Purgatory Explained, Part 2, Chapter 51


Advantages – Gratitude of the Divine Spouse of Souls – Venerable Archangela Panigarola and her Father, Gothard

If the souls are so grateful towards their benefactors, our Lord Jesus Christ, who loves those souls, who receives as done to Himself all the good which we procure for them, will bestow an abundant recompense, very often even in this life, and always in the next. He regards those who show mercy, and punishes those who forget to show it, towards the sufFering souls.

Let us first see an example of chastisement. Venerable Archangela Panigarola, a Dominican Religious and Prioress of the Monastery of Saint Martha in Milan, had extraordinary zeal for the relief of the souls in Purgatory. She prayed, and obtained prayers for all her deceased friends, and even for those unknown to her, but of whose death she had been notified. Her father, Gothard, whom she tenderly loved, was one of those Christians of the world who seldom thought of praying for the dead. He himself died, and, quite disconsolate, Archangela understood that her dear father stood more in need of her prayers than of her tears. She therefore took the resolution of recommending him to God by special suffrages. But, strange to say, this resolution was scarcely ever carried into effect; this girl, so pious and devoted to her father, did very little for his soul. God permitted that, notwithstanding her holy resolutions, she continually forgot him, and interested herself in behalf of others. Finally, an unexpected event explained this unwonted forgetfulness, and aroused her devotion in behalf of her father. On the Feast of All Souls she remained secluded in her cell, exclusively occupied in exercises of piety and penance for the relief of the poor souls. Suddenly her angel appeared to her, took her by the hand, and conducted her in spirit into Purgatory. Among the first souls which she saw, she recognized that of her father, plunged in a pond of icy water. Scarcely had Gothard seen his daughter than, coming towards her, he reproached her sorrowfully for having abandoned him in his sufferings, whilst she showed so much Charity towards others, whom she constantly relieved, and frequently delivered those who were strangers to her.

Archangela stood for some time confused by these reproaches, which she knew she had merited; soon, however, shedding a torrent of tears, she replied, “I will do, my dear father, all that you ask of me. May it please God to give ear to my supplications and speedily deliver you.” Meanwhile she could not recover from her astonishment, nor understand how she could thus have forgotten her beloved father. Having taken her back, her angel told her that this forgetfulness had happened by a disposition of Divine Justice. “God,” he said, “has permitted it in punishment for the little zeal which, during life, your father manifested for God, his own soul, and that of his neighbor. You saw how he was tormented and benumbed in a lake of ice; this was the chastisement of his tepidity in the service of God, and his indifference with regard to the salvation of souls. Your father was not an immoral man, it is true, but he showed little inclination for the acquirement of virtue and for the practice of those works of piety and charity to which the Church exhorts the faithful. . . . This is the reason why God permitted that he should be forgotten, even by you, who would have given him too much relief. This is the chastisement ordinarily inflicted by Divine Justice upon those who are lacking in fervor and charity. He permits that others should conduct themselves in their regard as they have acted towards God and towards their brethren.” Moreover, this is the rule of Justice which our Saviour has established in the Gospel: With what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again. (Matt. 7:2).

MLA Citation