Priest advises that we can pray to Mother Angelica, asking her for prayers, though she has not yet been canonized

Its confusing because we can ask our neighbors to pray for us.
For the departed its different.

Not Mother Angelica, but to ask a departed soul to pray for us is assuming where they are and assuming the state of thier souls at death.

The Church permits us to ask any departed soul that we have reason to believe is in Heaven to pray for us.

I regularly ask my deceased parents, in-laws, husband, grandmother, a couple other relatives to whom I felt close, and a handful of friends to pray for me. I reasonably think they are all in Heaven. One reason I reasonably think this is that I have had Gregorian Masses said for most of them, and of course I pray for them all the time. I have other reasons to reasonably think this in several cases that are not forum fodder.

If somehow one or more of them are not in a position to pray for me, I’m sure God will redirect the request, however I have confidence in God to save my loved ones.

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Yes but we can never assume about most.

There’s a difference between assuming, and trusting in God’s mercy.

“Assuming” would be if we just figured they went straight to Heaven because they were “good people, as in, not Hitler” as Fr. Mike Schmitz said, and we didn’t lift a finger to pray for them, either when they were alive or when they were dead.

Trusting in God is praying for them sincerely and perhaps a little diligently, and then saying, “OK God, I have done all I can, now you do the rest”.

I suppose the caveat is I tend to think that many Catholics do not trust God enough on this matter and that they are in fact quite anxious to think everyone is either going to Hell or is going to sit in Purgatory till the end of the world with the exceptions of the great canonized saints. St. Therese warned against that kind of thinking. It was the norm in her day.


I ll share something. I went to a funeral of someone years ago. The feeling of sadness was different somehow. The air in the room disappeared . I had to step out of the viewing because of heaviness and a darkness.

I knew this person in life . I cried for thier soul moreso then missing them.

Years later, I asked a person in seminary about asking those in purgatory to pray for me. He advised not to do it. He was to become an exorcist and said you do not want to be tied.

I’m sure your relatives do not fall into this category nor Mother Angelica who will be saints.
I ask my mom for strength each day and for me to prove to these crazy relatives I deal with I’m her daughter. She had a spine of steel I’m genteel…so far her prayers are working. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I have absolutely no idea what kind of theology this seminarian was relying upon, but in view of the theological positions set forth by Aquinas, Bellarmine, and Padre Pio (in the article I posted earlier in this thread), I don’t think there’s any risk in asking souls in Purgatory for prayers, and indeed I know people including priests who ask for the souls in Purgatory to pray for us all the time. Souls in Purgatory are saved, there’s no bad influence. Worst thing that would happen would be they would not be permitted by God to hear or respond to the prayer till later, but that’s up to God.

I am sure your Mom is helping you. My mom was also a very strong and assertive person who would have moved heaven and earth to help me in any way when she was alive, so I’m sure she continues to do so after death. I reckon her prayers are what saved me from going to Hell and got me on a better path.


CajunJoy, I have been thinking about this matter and since I see St. Catherine of Bologna did pray for the intercession of the souls in Purgatory, perhaps I will join the both of you and give it a try.
As I just said to Katie, it can’t hurt, and it may well help; the worst that would happen would be that God didn’t let them pray for others right now, or didn’t advise them of my request, in which case I’m sure he would deal with it another way. I do pray for the Souls in Purgatory daily so hopefully they are already returning the favor but just in case I will make a specific “ask”.

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I was taught that God hears all prayers, and that if a prayer is directed to someone who cannot intercede, or someone who does not actually exist (e.g. a mythological saint), God hears your prayer regardless.

I certainly agree that there is no harm. I have never heard that there is any “risk” to praying for intercession to those who may not be in Heaven, and I don’t think the idea that there is any risk is consistent with Catholic teaching.

I am no expert or claim to know anything about spirituality from a very learned person’s point of view but MAYBE their prayers for us is part of their purification process. In Heaven there is 100% humilty, no pride, always seeing and knowing the best in others. Maybe by them praying for us it works on the purification of specific things they had issues with in life. Only my simple minded way of seeing it.


We really have no idea who is in purgatory (or hell, for that matter). We only know for a fact who is in heaven because they have been canonized by the Church. There are undoubtedly many, many more saints in heaven than are formally recognized by the Church, but they are the only ones who we know of with certainty.

Typically a prayer specifically to the souls in purgatory would invoke them as “The Souls in Purgatory”, or “The Holy Souls” or some other generic invocation.

You are right however that we do not even know for sure when we’re praying to someone like Mother Angelica, or any other deceased non-beatified person, whether they might possibly be in Purgatory as of right now.

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I am certain that Mother Angelica is in heaven and will be canonized one day … she was a remarkable nun, who I love. I pray to her often.

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I once read a biography of Stalin. He had two wives, and was very cruel to the second one. But he wasn’t all that kind to his first wife, either. When she was pregnant with his son, Yakov, he kicked her in the stomach.

He was also brutally abused by his father when he was a child. Beaten so badly one day that his left arm was crippled and remained so for the rest of his life. His mother would beat him, too.

There is a photo of him carrying his daughter, Svetlana, in his arms when she was very young. But, he was mean to her, too, as she grew older, as well as to his second son, Vasily.

Stalin was a brutal dictator, but he also had a horrific childhood and a rather tragic life throughout. Perhaps some forgiveness is in order, and maybe God had mercy on him.

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