'They Suffer Unbearably'

Bl. Stanislaus Papczyński and the Holy Souls

by Staff

The Marians have been praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory since the congregation was first founded, all thanks to one man: Bl. Stanislaus Papczyński, the Father Founder of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.

The Founder in his "Rule of Life" (1687 and 1694/98) defined the congregation's special goal, which was to animate members of the community and those associated with it a like spirit, that is, to have a firm awareness that "… to the utmost of your strength you will promote devotion to the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mother of God, and with utmost zeal, piety and fervor assist the souls of the faithful departed subjected to expiatory pains — especially the souls of soldiers and those who died of pestilence" (I,2).

His devotion to praying for the Holy Souls was great during his lifetime, inspired by several key events.

Living in a war-torn time period, Blessed Stanislaus witnessed thousands of casualties on battlefields and also from dreaded plagues. He himself accompanied Polish troops as a chaplain in battles against Turkey in Ukraine in 1674. He was deeply saddened to observe how many people died with no time to prepare to meet their Maker.

After he experienced visions of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, he was moved to engage in, and advocate for, prayer and penance on behalf of the dead.
 In one account, at a gathering of family, friends, and religious, Blessed Stanislaus had a profound mystical experience of the Holy Souls in Purgatory. He later told his confreres: "Pray, brethren, for the souls in purgatory, for they suffer unbearably." He then locked himself in his cell and spent three days praying for them.

This spirit of assisting souls was so dear to the heart of Blessed Stanislaus that he put it into the formula of pronouncing vows and had it second among the three aims of his order. He said, "To beg God earnestly for the release of Souls who find themselves in expiatory flames or to come to their help by pious alms as well as by various other means, is to exercise the highest charity."

Blessed Stanislaus Papczyński, pray for us and for all our beloved dead!

During this month of November, which is dedicated to praying for and offering good works on behalf of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, join the Marians and their Father Founder Blessed Stanislaus in praying for the souls on the Purgatory BoardConsider enrolling deceased family and friends in the Association of Marian Helpers so that they can receive the spiritual benefits of the prayers and good works of the Marian Fathers. Enter the Holy Souls Sodality and intercede for the faithful departed all year round.