MSN Live Space News Blog.

Purgatory Explained (24th Sunday after Pentecost)

From: Our Lady of the Rosary Library
Sent: Sunday, November 07, 2010 9:51 AM
Subject: Purgatory Explained

Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Duration of Purgatory – The Abbey of Latrobe – A Hundreds Years of Suffering
for Delay in the Reception of the Last Sacraments.

Taken from the book “Purgatory Explained” by Fr. Schouppe, S.J. – Part I,
Chapter XXV

The following incident is related with authentic proof by the journal, “The
Monde”, in the number of April 1860. It took place in America, in the Abbey
of the Benedictines, situated in the village of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. A
series of apparitions occurred during the course of the year 1859. The
American press took up the matter, and treated those grave questions with
its usual levity. In order to put a stop to scandal, the Abbot Wimmer,
superior of the house, addressed the following letter to the newspapers.

“The following is a true statement of the case: In our Abbey of St.
Vincent, near Latrobe, on September 10, 1859, a novice saw an apparition of
a Benedictine in full choir dress. This apparition was repeated every day
from September 18 until November 19, either at eleven o’clock, at noon, or
at two o’clock in the morning. It was only on the 19th November that the
novice interrogated the spirit, in presence of another member of the
community, and asked the motive of these apparitions. He replied that he had
suffered for seventy-seven years for having neglected to celebrate seven
Masses of obligation; that he had already appeared at different times to
seven other Benedictines, but that he had not been heard, and that he would
be obliged to appear again after eleven years if the novice did not come to
his assistance. Finally, the spirit asked that these seven Masses might be
celebrated for him; moreover, the novice must remain in retreat for seven
days, keep strict silence, and during thirty days recite three times a day
the psalm “Miserere”, his feet bare, and his arms extended in the form of a
cross. All the conditions were fulfilled between November 20 and December
25, and on that day, after the celebration of the last Mass, the apparition

“During that period the spirit showed itself several times, exhorting the
novice in the most urgent manner to pray for the souls in Purgatory; for,
said he, they suffer frightfully, and are extremely grateful to those who
co-operate in their deliverance. He added, sad to relate, that of the five
priests who had died in our Abbey, not one had yet entered Heaven, all were
suffering in Purgatory. I do not draw any conclusion, but this is correct.”

This account, signed by the hand of the Abbot, is an incontestable
historical document.

As regards the conclusion which the venerable prelate leaves us to draw, it
is evident.

Seeing that a Religious is condemned to Purgatory for seventy-seven years,
let it suffice for us to learn the necessity of reflecting on the duration
of future punishment, as well for priests and Religious as for the ordinary
faithful living in the midst of the corruption of the world.

A too frequent cause of the long continuance of Purgatory is that many
deprive themselves of a great means established by Jesus Christ for
shortening it, by delaying, when dangerously sick, to receive the last
Sacraments. These Sacraments, destined to prepare souls for their last
journey, to purify them from the remains of sin, and to spare them the pains
of the other life, require, in order to produce their effects, that the sick
person receive them with the requisite dispositions. Now, the longer they
are deferred, and the faculties of the sick person allowed to become weak,
the more defective do those dispositions become. What do I say? Very often
it happens, in consequence of this imprudent delay, that the sick person
dies deprived of this absolute necessary help. The result is, that if the
deceased is not damned, he is plunged into the deepest abysses of Purgatory,
loaded with all the weight of his debts.

Michael Alix (Hort, Past, Tract.6; cf. Rossignoli, “Merveilles”, 86) speaks
of an ecclesiastic who, instead of promptly receiving the Extreme Unction,
and therein giving a good example to the faithful, was guilty of negligence
in this respect, and was punished by a hundred years of Purgatory. Knowing
that he was seriously ill and in danger of death, this poor priest should
have made known his condition, and immediately had recourse to the succors
which the Mother Church reserves for her children in that supreme hour. He
omitted to do so, and, whether through an illusion common among sick people,
he would not declare the gravity of his situation, or whether he was under
the influence of that fatal prejudice which causes weak Christians to defer
the reception of the last sacraments, he neither asked for nor thought of
receiving them. But we know how death comes by stealth; the unfortunate man
deferred so long that he died without having had the time to receive either
the Viaticum or Extreme Unction.
Now, God was pleased to make use of this circumstance to give a great
warning to others. The deceased himself came to make known to a brother
ecclesiastic that he was condemned to Purgatory for a hundred years. “I am
thus punished,” he said, “for delaying to receive the grace of the last
purification. Had I received the Sacraments as I ought to have done, I
should have escaped death through the virtue of Extreme Unction, and I
should have had time to do penance.”



The excellent book “Purgatory Explained by the Lives and Legends of the
Saints” by Fr. Schouppe, S.J. is available in our Store for only $7.50 – .

Sincerely in Christ,
Our Lady of the Rosary Library
“Pray and work for souls”

For good Catholic books, articles and religious goods visit


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: