A Manuscript On Purgatory

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What is life compared to that day which will have no evening for the elect, or to that night which will have no dawning for the damned? On earth, people attach themselves to everything and everyone except to Him, who alone ought to have our love and to whom we refuse it. Jesus in the Tabernacle waits for souls to love Him and He finds none. Hardly one soul in a thousand loves Him as it should. Love Him and make up to Him for this guilty indifference which exists all over this world.


What Is Purgatory?


Let us read what The Catechism Of The Catholic Church tells us regarding purgatory.




1030 All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.


1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.[604] The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:[605] As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.[606]


1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin."[607] From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God.[608] The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead: Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.[609]


[604] Cf. Council of Florence (1439): DS 1304; Council of Trent (1563): DS 1820; (1547): 1580; see also Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336): DS 1000.  [605] Cf. 1 Cor 3:15; 1 Pet 1:7.  [606] St. Gregory the Great, Dial. 4, 39: PL 77, 396; cf. Mt 12:31.  [607] 2 Macc 12:46.  [608] Cf. Council of Lyons II (1274): DS 856.  [609] St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in 1 Cor. 41, 5: PG 61, 361; cf. Job 1:5.


* * * * * * * *


During the 20 centuries of the history of the Church, God has many times allowed a suffering soul in purgatory to appear to holy people on earth to ask for prayers and help to be able to accomplish their purification in purgatory more quickly.  The following is one of these accounts.  The original text is in French (“Le Manuscrit du Purgatoire”) with the Imprimatur of the Most Rev. Joseph Palica, Archbishop Philippens, Vic. Gen., Rome.


* * * * * * *


A Manuscript On Purgatory




At the expressed desire of the Directors of the Bulletin "Notre de la Bonne Mort"(Tinchebray – Orne – Francia), this pamphlet is published with all the reservations ordered by Holy Mother Church in the decree of Urban V111, and as a purely historical document.  The text is a manuscript sent to that periodical by a zealous and devout missionary and is a pious document based on alleged conversations between a living nun and a soul in Purgatory.


No one can deny off-hand the possibility, or in fact, the reality of such apparitions of souls in Purgatory to persons still living. Such apparitions are not rare and there are many accounts of them. They are of frequent occurrence in the lives of the Saints. We will quote only one example from the life of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque[1].


"When I was praying before the Blessed Sacrament on the Feast of Corpus Christi, a person enveloped in fire suddenly stood before me.  From the pitiable state the soul was in, I knew it was in Purgatory and I wept bitterly. This soul told me it was that of a Benedictine monk, who had once heard my confession and ordered me to go to Holy Communion. As a reward for this, God permitted him to ask me to help him in his sufferings. "He asked me to apply to him all I should do or suffer for a period of three months. Having obtained my superior’s leave I did what he asked. He told me that the greatest cause of his sufferings was that in life he had preferred his own interests to those of God, in that he had been too attached to his good reputation. His second defect was lack of charity to his brethren. The third was his all too natural attachment to creatures.”


“It would be difficult for me to describe what I had to endure during those three months. He never left me and seeing him, as it were on fire and in such terrible pain, I could do nothing but groan and weep almost incessantly. My superior, being touched with compassion, told me to do hard penances, particularly to take the discipline….. After the three months I saw the soul radiant with happiness, joy, and glory. He was about to enjoy eternal happiness, and in thanking me he said he would protect me when with God."


The testimony of theologians and of historical documents are not less numerous or convincing, but let it suffice for us to mention Canon Ribet’s Divine Mysticism, (Vol 11, Ch. VIII) and the other outstanding works of this matter of mystical theology.


God allows these apparitions and manifestations both for the relief of the souls in question who thus arouse our pity, and to instruct us by showing us the rigor of divine justice when it comes to faults which we often treat lightly. An account of several apparitions published by Msgr. Palafox y Mendosa Bishop of Osma in Spain, bears the significant title of “Light for the Living through the Experiences of the Dead”. We can hardly find better expression or vindications for such manifestations of divine providence with which the suffering souls in purgatory turn to the living to implore their piety and to ask for their intersession.[2] We must always remember that these accounts of manifestations have only a human authority. Our Holy Mother the Church has not made any pronouncement regarding them. They are treated only as historical documents.


The Manuscript


It’s authenticity


The manuscript contains very interesting statements about the life beyond the grave, particularly about Purgatory. The details are intermingled with much spiritual direction. Its authenticity is beyond doubt.


A confident of the religious sister in purgatory is Sister Mary of the Cross, whose name was Elisa Sofia Clementina Hébert, born in Néhou-St-Georges (diocese of Coutances) Dicember 1, 1840.


