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My testimony of Purgatory
During prayer one night, I asked God if Purgatory was real...
My interest in Purgatory stemmed from a recent conversation I had with a woman who said her brother had come to see her in a vision after he had died. He told her that they wouldn’t let him in. I assumed he was talking about Heaven. I also assumed that he wasn’t in hell. He would certainly know if he was. So, where was he?
I have a mixed denomination background. That said, I have always been aware of what Purgatory is, but its existence had not been a part of my faith journey until now.
I really wanted to know the truth about Purgatory, so I began to research it, as well as pray and meditate on it. I document my dreams, visions and experiences in a journal, and I have included excerpts pertaining to Purgatory that I had noted, beginning with the oldest to show the transformation. I will add more as they come.
210112 - As I finally wound down and began to fall asleep, I was getting some strong hits from the spirits. One even said, in four days… I’m not sure what is going to happen but I am awfully curious now. I also requested knowledge on Purgatory from anyone in the spirit world willing to discuss it, since the word continued to appear to me.
210114 – In my prayers, this time I asked God if Purgatory was real. About 115, I woke up. There was a woman spirit present. She said, I am a gay woman. She said it in a question as if asking what she should do. I said, be honest when you speak to God, speak from your heart. I told her to call out to God to let Him know you are searching for Him. Then I provided thru Jesus the crossing. I said a few prayers for the woman, all the while thinking about Purgatory. It was quiet and I fell back asleep. At 330, I woke again, and twice I heard a wailing scream. I am not saying it was the same woman, but it crossed my mind. I hoped with all my heart that there was such a place as Purgatory that she went to, and that people could go to.
210206 - Got to bed at 430 this morning (after an investigation), and I was woken up at 715 by a voice. It was a woman. The voice was coming from between my wife and I, but down by our stomachs. It repeated nearly 12 times, help me; occasionally in other short phrases but meaning the same thing. I was wide awake by this time, and it was really surreal. I provided an opportunity to cross over and finished with a series of prayers. It was so unusual that I thought it might be something else. I asked my spirit guides and an angel to assist me in helping that person. After a while, the voice trimmed off and disappeared. It had been such an unusual occurrence that I wondered, had it been a soul from Purgatory asking for help? I prayed for this person even more, and asked God to have mercy on her.
210213 - Close to falling asleep, the vision of a man’s face whipped by my closed eyes. I only saw that he had a thick mustache. I asked: Who are you? Then I thought to ask, are you a spirit lost between Heaven and Hell? I added: If you are a spirit here on earth, touch my right arm. If you are a spirit that is stuck in a purgatory-like place, touch my left arm. I immediately felt two pains in a row in my left arm. So, I said, you must need prayer, so I will pray for you. I said a handful of prayers, and I didn’t make contact with the man the rest of the night.
210221 - I had a dream that I was at an outdoor pool. There was fencing around it and over the top of it. It was full of people, both in the pool and standing around it at elbow-height tables. I recognized a few people, and for some reason, identified with them as people who at the minimum at least believed there was a God. One group standing at tables near the deep end was different than those in the shallow end. They had a darker presence. I climbed the fence and moved about that group as if to observe them. Several looked at me with potential irritation, but one man said, that’s just Russ. He does stuff like that. I made it passed them, and then eased into the pool at the deep end, and slowly moved toward the shallow end. About half way, I saw former president, George Bush Jr. He stood by himself near the fence. He looked off in the distance as if contemplating his situation. Then I saw another person I knew, and I had the sudden realization that he didn’t belong inside the fence. I got out of the pool and called him over. There was a gate in the fence. I was able to get it open, and I let him out of the fenced in area. I turned around, and a woman in spirit form was floating over the top of the pool and headed toward me. I knew she was in charge of the place. She moved quickly. I stepped outside of the gate and closed it, and she sealed the gate behind me. The thought came to me that the people inside the fenced in area are all headed to Purgatory unless they make changes in their lives. I prayed for them.
