Message from Beyond

But all God’s angels come to us disguised

~James Russell Lowell~

Sister Mary Dolores Kazmierczak was planning the trip of a lifetime: Rome, then on to Poland. Her elderly father wanted to accompany her, but Sister Mary Dolores was unwilling to extend the invitation. “First, my mother wouldn’t fly, and because one of them never went anywhere without the other, I didn’t think Dad would be happy on a trip without her,” she explained. The second reason was more awkward. Mr. Kazmierczak had a physical disorder that caused him to lose his equilibrium. This shakiness would come on without warning. How, Sister Mary Dolores wondered, would she manage him on an extensive trip? What if he fell and hurt himself? Her decision was logical, she knew, but she still felt guilty.

However, two months before the trip, in May 1979, Mrs. Kazmierczak died. Now Sister Mary Dolores’s father was terribly lonely, and Mary’s feelings of guilt worsened. Her father would so enjoy traveling. But her reluctant answer was still no. Taking him anywhere would be too risky. A few days before she was to leave for Europe, Sister Mary Dolores and her father visited Mrs. Kazmierczak’s grave at Holy Cross Cemetery in Calumet City, Illinois. On their way home, they passed a small roadside produce stand. It looked deserted, but Mr. Kazmierczak wanted some fruit, so they pulled in to see if anyone was there. Two men were running the stand. One, wearing a blue shirt, was behind the counter; the other, in brown pants and a hat, was arranging the tables. Sister Mary Dolores and her father were the only customers there, and none of the four exchanged any comments or greetings. Mr. Kazmierczak wandered around looking at the displays while Sister Mary Dolores, keeping him in view as always lest he lose his balance, selected some produce. She gave her money to the blue-shirted worker at the cash register, then started toward her father, just a few feet away. It was then that the man in the hat approached her. “It’s okay to take your dad on the trip,” he told her without any preamble. “What trip?” What was he talking about? “The trip you’re going on,” the man replied. “I just spoke with your mother, and she said it was okay to take your dad. Nothing bad will happen to him.” “How could you have spoken to my mother?” Sister Mary Dolores demanded. “She died this past May.” “Yes, I know,” he said. Sister Mary Dolores looked around in astonishment. She and her father were still the only customers in view. Had her father complained to the man that he was being left behind? Yet the lot was so small—surely she would have seen or overheard a conversation. She could confront her father in front of the stranger, but Dad might be embarrassed or upset. It was better to wait until they were alone. “Well . . . thank you,” she said to the man, who was still standing calmly in front of her,and then she hurried her father to the car. Once they were on the highway, she broached the subject. “Dad, what did you say to the man at the fruit stand?” “I didn’t talk to him,” Mr. Kazmierczak said. “You paid him.” “I’m not talking about the man at the cash register, Dad. It was the other one, in the hat.” “But . . .” Her father looked troubled. “I didn’t see a second person. There was only the one man in the blue shirt, behind the counter.” “You saw me talking to the second man. You must have—you were right there the whole time, just a few feet away.” “But I didn’t. There wasn’t anyone else there.” Sister Mary Dolores stopped talking. She didn’t want to upset her father. And slowly she was realizing that something supernatural had just taken place.

During subsequent summers Sister Mary Dolores took her father with her on airplane and auto trips to Arizona and all through the state of Michigan—and he never had a fall. He thrived on the change of scenery and died a fulfilled man at age ninety-two.“I never worried after the incident at the fruit stand,” Sister Mary Dolores said. She knew her mother was looking out for both of them and had sent an angel to tell them so.

~Excerpt from “Where Angels Walk~

The Pains of Purgatory

St. Magdalen de Pazzi, in her celebrated vision, where the different prisons of Purgatory were shown to her, saw the soul of her brother, who had died after having led a most fervent Christian life. Nevertheless, this soul was detained in suffering for certain faults, which it had not sufficiently expiated upon earth. These, says the saint, are the most intolerable sufferings, and yet they are endured with joy. Ah ! why are they not understood by those who lack the courage to bear their cross here below ? Struck with this frightful spectacle which she had just contemplated, she ran to her Prioress, and casting herself upon her knees, she cried out, ” O my dear Mother, how terrible are the pangs of Purgatory ! Never could I have believed it, had not God manifested it to me. . . . And, nevertheless, I cannot call them cruel; rather are they advantageous, since they lead to the ineffable bliss of Paradise.“To impress this more and more upon our minds, it has pleased God to give certain holy persons a small share in the pains of expiation, like a drop of the bitter cup which the poor souls have to drink, a spark of the fire which consumes them.

The historian Bzovius, in his History of Poland, under the date 1598, relates a miraculous event which happened to the Venerable Stanislaus Chocosca, one of the luminaries of the Order of St. Dominic in Poland.One day, whilst this Religious, full of charity for the departed, recited the rosary, he saw appear near him a soul all enveloped in flames. As she besought him to have pity on her, and to alleviate the intolerable sufferings which the fire of Divine Justice caused her to endure, the holy man asked her if this fire was more painful than that of earth? ” Ah ! ” she cried, ” all the fires of earth compared to that of Purgatory are like a refreshing breeze” (Tg?ies alii levis aura locum tenent si cum ardore meo comparentur). Stanislaus could scarcely believe it. ” I wish,” he said, ” to have a proof. If God will permit, for your relief “and for the good of my soul, I consent to suffer a part of your pains.” ” Alas ! you could not do this. Know that no human being could “endure such torment and live. However, God will permit you to feel it in a light degree. Stretch forth your hand.” Chocosca extended his hand, and the departed let fall a drop of sweat, or at least of a liquid which resembled it. At the same instant the Religious uttered a piercing cry and fell fainting to the ground, so frightfully intense was the pain. His brethren ran to the spot and hastened to give him the assistance which his condition required. When restored to consciousness, he related the terrible event which had occurred, and of which they had a visible proof. ” Ah ! my dear Fathers,” he continued, ” if we knew the severity of the Divine chastisements, we should never commit sin, nor should we cease to do penance in this life, in order to avoid expiation in the next.”

Stanislaus was confined to his bed from that moment. He lived one year longer in the most cruel suffering caused by his terrible wound; then, for the last time, exhorting his brethren to remember the rigours of Divine Justice, he peacefully slept in the Lord. The historian adds that this example reanimated fervour in all the monasteries of that province.“We read of a similar fact in the Life of Blessed Catherine.One day, when suffering so intensely as to need the assistance of her sisters in religion, she thought of the souls in Purgatory, and, to temper the heat of their flames, “offered to God the burning heat of her fever. At that moment, being rapt in ecstasy, she was conducted in spirit into the place of expiation, where she saw the flames and braziers in which the souls are purified in great torture. Whilst contemplating, full of compassion, this piteous spectacle, she heard a voice which said to her, “Catherine, in order that you may procure most efficaciously the deliverance of these souls, you shall participate, in some manner, in their torments.At that same moment a spark detached itself from the fire and settled upon her left cheek. The sisters present saw the spark distinctly “and saw also with horror that the face of the sick person was frightfully swollen. She lived several days in this state, and, as B. Catherine told her sisters, the suffering caused by that simple spark far surpassed all that she had previously endured in the most painful maladies. Until that time Catherine had always devoted herself with charity to the relief of the souls in Purgatory, but from thenceforward she redoubled her fervour and austerities to hasten their deliverance, because she knew by experience the great need in which they stood of her assistance.

Excerpt From: Schouppe S.J. “Purgatory.”

Padre Pio Pio’s Final Gesture of Love

Just four days before his death, Padre Pio expressed his devotion to Mary in one of his final gestures of love.

A man brought Padre Pio a beautiful bouquet of red roses for the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of his stigmata. Padre Pio took one of the roses out of the bouquet and asked one of his spiritual sons who was going to Pompeii if he would take it to the shrine of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. The man promised that he would take it there the very next day.

