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world; and the prodigies which were seen wrought every year at St. Mary
of Angels, excited the devotion of the faithful to gain it. Many times
there were seen there fifty thousand, and even a hundred thousand
persons assembled together from all parts.

Meanwhile, in order to facilitate the means of gaining an Indulgence so
admirable, the Sovereign Pontiffs extended it to all the churches of
the three Orders of St. Francis, and it may be gained by all the
faithful indiscriminately. "Of all Indulgences," said Bourdaloue, "that
of the Portiuncula is one of the surest and most authentic that there
is in the Church, since it is an Indulgence granted immediately by
Jesus Christ, a privilege peculiar to itself, and this Indulgence has
spread amongst all Christian people with a marvellous progress of
souls, and a sensible increase of piety."

The Indulgence of the Great Pardon has another very special privilege;
it is, that it may be gained _totus quotus_ - that is to say, as
often as one visits a church to which it is attached, and prays for the
Sovereign Pontiff; and this privilege may be enjoyed from the 1st of
August about two o'clock in the afternoon, till sunset on the following

Pope Boniface VIII. said that it is "most pious to gain that Indulgence
several times for oneself; for, although by the first gaining of a
plenary Indulgence, the penalty be remitted, by seeking to gain it
again, one receives an augmentation of grace and of glory that crowns
all their good works." Besides, this Indulgence can be applied to the
Souls in Purgatory, as it can be also gained for the living by way of
satisfaction, provided they be in the state of grace.

It was one day revealed to St. Margaret of Cortona that the Souls in
Purgatory eagerly look forward every year to the Feast of Our Lady of
Angels, because it is a day of deliverance for a great number of them.

While speaking of the Indulgence of the Portiuncula, we are naturally
disposed to say a few words in regard to the grievous outrage recently
committed on that place, venerated for more than six hundred years by
all Christian nations, and manifestly chosen as the object of divine
predilection by all the prodigies there wrought.

The Italian government had unlawfully, and in a sacrilegious manner,
possessed itself of the Convent of the Portiuncula; and notwithstanding
the protest of all the members of the Order of St. Francis, and the
indignation excited by so arbitrary an act in every Catholic heart,
those iniquitous men put it up for sale, and actually sold it by public
auction. The Minister General of the Franciscan Order, unwilling that
this brightest gem of the Franciscan crown should fall into impious
hands, resolved to have it purchased for him by a lay person. But how
was this to be done, when he had no revenue, often not means enough for
necessary expenses? a grave question, truly, for the children of St.
Francis, who might have seen themselves bereft of the cradle of their
Order, were it not that, at the critical moment, a man of a truly
Christian heart came forward and advanced the thirty-four thousand
francs, the price to which their precious relic had been raised. Thus,
God would not permit that so many memories connected with His servant
Francis should be effaced from the earth, although they would still
have lived in the hearts of his children, and the Friars Minors are
still the owners and possessors of that venerable sanctuary. [1] -
_Almanac of the Souls in Purgatory_, 1881.

[Footnote 1: Nevertheless, means must be taken to pay back this sum so
seasonably advanced. Hence it is, that at the request of the Minister
General of the Franciscans, Father Marie, of Brest, has made a touching
appeal to all friends of the Order and of justice, and has opened
subscription lists wherever there are children of St. Francis, and
there are children of St. Francis all over the world. These lists, with
the names of the pious donors, shall be sent to Assisium, to be
preserved there in the very sanctuary of the Portiuncula. - ED. AL.]


Catherine of Cardona was born in the very highest rank. She was but
eight years old when she lost her father, Raymond of Cardona, who was
descended from the kings of Aragon. Catherine had already made herself
remarkable by her love of prayer, solitude, and mortification, and by
her admirable fidelity to grace she had drawn down upon herself, at an
age still so tender, the signal favor of Heaven.

One day, whilst absorbed in prayer in her little oratory, her father
appeared to her enveloped in the flames of Purgatory, and, conjuring
her to deliver him, he said to her: "Daughter, I shall remain in this
fire until thou hast done penance for me." With a heart full of
compassion, Catherine promised her father to satisfy the divine justice
for him, and the vision disappeared.