210301 - Before bed, I prayed for those in Purgatory. Half way through the prayer, I had a vision of a woman coming toward me. She gave me a hug, and then disappeared. At the end of the prayers, I heard several thank you comments. I am even more positive there is a place like Purgatory, whether it is called that or not, I don’t know.
210304 - I woke this morning at 4 am to a scream. It was only audible to me. I began thinking about purgatory yet again. I asked God again if he could tell me: Is there a place like Purgatory or not. It was quiet for some time, and I fell asleep. But a while later, I woke to hear a voice say something to the affect: She told you there was. With those words, there was a 3D image of a box with what appeared to be blue sky behind it. It was a parable I’m sure but I didn’t know what it meant.
210308 – After several weeks of research, I have come up with 34 Christians at the minimum, many who are Saints, who have experienced Purgatory through visions of the location or of souls from there who asked for prayers. I wrote a statement on each one’s experience and added it to my new web page called Purgatory.
210310 – I have been praying fairly regularly now for souls in Purgatory. I feel comfortable saying that I have had enough personal experiences to prove at least to myself that a place like Purgatory exists, whether it’s called that or not really isn’t important, but for the sake of calling it something, I will continue to use that word. I don’t always get visions or experiences when praying for souls in Purgatory. Last night, I felt the energy of thankfulness, not necessarily hearing the words, and I expressed to them that they needn’t always articulate thanks because it was I who had empathy for them, and in truth, I more than likely will end up there myself some day, and I hope there will still be people praying for those of us in Purgatory.
34 Witnesses to Purgatory
There are many articles that debate whether Purgatory or a place by its definition is real or not. This is not one of them. This article contains testimonies from Saints and other Christians who have experienced Purgatory thru visions or have had visits from souls who claim to be in Purgatory (By order of birth date).
Purgatory, for the purpose of this article is: A place/process where the soul goes through purification, to make reparations for sins committed on earth, prior to joining Jesus in the eternal paradise.
Martyr and Saint Vibia Perpetua, Africa (182-203)
While awaiting her death sentence for refusing to renounce her Christian faith, the 21-year-old documented the details of her trials and imprisonment, as well as visions of her deceased younger brother, Dinocrates, who was in a place of suffering that appeared to her as an arid desert. After praying for him in the days before her death, he appeared to her once again, but this time the place had turned from gloomy to bright, and her brother was healed of the disease that ended his life. She saw him draw water from a pool, drink it, and then he “ran off to play joyously, after the manner of children...”
Saint Fursey, Ireland (575–650)
The Irish monk referred to his visions while ill: In one, he saw four fires identified as Falsehood, Covetousness, Discord and Injustice. It was a place similar to hell, and demons argued with angels over the ownership of the souls, but the angels defended the souls from the demons.
Monk Dryhthelm, Scottland (approx 650-750)
Around the year 700, he became sick and purportedly died, only to return to life the next morning. During the hours of his death, he had a vision that he was led by a figure dressed in white thru Purgatory. He later described it as a place where souls experienced extreme heat and cold. The figure in the white robe told him that the valley full of flames and glacial cold is the place where the souls of criminals who confessed and repented only at the point of death are examined and punished. But it is good they did confess and will have done penitence, “so that on Judgment Day they will reach the Kingdom of the Heavens,” and added, the prayers of the living, as well as fasting, almsgiving and celebrations of Mass may help liberate those souls even prior to the Day of Judgment.
Saint Odilo of Cluny, France (962-1049)
As the fifth Benedictine abbot of Cluny, he established All Souls Day on 2 November in Cluny and its monasteries as a time to pray for all the faithful departed (for the relief of the suffering souls in Purgatory); a practice which was soon adopted through the whole Western church. It was noted in one article that when Pope Benedict VIII died, who had been a close friend, he sent a message to Odilo via John, the bishop of Porto, to let Odilo know that he had remained in Purgatory and asked that Odilo would offer up prayers, Masses and alms on his behalf. Not long after Odilo had provided this that the Pope appeared in white garments and told Odilo that he had been freed from Purgatory.
