Mrs. James Sadlier.

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good man, he was by no means free from those slight faults of which you
spoke just now. He will not be damned for these faults, but they will
prevent him from going to heaven; there must, therefore, be an
intermediate place wherein to expiate them; hence, there must be a
Purgatory. I will be a Catholic, so as to have the consolation of
praying for my brother." - _The Catechism in Examples_, pp. 141-2.


THE DEAD HAND.

SISTER TERESA MARGARET GESTA was struck by apoplexy on the 4th of
November, 1859, without any premonitory symptoms to forewarn her of her
danger; and, without recovering consciousness, she breathed her last at
four o'clock in the afternoon of the same day. Her companions were
plunged into the deepest sorrow, for the Sister was a general favorite;
but they resigned themselves to the will of God. Whilst lamenting the
death of one who had been to them a model, comforter, and mother, they
consoled themselves by the remembrance of the virtues of which she was
a splendid example, and of which they never tired speaking.

Twelve days had passed since her death. Some of the Sisters felt a
certain kind of dread of going alone to the places frequented by the
departed one; but Sister Anna Felix Menghini, a person of a lively and
pleasant disposition, often rallied them, good-humoredly, on their
fears.

About ten o'clock in the forenoon, this same Sister Anna, having charge
of the clothing, was proceeding to the work-room. Having gone up-
stairs, she heard a mournful voice, which at first she thought might be
that of a cat shut up in the clothes-press. She opened and examined it
carefully, but found nothing. A sudden and unaccountable feeling of
terror came over her, and she cried out: "Jesus, Mary, what can it be?"
She had hardly uttered these words when she heard the same mournful
voice as at first, which exclaimed in a gasping sob: "O my God, how I
suffer!" The religious, though surprised and trembling, recognized
distinctly the voice of Sister Teresa; she plucked up courage and asked
her "Why?"

"On account of poverty," answered the voice.

"What!" replied Sister Anna, "and you were so poor!"

"Not for me," was answered, "but for the nuns.... If one is enough, why
two? and if two are sufficient, why three?... And you - beware for
yourself."

At the same time the whole room was darkened by a thick smoke, and the
shadow of Sister Teresa, moving towards the exit, went up the steps,
talking as it moved. Sister Anna was so frightened that she could not
make out what the spirit said. Having reached the door, the apparition
spoke again: "This is a mercy of God!" And in proof of the reality,
with its open hand it struck the upper panel of the door near the
frame, leaving the impression of the hand more perfect than it could
have been made by the most skillful artist with a hot iron.

Sister Anna was like Balthasar: "Then was the King's countenance
changed, and his thoughts troubled him; and the joints of his loins
were loosed, and his knees struck one against the other." (Dan., v. 6).
She could not stir for a considerable time; she did not even dare to
turn her head. But at last she tottered out and called one of her
companions, who, hearing her feeble, broken words, ran to her with
another Sister; and presently the whole community was gathered round in
alarm. They learned in a confused manner what had taken place,
perceived the smell of burnt wood, and noticed a whitish cloud or mist
that filled the room and made it almost dark. They examined the door
carefully though tremblingly, and recognized the fac-simile of Sister
Teresa's hand; and, filled with terror, they fled to the choir.

There the Sisters, forgetting the need of food and rest, remained in
prayer till after sunset, abandoning everything in their anxiety to
procure relief for their beloved Sister Teresa. The zealous Minorite
Fathers, who have the spiritual direction of the convent, learning what
had happened, were equally earnest in offering prayers and sacrifice,
and in singing the psalms for the dead. Many of the faithful likewise
assembling, not through idle curiosity, but out of genuine piety,
joined in the recitation of the Rosary and other prayers, though the
deceased Sister was almost entirely unknown to the people. Her
observance of the rule was very strict, and she scrupulously avoided
all intercourse with people outside her convent. But still large
numbers crowded to join in those devotions for her.