Her father died when she was six years old.  At age eleven she received her First Communion and Confirmation in the Convent of the Augustinians at Volognes, where her aunt resided, Sr. Angela Quettier, who later became the Superior of the Convent giving all an edifying example.


At the age of 18 Elisa returned the Convent in Valognes as a novice.  On May 15, 1861 she made her religious profession.  In 1884 she was elected, almost unanimously, Assistant and the following year she became the Mother Prefect.


In 1904, due to the decree of expulsion of the religious from France, she was driven from her Convent.  She found refuge with some cousins in the small village of Vauvicard, a suburb of Quettehou.  She was 63 years old.  A few years later she went to Cherbourg, where she lived together with another cousin.  Here, Saint Pius X, of his own accord, conceded to her the privilege of a private oratory, with the faculty to keep the Blessed Sacrament. She died at Cherbourg in May of 1917.  Her remains are found in a family tomb at Quettehou.


In 1971 a severe epidemic broke out in the Community of Valognes which claimed the lives of several victims including a thirty-six year old religious Sister, Sister Mary Gabriel.  An older Sister, Geltrude, took care of Sister Mary Gabriel until she died in a very short time. Later Sister Mary Gabriel revealed that Sister Geltrude “merited eternal salvation by her selfless abnegation.”


This young Sister Mary Gabriel, in fact, had many faults … which caused Sister Mary of the Cross to reprimand her frequently.  Reacting to these reprimands Sister Mary Gabriel once said: “Oh well, if I go to purgatory, you will pull me out of there.”  She never thought that it would turn out just as she had expressed it.


November 1873.  Sister Mary of the Cross is in her room.  Suddenly, without warning she began to hear prolonged sighs beside her. She cried out, "Oh, who are you, you frightened me. Whatever you do, don’t show yourself. Tell me who you are?" No answer was forth coming. Being disturbed more than ever, she speaks to her Superior (her aunt) who is not surprised at all and simply says: “It’s a soul in Purgatory, let us pray for this soul.”


Despite the prayers the groans continued, drawing closer and closer.  Sr. Mary of the Cross was dismayed by this.  She feared it to be a decoy of the devil; she did not like these extraordinary things.  She wanted to be like the rest and attract no special attention.  In her manuscript we find indications of these fears and doubts even up to 1880.


On the 15th of February 1874 she was subjected to the first colloquio… The suffering soul told her former companion, whose advice she had often despised, that she would come frequently in order to help her sanctify herself. The plan of God was that Sister Mary of the Cross, by her holy life, should relieve and ultimately deliver her, who in years past, had tried her patience so sorely. The answer did not lesson the fears of Sister Mary of the Cross, who requested her visitor to depart and never again return. But it was useless. She was told that she had only to bear it as long as God willed it. This was just what she dreaded. For several years the mysterious relation continued between the living nun and the departed religious. It was Sister Mary of the Cross, herself, who related these events from 1874 to 1890, in the precious manuscript which is here given to the public.



The Value of the Manuscript is derived from:


1 – The person herself, Sister Mary of the Cross.


This is a testimonial about Sister Mary of the Cross, herself. All those who knew her were unanimous in declaring that she practiced all the religious virtues, even heroically. As director of a boarding school, she exercised a really supernatural influence over her pupils, who spoke of her as a saint. They said that not only her words but all of her actions impressed them more than those of any priest of their acquaintance could have done. They still live under the influence of her inspiration. Let us add that all the witnesses of her life were agreed that Sister Mary of the Cross was endowed with a sound judgment, a keen and cultured intellect, and possessed of a great amount of common sense. In the spiritual life, she never sought the extraordinary. On the contrary, she avoided it.


The manuscript shows that to the very end she had doubts about what she was obligated to listen to. She often thought it was the work of the devil. It greatly annoyed her to depart from the common way of life. She wanted to be like the rest and attract no special attention. Though she was averse to the visits she received, she profited greatly by them for her own spiritual progress. Her notes of her retreats are a sufficient evidence of this. Those who saw her life and witnessed her actions are also convinced of this.


2 – The authority of the received attestations.


In the first place it is certain that Sister Mary of the Cross, kept her director well informed of all that happened. He was the Reverend Father Prevel of the Fathers of Pontingy, who later became General of his congregation. The Sister’s own note book shows how well she profited by her interviews with her director. A letter from him, dated November 4, 1912, sent from Hitchen, England, after a long period of separation shows us that he was well informed on all the conversations of Sister Mary of the Cross with her former companion. He writes: "Tell me about your dear suffering one, who must now be long since enjoying the glory of her Beloved. Has she abandoned you? Or does she console you in your sorrows? Have you continued writing down what she says? For my part, I have kept most carefully your former notes and have re-read them many times." Clearly Father Prevel accepted the communications seriously, and we can rest assured that he had sufficient evidence for doing so.