Saint Malachy (Archbishop of Armagh), United Kingdom (1094-1148)
He learned that his sister was to suffer a long time in Purgatory for her sinful life. He was aware that his prayers for her eased her sufferings but didn’t significantly lessen her time.
Beguine and Saint referred, Mechtild of Magdeburg, Germany (approx 1207-1281)
Encouraged by others, she documented her divine visions, which were eventually put into a book, which God told the mystic to title, “Light of My divinity, flowing into all hearts that live without guile.” In it, she stated that hell, Purgatory and Heaven are situated one immediately above the other. The lowest portion of Purgatory is filled with demons that torment the souls so badly that the souls do not know whether they will be saved or not, but the highest portion of Purgatory is much like the lowest portion of Heaven. It was noted that she prayed often for those souls in Purgatory.
Saint Mechtilde of Hackeborn, Germany (1241-1298)
A Benedictine nun and mystic, she described her vision of Purgatory as a mountain devised of seven terraces, each serving to cleanse a particular sin and replace it with its inverse virtue, and once the terraces were completed, one would enter an earth-like paradise at the top. Some believe her vision was the source for Dante Alighieri’s Purgatorio, part 2 of The Divine Comedy, which describes Dante’s climb up a Mountain called Purgatory published in 1320.
Saint Gertrude the Great (of Helfta), Germany (1256-1302)
Saint Gertrude, who came under the care of Saint Mechtilde at the age of four, also was graced with heavenly visions beginning around the age of 25, to include a vision of Purgatory. After reciting a short prayer for a man she saw in Purgatory, she asked Jesus if it had any effect. Jesus replied by saying: ‘Certainly, the souls in Purgatory are lifted up by such supplications, but also brief prayers that are said with fervor (intense and passionate feeling) are of even greater benefit for them.”
Saint Bridget, Sweden, (1303-1373)
A mystic and founder of the Bridgettine Order, Saint Bridget’s visions of Purgatory offered several unique insights to Purgatory. She was told that when our prayers help to free a soul from the pains of purgatory, it is as if we freed Jesus Himself and that person who helped would be rewarded. She once heard Jesus tell His Holy Mother, “Thou art my Mother, the Mother of Mercy and the consolation of the souls in Purgatory,” which indicates that Our Lady assists us after death. She also heard souls in Purgatory praying in return for those Christians on earth who had prayed for them.
Saint Catherine of Siena, Italy (1347-1380)
Mystic, activist and author, Saint Catherine experienced the pains of Purgatory personally. While her father was dying, she learned in revelation that he would require purification in Purgatory. Catherine begged God to let her suffer the pains of expiation for him so he might enter Heaven right away. Her father experienced a peaceful death, while Catherine suffered violent pains for the rest of her life.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, Spain (1350-1419)
His sister appeared to him prior to entering Heaven and revealed to him that the many Masses he had held on her behalf had shortened her time in Purgatory.
Saint Lidwina, Netherlands (1380-1433)
Saint Ludwina converted a sinful man shortly before his death. She asked her guardian angel what would become of him, and she was given an incredible vision of Purgatory: Looking around, she saw an immense prison with tall walls and black stone. There were cries of fury and sounds of violence. She asked the angel guiding her if it was hell. No, answered the angel, but it was a part of purgatory that bordered with hell. There was another angel near a well cover, and when she asked who it was, she was told it was the guardian angel of the man she was interested in. They told her the sinful man was now in the well. She asked to see, and was allowed. Inside, she saw the soul in a torment of fire. It gave her such a shock that she awoke suddenly from the vision. Saint Lidwina committed herself to aid the man in Purgatory so he would make it to Heaven. Eventually, she received a vision that he had been released from the well and moved to a less painful portion of Purgatory, and later she saw the gates of Heaven open to him.
