Prayers for the

Holy Souls


Our Lady of the Bowed Head (Our Lady of Grace) c. 1610

The Miraculous Image of Our Lady of the Bowed Head (Our Lady of Grace) c. 1610

Our Lady told Venerable Dominic of Jesus and Mary (1559-1630): "All those who implore my protection, devoutly honouring this picture, will obtain their petition, and will receive many graces. Moreover, I shall harken in a special manner to the prayers that shall be addressed to me for the relief of the souls in Purgatory."

The history of this miraculous image and Our Lady's appearance to Venerable Dominic of Jesus and Mary is below on this webpage.

 

Prayers for Every Day of the Week in Aid of the Poor Souls in Purgatory 

Sunday

O Lord God almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Blood which Thy Divine Son Jesus shed in the garden, deliver the souls in purgatory, and especially that soul amongst them all which is most destitute of spiritual aid; and vouchsafe to bring it to Thy glory, there to praise and bless Thee forever. Amen.

Pray the Our Father, Hail Mary and De Profundis (below).


Monday

O Lord God almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Blood which Thy divine Son Jesus shed in His cruel scourging, deliver the souls in purgatory, and especially that soul amongst them all which is nearest to its entrance into Thy glory: that so it may forthwith begin to praise and bless Thee forever. Amen.

Pray the Our Father, Hail Mary and De Profundis.


Tuesday

O Lord God almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Blood which Thy divine Son Jesus shed in His bitter crowning with thorns, deliver the souls in purgatory, and in particular that one amongst them all which would be the last to depart out of those pains, that it may not tarry so long a time before it comes to praise Thee in Thy glory and bless Thee forever. Amen.

Pray the Our Father, Hail Mary and De Profundis.


Wednesday

O Lord God almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Blood which Thy divine Son Jesus shed in the streets of Jerusalem, when He carried the Cross upon His sacred shoulders, deliver the souls in purgatory, and especially that soul which is richest in merits before Thee: that so in that throne of glory which awaits it, it may magnify Thee and bless Thee forever. Amen.

Pray the Our Father, Hail Mary and De Profundis.


Thursday

O Lord God almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Body and Blood of Thy divine Son Jesus, which He gave with His own hands upon the eve of His Passion to His beloved apostles to be their meat and drink, and which He left to His whole Church to be a perpetual sacrifice and the life-giving food of His own faithful people, deliver the souls in purgatory, and especially that one which was most devoted to this mystery of infinite love that it may with Thy divine Son, and with Thy Holy Spirit, ever praise Thee for Thy love therein in eternal glory. Amen.

Pray the Our Father, Hail Mary and De Profundis.


Friday

O Lord God almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Blood which Thy divine Son shed on this day upon the wood of the Cross, especially from His most sacred hands and feet, deliver the souls in purgatory, and in particular that soul for which I am most bound to pray: that no neglect of mine may hinder it from praising Thee in Thy glory and blessing Thee forever. Amen.

Pray the Our Father, Hail Mary and De Profundis.


Saturday

O Lord God almighty, I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood which gushed forth from the side of Thy divine Son Jesus in the sight of, and to the extreme pain of His most holy Mother, deliver the souls in purgatory, and especially that one amongst them all which was ever the most devout to this great Lady: that it may soon attain unto Thy glory, there to praise Thee in her and her in Thee, world without end. Amen.

Pray the Our Father, Hail Mary and De Profundis.

 

Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.



De Profundis (Psalm 129)

Out of the depths I have cried unto Thee, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice.
Let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.
If Thou, O Lord, shalt mark our iniquities: O Lord, who can abide it?
For with Thee there is mercy: and by reason of Thy law I have waited on Thee, O Lord.
My soul hath waited on His word: my soul hath hoped in the Lord.
From the morning watch even unto night: let Israel hope in the Lord.
For with the Lord there is mercy: and with Him is plenteous redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

 

(Eternal rest or “Requiem aeternam”)
Eternal rest give to them, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace.
Amen.

 

V/. Lord, hear my prayer.
R/. And let my cry come unto Thee.

 

Let us pray.
O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful; grant to the souls of Thy servants departed the remission of all their sins, that by our devout supplications they may obtain that pardon which they have always desired. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

 

V/. Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord.
R/. And let perpetual light shine upon them.
V/. May they rest in peace.
R/. Amen.


