Purgatory Explained, Part 2, Chapter 27

detail of a statue of Saint Maria Magdalena of Pazzi; date and artist unknown; Estrela basilica, Lisbon, Portugal; photographed in April 2010 by Alvesgaspar, and a great job he did, too; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Relief of the Holy Souls – Indulgences – Mother Frances of Pampeluna and the Bishop de Ribera – Saint Magdalen de Pazzi – Saint Teresa

Venerable Mother Frances, of the Blessed Sacrament, of whose charity towards the holy souls we have already spoken, was also most zealous in relieving them by indulgences. One day God showed her the souls of three prelates who had previously occupied the See of Pampeluna, and who still languished in the sufferings of Purgatory. The servant of God understood that she must employ every means to effect their deliverance. As the Holy See had then granted to Spain the Bulls of the Crusade, which permitted the gaining of a plenary indulgence under certain conditions, she believed that the best means of assisting those poor souls would be to procure for each of them the advantage of a plenary indulgence.

She spoke to her Bishop, Christopher de Ribera, acquainting him with the fact that three of his predecessors were still in Purgatory, and urging him to procure for her three indulgences of the Crusade. She fulfilled all the conditions required, and applied a plenary indulgence to each of the three Bishops. The following night they all appeared to Mother Frances, delivered from all their sufferings. They thanked her, and begged her to thank also the Bishop Ribera for the indulgences which had opened Heaven to them. (Vie de Franqoise du Sacrem., Merv., 26).

The following is related by Father Cepari in his Life of Saint Magdalen de Pazzi. A professed Religious, who, during her last sickness, had been most tenderly cared for by Saint Magdalen, died, and as it was the custom to expose the body in the church, Magdalen felt herself inspired to go and look upon it once more. She went, therefore, to the grid of the chapter room, whence she could see it; but scarcely had she done so, than she was ravished in ecstasy, and saw the soul of the departed sister take its flight to Heaven. Transported with joy, she was heard to say, “Adieu, dear sister; adieu, blessed soul! Like a pure dove, you fly to your celestial home, and leave us in this abode of misery. Oh, how beautiful and glorious you are! Who can describe the glory with which God has crowned your virtues? What a short time you have passed in Purgatory! Your body has not yet been consigned to the tomb, and behold! your soul is already received into the sacred mansions. You now know the truth of those words I so lately addressed to you, ‘That all the sufferings of this life are nothing in comparison with the reward which God has reserved for His friends.’ ” In the same vision. Our Lord revealed to her that this soul had passed but fifteen hours in Purgatory, because she had suffered much during life, and because she had been careful to gain the indulgences granted by the Church to her children, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ.

Saint Teresa in her works speaks of a Religious who set the highest value on the smallest indulgence granted by the Church, and endeavored to gain all in her power. She led otherwise a very ordinary life, and her virtue was of a very common order. She died, and the saint, to her great surprise, saw her soul ascend to Heaven almost immediately after her death, so that she had, so to say, no Purgatory. When Saint Teresa expressed her astonishment at this, Our Lord made known to her that it was due to the great care she had taken to gain all the indulgences possible during life. “It was by that means,” He added, “that she had discharged almost the whole of her debt, which was quite considerable, before her death; and had therefore appeared with great purity before the tribunal of God.”

MLA Citation