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By Susan Tassone

St. Bridget of Sweden (1303-July 23, 1373) was a mystic and saint and founder of the Bridgettine Order after the death of her husband of twenty years.  She was also the mother of Saint Catherine of Sweden.  She began to have visions beginning at the age of ten. These included the Nativity, the Risen Christ, and the Passion of Our Lord; she wrote the popular fifteen prayers based on Our Lord’s Passion and death. 

Her visions of purgatory are also well known.  

Stated the saint, who received extraordinary revelations from God: 

“If, by our help, a soul is freed from the pains of purgatory, Jesus accepts this as if we had freed Himself, and He will reward us in due time as if we had helped Him.” 

In a vision she saw the souls of the faithful departed being purified.

During those visions, the saint heard the voice of an angel.

“Blessed are those who dwell upon the earth, and who, by their prayers and other good works hasten to the relief of the souls in purgatory," it said. "For the justice of God demands that their sins be atoned for either by their sufferings or else by the prayers and good works of their friends on earth.” 

Then the saint heard a great number of voices praying in piteous tones, “O Lord Jesus Christ! O great and just Judge! We implore Thee in Your infinite Mercy to regard not the number and magnitude of our offenses, but to look on the merits of Your Most Precious Passion and Death. Oh, let the streams of Your great charity flow into the hearts of all Your priests, monks, nuns, and all the faithful, that by their Masses, prayers, and alms, they may come to our relief. If they wish, they can help us greatly by their prayers and indulgences, and can shorten the term of our awful sufferings. They can hasten our happy reunion with You, O God.” 

Note that the pleading souls ask God to inspire the faithful for suffrages and in a particular way the offerings of priests and nuns!

Then she saw a brilliant light coming down like the dawn of day and she knew it meant the day of deliverance had dawned for some. 

She heard new voices singing, “O God, Whose power is infinite, we beg of Thee to reward a thousand fold all those who pray for our deliverance and help us to come to your everlasting light.” 

St. Bridget once also heard Jesus say to His holy Mother: “Thou art my Mother, the Mother of Mercy and the consolation of the souls in purgatory.” Therefore, it makes sense to have a great devotion to Our Lady during life so she aids us after death. 

Give all your actions for the holy souls and put them in the hands of Our Lady. She knows best how to dispose of them!

At other times, St. Bridget heard appeals from purgatory like the following: “O Lord, send down your grace a thousand fold to those charitable Christians, who have helped us in our affliction by their prayers.” If these holy heroes pray in this intense manner for us, how could we not give back? Their suffering never ceases. They suffer day and night, without repose.  

We should be inspired and have great confidence in their intercession as a continuous source of special favors. Their prayers are pleasing to God with the purest of intentions.   

Let us ransom these souls and if we do not have anyone in particular to pray for, target your market: pray for priests, for lawyers, for politicians, those who were devoted to St. Joseph, Our Lady, the Sacred Heart, Divine Mercy, St. Anne, to all the saints.

Debtors ourselves towards Divine Justice, God will show mercy to us in proportion to the amount of mercy we show towards others.  

Consequently, we should intercede for them if we desire them to intercede for us one day. The souls whose happiness we shall speed up by our prayers will concern themselves in ours by their powerful mediation.

This apostolate of purgatory is action itself. It speaks and a deed is done; it loves, and pain is diminished; it sacrifices and a soul is delivered. Nothing can be more rock-solid.

From all this we can easily see what great rewards all those will receive who pray for the dead and obtain their release, and what grateful friends they make for themselves near the Throne of God!

May God grant us even a small portion of the love and sympathy which St. Bridget felt for the holy souls as long as she lived.

[resources: Susan Tassone's books on the afterlife are here]


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