Sister Anna, who was more worn out by excitement than the other
religious, was directed to retire early the following night. She
herself confesses that she was fully resolved next day to remove, at
any cost, the obnoxious marks of the hand. But Sister Teresa appeared
to her in a dream, saying: "You intend to remove the sign which I have
left. Know that it is not in your power to do so, even with the aid of
others; for it is there by the command of God, for the instruction of
the people. By His just and inexorable judgment I was condemned to the
dreadful fires of Purgatory for forty years on account of my
condescension to the will of some of the nuns. I thank you and those
who joined in so many prayers to the Lord for me; all of which He was
pleased in His mercy to accept as suffrages for me, and especially the
Seven Penitential Psalms, which were such a relief!" And then, with a
smiling countenance, she added: "Oh! blessed rags, that are rewarded
with such rich garments! Oh! happy poverty, that brings such glory to
those who truly observe it! Alas! how many suffer irreparable loss, and
are in torments, because, under the cloak of necessity, poverty is
known and valued by few!"

Finally, Sister Anna, lying down as usual on the night of the 19th,
heard her name distinctly pronounced by Sister Teresa. She awoke, all
in a tremor, and sat up, unable to answer. Her astonishment was great
when, near the foot of the bed, she saw a globe of light that made the
cell as bright as noonday, and she heard the spirit say in a joyful
voice: "On the day of the Passion I died (on Friday), and on the day of
the Passion I go to glory.... Strength in the Cross!... Courage to
suffer!..." Then, saying three times "Adieu!" the globe was transformed
into a thin, white, shining cloud, rose towards heaven, and
disappeared.

The zealous Bishop of the diocese having heard of these events,
instituted the process of examination on the 23d of the same month. The
grave was opened in presence of a large number of persons assembled for
the occasion; the impression of the hand on the door was compared with
the hand of the dead, and both were found to correspond exactly. The
door itself was set apart in a safe place and guarded. Many persons
being anxious to see the impression, it was allowed to be visited,
after a certain lapse of time, and with due precautions, by such as had
secured the necessary permission. - _Ave Maria_, Nov. 17, 1883.


A BEAUTIFUL EXAMPLE.

The following fact is related by the Treasurer of the Association for
the Souls in Purgatory. He himself was personally cognizant of the
circumstances of the case. We leave him to speak:

"Mr. - - ," said he, "was one of our first and most fervent associates.
His devotedness for good works is well known, so that he is everywhere
regarded as an acquisition in all pious enterprises. His exemplary
conduct rendered him, moreover, one of the most precious auxiliaries of
the work. Hence his zeal, instead of slackening, did but go on
increasing; and whereas, in the beginning, his collection amounted only
to some dollars, after a while he often brought me forty or fifty
dollars for the suffering souls. May Heaven bless that fervent
associate, and may his example serve as a lesson to the indifferent!

"During eighteen months, or two years, this pious and zealous member
brought me every six months, - with other moneys, - the sum of fifteen
dollars which was thus periodically sent him; and each time that I
asked him whence this money came, he answered that he knew nothing of
it himself; that it was sent him by a worthy man without further
information, and so he brought it to me without asking, or knowing
anything more.

"Desirous of getting to the bottom of this mystery, I resolved to try
and find out what it meant. I, one day, asked Mr. - - . to tell me the
name of this generous protector of the poor souls, for I was going to
hunt him up. - 'Oh!' said he, 'it is Such-a-one; he lives a long way
off, towards Hochelaga, [1] but, indeed, I cannot tell you the exact
place.'

[Footnote 1: A suburban town or village of Montreal, situated, like the
city, on the banks of the St. Lawrence.]

"Such vague information embarrassed me no little. I, nevertheless, took
the City Directory, but, alas! there were fully twenty-five persons of
the same name. Resolved, however, to put an end to this uncertainty, I
proceeded, with the little information I had, to the place indicated to
me; I arrive at a house bearing the name of the new benefactor of our
work. I go in at a venture; it was a little shoe-store, scarcely
fifteen feet square, somewhat gloomy and not over-clean, owing,
probably, to the nature of the business carried on there; the whole
appearance of the place was, indeed, very unlike one where much money
could be made. Going in, I perceived sitting in the farther end of the
store, a man whose face was so expressive of goodness, so open and so
calm, that only a good conscience could leave so gracious an imprint on
the features, and I said to myself: 'That is he.' - Then I asked aloud:
'You are Mr. Such-a-one?' - That is my name,' he answered, with a
pleasant smile. - 'But is it you who has sent us every six months for
two years, the sum of fifteen dollars, - thirty dollars a year, - for
the Souls in Purgatory, apart from your regular contribution?' - 'Yes,'
said he, quietly, and still with the same smile on his lips. - 'Ah!'
said I, 'we are very grateful to you, and the Holy Souls will surely be
mindful of you. I suppose you have a great compassion for those poor
souls who suffer so much, and that that inspires you with zeal, and so
you make up this sum amongst your friends and neighbors; - or they,
perhaps, bring it to your house, quarter by quarter, as is done
elsewhere?' - 'No!' said he, still very quietly, 'no, it is my own
little share.' - 'How! your own little share?' and instinctively I cast
a glance around the little store, which seemed hardly to justify the
giving of such a sum. 'How! your little share? but we find it a very
large and generous one, and we are happy that your zeal and charity
make it seem to you so small. Heaven will bless you for it. Still there
must be something hidden under these gifts, so often repeated; the Holy
Souls must have done you some favor. Please tell me, then, what induces
you to give so handsome a sum every year, without being asked?'

