Mrs. James Sadlier.

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therefore, a materialist; and St. Augustine praying for him, earnestly
besought God to enlighten that deluded mind.

One night while he slept, this doctor, who believed, as some do still,
that "when one is dead, all is dead" - we quote their own language - saw
in his dreams a young man, who said to him: "Follow me." He did so, and
was conducted to a city, wherein he heard, on the right, unknown
melodies, which filled him with admiration. What he heard on the left
he never remembered. But on awaking he concluded, from this vision,
that there was, somewhere, something else besides this world.

Another night he likewise beheld in sleep the same young man, who said
to him:

"Knowest thou me?"

"Very well," answered Genérade.

"And wherefore knowest thou me?"

"Because of the journey we made together when you showed me the city of

"Was it in a dream, or awake, that you saw and heard what struck you

"It was in a dream."

"Where is your body now?"

"In my bed."

"Knowest thou well that thou now seest nothing with the eyes of the

"I know it."

"With what eyes, then, dost thou see me?"

As the physician hesitated, and could not answer, the young man said to

"Even as thou seest and hearest me, now that thine eyes are closed and
thy senses benumbed, so, after thy death, thou shalt live, thou shalt
see, thou shalt hear - but with the organs of the soul. Doubt, then, no


WE are about to treat of facts concerning which our fathers never had
any hesitation, because they had faith. Nowadays, the truths which are
above the material sight have been so roughly handled that they are
much diminished for us. And if the goodness of God had not allowed some
rays of the mysteries which He reserves for Himself to escape, if some
gleams of magnetism and the world of spirits occupying the air around
us had not a little embarrassed those of our literati who make a merit
of not believing, we would hardly dare, in spite of the grave
authorities on which they rest, to represent here some apparitions of
souls departed from this world. We shall venture to do so,

One day, when St. Thomas Aquinas was praying in the Church of the
Friars, Preachers, at Naples, the pious friar Romanus, whom he had left
in Paris, where he replaced him in the chair of Theology, suddenly
appeared beside him. Thomas, seeing him, said:

"I am glad of thine arrival. But how long hast thou been here?"

Romanus answered: "I am now out of this world. Nevertheless, I am
permitted to come to thee, because of thy merit."

The Saint, alarmed at this reply, after a moment's recollection, said
to the apparition: "I adjure thee, by Our Lord Jesus Christ, tell me
simply if my works are pleasing to God!"

Romanus replied: "Persevere in the way in which thou art, and believe
that what thou doest is agreeable unto God."

Thomas then asked him in what state he found himself.

"I enjoy eternal life," answered Romanus. "Nevertheless, for having
carelessly executed one clause of a will which the Bishop of Paris gave
me in charge, I underwent for fifteen days the pains of Purgatory."

St. Thomas again said: "You remind me that we often discussed the
question whether the knowledge acquired in this life remain in the soul
after death. I pray you give me the solution thereof."

Romanus made answer: "Ask me not that. As for me, I am content with
seeing my God."

"Seest thou him face to face?" went on Thomas.

"Just as we have been taught," replied Romanus, "and as I see thee."

With these words he left St. Thomas greatly consoled.



"In Purgatory, dear," I said to-day, Unto my pet, "the fire burns and
burns, Until each ugly stain is burned away - And then an Angel turns A
great, bright key, and forth the glad soul springs Into the presence of
the King of kings."

"But in that other prison?" "Sweetest love! The same fierce fire burns
and burns, but thence None e'er escapes." The blue eyes, raised above,
Were fair with innocence. "Poor burning souls!" she whispered low, "ah
me! No Angel ever comes to turn _their_ key!"



"ULULU! ululu! wail for the dead,
Green grow the grass of
Fingal on his head;
And spring-flowers blossom, ere elsewhere appearing,
And shamrocks grow thick on the martyr for Erin.
Ululu! ululu! soft fall the dew
On the feet and the head of the martyred and true."

For a while they tread
In silence dread -
Then muttering and moaning go the crowd,
Surging and swaying like mountain cloud,
And again the wail comes wild and loud.

"Ululu! ululu! kind was his heart!
Walk slower, walk slower, too soon we shall part.
The faithful and pious, the
Priest of the Lord,
His pilgrimage over, he has his reward.