When the man arrived in Pompeii, he told a nun who served at the shrine that the rose had been sent by Padre Pio, who asked that it be placed before the image of Our Lady of the Rosary. Very pleased to receive the rose,the nun put it in a vase with other roses and placed it before the image of the Virgin Mary. On September 23, the day that Padre Pio passed away, the nun noticed that all the other roses in the vase had withered but the one that Padre Pio had sent was still fresh and beautiful. The news of Padre Pio’s unfading rose reached the local bishop who decided to put it on display in a special glass container. Padre Alberto D’Apolito heard about the rose and wanted to see it. He took a number of Third Order Franciscans from San Giovanni Rotondo on pilgrimage to the shrine in Pompeii. They saw the rose that Padre Pio had sent to Our Lady of Pompeii and although the stem was slightly yellow in color, the rose was still fresh and intact. Their visit to see the rose occurred one year after Padre Pio’s death.

Cleonice Morcaldi, one of Padre Pio’s spiritual daughters, spoke to Padre Pio just a few days before his death. “Father, please give me at least one word,” Cleonice said to him. He answered, “Love the Madonna and make her loved. Always recite her Rosary. That is the armor against the evils of the world today.” “Is the Madonna close to you?” Cleonice asked. “A Mother,” Padre Pio replied. “All of Paradise is near her.” Padre Pio’s love for Our Lady and for her Rosary supported and sustained him throughout his earthly pilgrimage. Father Domenico Mondrone spoke of Padre Pio’s love for Mary and said: The Rosary was the most beautiful and longest sermon in honor of her, because it lasted the whole of his life. He spoke with the Rosary which he was seen to clutch always in his fingers, the Rosary he clutched in those last instants, almost as though it were the supreme link between the earth he was about to leave and the heavens which opened before him. Padre Pio passed into eternal life very peacefully, very well prepared. He died with his Rosary in his hand. His last words were -Jesus, Mary.

May Jesus always be the pilot of the little boat of your spirit. May Mary be the star which lights the path for you and shows you the surest way to reach the Heavenly Father. –St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Padre Pio left this life in September of 1968; but the mysterious fruitfulness of his long life as a priest and religious, son of St. Francis of Assisi, still continues to act, we may say, with visible crescendo, and in particular in two works that are typically his because they were born of his great heart, open to the love of God and to the brethren -the Prayer Groups and the Home for the Relief of Suffering. –St.Pope John Paul II

~Excerpt from “Pray Hope and Don’t Worry” by Diane Allen~

A Pat on the Back From God

The guardian angels of life sometimes fly so high as to be beyond our sight, but they are always looking down upon us. ~Jean Paul Richter

It was January 1948 when young Father Anthony Zimmerman arrived as a freshly minted Catholic missionary priest at Yokohama port in Japan. He was the first of his order, the Society of the Divine Word, to journey from America after World War II had ended, but he would eventually be joined by many more, along with priests being sent out of China before the communists could catch up with them. Father Anthony still remembered how he felt when his feet touched the pier after riding riding the waves for twelve days. “I felt myself swaying,” he said, “and I watched as my 117 trunks of luggage were lined up for inspection.” Inside were many articles for the war-deprived missionaries: army-surplus shoes, winter underwear, jackets, canned goods, even a bicycle and tiny motorcycle. General Douglas MacArthur had given the word that missionaries were welcome in Japan, and his command apparently cut the red tape—Japanese tax officials gave only a cursory inspection to the luggage, and Father Anthony was waved on to start his new life in Japan. “The missionaries in our Tokyo house gave me a warm welcome that night,” Father Anthony recalled. “We went to chapel right away to thank God for the safe journey. I don’t remember whether I thanked my guardian angel specifically, but I usually kept in touch with him at morning and evening prayers, so I probably nodded to him then, too, asking that he accompany me during my future in Japan.” He went first to a mission in Tajimi, where he would study Japanese and teach English. Those were the days of food and fuel rationing, when Japanese families sold precious heirlooms at bargain prices to buy the necessities necessities of life. As they saw Americans helping them, giving them food and fuel and kind treatment, the environment slowly changed to mutual acceptance and tolerance. Yet living conditions were not comfortable. “Traveling took a long time, there was no flush plumbing, and we didn’t always like the food. When I once asked my superior what that terrible smell was, he answered, ‘Either it’s supper or the toilet.’” Father Anthony added that he commuted on rocky and deserted roads on a little putt-putt motorcycle. “Looking back, I think my guardian angel did not approve of all the risks I took, but I prayed to him daily and tried to keep him on my good side just in case.” By 1950, Father Anthony had relocated to Ehocho parish in Nagoya, but he still commuted to various sites to teach English, visit the hospitalized, and, if the Japanese people were willing, discuss the Christian message of healing and forgiveness.