From that moment Catherine, rising above the weakness of her age and
sex, applied herself to those amazing austerities which have made her a
prodigy of penance. To open Heaven to her father, she freely sheds, in
bloody scourgings, the first fruits of that virginal blood which is to
flow for half a century in innumerable torments. Magnanimous child, she
is already the martyr of filial piety, but her tears, her
mortifications, her prayers have disarmed the divine justice and
discharged the paternal debt. Raymond, resplendent with the glory of
the blessed, appears again to his daughter, and addresses her in these
words: "God has accepted thy penance, my daughter, and I go to enjoy
His glory. By that penance, thou hast become so pleasing to Jesus
Christ that He has chosen thee for His spouse. Continue all thy life to
immolate thyself as a victim for the salvation of souls; such is His
divine will."

With these words, which filled the heart of Catherine with joy
unspeakable, he goes to Heaven to sing the mercies of his God, and to
intercede with Him, in his turn, for the beloved daughter who was his

Oh! happy, thrice happy Catherine! Whilst accomplishing an act of
filial piety, she gained the title of Spouse of Christ, and secured for
herself a powerful intercessor in heaven. - _Almanac of the Souls in
Purgatory, 1881._

The life of the little Catherine was so admirable that we cannot resist
the desire of giving some extracts from it here. It will be so much the
more appropriate that her whole life was consecrated to the relief of
the souls in Purgatory and the salvation of men.

Overwhelmed with the happiness of seeing herself chosen for the spouse
of the God of Virgins, Catherine consecrates herself entirely to Him,
and promises inviolable fidelity to Him. Rejoiced to belong to the same
Spouse as the Agathas and Agnesses, she makes a vow of perpetual
virginity, and exclaims in the fullness of her bliss: "Thou alone, mine
Adorable Beloved, Thou alone shalt reign over my heart, Thou alone
shalt have dominion over it for all eternity!" Then Jesus invisibly
places on her finger the marriage ring, and endows with strength her
who aspires only to die with Him on the cross.

Catherine, who, after the death of her father, was placed under the
care of the Princess of Salerno, a near relative of her mother, leads
in the palace of the princess a life no less rigorous than that of the
penitents of the desert; but she will have no other witness of it than
He by whom she alone desires to be loved. Condemned by her rank to wear
rich clothing, she values only the glorious vesture of the soul, which
is grace. The hair-cloth that macerates her flesh is her chosen
garment. At that age, when people allow themselves to be dazzled by the
world, Catherine of Cardona has trampled it beneath her feet, and later
on, becoming entirely free from the slavery of the world, she retires
to the Capuchin Convent at Naples, and there prepares, by a seclusion
of twenty-five years, to give to the great ones of the earth an example
of the most sublime virtues. Called by the Princess of Salerno to share
her disfavor with the king, she hesitates not to quit her dear
solitude, and repairs to Spain, in 1557. Her presence at Valladolid was
an eloquent sermon, and produced the happiest fruits in souls. The
Princess died at the end of two years; and Philip II., knowing the
wisdom of Catherine, kept her at the Court, appointing her as governess
to Don Carlos, his son, and the young Don Juan of Austria, afterwards
the hero of Lepanto.

In 1562, Our Lord, in a vision, says to Catherine: "Depart from this
palace; retire to a solitary cave, where thou mayest more freely apply
thyself to prayer and penance." At these words, the soul of Catherine
is inundated with joy, and she feels that no worldly obstacle could
restrain her. She would fain set out forthwith, but her spiritual
guides opposed her doing so. Finally, after many trials, whilst she was
in prayer, before the dawn, the crucifix she wore hanging from her
neck, suddenly rose into the air, and said: "Follow me!" She followed
it to a window on the ground-floor; and although it was fastened with
great iron bars, Catherine, without knowing how, found herself in the
street. Transported with joy at this new miracle, she flew to the place
where the Hermit of Alcada and another priest were waiting to conduct
her to the desert. Seeing the heroic virgin, they blessed Him who had
thus broken her chains. In order that she might not be recognized they
cut off her hair, gave her a hermit's robe, and set out without delay.
Arriving at a small hill about four leagues from Roda, Catherine said
to her guides: "Here it is that God will have me take up my abode; let
us go no farther." After a careful search they discovered amongst
thorny hedges difficult to get through, a species of grotto
sufficiently deep; but the entrance thereto was so narrow, and the roof
so low, that Catherine, who was of medium height and rather full
figure, could hardly stand upright in it. The two guides of the holy
recluse, taking leave of her, left her some instruments of penance, and
three loaves, for all provision. There it was that the daughter of the
Duke of Cardona commenced, in 1562, that admirable life which has been
the wonder of all succeeding ages.