"By the bed of the sick, lowly kneeling,
To God with the raised cross appealing -
He seems still to kneel, and he seems still to pray,
And the sins of the dying seem passing away.

"In the prisoner's cell, and the cabin so dreary,
Our constant consoler, he never grew weary;
But he's gone to his rest,
And he's now with the blest,
Where tyrant and traitor no longer molest -
Ululu! ululu! wail for the dead!
Ululu! ululu! here is his bed."

Short was the ritual, simple the prayer,
Deep was the silence, and every head bare;
The Priest alone standing, they knelt all around,
Myriads on myriads, like rocks on the ground.
Kneeling and motionless. -
"Dust unto dust."

"He died as becometh the faithful and just -
Placing in God his reliance and trust;"

Kneeling and motionless -
"Ashes to ashes" -
Hollow the clay on the coffin-lid dashes;
Kneeling and motionless, wildly they pray,
But they pray in their souls, for no gesture have they -
Stern and standing - oh! look on them now!
Like trees to one tempest the multitude bow.



Help, Lord, the souls which Thou hast made,
The souls to Thee so dear,
In prison, for the debt unpaid
Of sins committed here.

Those holy souls, they suffer on,

Resign'd in heart and will,
Until Thy high behest is done,
And justice has its fill.
For daily falls, for pardon'd crime,
They joy to undergo
The shadow of Thy cross sublime,
The remnant of Thy woe.

Help, Lord, the souls which Thou hast made,
The souls to Thee so dear,
In prison, for the debt unpaid Of sins committed here.

Oh! by their patience of delay,
Their hope amid their pain,
Their sacred zeal to burn away
Disfigurement and stain;
Oh! by their fire of love, not less
In keenness than the flame,
Oh! by their very helplessness,
Oh! by Thy own great Name,

Good Jesu, help! sweet Jesu, aid
The souls to Thee most dear,
In prison, for the debt unpaid
Of sins committed here.


The Abbé de Saint Pierre, says Collin de Plancy, has given a long
account, in his works, of a singular occurrence which took place in
1697, and which we are inclined to relate here:

In 1695, a student named Bezuel, then about fifteen years old,
contracted a friendship with two other youths, students like himself,
and sons of an attorney of Caen, named D'Abaquène. The elder was, like
Bezuel, fifteen; his brother, eighteen months younger. The latter was
named Desfontaines. The paternal name was then given only to the
eldest; the names of those who came after were formed by means of some
vague properties....

As the young Desfontaines' character was more in unison with Bezuel's
than that of his elder brother, these two students became strongly
attached to each other.

One day during the following year, 1696, they were reading together a
certain history of two friends like themselves, who had promised each
other, with some solemnity, that he of the two who died first would
come back to give the survivor some account of his state. The historian
added that the dead one really did come back, and that he told his
friend many wonderful things. Young Desfontaines, struck by this
narrative, which he did not doubt, proposed to Bezuel that they should
make such a promise one to the other. Bezuel was at first afraid of
such an engagement. But several months after, in the first days of
June, 1697, as his friend was going to set out for Caen, he agreed to
his proposal.

Desfontaines then drew from his pocket two papers in which he had
written the double agreement. Each of these papers expressed the formal
promise on the part of him who should die first to come and make his
fate known to the surviving friend. He had signed with his blood the
one that Bezuel was to keep. Bezuel, hesitating no longer, pricked his
hand, and likewise signed with his blood the other document, which he
gave to Desfontaines.

The latter, delighted to have the promise, set out with his brother.
Bezuel received some days after a letter, in which his friend informed
him that he had reached his home in safety, and was very well. The
correspondence between them was to continue. But it stopped very soon,
and Bezuel was uneasy.

It happened that on the 31st of July, 1697, being about 2 o'clock in
the afternoon, in a meadow where his companions were amusing themselves
with various games, he felt himself suddenly stunned and taken with a
sort of faintness, which lasted for some minutes. Next day, at the same
hour, he felt the same symptoms, and again on the day after. But then -
it was Friday, the 2d of August - he saw advancing towards him his
friend Desfontaines, who made a sign for him to come to him. Being in a
sitting posture and under the influence of his swoon, he made another
sign to the apparition, moving on his seat to make place for him.