On occasion he would make rounds at the Umemori sanitarium for terminally ill tuberculosis patients. It was in the spring of 1950, after a visit to that sanitarium, that something special happened.“After visiting with patients at Umemori, I packed everything into the jeep and started the drive back to Ehocho parish,” he recalled. “I was never good at finding roads, but I drove on anyway, expecting that somehow I would return safely. I was not particularly attentive, being lost in a reverie about the people I had just left.” He was thinking about how desolate they were. In war-ravaged Japan, funds for the care of terminally ill patients were limited. The wait before death was gloomy, bereft of joy and hope. But a few were grateful to be told of God’s love. For them, Father Anthony mused, his spirit still heavy at the sight of all that suffering, for them he could help open the gates of heaven. He was nearing a crossroad now but didn’t realize it was there. He was in a wooded area, trees and shrubs crowding to the road’s edge, and he saw only the continuous path of the road straight ahead. There was no stop sign, and he barreled the jeep onward to get home. Still deep in thought, Father Anthony felt a powerful jolt. The jeep, traveling swiftly forward, began to rock dangerously up and down and from side to side. It was like sitting on top of an earthquake. Was it an earthquake?earthquake? What was happening? Afraid of braking too hard and turning over, Father Anthony came slowly to a stop. And just in time. No more than fifteen yards ahead, an enormous truck came roaring from a side road that was hidden by the foliage and tore through the place where he would have been. “If we had collided, the truck would have totaled both the jeep and me,” he said. “Spontaneously, I looked to heaven to thank God. I relish the moment still.”

But what had gone wrong with the jeep? As his heart quieted from the near miss, he realized that he must have hit something large or, at the very least, blown a tire—a typical occurrence on those roads. Shakily, he got out to look. But there was nothing to see. The jeep seemed perfect—its tires were fine, and he saw no dents or scrapes. And the road was completely smooth, without a rock or obstruction anywhere. Frowning, Father Anthony got in again and started the engine. Flawless. As he pulled away, the jeep ran smoothly, with no hint of the shaking that had just taken place. There was nothing wrong with it, absolutely nothing. But something mighty had manhandled it and changed Father Anthony’s course. It was then that he realized what had happened and spoke to his guardian angel. “Sorry about that,” he said. “And thank you very much.”

Later Father Anthony learned that he was not the only priest to have been similarly graced. During that same period, a classmate, Father John, went routinely to a convent near Peking (now Beijing) to say Mass for the sisters there. He knew the route very well; it was a simple straight path. One morning he called a man with a pedicab to take him by that direct route. Peking was already surrounded by the communists, and the rumble of distant artillery could be heard. “Straight ahead,” Father John said to the man operating the pedicab. “No, sir!” the man said. Father John was used to bargaining, but this time it was different. The man had already started a roundabout route that would take fifteen minutes longer and cost more. “Straight ahead!” Father John again insisted. “No!” “You win.” Father John sat back in defeat as the pedicab began its circuitous and seemingly senseless journey.But the route had not been pointless. For as they traveled, a massive explosion ripped through the air and a bomb made a direct hit on the straight road where Father John would have been. Who can say whether the pedicab operator was an angel or simply inspired by one? But as both priests knew, angels take special care of missionaries. “What does it feel like at such a time?” Father Anthony asked. “It feels like a pat on the back from God, who says, ‘I know you’re here, and I like what you’re doing. I also have more work that I want you to do. So hang in there! But be more careful!’ One does not forget such a time and event.”