"'Well, I will not conceal from you that the Souls in Purgatory have
visibly protected me; and to make known to you, in a few words, all my
little history, I must tell you that, two or three years ago, I heard
people speak so favorably of the Association for the Souls in
Purgatory - I heard so much about it, indeed, that from that day
forward, I placed all my little business under the care of the
Suffering Souls, and ever since, I am happy to tell you, to the credit
of those holy Souls, that my affairs go, as if they were on wheels!"
(These are his own words.) "I give my thirty-three dollars a year
without any injury to myself; on the contrary, all goes the better for
it. My store is not much to look at, but it is well filled, and all
that is in it is my own. Apart from that, and what is still better, I
have not a penny of debt.'

"He then added, in a lower tone: 'I have, moreover, the happiness of
honoring in that way the thirty-three years of labors and sufferings
which Our Divine Lord spent on earth. That thought does my poor heart
good.

"'Ah, sir,' said he, with an impulse of true faith which made my heart
thrill - 'Ah, sir, if men believed more, they would do wonders, and the
word of Our Lord never fails, and He has said that the more one gives
the more they receive, for charity never makes any one poor; only we
must give without distrust, and without speculation.'

"I warmly shook hands with this admirable man, and returned home as
charmed with my visit as delighted with so much faith. Then I said to
myself: 'There is a fine example to follow. How many others might have
no debts, if they knew how to make sacrifices for the dear Suffering
Souls!'"_ - Almanac of the Souls in Purgatory, 1877_


HOW TO PAY ONE'S DEBTS.

Speaking just now of that generous man who had no debts, we called to
mind an example that teaches a pretty way of paying debts. We are about
to furnish the receipt, so that no one may complain, giving to each the
chance of making use of it. In divulging this secret we shall certainly
pass for the least selfish man in the world; for, to furnish every one
with the means of paying their debts, is it not to procure for each the
opportunity of enriching himself? But, dear reader, laying aside all
thanks, hasten only to profit by the receipt, and we shall, each of us,
have obtained our object.

We take this secret from the Chronicles of the good Friars Minors, an
authority to which no one can take exception.

The Blessed Berthold belonged to the great Franciscan family. His fine
talents and rare virtues had caused him to be appointed a preacher of
the Order. The Sovereign Pontiff, seeing all the good that Berthold was
destined to do by his eloquent sermons, had given him power to grant to
each of his hearers, an indulgence of ten days; which was a great
privilege for the faithful, as well as a mark of esteem and distinction
for himself.

Friar Berthold, then, had preached a most moving sermon on alms-giving,
and had granted the ten days' indulgence to all who were present.
Amongst the audience was a lady of quality who, owing to a reverse of
fortune, was in great distress and loaded with debt. She had hitherto
been content to suffer in silence, being prevented by a false shame
from making her condition known; but overcome by the enthusiastic
charity of the good father, she went privately to him to explain how
she was situated, giving him thus an opportunity of putting in practice
what he had so eloquently preached. But Friar Berthold, who, like his
father St. Francis, had chosen poverty for his lady and mistress, could
not come to her relief. Nevertheless, as poverty, in the man who
suffers and endures it voluntarily for the love of God, becomes
strength and even riches, Berthold, strong in his sacrifice and rich in
his poverty - Berthold, inspired by the Holy Ghost, repeated to her what
Peter of old, inspired by God, said to the lame man at the gate of the
Temple who had asked him for alms: "Silver and gold have I none, but
that which I have I will give unto thee." He then assured the lady that
she had gained ten days' indulgence by being present at his preaching,
and he added: "Go to such a banker in the city. Hitherto he has busied
himself much more about temporal riches than spiritual treasures, but
offer him in return for the donation he will give you, to make over to
him the merit of this indulgence, so that the pains awaiting him in
Purgatory may be diminished. I have every reason to think," continued
the good Father, "that he will give you some assistance."