The comrades of Bezuel moving around saw this motion, and were

As Desfontaines did not advance, Bezuel arose to go to him. The
apparition then took him by the left arm, drew him aside some thirty
paces, and said:

"I promised you that, if I died before you, I would come to tell you. I
was drowned yesterday in the river at Caen, about this hour. I was out
walking; it was so warm that we took a notion to bathe. A weakness came
over me in the river, and I sank to the bottom. The Abbé de Menil-Jean,
my companion, plunged in to draw me out; I seized his foot; but whether
he thought it was a salmon that had caught hold of him, or that he felt
it actually necessary to go up to the surface of the water to breathe,
he shook me off so roughly that his foot gave me a great blow in the
chest, and threw me to the bottom of the river, which is there very

Desfontaines then told his friend many other things, which he would not
divulge, whether the dead boy had prayed him not to do so, or for other

Bezuel wanted to embrace the apparition, but he found only a shadow.
Nevertheless, the shadow had squeezed his arm so tightly, that it
pained him after.

He saw the spirit several times, yet always a little taller than when
they parted, and always in the half-clothing of a bather. He wore in
his fair hair a scroll on which Bezuel could only read the word
_In_. His voice had the same sound as when he was living, he
appeared neither gay nor sad, but perfectly tranquil. He charged his
friend with several commissions for his parents, and begged him to say
for him the Seven Penitential Psalms, which had been given him as a
penance by his confessor, three days before his death, and which he had
not yet recited.

The apparition always ended by a farewell expressed in words which
signified: "Till we meet again! (_Au revoir!_)" At last, it ceased
at the end of some weeks; and the surviving friend, who had constantly
prayed for the dead, concluded from this that his Purgatory was over.

This Monsieur Bezuel finished his studies, embraced the ecclesiastical
state, became _curé_ of Valogne, and lived long, esteemed by his
parishioners and the whole city, for his good sense, his virtuous life,
and his love of truth.


_A Legend of Lough Derg._ [1]

[Footnote 1: Lough Derg, in Donegal, was a place famous for pilgrimage
from a very early period, and was much resorted to out of France,
Italy, and the Peninsula, during the Middle Ages, and even in the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In Mathew Paris, and Froissart, as
well as in our native annals, and in O'Sullivan Beare, there are many
facts of its extraordinary history.]


There was a knight of Spain - Diego Riaz,
Noble by four descents, vain, rich and young,
Much woe he wrought, or the tradition lie is,
Which lived of old the Castilians among;
His horses bore the palm the kingdom over,
His plume was tall, costliest his sword,
The proudest maidens wished him as a lover,
The _caballeros_ all revered his word

But ere his day's meridian came, his spirit
Fell sick, grew palsied in his breast, and pined -
He fear'd Christ's kingdom he could ne'er inherit,
The causes wherefore too well he divined.
Where'er he turns, his sins are always near him,
Conscience still holds her mirror to his eyes,
Till those who long had envied came to fear him,
To mock his clouded brow and wintry sighs.

Alas! the sins of youth are as a chain
Of iron, swiftly let down to the deep,
How far we feel not - till when, we'd raise't again
We pause amid the weary work and weep.
Ah, it is sad a-down Life's stream to see.
So many agèd toilers so distress'd,
And near the source - a thousand forms of glee
Fitting the shackle to Youth's glowing breast.

He sought peace in the city where she dwells not,
He wooed her amid woodlands all in vain,
He searches through the valleys, but he tells not
The secret of his quest to priest or swain,
Until, despairing evermore of pleasure,
He leaves his land, and sails to far Peru;
There, stands uncharm'd in caverns of treasure,
And weeps on mountains heavenly high and blue.

Incessant in his ears rang this plain warning -
"Diego, as thy soul, thy sorrow lives";
He hears the untired voice, night, noon, and morning,
Yet understanding not, unresting grieves.
One eve, a purer vision seized him, then he
Vow'd to Lough Derg, an humble pilgrimage -
The virtues of that shrine were known to many,
And saving held even in that skeptic age.

With one sole follower, an Esquire trustful,
He pass'd the southern cape which sailors fear,
And eastward held: meanwhile his vain and lustful
Past works more loathsome to his soul appear.
Through the night-watches, at all hours o' day,
He still was wakeful as the pilot, and
For grace, his vow to keep, doth always pray,
And for his death to lie in the saints' land.