Father Anthony eventually earned a doctorate and taught in Japan. Later, retired, he wrote books on theology. “I suspect that in heaven, my guardian angel is going to tell me that he already knew all this was coming for me, and that is one of the reasons he made the jeep rock to keep me from being killed,” he said. “The episode is etched into my memory. It is a gift I will never forget.”

Excerpt from “Where Angels Walk” by Joan Wester Anderson

O Happy Exchange 

It is written: “Give and it shall be given unto you.” To take Blessed Alan’s illustration of this: “Supposing each day I give you one hundred and fifty diamonds, even if you were my enemy, would you not forgive me? Would you not treat me as a friend and give me all the graces that you were able to give? If you want to gain the riches of grace and of glory, salute the Blessed Virgin, honor your good Mother.” “He that honoreth his mother (the Blessed Virgin) is as one that layeth up a treasure.” 54 So every day do give her at least fifty Hail Marys—for each one is worth fifteen precious stones and they please Our Lady far more than all the riches of this world put together. And you can expect such great things from her generosity! She is our Mother and our friend. She is the empress of the universe and loves us more than all the mothers and queens of the world have ever loved anyone human being. This is really so, for the charity of the Blessed Virgin far surpasses the natural love of all mankind and even of all the Angels, as Saint Augustine says. One day Saint Gertrude had a vision of Our Lord counting gold coins. She summoned the courage to ask Him what He was doing. He answered: “I am counting the Hail Marys that you have said; this is the money with which you can pay your way to Heaven.” The holy and learned Jesuit, Father Suarez, was so deeply aware of the value of the Angelic Salutation that he said that he would gladly give all his learning for the price of one Hail Mary that had been said properly. Blessed Alan de la Roche said: “Let everyone who loves you, oh most holy Mary, listen to this and drink it in: 

Whenever I say Hail Mary 

The court of Heaven rejoices 

And the earth Is lost in wonderment. 

And I despise the world 

And my heart is brim-full Of the love of God 

When I say Hail Mary; All my fears Wilt and die 

And my passions are quelled 

If I say Hail Mary; Devotion grows Within me 

And sorrow for sin Awakens 

When I say Hail Mary. Hope is made strong In my breast 

And the dew of consolation Falls on my soul More and more—

Because I say Hail Mary. And my spirit Rejoices 

And sorrow fades away 

When I say Hail Mary . . . 

For the sweetness of this blessed salutation is so great that there are no words to explain it adequately, and even when its wonders have been sung, we still find it so full of mystery and so profound that its depths can never be plumbed. It has but few words but is exceeding rich in mystery; it is sweeter than honey and more precious than gold. 

We should often meditate upon it in our hearts and have it ever upon our lips so as to say it devoutly again and again.” 

Blessed Alan says that a nun who had always had great devotion to the Holy Rosary appeared after death to one of her sisters in religion and said to her: “If I were allowed to go back into my body, to have the chance of saying just one single Hail Mary—even if I said it quickly and without great fervor—I would gladly go through the sufferings that I had during my last illness all over again, in order to gain the merit of this prayer.” This is all the more compelling because she had been bedridden and had suffered agonizing pains for several years before she died. Michel de Lisle, Bishop of Salubre, who was a disciple and co-worker of Blessed Alan’s in the re-establishment of the Holy Rosary said that the Angelic Salutation is the remedy for all ills that we suffer as long as we say it devoutly in honor of Our Lady.

