Mary, mother of hope in purgatory

Mary, sign of hope, for all human beings. Yet can she also touch souls in purgatory?   The Roman Catholic Church professes that Mary is the mother of all human beings. Tradition asserts that Mary attends souls in purgatory. Father Buguet assumed this insight in his portrayal of Our Lady Liberator of Holy Souls.

Find out more on the subject with Rev. Fr. Martin Vivies interviewed by G. Desanges of Normandy RCF Catholic Radio.

Guillaume Desanges (RCF) & Rev. Fr. Martin Vivies, chaplain at the shrine of Montligeon – (C) Montligeon.

Mary, sign of hope

“(…) a sign of sure hope and solace to the people of God during its sojourn on earth.” (Lumen Gentium N° 68). Mary is a sign of hope especially celebrated on September 8, her “birthday”. Her birth indeed foreshadows another birth, that of God made man who will come by her.  

In purgatory, hope takes on its full dimension. When we reach eternal life, only the virtue of charity will remain, as St Paul upholds. Faith and hope, the other two theological virtues tied to our humanity, will have vanished. Yet in purgatory, the motor virtue remains hope. The poor souls are already partaking in the life of God but they may not see Him for they are inept to. They are still in need of purification. “For in hope we are saved” as St Paul states in Rom. 8, 24, meaning that hope already makes us participate in something that we do not yet see.

The Church professes that Mary is the mother of all human beings

The Church has not defined in what way Mary attends souls in purgatory, however she affirms the universal motherhood of Mary. Hence all souls, whether saved or not, are really her sons and her daughters. Besides numerous ancient iconographies represent the Blessed Virgin covering human beings with her mantle, even those undergoing purification.  

Mary attends souls in purgatory.

Another tradition, emanating from the Carmel, imparts that Mary visits purgatory. In an apparition to St Simon Stock, superior of the Carmel, the Virgin Mary promised that, the first Saturday after their death, she would go and free from purgatory people who wore the scapular (a piece of fabric representing her habit). Carmelites diffused the scapular devotion but the Church never commented on the authenticity of the apparition.

Another instance comes from one of St Faustina’s visions in 1926. Souls in purgatory confided in her that their severer torment was their nostalgy of God’s beauty. They have barely caught a sight of His beauty, and are ensured of ultimately contemplating it, but as of yet, they are not ready.

Saint Faustina saw the Blessed Virgin Mary coming and visiting the souls in purgatory, who name  Her: “The Morning Star”. The expression is to be found three times in the Bible, especially in Revelation 2, 28, and also in the seventh century hymn entitled “Ave Stella Maris”.  Saint Faustina’s disclosure on the matter reveals being enable to address their Mother is source of solace for the souls in purgatory. In purgatory, souls can no longer do meritorious acts, they can do nothing for their deliverance. However, they can communicate with God, and ask for the intercession of Mary, star of hope.


What does Mary for the souls in purgatory? More about Fr. Buguet’s idea.

Whilst in Rome, Fr. Buguet was entrusted with a church dedicated to Our Lady in Monte Santo, which displayed a painting of Our Lady of the Mount Carmel. He was thus inspired to get a painting done illustrating the Virgin Mary holding the Infant Jesus, and at her feet, two souls in purgatory. One of whom on her way out, enabled to see God. The other remains unable to see Jesus but her gaze comes across Mary’s for she is our mother.

How does God let his light shine on us? We cannot see the light of God. It reaches us via people, especially our relatives, and through the eyes of the one who became our heavenly mother (cf. Benedict PP. XVI Spe Salvi, N°49).  

Rev. Fr. Martin Vivies, chaplain at the shrine of Montligeon is regularly interviewed by Guillaume Desanges for the RCF radio shows on “Normandy shrines” broadcasted on Tuesdays at 7:15 pm.

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