But ere his eyes beheld the Irish shore, Diego died.
Much gold he did ordain
To God and Santiago - furthermore,
His Esquire plighted, ere he went to Spain,
To journey to the Refuge of the Lake;
Before St. Patrick's solitary shrine,
A nine days' vigil for his rest to make,
Living on bitter bread and penitential wine. [1]

[Footnote 1: The brackish water of the lake, boiled, is called wine by
the pilgrims.]

The vassal vow'd; but, ah! how seldom pledges
Given to the dying, to the dead, are held!
The Esquire reach'd the shore, where sand and sedge is
O'er melancholy hills, by paths of eld;
Treeless and houseless was the prospect round,
Rock-strewn and boisterous the lake before;
A Charon-shape in a skiff a-ground -
The pilgrim turned, and left the sacred shore.

That night he lay a-bed hard by the Erne -
The island-spangled lake - but could not sleep -
When lo! beside him, pale, and sad, and stern,
Stood his dead master, risen from the deep.
"Arise," he said, "and come." From the hostelrie
And over the bleak hills he led the sleeper,
And when they reach'd Derg's shore, "Get in with me,"
He cried; "nor sink my soul in torments deeper."

The dead man row'd the boat, the living steer'd,
Each in his pallor sinister, until
The Isle of Pilgrimage they duly near'd -
"Now hie thee forth, and work thy master's will!"
So spoke the dead, and vanish'd o'er the lake,
The Squire pursued his course, and gain'd the shrine,
There, nine days' vigil duly he did make,
Living on bitter bread and penitential wine.

The tenth eve shone in solemn, starry beauty,
As he, rejoicing, o'er the old paths came,
Light was his heart from its accomplished duty,
All was forgotten, even the latest shame -
When these brief words some disembodied voice
Spoke near him: "Oh, keep sacred, evermore,
Word, pledge, and vow, so may you still rejoice,
And live among the Just when Time is o'er!"



FROM the far past there comes a thought of sweetness,
From the far past a thought of love and pain;
A voice, how dear! a look of melting kindness,
A voice, a look, we ne'er shall know again.

A fresh, young face, perchance of boyish gladness,
An aged face, perchance of patient love;
My heart-strings fail, I sob in utter anguish,
As past my eyes these lovely spectres move.

The chill morn breaks, the matin star still flaming;
The hushed cathedral's massive door stands wide;
Through the dim aisles I pass, in silent weeping,
From mortal eyes my sorrowing tears to hide.

Already morn has touched the painted windows;
The yellow dawn creeps down the storied panes;
Already, in the early solemn twilight,
The sanctuary's taper softly wanes.

My faltering step before the altar pauses;
My treasur'd dead I see remembered here;
All climes, all nations, lost on land or ocean,
They on whose grave none ever drop a tear.

The Church, their single mourner, drapes in sorrow
The festal shrines she loves with flowers to dress;
And "Kyrie! Kyrie!" sighs, while lowly bending
To Thee, O God! to shorten their distress.

"_Dies iræ, dies illa,_" sobs the choir;
"_In pace, pace,_" from the altar rises higher;
"_Lux æterna;_" daylight floods the altar,
Priest and choir take up the holy psalter.
"_Requiescant in pace!"
Amen, amen, in pace!_




Wrapped in lonely shadows late,
(Bleak November's midnight gloom),
As I kneel beside the grate
In the silent sitting-room:
Down the chimney moans the wind,
Like the voice of souls resigned,
Pleading from their prison thus,
"Pray for us! pray for us!
Gentle Christian, watcher kind,
Pray for us, oh! pray for us!"


Melt mine eyes with sudden tears -
Old familiar tones are there;
Dear ones lost in other years,
Breathing Purgatory's prayer.
Through my fingers pass the beads,
Tender heart, responsive bleeds,
As the wind, all tremulous,
"Pray for us! pray for us!"
Seems to murmur "Love our needs -
Pray for us! oh, pray for us!"


We read in the _Gesta Caroli Magni_ that Charlemagne had a man-at-
arms who served him faithfully till his death. Before breathing his
last he called a nephew of his, to make known to him his last will:

"Sixty years," said he, "have I been in the service of my prince; I
have never amassed the goods of this world, and my arms and my horse
are all I have. My arms I leave to thee, and I will that my horse be
sold immediately after my death; I charge thee with the care of this
matter, if thou wilt promise me to distribute the full price amongst
the poor."