The Resurrection, Piero della Francesca, c. 1463-1465

The Resurrection, Piero della Francesca, c. 1463-1465


 Other Prayers for the Holy Souls


 Requiem Aeternam 

 V. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
 R. And let the perpetual light shine upon them.

 And may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. 

 V. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine.
 R. Et lux perpetua luceat eis.

 Fidelium animae, per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace. Amen.

 

 Deliver Them from Purgatory 

 My Jesus,                                                                                                                                                                                       by the sorrows Thou didst suffer in Thine agony in the Garden,                                                                                     in Thy scourging and crowning with thorns,                                                                                                                     on the way to Calvary,                                                                                                                                                                 in Thy crucifixion and death,                                                                                                                                               have mercy on the souls in purgatory,                                                                                                                             and especially on those that are most forsaken;                                                                                                               do Thou deliver them from the terrible torments they endure;                                                                                   call them and admit them to Thy most sweet embrace in paradise.                                                                           Amen.


 Prayer of Saint Gertrude the Great (1256-1302) for Holy Souls 

 Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses   said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in   the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.


Offero, Pater Aeterne, Sanguinem Pretiosissimum Filii Divini Tui Tibi, Iesu, in unitate cum Missis quibus dicuntur in toto mundo hodie, pro animabus sanctis omnibus in Purgatorio, pro peccatoribus quibus undique sunt, pro peccatoribus in Ecclesia universa, pro illis in domo ipsa mea et intra familiam meam. Amen.


 O Lord, Who Art Ever Merciful 

 O Lord, who art ever merciful and bounteous with Thy gifts, look down upon the suffering souls in   purgatory. Remember not their offenses and negligences, but be mindful of Thy loving mercy, which is   from all eternity. Cleanse them of their sins and fulfil their ardent desires that they may be made worthy   to behold Thee face to face in Thy glory. May they soon be united with Thee and hear those blessed words   which will call them to their heavenly home: "Come, blessed of My Father, take possession of the   kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."


 Variation of The Jesus Prayer

 Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on the souls in Purgatory.


 For a Man Deceased

 Incline Thine ear, O Lord, unto our prayers, wherein we humbly pray Thee to show mercy upon the soul of   Thy servant [name], whom Thou hast commanded to pass out of this world, that Thou wouldst place him   in the region of peace and light, and bid him be a partaker with Thy Saints, Through Christ Our Lord.   Amen.

 Inclina, Domine, aurem tuam ad preces nostras, quibus misericordiam tuam supplices deprecamur, ut animam   famuli tui [name], quam de hoc saeculo migrare iussisti, in pacis ac lucis regione constituas et Sanctorum tuorum   iubeas esse consortem. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.


 For a Woman Deceased 

 We beseech Thee, O Lord, according to Thy loving-kindness, have mercy upon the soul of Thy   handmaiden [name], and, now that she is set free from the defilements of this mortal flesh, restore her to   her heritage of everlasting salvation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

 Quaesumus Domine, pro tua pietate miserere animae famulae tuae [name], et a contagiis mortalitatis exutam, in   aeternae salvationis partem restitue. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.



Sacred Heart of Jesus and Souls in Purgatory, Giuseppe Catani, Altarpiece Painting in Sacro Cuore del Suffragio (Sacred Heart of the Suffrage), Rome, c. 1917

Sacred Heart of Jesus and Souls in Purgatory, Giuseppe Catani, Altarpiece Painting in Sacro Cuore del Suffragio (Sacred Heart of the Suffrage), Rome, c. 1917


Prayer to Guardian Angels for the Souls in Purgatory 

O Holy Guardian Angels of the poor souls, you who accompanied them so faithfully during life, who so lovingly guarded them from error, misfortune, and sin, help them now when, having escaped from the dangers of the world, they are so near to heaven. Obtain for them from the Most Holy Trinity a full remission of their indebtedness and lead them without delay to the joys of heaven.


Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary for the Souls in Purgatory

Most holy Mary, our Lady of Intercession, whose maternal tenderness gathers in one embrace all the souls redeemed by the Precious Blood of thy Son Jesus, we come before thy royal throne with sadness in our hearts as we remember those who have gone before us, but also with unlimited confidence in thine intercession. 

Death, which burst asunder the bonds of earth, has not destroyed the affection which binds us to those who lived in the same faith as we do. O Mary, countless souls await with unutterable anxiety the assistance of our prayers, and the merits of our good works in that place of expiation. Urged by the charity of Jesus Christ, we raise our countenance and heart in supplication to thee, the compassionate Mother of all believers, in favour of those suffering souls. 