Besides this important evidence of her director, we are fortunate in having the opinions of theologians of note, such as Canon Dubosq, superior of the Seminary of Bayeux and Promotor Fidei in the canonical process of the beatification and canonization of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, also Canon Gontier, diocesan Censor Librorum.[3]


After examining the Manuscript carefully, these prominent priests have declared without hesitation that it contains nothing contrary to Faith, nothing that is not in accord with the true principles of the spiritual life, rather matter that will edify devout souls. They testify that Sister Mary of the Cross, was endowed with sound judgment and common sense and thus was protected from going astray in vivid and harmful imaginations. They were pleased at the evidence that she had done all in her power to avoid the visits, and that she protested against them, even thinking them punishment sent from Heaven. She regarded the facts so strange that she did not know what to believe about them. Frequently she chided the visitor, so that she could not have imagined or invented the manifestations imposed upon her.


They were above all impressed by the great lesson of Christian charity which was manifest during the whole period of the apparitions. On the one hand Sister Mary Gabriel, in her earthly life at the convent had caused Sister Mary of the Cross, her spiritual guide, great suffering by her want of religious spirit and deportment. Yet it was to this very Sister that God ordered her to address herself after death, for deliverance from Purgatory. They noticed that the lights given to Sister Mary of the Cross, became clearer and more distinct in proportion to Sister Mary Gabriel’s gradual purification. Finally they were impressed by the living Sister’s great progress in the work of her sanctification. So remarkable was this that on reading the Manuscript Canon Dubosq said, "In publishing this Manuscript, as I heartily approve, you are anticipating a cause of beatification."


In a word all theologians who were consulted gave unanimous consent that Sister Mary of the Cross’s manuscript portrayed in itself proof of its authenticity, and therefore, it was of value because of both content and origin.





The Manuscript of Sister Mary of the Cross, from a merely historical and human point of view seems entirely genuine and creditable.


The Directors of the magazine ‘Notre Dame de la Bonne Mori’ are happy to be able to publish so edifying and impressive a work. A voice reaching out to us beyond the grave makes known to us the justice and mercy of Purgatory, together with the instructions of a more perfect life of union with God, and will be helpful to many souls on their journey to eternity.


It is our hope that the Light made known to the living by the experience of the dead may be helpful to those seeking to lead a better life. It may even be to many of our readers a preparation for a happy death. (…)


* * * * * * *


In all that follows, the statements made are supposedly those of Sister Mary Gabriel (the suffering soul from Purgatory). At times she is questioned by Sister Mary of the Cross to whom she is talking. For the sake of simplicity quotation marks are omitted throughout. The questions of Sister Mary of the Cross when they occur will be indicated.


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To read this rest of this article go to: http://purgatory-manu.blogspot.com.


[1] Her autobiography, 98, edition 1920.

[2] (1) “The Purgatory”, review of the Association of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to promote the help of the souls in the Purgatorio, founded in Rome by the Reverend Father Victor Jouet, has published, from 1900 to 1912, the report of numerous apparitions of souls in Purgatory with the historical documents that guarantee their undeniable authenticity. The Rev. Fr. Victor Jouet also had constituted, in via Lungotevere Prati, 12, Rome, a museum of the afterworld or museum of the souls in Purgatory, composed from evidential memories and documents that render the truth of the facts tangible and evident the proven facts. The museum is now in a church in Rome of gothic style in via Lungotevere Prati.  We have visited this museum, the only one of its type, and we have seen with our own eyes and have held in our own hands, with a deep impression, the prints of fingers and of burnt hands left on the dresses, on sterling and on the objects touched during various apparitions. The explanations of the Reverend Father Jouet, with an impressive documentation therefore, always stimulated, in the pilgrims of this small tour about purgatory, an unrestrainable emotion: they had under their eyes the obvious proof of the existence of purgatory and the irrefutable test of the correcting fire which purifies the souls from the remains of sin. The exhibit of Rev. Fr. Jouet was exposed the 4th of August, 1905, in one the halls of the Vatican, and introduced by His Eminence, Cardinal Vivès y Tuto to S. S. Pio X, who visited it with the greatest interest and felt a great satisfaction.

[3] The beautiful works of one of these eminent masters of mystical Theology merited this devout praise of Pius X: "The illuminate men render a just homage to your science and to your experience." "(Letter of 13 December 1908.)"

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