~Excerpts from “The Secret of the Rosary”

The Three Virgins 

Three devout virgins, by the advice of
their confessor, recited one year, for forty days, the whole Rosary, as a preparation for the feast
of the purification of Mary. On the vigil the heav- enly mother appeared to the first of these three sisters with a rich garment, embroidered with gold, thanked her, and blessed her. Then she appeared  to the second with a simple garment, and also thanked her. But she said to her: “Oh
Lady, why have you brought my sister a richer garment?” “Because she has clothed me,”
said Mary, “more richly than you have done.” She afterwards appeared to the third with a canvas garment, and she at once asked pardon for her tepidity in honoring her. The next
year all three fervently prepared for the same feast, saying the Rosary with great devotion, when behold, on the evening preceding the festival, Mary appeared to them in glory, and said to them: “Be prepared, for tomorrow
you shall come to paradise.” And, in fact, the next day they went to church, related to the confessor what had occurred, and received communion in the morning. At the hour of compline they saw again the most holy Virgin, who came to take them with her, and amid the songs of angels, one after the other sweetly expired.
Litany of Salutations to Mary written by St.John Eudes 

Hail Mary, daughter of God the Father.

Hail Mary, Mother of God the Son.

Hail Mary, Spouse, of God the Holy Ghost.

Hail Mary, Temple of the Most Blessed Trinity.

Hail Mary, Pure Lily of the Trinity, One God.

Hail Mary, Celestial Rose of the love of God.

Hail Mary, Virgin pure and humble, of whom the King of Heaven willed to be born.

Hail Mary, Virgin of virgins.

Hail Mary, Queen of Martyrs, whose soul a sword transfixed.

Hail Mary, my Queen and my Mother, my life, my sweetness and my hope.

Hail Mary, Mother most amiable.

Hail Mary, Mother most admirable.

Hail Mary, Mother of Divine Love.

Hail Mary, Immaculate, conceived without sin.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.

Blessed be your spouse, Saint Joseph,

Blessed be your father, Saint Joachim.

Blessed be your mother, Saint Anne.

Blessed be your guardian, Saint John.

Blessed be your holy Angel, Saint Gabriel.

Glory be to God the Father, Who chose you.

Glory be to God the Son, Who loved you.

Glory be to God the Holy Spirit, Who espoused you.

O Glorious Virgin Mary.

May all people love and praise you.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us and bless us,

Now and at death, in the name of Jesus, your Divine Son.


Excerpts from “The Glories of Mary” by St.Alphonsus Liguori 

The Danger of Gossiping About Our Neighbor And Its Consequences To Those Who Engage In This Conduct 

In the early days of Padre Pio’s ministry, a person once asked Padre Pio to come and bless their family home. Padre Pio agreed to do so. He got as far as the kitchen before he stopped. “I cannot go any farther,” he said, and he turned around and walked back out of the house. “The family who lives there spreads rumors,” he explained to his companion. “We can have no dealings with them.” Padre Pio knew of a priest who used to visit the family. He warned the priest and said, “I would advise you not to go to that home any more. The people who live there spread lies and rumors about others.” On another occasion Padre Pio said, “When you spread rumors about someone, it means you have removed that person from your heart. When you take someone from your heart, Jesus also leaves with them.”

The Dying Robber 

In the time of Emperor Marian, there was a fierce and cruel robber living in Thrace. He was lying in a hospital. He was dying. What happens very seldom happened to him. A little before he died he began to repent of his sins. He made a most sincere Act of Contrition. He cried much for his sins that his pocket-handkerchief was as wet with his tears as if it had been steeped in water.
When the robber was dead a very holy man, the doctor of the hospital, had a vision. He saw on one side of the dead robber many devils with papers in their hands, on which the sins of the robber were written. On the other side he saw two angels shining with light. A pair of scales was brought. The devils put into the scale the papers of sins, and this scale sunk down with the weight of sins laid upon it. The other scale went up. The Angels said to one another, “What can we put into the empty scale to make it weigh more than the scale in which his sins are? He has only just repented of his robberies. How can we hope to find anything good done by him. However, let us try.” They searched about and found the pocket- handkerchief wet with tears of repentance. They said “Let us put this handkerchief into the empty scale, and perhaps God will add to it the weight of his mercy.” They did so. Behold, the empty scale went down and the tears were found to weigh more than the sins. So it was known that God had pardoned the man’s sins because he had made a sincere Act of Contrition. 