Make our prayers of good effect, O Mary; obtain for them the power to move the Heart of Jesus our Redeemer through thy motherly intercession. Let thine incomparable holiness supply the defects of our misery, thy love make good our languid affection, thy power strengthen our weakness. Grant, O Queen of heaven, that the ardent desire of the souls of the departed to be admitted to the Beatific Vision may soon be satisfied. 

We pray to thee, O Mother, especially for the souls of our relations, of priests, of those who were zealous in honouring thee, of those who did good to the souls of others, of those who wept with them and for them and finally, for those souls of those who are forgotten. Grant that one day, when we are all reunited in heaven, we may be able to rejoice in the possession of God, in the happiness of thy dear presence, in the fellowship of all the Saints, thanking thee forever for all the blessings thou hast obtained for us, O Mother, who art our unfailing comfort. Amen.  

Hail Mary (3 Times):

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. 

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.



Christ Risen from the Tomb, Bergognone, c. 1490

Christ Risen from the Tomb, Bergognone, c. 1490



Chi Rho with a Wreath Symbolising the Victory of the Resurrection, Panel from a Roman Sarcophagus, c. 350

Chi Rho with a Wreath Symbolising the Victory of the Resurrection, Panel from a Roman Sarcophagus, c. 350

Saint Mechtilde of Hackeborn (1241-1298), Lord's Prayer for the Souls in Purgatory

Two Versions


Our Father, who art in Heaven, I beseech You, O Heavenly Father, pardon the Souls in Purgatory, for they did not love You sufficiently, nor render to You all the honour which is Your due, due to You their Lord and Father, Who, by pure grace, have adopted them as Your children. By their sins, rather, have they driven You from their souls, where You none the less wished always to live. In reparation for these faults, I offer You the love and veneration which Your Incarnate Son showed You all during His earthly life, and I offer all the acts of penance and satisfaction which He performed and by which He effaced and atoned for the sins of men.  

Hallowed be Thy Name, I beg You, O Father Most Good, pardon the Souls in Purgatory, for they did not honour, always and fittingly, Your Holy Name, but often they took It in vain and proved unworthy of the name "Christian", by their lives of sin. In reparation for their faults, I offer to You all the honour which Your Well-Beloved Son rendered to Your Name by His words and deeds.

Thy Kingdom come,  I pray You, Father Most Good, pardon the Souls in Purgatory, for they did not always seek or adore Your Kingdom with enough fervour and diligence; this Kingdom, the only place where true rest and peace reign. In reparation for their omissions, through indifference to do what is good, I offer You the Most Holy Desire of Your Son, by which He wished that they also might become heirs of His Kingdom.

Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven,  I pray You, Father Most Good, pardon the Souls in Purgatory, for they did not always submit their will to Your Will. In reparation for their disobedience, I offer You the perfect conformity of the Heart, full of love, of Your Divine Son with Your Holy Will and the most profound submission which He showed in obeying You unto death on the Cross. 

Give us this day our daily bread, I pray You, Father Most Good, pardon the Souls in Purgatory, for they did not always receive the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist with enough desire, but often without contemplation, or love, or even unworthily, or they neglected to receive It. In reparation for these faults, I offer You the outstanding Holiness and the great contemplation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Divine Son, addressed to You in favour of His enemies when He was on the Cross.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us, I pray You, Father Most Good, pardon the Souls in Purgatory, all the faults of which they have been guilty through succumbing to the Seven deadly Sins and also in not having wished either to love or pardon their enemies. In reparation for these faults, I offer You the outstanding Holiness and the great contemplation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Divine Son, addressed to You in favour of His enemies when he was on the Cross 

And lead us not into temptation,  I pray You, Father Most Good, pardon the Souls in Purgatory, because too often they did not resist the pitfalls of the devil and the flesh, but they followed the Enemy of all goodness. In reparation for all these sins, in thought, word, and deed, I offer You the glorious victory which Our Lord won against the world, as well as His Most Holy Life, His Work and Sorrows, His Suffering and His Most Cruel Death. 

But deliver us from evil, and from all punishments through the Infinite Merits of Your Well-Beloved Son and lead us, as well as the Souls in Purgatory, into Your Kingdom of eternal glory. 

Amen.


This version from salvatormundie.ie, a Catholic charity in Ireland which makes available prayer cards for free download.