Teresa, the seraphic Teresa, who lived at that time not far from
Catherine's solitude, cried out in a transport of admiration: "Oh! how
great must be the love that transported her, since she thought neither
of food, nor danger, nor the disgrace her flight might bring upon her;
what must be the intoxication of that holy soul, flying thus to the
desert, solely engrossed by the desire of enjoying there without
obstacle the presence of her Spouse! And how firm must be her
resolution to break with the world, since she thus fled from all its

St. Teresa adds that Catherine spent more than eight years in this
desert cave, that after having exhausted the small provision of three
loaves left her by the hermit who had served her as a guide, she had
lived solely on roots and wild herbs, but that, after several years,
she met with a shepherd, who thenceforward faithfully supplied her with
bread, of which she, nevertheless, ate but once in three days. The
discipline which she took with a large chain lasted often for an hour
and a half, and sometimes two hours. Her hair-cloth was so rough that a
woman, returning from a pilgrimage, having asked hospitality of her,
told me (it is still St. Teresa who speaks), that feigning sleep, she
saw the holy recluse take off her hair-cloth and wipe it clean, for it
was full of blood. The warfare she had to sustain against the demons
made her suffer still more than her austerities; she told our sisters
that they appeared to her, now in the form of great dogs who sprang on
her shoulders, and now in that of snakes; but do as they might, they
could not make her afraid.

She heard Mass in a convent of the Sisters of Mercy, a quarter of a
league distant; sometimes she made the journey on her knees. She wore a
tunic of coarse serge, and over that a robe of drugget so fashioned
that she was taken for a man.

Nevertheless, the fame of her sanctity soon spread everywhere, and the
people conceived so great a veneration for her that they flocked from
every side, so that, on certain days, the surrounding country was
covered with vehicles full of people going to see her.

"About this time," says St. Teresa, "she was seized with a great desire
to found near her cave a monastery of religious, but being undecided in
her choice of the order, she postponed for a time the execution of her
design. One day while at prayer before a crucifix which she always
carried about her, Our Lord showed her a white mantle, and gave her to
understand that she was to found a monastery of barefooted Carmelites.
She knew not till then that such an order existed, as she had never
heard it mentioned; indeed, we had then but two monasteries of reformed
Carmelites, that of Moncera and that of Pastrana. Catherine was
speedily informed of the existence of this last. As Pastrana belonged
to the Princess of Eboli, her former friend, she set out for that town
with the firm resolution of doing what Our Lord had enjoined her to do.
It was at Pastrana, in the church of our religious, that the Blessed
Catherine took the habit of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, having no
intention, notwithstanding that act, to embrace the religious life. Our
Lord conducted her by another way, and she never felt any attraction
towards that state. What kept her away from it was the fear of being
obliged through obedience to moderate her austerities and quit her

As she had worn man's apparel ever since she had been in the desert,
she would not now change it. So, in laying aside her hermit's robe, and
assuming that of Carmel, she took a habit like that of the barefooted
Carmelite monks, and wore it till her last breath. In this Catherine
was led by a very special way.

Catherine had been preceded at Pastrana by the account of the wonders
which had marked the eight years she had spent in her cave; she was
thus greeted as a saint as soon as she appeared; no one was surprised
to see her in her Carmelite habit, a cowl on her head, a white mantle
on her shoulders, a robe of coarse drugget, and a leathern girdle. God
permitted the appearance of Catherine at the court of Philip II. as a
virgin with the heart of a man, victorious over all the weakness, of
her sex, and rivalling in her austerities the most famous penitents of
the desert. At the Escurial, she observed the same abstinence as in her
hermitage; there, as in her cave, she took but one hour's sleep, and
gave to prayer the rest of the time at her disposal.