Saint Frances of Rome, Italy (1384-1440)
Though Saint Frances’s vision of Purgatory took place centuries ago, the conditions she witnessed are still a reality for the souls stationed there at this very moment, said one writer. In her works, she indicated that Purgatory had three layers, one under the other, and it was a place for souls who had repented before they died. The lowest being a sea of flames for those who had committed mortal sin, which they had confessed but not made sufficient reparation. Frances was told that although the pain was great, there was hope because the souls had knowledge that they wouldn’t be there forever and eventually they would go to Heaven, unlike those who went to hell and would remain there for the eternity. The middle layer, for souls needing less purification, was made of three chambers, the first was like a prison of ice, the second was like a vat of boiling oil and the third was a pool of molten metal. The upper level involved much less suffering, though they suffered greatly because they were still removed from God.
Denis (Ryckel) the Carthusian, Belgium (1402-1471)
Theologian and mystic, Denis reported to his friar that hundreds of souls in Purgatory had visited him. The experiences inspired him to write about it. He wanted people to know that it could very well be their family members, relatives and friends who still suffered in Purgatory long after many had forgotten them. In one article, it was stated: God revealed to him that he should not forget that in Purgatory, the justice of God requests satisfaction up to the last cent and that there were a great many souls in Purgatory who suffered excruciating pains for years; because their relatives had considered them by now to be in Heaven…
Saint Catherine of Genoa, Italy (1447 – 1510)
Given the gift of mystic at the time of her conversion, she came to know Purgatory. She focused on the joy of Purgatory vs. the suffering and pain of what she referred to as an inner fire because it was a place or condition that would lead to God and Heaven. Saint Catherine authored the Treatise on Purgatory, concerning what Purgatory was like and how the souls were affected.
Saint Teresa of Avila, Spain (1515-1582)
Also called Saint Teresa of Jesus, said of Purgatory and the Holy souls, “In regard to their own suffering or glory, they don’t care. If they don’t want to stay long in Purgatory, the reason comes from the fact of their not wanting to be away from God—as are those who are in Purgatory—rather than from the suffering undergone there.”
Saint (Alexandrina) Catherine of Ricci, Italy (1522 – 1590)
The Saint offered prayers, fasts and penances for a soul that revealed to her that he was in Purgatory. She offered to suffer the pains to be inflicted on that soul, and for 40 days she suffered unimaginable pains, and later found out through revelation the release of that soul from Purgatory.
Saint Louis Bertrand, Spain (1526-1581)
After eight years of prayer, the Saint offered Masses, sacrifices and prayers for his deceased father until he was finally granted a vision of his father’s entry into Heaven.
Saint Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, Italy (1566-1607)
During a walk in the garden one evening at the convent, she consented to her guardian angel’s request to visit Purgatory and at once her spirit was lifted from her and she was in the place for two hours. She witnessed a range of suffering in Purgatory: Souls who tried to please others on earth and hypocrites were being pricked by the points of sharp needles, souls of the impatient and disobedient were being crushed under enormous weights, souls of the liars were burning and freezing at the same time, souls which were ungrateful and hard hearted were immersed in a lake of molten lead. She later referred to her experience as a “visit to all the prisons of Divine Justice.”
Saint John Massias, Spain (1585-1645)
The souls of Purgatory often appeared to him, asking for him to “Give us prayers,” and to “…Help make us worthy to be with God and His blessed ones.” Known as the helper of the poor souls, it is stated that he prayed through three rosaries a night for the souls of Purgatory, as well as engaged in other prayers and activities on behalf of those souls.
Saint Stanislaus Papczynski, Poland (1631-1701)
Father Stanislaus had many visions of souls asking for prayer. He asked others to pray for the souls of Purgatory, for he said, they suffered unbearably. It was said that he locked himself inside his room and spent three days straight praying for them.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, France (1647-1690)
Saint Mary received several visits from souls in Purgatory. God had allowed one man to ask her if she would give relief to his pains. With permission by the Mother Superior, she agreed. The man said the causes of his suffering were due to the fact that he had preferred his own interests in order to maintain his reputation in spite of God’s glory, to his lack of charity to others, and to his excessive natural affection towards the creatures of the earth. For three months, the Saint had to suffer pains like having one side of her body wrapped by flames. At the end of three months, she saw the man again. He appeared joyful and ‘in the Glory,’ as he was on his way to enjoy the eternal happiness. He thanked her.
