Obscure 19th-century manuscript backs up Medjugorje revelation about Christmas

by Michael H. Brown

        An "unpublished" manuscript dating back to a revelation in the 1870s confirms a message from Medjugorje that says souls in purgatory are released in greatest number on Christmas -- not as widely believed on the feast of All Souls.

       The manuscript, which has been printed by a Baltimore group and which we are also making available, records the revelations of a French nun who said she was in purgatory but was allowed by God to give revelations to a living nun beginning in 1873.

        "On All Souls' Day many souls leave the place of expiation and go to heaven," said the deceased nun,  known only as Sister M.G. "Also, by a special grace of God on that day only, all the suffering souls, without exception, have a share in the public prayers of the Church, even those who are in the great purgatory. Still the relief of each soul is in proportion to its merits. Some receive more, some less, but all feel the benefit of this extraordinary grace. Many of the suffering souls receive this one help only in all the long years they pass here and this by the justice of God. It is not, however, on All Souls' Day that the most go to heaven. It is on Christmas night."

       This exactly and uncannily matches with Medjugorje, the apparition site in Bosnia-Hercegovina where the Virgin Mary has been appearing since 1981 and where on January 10, 1983, she told one of the seers, "In purgatory there are different levels. The lowest is close to hell and the highest gradually draws near to heaven. It is not on All Souls' Day but at Christmas that the greatest number of souls leave purgatory."

       There seems no way the seers could have known about the old French manuscript, which was obscure even in the U.S., let alone in the hinterlands of Bosnia-Hercegovina -- which in 1983 was controlled by atheistic Communists. At Medjugorje, the visionaries, teenagers at the time, said they had not even known of famous French revelations like Lourdes.     

       Yet the similarities are startling, pointing up the need to pray for the deceased in the days leading up to Christmas. 

       Both revelations claim that there are many levels in purgatory -- from one close to hell that is extremely painful and even fiery to one at the other end that serves as a beautiful threshold to heaven, but where there is still suffering due to the absence of God.

       After lengthy discernment the French revelations were granted an imprimatur by Cardinal Lawrence Shehan of Baltimore. They had also been looked upon favorably by an ecclesiastic named Canon Duboq, who later became promotor fidei for St. Therese the Little Flower. 

       These discernments were crucial because Christians are not to communicate with the dead, or at least are not to initiate such contact. The French revelations began when the living nun began to hear strange sighs. The groaning remained unexplained for several months until finally the spirit identified herself as a recently deceased nun from the same convent who had died in 1871 -- two years before -- at the age of 36. 

        For a long while the spirit was tested to make sure it was not diabolic. But after a long period of such testing and great initial reluctance on the part of the living nun who was receiving the messages, descriptions and explanations concerning purgatory were recorded that give us as a phenomenal insight into the afterlife and beg our prayers. "If only you knew what I suffer!" said Sister M.G. "Pray for me, please. I suffer intensely everywhere. No one can imagine what purgatory is like. Be kind and take pity on the poor souls. Do not neglect the Way of the Cross."       

      (The booklet is available through our bookstore or by sending a $5 donation plus postage to the Reparation Society of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, 7920 Beverly Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21234)

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