From the Escurial, Catherine returned to Madrid. From the carriage in
which she rode, she gave her blessing to the multitudes who crowded the
road as she passed. ... The Nuncio, having sent for her, reproached her
for wearing the apparel of a man, and for taking it upon her to give
her blessing, like a bishop. The humble virgin heard all prostrate on
the ground. When the Nuncio had finished speaking, she arose and
justified herself with that holy simplicity peculiar to herself. The
legate of the Holy See, perceiving then that God was leading the
Blessed Catherine by an extraordinary way, left her at liberty to wear
that costume, blessed her, and recommended himself to her prayers.

In Madrid Catherine again met Don Juan of Austria, who had been
appointed Generalissimo of the Christian fleet directed against the
Turks. He gave her the name of mother, and regarded her as a Saint.
After having given some wise counsel to the young prince, she predicted
to him that he should obtain a victory over the enemies of the
Christian name. It was a happy day in the life of Don Juan on which he
heard these prophetic words. Kneeling on the ground, with clasped hands
and tearful eyes, the future liberator of Christendom asked Catherine's
blessing, and arose with a heart strengthened by an invincible hope.

The Carmelites of Toledo, amongst whom she spent some time, endeavoring
to persuade her to diminish her austerities a little, she replied in
these memorable words, which reveal to us the secret of her life: "When
one has seen, as I have, what Purgatory and Hell are, one cannot do too
much to draw souls from one, and preserve them from the other; I may
not spare myself, since I have offered myself in sacrifice for them."

On the 7th October, 1571, Catherine was warned by a light from above
that the great combat against the Turks was to take place that day. She
macerated herself with fearful rigor, and offered herself as a victim
to the anger of God, justly indignant at the sins of His people. She
addressed to the Saviour of men the most tender supplications, when,
all at once, seized with a holy transport, she uttered in a distinct
voice these words, which were heard by several persons of the Court: "O
Lord, the hour is come, help Thy Church; give the victory to the
Catholic chiefs; have pity on so many kingdoms which are Thine own,
preserve them from ruin! The wind is against us: my God, if Thou order
it not to change, we perish!"

Some time after, she cried out in a still stronger voice: "Blessed be
Thou, O Lord, Thou hast changed the wind at the needful moment; finish
what Thou hast begun!" After these words she prayed in silence for a
long space of time. Then, starting up joyfully, she offered to God the
most lively thanksgivings for the victory He had just granted to His

Soon, in fact, the news of the victory of Lepanto confirmed the
miraculous vision of Catherine. Don Juan wrote immediately to the
venerable Catherine of Cardona, thanking her for her prayers, and sent
her, as a memento, some spoils taken from the enemy.

Catherine having received, at the Court and elsewhere, sufficient means
to found her monastery, regained her solitude in the month of March,
1572. She lived there five years longer. It has been considered as a
supernatural thing that mortifications so extraordinary as hers had not
ended her life sooner. She died on the 11th of May, 1577.

"One day," says St. Teresa, "after having received communion in the
church of this monastery (that which Catherine had founded), I entered
into a profound recollection, which was soon followed by an ecstasy.
Whilst I was thus ravished out of myself, that holy woman appeared to
my intellectual vision, resplendent with light like a glorified body,
and surrounded by angels. She said to me: 'Weary not of founding
monasteries, but rather pursue that work with ardor.' I understood,
albeit that she did not say so, that she was assisting me with God.
This apparition left me exceedingly comforted, and inflamed with the
desire of working for Our Lord's glory. Hence, I hope from His divine
goodness and the powerful prayers of that Saint, that I may be able to
do something for His service."


Heretics or Schismatics care very little about contradicting
themselves. It is of the nature of the iniquity of lying. The _Anti
de la Religion_, of March 1, 1851, judiciously observes:

"It is well known that the Russian Church pretends not to admit the
doctrine of Purgatory, which one of its principal prelates set down as
'_a crude modern invention._' Nevertheless, the manifesto recently
published by the Emperor Nicholas, on the death of his mother, the
Grand Duchess Elizabeth, Duchess of Nassau, concludes with these words:
'We are convinced that all our faithful subjects will unite their
prayers with ours, _for the repose of the soul_ of the deceased.'
How are we to reconcile this request for prayers with the denial of
Purgatory, coming as it does from the mouth of the supreme pontiff of
the Church of Russia?" - "_Christian Anecdotes._"



Thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down. My days are like a shadow;
that declineth, and I am withered like grass; but thou, O Lord, shall,
endure forever. - Ps. cii., verses 10, 11, 12.