Our Father, who art in Heaven, I beg of Thee, loving Father, to pardon the souls in purgatory for not having worshiped Thee as they ought, but for having shut their hearts to Thee who did desire to dwell there. To atone for their faults, I offer Thee the love and honour Thy cherished Son rendered Thee while on Earth and the abundant satisfaction by which He paid the debt of all their sins. Amen.

Hallowed be Thy Name, I beg of Thee, O Loving Father, deign to pardon the souls in purgatory for not having worthily honoured Thy Holy Name, for having seldom invoked it with devotion, for having often used it in vain and for having by their disgraceful lives rendered themselves unworthy of the name of Christian. In satisfaction for their sins, I offer Thee the perfect holiness of Thy Son by which He exalted Thy Name when preaching and in all His Holy works. Amen. 

Thy Kingdom come, I beg of Thee, O Loving Father, to pardon the souls in purgatory for not having fervently desired nor carefully sought after Thy kingdom, in which alone true rest and eternal glory consist. To expiate all indifference which they have shown for every sort of good, I offer Thee the holy desires by which Thy Son wished us to be the co-heirs of His kingdom. Amen. 

Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven, I beg of You, Gracious Father, to forgive the souls in purgatory, O loving Father, deign to pardon the souls in purgatory, and especially the souls of religious who during life preferred their will to Thine, for not having in all things loved Thy will, and for often living and acting according to their own. To make reparation for their disobedience, I offer Thee the union of the Humble Heart of Thy Son with Thy Holy Will as also the ready obedience with which He obeyed Thee even unto the death of the Cross. Amen. 

Give us this day our daily bread, I beg of Thee, O loving Father, to pardon the souls in purgatory for not having received the most holy Sacrament of the Altar with the desire, the devotion, and love which It merits for having rendered themselves unworthy of It, or seldom or never having received It. To expiate these sins, I offer Thee the perfect holiness and the devotion and love of Thy Son, as also the ardent love and ineffable desire which made Him give us the precious treasure. Amen.

And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, I beg of Thee, O loving Father, to forgive the souls in purgatory the mortal sins into which they fell, especially in not forgiving those who offended Thee, and for not loving their enemies. For these sins, I offer Thee the loving prayer Thy Son made upon the Cross for His enemies. Amen.

And lead us not into temptation, I beg of Thee, O loving father to forgive the souls in purgatory for not having overcome their vices and concupiscences, for having consented to the temptations of the devil and the flesh, and for having wilfully given way to bad actions. To expiate these sins, I offer Thee the glorious victory by which Thy Son overcame the world and the devil, as also His most holy life with its works and fatigues, and His bitter Passion and Death. Amen. 

But deliver us from evil, and them, from every evil and every woe through the merits of Thy beloved Son, and bring us to the kingdom of Thy glory, which is none other than Thy most glorious Self. Amen. 


This version from Notre-Dame de Montligeon, the Shrine of Our Lady of Montligeon (also known as Our Lady of Deliverance of the Poor Souls) in France. 


History of the Miraculous Image of Our Lady of the Bowed Head (our Lady of Grace)

From the book 'Miraculous Images of Our Lady' by Joan Carroll Cruz, TAN Books, 2012 


One evening in the year 1610, Venerable Dominic of Jesus and Mary was inspecting an old, dilapidated house that had been purchased with the intention of converting it into a monastery for the Discalced Carmelite friars. While walking around the outside of the building he passed a heap of rubbish but paid no attention to it. But when he was examining the rooms of the building, he had an interior impulse that attracted him to the heap of rubbish and made him return to it. He lit his lantern and carefully examined the trash until something in the shadows attracted his attention. What he saw was an oil painting depicting Our Lady.

Being a devout child of Mary, Dominic was grieved to see a picture of her in such poor condition. After begging Our Lady’s pardon for the ill treatment her portrait had endured, he carried it off, cleaned it, repainted the damaged parts and placed it in his cell. There he venerated it with great confidence.

One evening, after having swept his cell, Dominic noticed that dust had settled upon his treasured picture. Regretting what had happened, he begged Our Lady’s pardon, and taking his woollen handkerchief he dusted the picture, saying with childlike simplicity: “O purest and holiest of Virgins, nothing in the whole world is worthy of touching your holy face, but since I have nothing but this coarse handkerchief, deign to accept my good will.”