The poor woman, full of that faith which is so powerful, went as she
was told, in all simplicity. God touched the heart of the rich man, who
received her kindly. He asked her how much she expected to receive in
exchange for her ten days' indulgence. Feeling herself animated by an
interior strength, she replied: "As much as it weighs in the balance."
- "Well!" said the banker, "here is the balance. Write down your ten
days' indulgence, and put the paper in one scale; I will place a piece
of money in the other." O prodigy! the scale with the paper in it does
not rise, but the other does. The banker, much amazed, puts in another
piece of money, but the weight is not changed; he puts in another, then
another; but the result is still the same, the paper on which the
indulgence is written is still the heaviest. The Banker puts down then
five, ten, thirty pieces, till there was as much as the whole amount
which the lady required for her present needs. Then only did the two
scales become equal.

The banker, struck with astonishment, saw in this marvel a precious
lesson for him; he was at length made sensible of the value of the
things of heaven.

The poor Souls understand it still better, as, for the slightest
earthly indulgence they would give all the gold in the world.

You, then, who have no money to give for the Souls in Purgatory - you,
too, who have financial difficulties on your shoulders, offer up
indulgences for the poor Souls, and they will make themselves your
bankers; they will pay you double, nay, a hundred-fold for whatever you
have put in the scale of the balance of mercy. They will pay you not
only in spiritual treasures, but even in temporal wealth, which will
procure for you the double advantage of paying your debts here below,
and those of the other world. - _Almanac of the Souls in Purgatory_,
1877.


FAITH REWARDED.

"One day, in the month of July," relates a zelator of the Association,
[1] "I met one of our members. He was a man of an amiable disposition,
and remarkable for his piety and his devotion to good works. He was a
merchant of good standing, engaged in a respectable business. Like many
others, however, he had seen bad days; and to the commonplace question,
'How goes business?' he replied: 'Ah! badly enough; I can hardly pay
expenses, and I am doubly unfortunate. I had a house which brought me
in two or three hundred dollars a year, and I have had the misfortune
of being unable to rent it this year, so that, losing on all sides, I
find myself a good deal embarrassed.' - 'Will you allow me,' said I, 'to
give you a little advice? Promise some Masses for the Souls in
Purgatory in case you have the good fortune to rent your house. It will
be, as it were, the tithe of your rent. We too often forget that we owe
to Our Lord a part of what He gives us so freely. It is, nevertheless,
only an offering that we make Him of His own goods; and, at the same
time, an act of gratitude for that He has deigned to give it to us.
Furthermore, it is an act of homage, an acknowledgment of His
supremacy. And we shall derive the more profit from it according as we
do it with a good heart. Besides all that, you have the additional
happiness of assisting your relatives and friends who are suffering in
the flames of Purgatory.'

[Footnote 1: For the Relief of the Souls in Purgatory.]


"This little exhortation seemed to strike him to whom it was addressed,
and, as if awaking from a long lethargy, he suddenly said: 'Why did I
not think of that before? I promise,' added he, 'five dollars for the
Souls in Purgatory, if I find a tenant.'


"This eagerness to do good, this species of regret for not having done
it sooner, this pious disposition which makes us desire to relieve
those who are in affliction, must have been very pleasing to God, for,
within the week, the gentleman came to me with his five dollars, and
said, smiling: 'I lose no time, you see, in keeping my promise.' - 'Why,
have you already rented your house?' - 'Yes, a manufacturer from the
country who had just had the misfortune of being burned out, saw my
house by chance, came to ask my terms, and we agreed at once. He is to
take possession next week.'