Yes! O my God! You lift up and you cast down; you humble and you exalt
the sons of men. You cut off the breath of princes, and are terrible to
the kings of the earth. It is then we know your power, when, by the
stroke of death, we feel what we are, that our life is but as a shadow
that declineth, a vapor dispersed by the beams of the rising sun, or as
the grass which loses at noon the verdure it had acquired from the
morning dew. It is a truth of which we, are made sensible upon this
mournful occasion, and in this sacred temple, where the trophies of
death are displayed, and its image reflected on every side. The
mournful accents of the solemn dirge, the sable drapery that lines
these walls, the vestments of the ministers of the sacred altar, this
artificial darkness which is a figure of the darkness of the grave; -
the tapers that blaze around the sanctuary to put us in mind that when
our mortal life is extinct, there is an immortal life beyond the grave,
in a kingdom of light and bliss reserved for those who walk on earth by
the light of the gospel; - that tomb, in which the tiara and the
sceptre, the Pontifical dignity, and the power of the temporal prince,
are covered over with a funeral shroud, - every object that strikes the
eye, and every sound that vibrates on the ear, is an awful memento
which reminds us of our approaching dissolution, points out the vanity
and nothingness of all earthly grandeur, and convinces, us that in
holiness of life, which unites us to God and secures an immortal crown
in the enjoyment of the sovereign good, consists the greatness as well
as the happiness of man. An awful truth exemplified in many great
characters, hurled from the summit of power and grandeur into an abyss
of woe, whose unshaken virtue supported them under the severest trials,
and whose greatness of soul shone conspicuous in their fall as well as
in their elevation. A truth particularly exemplified in His Holiness
Pope Pius VI., whose obsequies we are assembled to solemnize on this
day - Pius VI. great in prosperity; Pius VI. great in adversity.

When his life is written by an impartial hand, when his contemporaries
are dead, when history lays open the hidden and mysterious springs of
the events connected with his reign, and posterity erects a tribunal,
at which it is to judge, without dread of giving offence, then his
virtues and wisdom will appear in their true light, as the symmetry and
proportion of those beautiful statues, which are placed in the
porticoes or entrance of temples and public edifices, are better
discovered, and seen to a greater advantage at a certain distance.

* * * * *

Though His life was spotless, yet as the judgments of God are
unsearchable, as there is such a quantity of dross mixed with our
purest gold, such chaff with our purest grain, our purest virtues
tarnished with so many imperfections, that on appearing in the presence
of God, into whose Kingdom the slightest stain is not admitted, who can
say, "My soul is pure; I have nothing to answer for?" as in our belief,
divine justice may inflict temporary as well as eternal punishments
beyond the grave, according to the quality of unexpiated offences, let
us perform the sacred rites of our holy religion for the repose of his
soul. [1]

[Footnote 1: These extracts are taken from the funeral oration on Pius
VI, delivered at St. Patrick's Chapel, Soho, in presence of Monsignore
Erskine, Papal Auditor, on the 10th Nov., 1799.]



My brethren, as it is God alone, that searcher of hearts, who can truly
appreciate the merits of His elect, as it belongs only to the Holy
Catholic Church, "_that pillar and ground of truth_," to canonize
them, as we know that nothing impure can enter into heaven, and that
Moses himself, that great legislator, and peculiar favorite of heaven,
was not entirely spotless in the discharge of his ministry, nor exempt
from temporal punishment at his death, let us no longer interrupt the
awful mysteries and impressive ceremonies of religion, but, uniting,
and, as it were, embodying our prayers and fervent supplications, let
us offer a holy violence to heaven; while we mingle our tears with the
precious blood of the spotless Victim offered in sacrifice on our
hallowed altar, let us implore the Father of Mercies, through the
merits and passion of His adorable Son, our merciful Redeemer, to
purify this His minister, and admit him to a participation of the
never-ending joys of the heavenly Jerusalem. May he rest in peace.

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