All Souls

On this day every priest in the Catholic Church is allowed to say three Masses for the souls in Purgatory. The first saint who started the celebration on this day of the feast of All Souls was Saint Odilo, whose feast day is January 1. This was in 998. All prayers for the souls in Purgatory are most efficacious when put under the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Saturday is Our Lady’s special day during the week. Our Lady visits Purgatory every Saturday to release the souls there who have died during the week and who have worn the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. When Our Lady was assumed into Heaven on August 15, she undoubtedly took countless souls from Purgatory with her, perhaps all of them that were then there. Our Lady’s promise to those who wear the brown scapular is this: “Whosoever dies in this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire. On Saturday, as many as I shall find in Purgatory, I shall free.” Blessed Claude de la Colombiere says that “of all the forms of our love for the Blessed Virgin and its various modes of expression, the scapular is the most favored.” The prophecy of Ezechiel declares, “The gate of the inner court that looks toward the east shall be shut for six days, but on the sabbath day it shall be opened.” The Church has applied this prophecy to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The “inner court” means Purgatory, and the “sabbath day” means Saturday, the day when Our Lady abundantly releases souls from Purgatory and brings them to Heaven.


Purgatory according to Dante Alighieri

See also: Rome’s Purgatory Museum: A November Pilgrimage

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