Saint Veronica Guiliani, Italy (1660-1727)
Saint Veronica had many visions, at least one a day for many years. It included visions of Purgatory, to include experiencing the same pains. The deprivation of God was the top of the pains, she said. To realize that even for a moment that you were without the Supreme Good was horrible. As to fire, ice, sharpened blades and other imaginable tortures, what were they with respect to such pain of the deprivation of God. Saint Veronica was able to request grace for those in Purgatory through the Most Holy Mary.
Saint Gemma Galgani, Italy (1878-1903)
She was passionate about helping souls in Purgatory through prayer and sacrifice so they would be admitted to Heaven. Upon hearing of the illness of a Passionist nun named Mother Maria Teresa of the Infant Jesus, she began to pray for the nun’s soul to go directly to Heaven. Not long after Maria Teresa’s death, Saint Gemma received a visit from the soul of Maria who told her that she was undergoing torment in Purgatory. The Saint prayed without rest for her friend. The soul visited her yet again to thank her for her prayers, and then one last time, accompanied by Jesus and her guardian angel, Maria Teresa drew close to Saint Gemma and said, “I am very happy, I go to enjoy my Jesus forever.”
Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, Italy (1887-1968)
A man appeared to him in the friary one night. He said his name was Pietro Di Mauro, and that he died from suffocation and burns in a fire on 18 September 1908 when the friary was still a poorhouse. He told Padre Pio that he was in purgatory, and that he was in need of a holy Mass in order to be freed. Pio later researched the name and found the spirit’s story to be true, and held a Mass for him.
Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, Poland (1905-1938)
Saint Faustina was asked to visit Purgatory by her guardian angel. While there, she asked the souls what their greatest torment was, and they answered: They longed for God. She also saw the Holy Mother Mary there. She was told the Holy Mother brings them relief. Before leaving, she heard a voice inside her say, My mercy does not want this, but justice does. Saint Faustina was also visited by souls asking for prayer, to include a fellow sister who had passed. She, too, was in Purgatory, and the Saint said many prayers for her until one night the sister came to her and her face was “radiant.” She told Saint Faustina that her prayers had helped many in Purgatory and to never stop praying for those souls. It was noted that those in Purgatory cannot pray for themselves, and she said, only we can come to their aid.
Maria Agate Simma, Austria (1915 - 2004)
Austrian visionary Maria Simma from Sonntag, Voralberg began receiving visits from souls in Purgatory in 1940. There are three main levels in Purgatory. She said the souls that visited her were those who needed relatively little to be freed to go to Heaven. But in the lowest level, Satan can still attack the souls and the suffering is more serious. She said that does not happen at the higher levels. She also said that Mother Mary comes often to console the souls in Purgatory, and that prayer helps to deliver the souls. “If the living do not pray for them, they are totally abandoned.” She said God allowed her to experience it so ‘…people may understand clearly that our time on earth is meant for gaining Heaven.’ She suffered the feeling of sharp knives, stomach pains and nausea, cold as if lying on ice; these were all mystical sufferings in reparation for the souls of Purgatory. Each soul has a unique suffering…There are many degrees of suffering, she said.
Sondra Abrahams, US (1939 - )
In a near death experience, Sondra was shown Purgatory by Jesus. There were levels, she said, with the lower ones being darker and they are lighter as you go up. There are fires cleansing the souls. She saw her great uncle who had committed suicide and was now in Purgatory. He recognized her and asked her to pray for him. They cannot pray for themselves, we have to pray for those souls, she said. She said that 99 percent of us will go to Purgatory at one level or another.
Julia Kim, Hong-Sun Youn, South Korea, (1947 - )
She went with the Blessed Mother on 24 July 1988, and was shown Purgatory, Heaven and Hell. She said Purgatory is where souls go through a particular judgment…those who died in the grace of God but still have unfinished reparations…where one does the unfinished penances of this world and becomes purified. She said, once purified, the souls are lifted into the Heavens by the Mother and Angels. Naju Mary has received messages from our Lord and our Lady and has offered sufferings up to the Lord to help the salvation of others. In 1985, she saw that her statue of Our Lady had been weeping. The statue has since received many visitors to see the phenomenon.
