Learn what the Saints believed about Purgatory. The quotes of the saints can teach us the beliefs of the early Church.
Halloween is celebrated on Oct. 31. Halloween stands for “All Hallows Eve.” It falls on the night before All Saint’s Day which is followed by All Soul’s Day on Nov. 2. On All Saint’s Day the Church celebrates the lives of the Saints. On All Soul’s Day the Church prays for the dead, who are on their pilgrimage to heaven (Purgatory).
Although the word Purgatory (as well as the words Trinity and Incarnation) does not appear in the Bible there are several references to it in both the New and the Old Testament. The Saints have testified to their belief in purgatory also.
The three main reasons Catholics believe in Purgatory are the following:
- The Bible teaches us to “pray for the dead”.
(2 Maccabees 12:44-45). For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.
- The Bible tells us of a cleansing fire.
(Hebrews 12:29) Our God is a consuming fire. Zechariah 13” 8-9 In the whole land, says the Lord, two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive. And I will put this third into the fire, refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say,
“They are my people”, and they will say, “The Lord is our God.”
- St. Paul prayed for the dead. (2 Timothy 1: 17-18) St. Paul prays for Onesiphorus who has died.
- The Church Fathers and early Saints believed in Purgatory: The Church Fathers have a long tradition of praying for the dead. St. Augustine was asked by his mother Monica to pray for him at the altar. St. Gertrude the Great had a devotion to the Souls in Purgatory, as did St. Pio, St. Bridget and St. Bernadette.
The following quotes from the saints of the Catholic Church show that purgatory is a belief that has always existed in the church.
- St. Paul, First Century, Feast Day June 29
“May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesephores, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chain….. May the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord in that day!
Quote of St. Paul
2. St. Augustine of Hippo, Africa d. 430, Feast Day August 28
“Some suffer temporal punishments only in this life, others only after death, still others both in life and after death, but always before this most strict and most final court.”
3. St. Monica, Africa 331-337 Feast Day August 27
To St. Augustine before her death:
“All I ask is this, that wherever you may be,
you will remember me at the altar of the Lord.”
Quote of St. Monica
4. St. John Chrysostom; Antioch 344-407 Feast Day Sept. 13
“Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their fathers sacrifices why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.”
Quote of St. John Chrysostom
5. St. Gertrude the Great; Germany 1256-1302 Feast Day Nov. 16
“Eternal Father, I offer Thee the most precious Blood of Thy Divine Son , Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the wold today, for all the holy souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, those in the Universal Church, in my home and in my family. Amen“
Quote of St. Gertrude
6. St. Catherine of Genoa; Italy 1447-1510 Feast Day Sept. 15
“No one is barred from heaven. Whoever wants to enter heaven may do so because God is merciful. Our Lord will welcome us into glory with his arms wide open. The Almighty is pure however, and if a person is conscious of the least trace of imperfection and at the same time understands that Purgatory is ordained to do away with such impediments, the soul enters this place of perfection gladly to accept so great a mercy of God. The worst suffering of these suffering souls is to have sinned against Divine Goodness and not to have been purified in this life.”
Quote of St. Catherine of Genoa
7. St. Francis de Sales; France 1567-1622 Feast Day Jan. 24
“With Charity towards the dead we practice all the works of charity. The Church encourages us to aid the souls in purgatory, who in turn will reward us abundantly when they come into their glory.”
Quote of St. Francis de Sales
8. St. Margaret Mary; France 1647-1690 Feast Day October 16
“If only you knew with what great longing these holy souls yearn for relief from their suffering. Ingratitude has never entered Heaven.”
Quote of St. Margaret Mary
9. St. Gregory the Great; Italy 540-604 Feast Day Sept. 3
“Each one will be presented to the Judge exactly as he was when he departed this life. Yet there must be a cleansing fire before judgement because of some minor faults that may remain to be purged away.”
Pope St. Gregory the Great, Dialogues
10. St. Thomas Aquinas; Naples, Italy 1226-1274 Feast Day Jan. 28
“The more one longs for a thing, the more painful does deprivation of it become. And because after this life, the desire for God, the Supreme Good, is intense in the souls of the just (because this impetus toward him is not hampered by the weight of the body and that time of enjoyment of the “Perfect Good would have come) had there been no obstacle, the souls suffers enormously from this delay.”
Quote of St. Thomas Aquinas
11. St. Faustina; Poland 1905-1938
“O Jesus, I understand that your mercy is beyond all imagining, and therefore I ask you to make my heart so big that there will be room in it for the needs of all the souls living on the face of the earth. O Jesus, my love extends beyond the world, to the souls suffering in purgatory, and I want to exercise mercy toward them by means of indulgenced prayers. God’s mercy is unfathomable and inexhaustible, just as God himself is unfathomable. Even if I were to use the strongest words there are to express this mercy of God, all this would be nothing in comparison with what it is in reality. O Jesus, make my heart sensitive to all the sufferings of my neighbor, whether of body or of soul. O my Jesus, I know that You are toward us as we are toward our neighbor.”
Quote of St. Faustina
12. St. John Vianney; France 1786-1859 Feast Day August 4
“It is definite that only a few chosen ones do not go to Purgatory and the suffering there that one must endure exceed our imagination.”
Quote of St. John Vianney
13. St. Bernadette Lourdes, France Died 1879 Feast Day April 16
“In our prayers, let us not forget sinners and the poor souls in Purgatory especially our poor relatives.”
Quote of St. Bernadette
14. St. Pio of Pietreleina; Italy 1887-1968 Feast Day Sept. 23
“May the prayer of thy suppliant people, we beseech Thee, O Lord, benefit the souls of thy departed servants and handmaids: that thou may both deliver them from all their sins, and make them to be partakers of thy redemption. Amen
Eternal rest grant to them, O lord and let perpetual light shine upon them. Amen
May their souls and the souls of the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen“
Quote of St. Padre Pio
15. St. Bridget of Sweden 1303-1373 Feast Day July 23
St. Bridget to Our Blessed Lady:
“You are my Mother, the Mother of Mercy, and the consolation of the souls in Purgatory.”
Our Blessed Lady to St. Bridget
“I am the Mother of all the Poor Souls; for my prayers serve to mitigate their sufferings every single hour that they remain there. (Purgatory).”