Blessed Leonard’s Act of Contrition — “O my God, I am very sorry that I have sinned against Thee, because Thou art so good, and I will not sin again.”

The Suffering of the Souls in Purgatory  

There was at the convent of Franciscan Tertiaries in Foligno, a sister named Teresa Gesta, who had been for many years mistress of novices, and who at the same time had charge of the sacristy of the community. She was born at Bastia, in Corsica, in 1797, and entered the monastery in the year 1826.
Sister Teresa was a model of fervour and charity. We need not be astonished, said her director, if God glorifies her by some prodigy after her death.She died suddenly, November 4, 1859, of a stroke of apoplexy.

Twelve days later, on November 16, a sister named Anna Felicia, who succeeded her in office, went “to the sacristy and was about to enter, when she heard moans which appeared to come from the interior of the room. Somewhat afraid, she hastened to open the door; there was no one. Again she heard moans, and so distinctly that, notwithstanding her ordinary courage, she felt herself overpowered by fear. ” Jesus ! Mary !” she cried, ” what can that be ? ” She had not finished speaking when she heard a plaintive voice, accompanied with a painful sigh, ” Oh ! my God, how I suffer ! Oh I Dio, che peno tanto I ” The sister, stupefied, immediately recognised the voice of poor Sister Teresa. Then the room was filled with a thick smoke, and the spirit of Sister Teresa appeared, moving towards the door, and gliding along by the wall. Having reached the door, she cried aloud, ” Behold a proof of the ?nercy of God” Saying these words, she struck the upper panel of the door, and there left the print of her right hand, burnt in the wood as with a red-hot iron. She then disappeared.

Sister Anna Felicia was left half dead with fright. She burst forth into loud cries for help. One of her companions ran, then a second and finally the whole community. They pressed around her, astonished to find a strong odour of burnt wood. Sister Anna Felicia told what had occurred,and “showed them the terrible impression on the door. They instantly recognised the hand of Sister Teresa, which had been remarkably small. Terrified, they took to flight and ran to the choir, where they passed the night in prayer and penance for the departed, and the following morning all received Holy Communion for the repose of her sou). The news spread outside the convent walls, and many communities in the city united their prayers with those of the Franciscans. On the third day, November 18, Sister Anna Felicia, on going in the evening to her cell, heard herself called by her name, and recognised perfectly the voice of Sister Teresa. At the same instant a globe of brilliant light appeared before her, illuminating her cell with the brightness of daylight. She then heard Sister Teresa pronounce these words in a joyful and triumphant voice: ” I died on a Friday, the day of the Passion, and behold, on a Friday, 1 enter into eternal glory I Be strong to bear the cross, be courageous to suffer, love poverty.” Then adding, affectionately, “Adieu, adieu, adieu!” she became transfigured, and like a light, white, and dazzling cloud, rose towards “Heaven and disappeared.

During the investigation which was held immediately, November 23, in the presence of a large number of witnesses, the tomb of Sister Teresa was opened, and the impression upon the door was found to correspond exactly with the hand of the deceased. “The door, with the burnt print of the hand,” adds Mgr. Segur, ” is preserved with great veneration in the convent. The Mother Abbess, witness of the fact, was pleased to show it to me herself.”

Wishing to assure myself of the perfect exactitude of these details related by Mgr. Segur, I wrote to the Bishop of Foligno. He replied by giving me a circumstantial account, perfectly according with the above, and accompanied by a facsimile of the miraculous mark. This narrative explains the cause of the terrible expiation to which Sister Teresa was subjected. After saying, ” Ah ! how much I suffer ! Oh ! Dio, che peno tanto ! ” she added that it was for having, in the exercise of her office of Sacristan, transgressed in some points the strict poverty prescribed by the Rule. 