While he continued dusting the picture with great care and humility, the face of Our Lady suddenly became animated. She smiled at Dominic and nodded her head in token of her gratitude. Because Dominic was deeply confused and feared that he might be experiencing a diabolical illusion, the Queen of Heaven dispelled his concern with the words: “Fear not, my son, for your request is granted.” (Dominic had earlier requested a favour of her.) “It will be accomplished, and will be part of the recompense that you are to receive for the love that you bear my Divine Son and myself.” Our Lady then told Dominic to express to her with all confidence any favour he might desire. Dominic fell on his knees and offered himself entirely to the service of Jesus and Mary, and knowing by revelation that the soul of a benefactor was suffering in Purgatory, he asked for its deliverance. The most Holy Virgin promised the soul’s release if sacrifices and several Masses were offered for the soul. The apparition then ended.

Dominic hastened to do as Our Lady had requested, and a short time later, as he was kneeling before his miraculous picture, Our Lady appeared to him with the soul of the benefactor, which had been delivered from Purgatory. The benefactor thanked Dominic for his prayers and sacrifices. Then the Mother of God encouraged Dominic to ask for yet more favours. The holy religious asked Our Lady if she would listen mercifully to the prayers of all those who honoured the picture and invoked her aid. Our Lady offered this assurance: “All those who implore my protection, devoutly honouring this picture, will obtain their petitions, and will receive many graces. Moreover, I shall hearken in a special manner to the prayers that shall be addressed to me for the relief of the souls in Purgatory.” Since the promise was intended for all Our Lady’s devotees, Dominic felt that he could no longer retain the picture for his own personal use. For this reason he had the portrait placed in the Oratory of St. Charles, connected to the Church of Santa Maria della Scala. It remained there until his death, becoming the object of fervent veneration, which was rewarded with many singular favours. Reproductions were made of the portrait, and soon it was venerated in several places.

A close friend of Dominic and a member of the Carmelite Order was Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria. As a personal favour, he asked the Reverend Father Nicholas of the Immaculate Conception, who was the vicar-general of the order, if he might borrow the portrait. His request was granted.

The picture was brought to Munich by a pious lay brother, Brother Anastasius of St. Francis, who had been Dominic’s traveling companion for more than 15 years. Brother Anastasius of St. Francis wrote and signed under solemn oath a document attesting to all that he had heard from Dominic concerning the picture and the miraculous events relating to it. The document is dated August 7, 1631.

Maximilian kept the portrait for a time and then gave it to the Carmelite fathers of Munich. Shortly thereafter, the superiors of the province loaned it as a token of gratitude to Emperor Ferdinand II, a great benefactor of the order, having founded the convents of Vienna and Prague. By virtue of this loan the miraculous portrait arrived at the Imperial Court of Vienna in 1631. It was received with great joy by the emperor and his wife, Eleanor, who placed it in the private chapel of the palace. There they richly decorated it. Ferdinand had perfect confidence in the portrait, and in all his difficulties, he never ceased to invoke Our Lady’s intercession. It is said that he even took the picture with him on all his travels.

Upon the death of Ferdinand, Eleanor retired to the convent of the Discalced Carmelite nuns, which she had founded in Vienna. She had the holy picture transferred to the same convent and placed over the high altar. Upon her death on June 27, 1655, the picture was returned to the Carmelite friars.

Having been restored to the veneration of the public, Our Lady did not cease to draw multitudes and to bestow on them singular favours and graces in accordance with her promise to those who honour her image. The miraculous portrait was transferred on December 14, 1901, to the new church and monastery that the Discalced Carmelites had built on Silbergasse, Silver Street. The first altar erected in this church, by the generosity of benefactors, was dedicated to Our Lady of the Bowed Head, and here the treasure of the Viennese Carmel is kept and venerated.

The Reverend Dominic of Jesus and Mary, who was favoured with the animation of the portrait and the promise of Our Lady, became the fifth General of the Discalced Carmelite Order. He died in Vienna on February 16, 1630. His cause for beatification was introduced 46 years later, on January 29, 1676. Following a study and examination of his heroic virtues, Dominic of Jesus and Mary was declared Venerable in 1907 by Pope St. Pius X.


Our Lady of the Bowed Head (Our Lady of Grace) c. 1610, Solemnly Crowned by Pope Pius XI on 27 September 1931

Our Lady of the Bowed Head (Our Lady of Grace) c. 1610, Solemnly Crowned by Pope Pius XI on 27 September 1931




Please consider enrolling as a member of the Friends of the Suffering Souls (FOSS). FOSS is a Catholic lay association conducting a perpetual novena of Masses for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. 