The nephew promised to execute the will of his uncle, who died in
peace, for he was a good and loyal Christian. But when he was laid in
the earth the young man, considering that the horse was a very fine
one, and well-trained, was tempted to keep him for himself. He did not
sell him, and gave no money to the poor. Six months after, the soul of
the dead man appeared to him and said: "Thou hast not accomplished that
which I had ordered thee to do for the welfare of my soul, and for six
months I have suffered great pains in Purgatory. But behold God, the
strict Judge of all things, has decreed, and His angels will execute
the decree, that my soul be placed in eternal rest, and that thine
shall undergo all the pains and torments which I had still to undergo
for the expiation of my sins."

Thereupon the nephew, being instantly seized with a violent disease,
had barely time to confess to a priest, who had just been announced. He
died shortly after, and went to pay the debt he had undertaken to


It has been, and still is believed, that the mercy of God sometimes
permits souls that have sins to expiate, to come and expiate them on
earth. Of this the following is an example:

Polet, the principal suburb of Dieppe, is still inhabited almost
exclusively by fishermen, who, in past times, more especially, have
ever been solid and faithful Christians. The Catholic worship was
formerly celebrated with much solemnity in their church, consecrated
under the invocation of "Our Lady of the Beach" (Notre Dame des
Grèves); and the mothers of the worthy fishermen who give to Polet an
aspect so picturesque, have forgotten only the precise date of the
adventure we are about to relate.

The sacristan of Notre Dame des Grèves dwelt in a little cottage quite
close to the church. He was an exact and pious man; he had the keys of
the sacred edifice and the care of the bells. Several worthy priests
were attached to the lovely church; the earliest Masses were never rung
except by the honest sacristan. Now, one morning, during the Christmas
holydays, he heard, before day, the tinkle of one of his bells
announcing a Mass. He rose immediately and ran to the window. The snow-
covered roofs enabled him to see objects so distinctly that he thought
the day was beginning to dawn. He hastened to put on his clothes and go
to the church. The total solitude and silence reigning all around him
made him understand that he was mistaken and that day was not yet
breaking. He tried to go into the church, however, but the door was

How, then, could he have heard the bell? If robbers had got in, they
would certainly have taken good care not to touch the bell. He listens;
not the slightest noise in the holy place. Should he return home? Not
so, for having heard the bell, he must go in.

He opens a little door leading into the sacristy; he passes through
that, and advances towards the choir.

By the light of the small lamp burning before the tabernacle and that
of a taper already lighted, he perceives, at the foot of the altar, a
priest robed in a chasuble, and in the attitude of a celebrant about to
commence Mass. All is prepared for the Holy Sacrifice. He stops in
dismay. The priest, a stranger to him, is extremely pale; his hands are
as white as his alb; his eyes shine like the glow-worm, the light going
forth, as it were, from the very centre of the orbits.

"Serve my Mass," he said gently to the sacristan.

The latter obeyed, spell-bound with terror. But if the pallor of the
priest and the singular fire of his eyes frightened him, his voice, on
the contrary, was mild and melancholy.

The Mass goes on. At the elevation of the Sacred Host the limbs of the
priest tremble and give forth a sound like that of dry reeds shaken by
the wind. At the _Domine, non sum dignus_, his breast, which he
strikes three times, sounds like the coffin when the first shovel-full
of earth is cast upon it by the grave-digger. The Precious Blood
produces in his whole body the effect of water which, in the silence of
the night, falls drop by drop from the roof.

When he turns to say _Ita Missa est_, the priest is only a
skeleton, and that skeleton speaks these words to the server:

"Brother, I thank thee! In my life-time, I was a priest; I owed this
Mass at my death. Thou hast helped me to discharge my debt; my soul is
freed from a heavy burden."

The spectre then disappeared. The sacristan saw the vestments fall
gently at the foot of the altar, and the burning taper suddenly went
out. At that moment, a cock crowed somewhere in the neighborhood. The
sacristan took up the vestments, and passed the rest of the night in



"O fear not the priest who sleepeth to the east!
For to Dryburgh the way he has ta'en;
And there to say Mass, till three days do pass,
For the soul of a Knight that is slayne."

He turned him round, and grimly he frowned;
Then he laughed right scornfully -

Online LibraryMrs. James SadlierPurgatory → online text (page 30 of 35)