , as she was being purified;  she wrote her doctrine on Purgatory.

The “Dialogue,” long generally accepted as Catherine’s own account of her spiritual life, has been allowed by the highest authorities to embody, with her “Treatise on Purgatory,” the saint’s doctrine. These two treatises and the earliest biography, translated into several languages, spread that doctrine and devotion to her throughout the Catholic world in the centuries between her death and her canonisation. The bull which canonised her alludes to the “Dialogue” as an exposition of her doctrine: “In her admirable “Dialogue” she depicts the dangers to which a soul bound by the flesh is exposed.”

She practiced charity during her life and helped people in a hospital.

Excerpts of “Treatise on Purgatory”

How by comparing it to the Divine Fire which she Felt in Herself, this soul understood what Purgatory was like and how the Souls there were Tormented.



The state of the souls who are in Purgatory, how they are exempt from all self-love.

This holy Soul found herself, while still in the flesh, placed by the fiery love of God in Purgatory, which burnt her, cleansing whatever in her needed cleansing, to the end that when she passed from this life she might be presented to the sight of God, her dear Love. By means of this loving fire, she understood in her soul the state of the souls of the faithful who are placed in Purgatory to purge them of all the rust and stains of sin of which they have not rid themselves in this life. And since this Soul, placed by the divine fire in this loving Purgatory, was united to that divine love and content with all that was wrought in her, she understood the state of the souls who are in Purgatory. And she said:

The souls who are in Purgatory cannot, as I understand, choose but be there, and this is by God’s ordinance who therein has done justly. They cannot turn their thoughts back to themselves, nor can they say, “Such sins I have committed for which I deserve to be here “, nor, “I would that I had not committed them for then I would go now to Paradise”, nor, “That one will leave sooner than I”, nor, “I will leave sooner than he”. They can have neither of themselves nor of others any memory, whether of good or evil, whence they would have greater pain than they suffer ordinarily. So happy are they to be within God’s ordinance, and that He should do all which pleases Him, as it pleases Him that in their greatest pain they cannot think of themselves. They see only the working of the divine goodness, which leads man to itself mercifully, so that he no longer sees aught of the pain or good which may befall him. Nor would these souls be in pure charity if they could see that pain or good. They cannot see that they are in pain because of their sins; that sight they cannot hold in their minds because in it there would be an active imperfection, which cannot be where no actual sin can be.

Only once, as they pass from this life, do they see the cause of the Purgatory they endure; never again do they see it for in another sight of it there would be self. Being then in charity from which they cannot now depart by any actual fault, they can no longer will nor desire save with the pure will of pure charity. Being in that fire of Purgatory, they are within the divine ordinance, which is pure charity, and in nothing can they depart thence for they are deprived of the power to sin as of the power to merit.



What is the joy of the souls in Purgatory. A comparison to show how they see God ever more and more. The difficulty of speaking of this state.

I believe no happiness can be found worthy to be compared with that of a soul in Purgatory except that of the saints in Paradise; and day by day this happiness grows as God flows into these souls, more and more as the hindrance to His entrance is consumed. Sin’s rust is the hindrance, and the fire burns the rust away so that more and more the soul opens itself up to the divine inflowing. A thing which is covered cannot respond to the sun’s rays, not because of any defect in the sun, which is shining all the time, but because the cover is an obstacle; if the cover be burnt away, this thing is open to the sun; more and more as the cover is consumed does it respond to the rays of the sun

It is in this way that rust, which is sin, covers souls, and in Purgatory is burnt away by fire; the more it is consumed, the more do the souls respond to God, the true sun. As the rust lessens and the soul is opened up to the divine ray, happiness grows; until the time be accomplished the one wanes and the other waxes. Pain however does not lessen but only the time for which pain is endured. As for will: never can the souls say these pains are pains, so contented are they with God’s ordaining with which, in pure charity, their will is united.

But, on the other hand, they endure a pain so extreme that no tongue can be found to tell it, nor could the mind understand its least pang if God by special grace did not show so much. Which least pang God of His grace showed to this Soul, but with her tongue she cannot say what it is. This sight which the Lord revealed to me has never since left my mind and I will tell what I can of it. They will understand whose mind God deigns to open.



Separation from God is the chief punishment of Purgatory. Wherein Purgatory differs from Hell.

All the pains of Purgatory arise from original or actual sin. God created the soul pure, simple and clean of all stain of sin, with a certain beatific instinct towards Himself whence original sin, which the soul finds in itself, draws it away, and when actual is added to original sin the soul is drawn yet further away. The further it departs from its beatific instinct, the more malignant it becomes because it corresponds less to God.

There can be no good save by participation in God, who meets the needs of irrational creatures as He wills and has ordained, never failing them, and answers to a rational soul in the measure in which He finds it cleansed of sin’s hindrance. When therefore a soul has come near to the pure and clear state in which it was created, its beatific instinct discovers itself and grows unceasingly, so impetuously and with such fierce charity (drawing it to its last end) that any hindrance seems to this soul a thing past bearing. The more it sees, the more extreme is its pain.

Because the souls in Purgatory are without the guilt of sin, there is no hindrance between them and God except their pain, which holds them back so that they cannot reach perfection. Clearly they see the grievousness of every least hindrance in their way, and see too that their instinct is hindered by a necessity of justice: thence is born a raging fire, like that of Hell save that guilt is lacking to it. Guilt it is which makes the will of the damned in Hell malignant, on whom God does not bestow His goodness and who remain therefore in desperate ill will, opposed to the will of God.

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Plenary Indulgences: Nov 1-8

A partial indulgence can be obtained by devoutly visiting a cemetery and praying for the departed, even if the prayer is only mental.

One can gain a plenary indulgence visiting a cemetery each day between November 1 and November 8. These indulgences are applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory.

A plenary indulgence, again applicable only the Souls in Purgatory, is also granted when the faithful piously visit a church or a public oratory on November 2. In visiting the church or oratory, it is required, that one Our Father and the Creed be recited.

To be able to gain an indulgence, one must have the intention to gain them for a holy soul (in other words say this), and perform the works at the time and in the manner prescribed.

To attain a plenary indulgence, four conditions must accompany the prescribed act (e.g. visiting a graveyard):

  1. the faithful must receive the sacrament of confession, either eight days before or after the pious act is performed,
  2. receive Holy Communion on that day
  3. and recite prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father (one Our Father and one Hail Mary is the minimum, but any other additional prayers may be added).
  4. All attachment to sin, even venial sin, must be absent. In other words you must have a detestation of sin.  If one’s disposition is less than perfect or if some of the above conditions are not fulfilled, the indulgence becomes partial.

One must also remember that one can acquire only one plenary indulgence a day.