Each FOSS member commits to arrange at least one Mass each year for the Holy Souls, with a special commemoration for the deceased members of the FOSS Association.

FOSS members may also enrol family and friends – living or deceased – as third-party members and commit to arrange an additional annual Mass on behalf of each third-party member, so that they can share in the graces of the novena.

This perpetual novena of Masses offers (1) relief to the suffering souls (2) an assurance to FOSS members that they will prayed for in death and (3) an ongoing sacrifice to the eternal Father. Members can arrange the annual Mass through their own Priest or can arrange the Mass online through Aid to the Church in Need, helping the poorest priests around the world. Each member is allocated one day of the year on which the Mass is arranged for the souls in Purgatory. Each year, shortly before the due date for the Mass, a reminder is sent to the member. The Mass does not need to be offered on the precise day allocated but around that time. 

Link to Friends of the Suffering Souls (FOSS) https://fossnovena.org/.


References in Scripture to Purgatory and Praying for Holy Souls


Psalm 65:12 (Douay-Rheims Bible): Thou hast set men over our heads. We have passed through fire and water, and thou hast brought us out into a refreshment.

imposuisti homines super capita nostra. Transivimus per ignem et aquam, et eduxisti nos in refrigerium.

This verse was considered a proof of purgatory by Origen (c. 185-c. 253) and St. Ambrose (c. 339-397), who posits the water of baptism and the fire of purgatory.


Isaias (Isaiah) 4:4: If the Lord shall wash away the filth of the daughters of Sion, and shall wash away the blood of Jerusalem out of the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. (cf. 1:25-26; 6:5-7; Ecclesiastes 12:14).

Si abluerit Dominus sordes filiarum Sion, et sanguinem Jerusalem laverit de medio ejus, in spiritu judicii, et spiritu ardoris.

St. Augustine (354-430), in the 20th Book of his City of God, chapter 25, interprets this as purgatory. The preceding verse refers to the saved (“called holy” and “recorded for life”) and verses 5 and 6 describe the repose of the blessed.

4:3: And it shall come to pass, that every one that shall be left in Sion, and that shall remain in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, every one that is written in life in Jerusalem.

Et erit : omnis qui relictus fuerit in Sion, et residuus in Jerusalem, Sanctus vocabitur, omnis qui scriptus est in vita in Jerusalem.

4:4: If the Lord shall wash away the filth of the daughters of Sion, and shall wash away the blood of Jerusalem out of the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.

Si abluerit Dominus sordes filiarum Sion, et sanguinem Jerusalem laverit de medio ejus, in spiritu judicii, et spiritu ardoris.

4:5: And the Lord will create upon every place of mount Sion, and where he is called upon, a cloud by day, and a smoke and the brightness of a flaming fire in the night: for over all the glory shall be a protection.

Et creabit Dominus super omnem locum montis Sion, et ubi invocatus est, nubem per diem et fumum, et splendorem ignis flammantis in nocte: super omnem enim gloriam protectio.

4:6: And there shall be a tabernacle for a shade in the daytime from the heat, and for a security and covert from the whirlwind, and from rain.

Et tabernaculum erit in umbraculum, diei ab aestu, et in securitatem et absconsionem a turbine et a pluvia.


Micheas (Micah) 7:9: I will bear the wrath of the Lord, because I have sinned against him; until he judge my cause and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth into the light, I shall behold his justice. (cf. Leviticus 26:41, 43; Job 40:4-5; Lamentations 3:39).

Iram Domini portabo, quoniam peccavi ei, donec causam meam judicet, et faciat judicium meum. Educet me in lucem : videbo justitiam ejus.

St. Jerome (c. 347-420) considered this verse a clear proof of purgatory.


Malachias (Malachi) 3:3: And he shall sit refining and cleansing the silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and shall refine them as gold, and as silver, and they shall offer sacrifices to the Lord in justice.

et sedebit conflans, et emundans argentum : et purgabit filios Levi, et colabit eos quasi aurum et quasi argentum, et erunt Domino offerentes sacrificia in justitia.

Origen, St. Irenaeus (c. 130-c. 202), St. Ambrose, St. Augustine and St. Jerome all thought this was a description of purgatory.


