Purgatory on earth?


Hello.There is an elderly relation in hospital dying(please pray for her) at present.
She has had years of suffering from operation mishaps and more recently some years of being
bedridden and in great pain.She is a devout Catholic and knows all about offering up .
Would she be doing purgatory on earth,or some of? I guess we can’t assume she will go straight
to heaven ,but what a beautiful person and great example to family :pray:


An anecdote in a book I read

[The writer] knew a priest and a young woman who were both ill with tuberculosis in the hospital. The young woman said to the priest: “Let’s ask the Lord to be able to suffer on earth as much as necessary in order to go straight to Heaven.”

The priest replied that he himself didn’t dare to ask for this. Nearby was a religious Sister who had overheard the whole conversation. The young woman died first, the priest died later, and he appeared to the Sister, saying: “If only I had had the same trust as this young woman, I too would have gone straight to Heaven.”


That’s beautiful, thank you .


Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women and blessed is the
fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners
NOW and at the hour of our death. Amen!

Saint Michael, the archangel, defend us in battle, be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil, may God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do thou, O’ Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God cast into Hell Satan and all the other evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.


She would most definitely be doing her purgatory here on Earth. And also, helping to save souls which gains merit for her in Heaven. So in many ways, this is much better than purgatory. In purgatory we simply suffer without gaining merit.

As an aside, some of my favorite saints are what the church calls “victim souls”

Souls like Alexandria Maria de Costa…


Oh yes, this is an excellent story that I have told before and could only half way remember. Thankyou for telling me where I read it. I had forgotten!!


Thank you so much :slight_smile:
I had heard a little about Blessed Alexandrina sometime back, but this account is just beautiful.


Temporal penance is so so so much better than the suffering of Purgatory!


I’m starting to learn so! It would be good to know how to really prepare for it properly


Preferably, we don’t want any purgatory.
So let us make up our minds to be saints!


I’m all out of “likes” :ice_cream: instead


I looked around for the official Catholic teaching on whether suffering in this life reduces the suffering of Purgatory. What I found is mostly in the Enchiridion of Indulgences:

An indulgence is the remission before God of the temporal punishment due for sins already
forgiven as far as their guilt is concerned.

First General Grant

A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who, in the performance of their duties and in bearing the trials of life, raise their mind with humble confidence to God, adding – even if only mentally – some pious invocation.

This first grant is intended to serve as an incentive to the faithful to put into practice the commandment of Christ that “they must always pray and not lose heart” and at the same time as a reminder so to perform their respective duties as to preserve and strengthen their union with Christ.

The key is not the suffering, but the relationship with God (prayer, union with Christ, “offering up”).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives an additional perspective:

Our participation in Christ’s sacrifice

618 The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the “one mediator between God and men”. But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, “the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery” is offered to all men. He calls his disciples to “take up [their] cross and follow [him]”…


She is in my prayers.


I have often wondered if there is such a thing as purgatory on earth … for some in this world it really seems to be a possibility.


You can’t “assume” that she WON’T go straight to heaven either. Some people do go straight to heaven - St. Therese specifically taught on how to avoid purgatory and go straight to heaven, by completely trusting God and abandoning yourself to God’s mercy while giving away to others all benefit of the good things you do, which would include your suffering on earth.

Yes, it is entirely possible that some people’s suffering on earth serves to do penance for their own sins, or even others’ sins, so their time in purgatory is reduced or eliminated. My mother always told me when I got frightened about Purgatory as a kid that “we might even be serving our Purgatory now here on earth”.

You should of course pray for the soul of your friend when she passes away, just in case, because we do not know for sure (and the prayers will help someone else if she doesn’t need them). But it seems quite reasonable to think that she is doing “her Purgatory” on earth.


I agree, it involves a very conscious and deliberate act, to unite your sufferings with Christ, in order for them to be used to their best advantage.

I want to say that Fulton Sheen had another quote that was very pertinent—

There is a hospital that I have occasion to drive by quite often, and whenever I do, I feel a great sadness because within those walls there is so much wasted suffering.


Warning!! they are sufferings lived with CHARITE (sufferings accepted with love, lived in the softness and inner patience) which can replace the purgatory.
He who suffers with impatience, complaining of his suffering, does not live his purgatory on earth.


It didn’t sound like the OP’s “devout” and “beautiful person” described was being impatient or complaining.


I hope for the sake of many souls that those who truly unceasingly suffer physical, mental, emotional, spiritual pain here on Earth that they are shortening or even bypassing their time in Purgatory. But as with all things only God knows.


Hi Greenfields,

I would think that she is “doing her Purgatory here on Earth.”

One can actually make a conscious decision and effort to do that, too, making use of their suffering.

I read about that in a small pocket-sized little booklet published by TAN, that I have that was written by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, O.P., years ago, called “How to Avoid Purgatory.”

It’s a really great and invaluable little booklet, in my opinion.

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