"A week passed, even a month, then two, and no tenant, when I happened
again to meet my friend, whom I almost suspected of having forgotten
his promise. 'Ah!' said he, 'I am worse off than ever, and I was so
sure of having rented my house.' - ' How! did that person not come back,
then?' - ' No, and I thought him such an honest man! The disappointment
has been a great loss to me.' - 'Write to him, then, threatening to make
him responsible for the whole rent. But, better than that, wait still,
and have confidence; the Holy Souls cannot fail to bring the matter to
a favorable issue. It is, perhaps, a want of faith on your part which
has delayed the fulfillment of the contract.'

"Three days had scarcely passed when I again saw our Associate. 'This
time,' said he, 'I come to pay; my tenant has arrived.' - 'But he has
made you lose five or six weeks' rent.' - 'Not so; he is, just as I
thought, an honorable, upright man. He arrived two days ago. It was I
that hired your house,' said he, 'and I come to take possession of
it.' - 'Mr. - - ,' said I, 'I am very glad, but I expected you sooner.' -
'It is true I was to have come before now, but was prevented from doing
so by important business. How long is it since I rented your house?' -
'Just nine weeks.' - 'It is only right, then, that I should pay you for
the time I have made you lose;' then handing me a sum of money,
'there,' said he, 'is the amount coming to you; and now, my family
arrive to-morrow, so we take possession at once of your house, and your
rent shall be paid regularly.'

"So there is an end to my anxiety, and you cannot believe how happy I
am in bringing you the trifling sum I promised; but while keeping my
promise, I thank you very sincerely for the confidence wherewith you
inspired me in the Holy Souls. May God bless you for it!" - _Almanac
of the Souls in Purgatory_, 1881.


APPARITION OF A CITIZEN OF ARIES.

LECOYER, in his "Tales of Ghosts and Apparitions," [1] relates a
historical occurrence which had great publicity. In the reign of King
Charles IV. of France, surnamed the Fair, the last king of the first
branch of the Capets, who died in 1323, the soul of a citizen, some
years dead and abandoned by his relations, who neglected to pray for
him, appeared suddenly in the public square at Aries, relating
marvellous things of the other world, and asking for help. Those who
had seen him in his lifetime at once recognized him. The Prior of the
Jacobins, a man of saintly life, being told of this apparition,
hastened to go and see the soul. Supposing at first that it might be a
spirit that had taken the form of this citizen, he took, with lighted
tapers, a consecrated host, which he held out to it. But the soul
immediately showed that it was really there itself, for it prostrated
itself and adored Our Lord, asking naught else but prayers which might
deliver it from Purgatory, to the end that it might enter purified into
heaven.

[Footnote 1: "Histoires des Spectres et des Apparitions."]


THE COUNTESS OF STRAFFORD.

The Countess of Strafford, before her conversion to the Catholic faith,
went often to see Monseigneur de la Mothe, Bishop of Amiens, and her
conversations with him always made the deepest impression on her mind.
But what touched her more than all was a sermon which he preached on
the feast of St. John the Baptist, in the chapel of the Ursulines in
Amiens. After hearing this discourse, she felt within her a lively
desire to believe as did the preacher who had so much edified her. She
still had some doubts, however, on the Sacrifice of the Mass and
Purgatory. She went to propose them to the holy Bishop, who, without
disputing with her or openly attacking her prejudices, deemed it his
duty to speak thus to her, in order to undeceive her: "Madam, you know
the Bishop of London and have confidence in him? Well, I beg you to ask
him what I am going to tell you: The Bishop of Amiens has told me a
thing that surprised me; he says that if you can deny that St.
Augustine said Mass and prayed for the dead, and particularly for his
mother, he himself will become a Protestant." This advice was followed.
The Bishop of London made no reply, but contented himself with saying
to the bearer of the letter that Lady Strafford had been breathing a
contagious atmosphere which had carried her away, and that anything he
could write to her would probably not remedy the evil. This silence on
the part of a man whom she had trusted implicitly, finished opening the
eyes of Lady Strafford, and she soon after made her abjuration at the
hands of the Bishop of Amiens. - _Vie de Monsgr. de la Mothe._


THE MARQUIS BE CIVRAC. _(From une Commune Vendéenne.)_

The belief that the living friends may be of use to their friends in
the grave, has in it I know not what instructive and natural which one
meets in hearts the most simple and unsophisticated. A pious peasant
woman of La Vendée kneeling on the coffin of her good master, the
Marquis de Civrac, cried out: "O my God, repay to him all the good he



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