Purgatorial Society


An organization whose object is to assist the souls in Purgatory by prayers, Masses, and good works. Belief in the existence of Purgatory, and in the possibility of the living assisting the suffering souls has inspired the faithful to pray for the dead from the very beginning of Christianity. During the middle ages, especially among the Anglo-Saxon and Germanic nations, many societies were established for this purpose. One of the duties incumbent on the members of the artisan’s guilds was to pray. for their departed colleagues. There still flourishes at the church of the Campo Santo dei Tedeschi in Rome a purgatorial society founded in the 15th century. An archconfraternity for the solace of the suffering souls under the title of Our Lady’s Assumption is canonically erected at the Redemptorist Church of Santa Maria in Monterone at Rome. In the United States a very extensive society of this nature, called the Purgatorian Society, under the direction of the Redemptorist Fathers, has branches in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Saint Louis, Chicago, New Orleans, Kansas City, Detroit, and Portland, Oregon. Similar organizations are directed by several other religious orders.

MLA Citation

  • “Purgatorial Society”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 26 December 2010. Web. 26 January 2022. <http://catholicsaints.info/purgatorial-society/>