Father Jose Maniyangat, India (1949 - )
He was shown Purgatory and hell in a near death experience following a motorcycle accident. He said his guardian angel escorted him to Purgatory. There are seven degrees of suffering and unquenchable fire, he said. But it is far less intense than hell and there was neither quarreling nor fighting. The main suffering of these souls is their separation from God. Some of those who are in Purgatory committed numerous mortal sins; but they reconciled with God before their death. Even though these souls are suffering, they enjoy peace and the knowledge that one day they will see God face to face.
Marino Restrepo, Columbia (1951- )
Missionary and author Marino Restrepo was kidnapped and held hostage by Colombian rebels for six months at which time he went through an intense mystical experience with God while laying on the floor of a cave in the waste of bats and constant biting bugs. He now testifies to Purgatories existence because the Lord had put him through it. “I have seen and I have lived Purgatory.” He saw a large valley of loneliness. It was cold as ice. It was packed with millions of souls. There also was a valley of fire packed with souls. They had to be purified. He adds that Purgatory is state of sainthood. There is no sin there.
Father Jeffrey Courture, US (1981 - )
I could see all the souls; we were all waiting to go to Heaven. But what prevented him: The ‘weight of my sins preventing me.’ He had a burning desire to be in Heaven but he couldn’t go there. It was a sort of torment. Around him were millions of souls facing Heaven and waiting outside the gates to get in, but Jeffrey couldn’t get any closer because of his sins.
Father Stanislaus Chocosca, Poland (unknown)
While praying the rosary, the soul of a woman came to Venerable Stanislaus. She was cloaked in flames and begged for him to help reduce the fire that pained her. He asked the woman if the heat of the fire was as hot as a fire on earth, and she told him the fires of earth would be like a refreshing breeze. He said, if God permitted, he would like to experience it for the good of his own soul. The woman warned him against it, but later said that God would permit it in a lighter degree. He stretched forth his hand and the woman let a tiny droplet upon his hand. Stanislaus cried out in agony and fainted to the floor. His hand we mortally wounded, but he indicated that he was much enlightened by the event, telling his fellow priests, if we knew the severity of the divine chastisements, we should never commit sin, nor should we cease to do penance in this life in order to avoid expiation in the next. Stanislaus was bedridden after the incident, and died one year later.
Dominica Clara of the Holy Cross (unknown)
She often came in contact with the apparitions of souls of Purgatory. One such soul who had led a sinful life told Dominica Clara that she owed her salvation to the intercession of Mother Mary and by the Grace of God. Despite her wickedness in life, she had always prayed the Hail Mary seven times whenever she beheld an image of Mary. Even in Purgatory, this woman received frequent visits from the mother, and her torment ceased entirely during the time the Blessed Virgin was personally present. Dominica Clara wrote, many who are especially devoted to the Sorrowful Mother are scarcely detained in Purgatory at all, and are deprived only for a short time of the vision of God.
1 - Other Saints and Christians who had visions or were defined by their prayer and dedication to souls of Purgatory include: Blessed Osanne of Mantua, Blessed Osanna of Cattaro, Blessed Veronica of Binasco, St. Louis Bertrand, and I am sure there are many, many more, though there was not enough information available.
2 - At the Church of the Sacred Heart of Suffrage in Rome, there is a small museum of items containing 15 testimonies and artifacts collected around Europe by Father Victori Jouet, a French priest. These articles have marks of potential proof that the deceased had appeared and had asked for prayers to be said on their behalf, and imprints from them have been left via burnings and other physical marks on those articles.
Important Purgatory messages:
'...brief prayers that are said with fervor are of even greater benefit for them (souls in Purgatory)'
- Jesus (to St. Gertrude)
They cannot pray for themselves; we have to pray for them.
- Per Sondra Abrahams' visit to Purgatory