2 Maccabees 12:44-46: (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead,) And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins. (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:29)

(nisi enim eos, qui ceciderant, resurrecturos speraret, superfluum videretur, et vanum, orare pro mortuis), et quia considerabat quod hi qui cum pietate dormitionem acceperant, optimam haberent repositam gratiam. Sancta ergo et salubris est cogitatio pro defunctis exorare, ut a peccatis solvantur.

The Jews offered atonement and prayer for their deceased brethren, who had clearly violated Mosaic Law. Such a practice presupposes purgatory, since those in heaven wouldn’t need any help, and those in hell are beyond it.


Matthew 5:22: But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council. And whosoever shall say, Thou Fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Ego autem dico vobis : quia omnis qui irascitur fratri suo, reus erit judicio. Qui autem dixerit fratri suo, raca : reus erit concilio. Qui autem dixerit, fatue : reus erit gehennae ignis.

St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) commented, “It is only the third sort of offense which is punished with hell; therefore in the judgment of God after this life there are other pains which are not eternal or infernal — these are the pains of Purgatory.”


Matthew 5:26: Amen I say to thee, thou shalt not go out from thence till thou repay the last farthing.

Amen dico tibi, non exies inde, donec reddas novissimum quadrantem.

The “prison” alluded to in verse 25 is purgatory, according to Tertullian (160-240), St. Cyprian (c. 210-258), Origen, St. Ambrose and St. Jerome, while the “penny” represents the most minor sins that one commits.


Matthew 12:32: And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.

Et quicumque dixerit verbum contra Filium hominis, remittetur ei : qui autem dixerit contra Spiritum Sanctum, non remittetur ei, neque in hoc saeculo, neque in futuro.

If this sin cannot be forgiven after death, it follows that there are others which can be, and this must be in purgatory: precisely the interpretation of St. Augustine, Pope St. Gregory the Great (c. 540-604),  the Venerable Bede (c. 673-735) and St. Bernard (1090-1153), among others.


1 Corinthians 3:11-15: For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid; which is Christ Jesus. Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble: Every man's work shall be manifest; for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire; and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. If any man's work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work burn, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.

Fundamentum enim aliud nemo potest ponere praeter id quod positum est, quod est Christus Jesus. Si quis autem superaedificat super fundamentum hoc, aurum, argentum, lapides pretiosos, ligna, foenum, stipulam, uniuscujusque opus manifestum erit : dies enim Domini declarabit, quia in igne revelabitur : et uniuscujusque opus quale sit, ignis probabit. Si cujus opus manserit quod superaedificavit, mercedem accipiet. Si cujus opus arserit, detrimentum patietur : ipse autem salvus erit, sic tamen quasi per ignem.

This is a clear and obvious allusion to purgatory. Thus thought St. Cyprian, St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, Pope St. Gregory the Great, Origen, and St. Augustine, who wrote with his usual insight: “Because it is said, he shall be saved, that fire is thought lightly of. For all that, though we should be saved by fire, yet will that fire be more grievous than anything that man can suffer in this life whatsoever.” (Expositions on the Psalms, 38, 2).


Hebrews 12:14: Follow peace with all men, and holiness: without which no man shall see God. (cf.  12:1, 5-11,  Ephesians 5:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 1 John 3:2-3).

Pacem sequimini cum omnibus, et sanctimoniam, sine qua nemo videbit Deum:

St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890) observed: “Even supposing a man of unholy life were suffered to enter heaven, he would not be happy there; so that it would be no mercy to permit him to enter . . . There is a moral malady which disorders the inward sight and taste; and no man labouring under it is in a condition to enjoy what Scripture calls the fulness of joy in God’s presence ...” (Sermon on this verse: “Holiness Necessary for Future Blessedness,” 1834).


Revelation 21:27: There shall not enter into it any thing defiled, or that worketh abomination or maketh a lie, but they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb.

Non intrabit in eam aliquod coinquinatum, aut abominationem faciens et mendacium, nisi qui scripti sunt in libro vitae Agni.

A PDF copy of the Douay-Rheims New Testament may be downloaded from this website here.


The Forerunners of Christ with Saints and Martyrs, Fra Angelico, c. 1423-1424

The Forerunners of Christ with Saints and Martyrs, Fra Angelico, c. 1423-1424


This Webpage first posted on

The Feast Day of Saint Joseph, 19 March 2024.

Immaculate Queen of Peace, pray for us.

Immaculata Regina Pacis, ora pro nobis.