Thus we see Divine Justice punishes most severely the slightest faults. It may here be asked why the apparition, when making the mysterious mark on trie door, called it a proof of the mercy of God. It is because, in giving us a warning of this kind, God shows us a great mercy. He urges us, in the most efficacious manner, to assist the poor suffering souls, and to be vigilant in our own regard.

Whilst speaking of this subject, we may relate a similar instance which happened in Spain, and which caused great rumours in that country. Ferdinand of Castile thus relates it in his ” History of Saint Dominic.”A Dominican Religious led a holy life in his convent at Zamora, a city of the kingdom of L£on. He was united in the bonds of a pious friendship with a Franciscan brother like himself, a man of great virtue. One day, when conversing together on the subject of eternity, they mutually promised that, if it pleased God, the first who died should appear to the other to give him some salutary advice. The Friar Minor died first ; and one day, whilst his friend, the son of St. Dominic, was preparing the refectory, he appeared to him. After saluting him with respect and affection, he told him that he was among the “elect, but that before he could be admitted to the enjoyment of eternal happiness, there remained much to be suffered for an infinity of small faults of which he had not sufficiently repented during his life. “Nothing on earth,” he added, “can give an idea of the torments which I endure, and of which God permits me to give you a visible proof.” Saying these words, he placed his right hand upon the table of the refectory, and the mark remained impressed upon the charred wood as though it had been applied with a red-hot iron.
~Excerpt From: Schouppe S.J. “Purgatory.” ~

The Extraordinary Perfume of St.Padre Pio 

An engineer from Milan once experienced the charismatic gift of Padre Pio’s fragrance and described it as a sweet smelling perfume.The engineer had a very good friend who was one of Padre Pio’s spiritual sons.He often invited the engineer to accompany him to San Giovanni Rotondo to visit Padre Pio.The engineer always declined the invitation.He had no interest in anything connected with religion and was living a very worldly life at the time.

The engineer’s friend spoke to him from his heart one day and said,”I have been praying for you and I have also asked Padre Pio to pray for you.”He then gave the engineer at small photograph of Padre Pio.Although he did not want to accept it,he took the photo and put it in his pocket in order to please his friend.A few days later,the engineer noticed an odor which surrounded him and followed him wherever he went.It had the unpleasant smell of something that was burning.”I cannot understand what this odor is,” the engineer said to himself.”I don’t know what to make of it.”Suddenly a voice spoke within his heart and said to him,”It is your extremely bad life!”

The experience was a true wake up call for the engineer and he began to think about the wretched state of his soul.He had the desire to see Padre Pio and make his confession to him.He decided to go to San Giovanni Rotondo at once.His confession of his sins and the absolution he received from Padre Pio were the beginning of a brand new life for him.It marked his return to the church after a 26 year absence.

The perfume associated with Padre Pio have been experienced not only by adults but by children as well.On one ocassion,Mrs.Mario Pasqualini wrote a letter to Padre Pio thanking him for the healing of her six year old daughter.Her daughter,who always suffered from a weak constitution,suddenly became very ill.Her temperature climbed to 104 degrees.Several of Padre Pio’s spiritual children who were visiting the Pasqualini family st the time,suggested they all join in prayer to Padre Pio for the little girl’s behalf.Almost immeadiately,the girl opened her eyes and remarked that she noticed a very sweet fragrance in the room.She told her mother that it reminded her of the incense she used at their parish on special feast days.At once,her fever broke.When the doctor arrived,she was completely well.

Gennaro Cascavilla was the vice rector of the Third Order of St.Francis in San Giovanni Rotondo.Once when he was at the monastery,he saw a seminarian and inquired whether he knew which cell belonged to Padre Pio.The seminarian took him to Padre Pio’s cell.

Hoping to get a small glimpse of the inside of the cell,Genarro looked through the keyhole.At once,he was struck by a breeze that emitted a wonderful perfume.Gennaro experienced a joy that was so great that he did not want to leave.He wanted to remain in front of Padre Pio’s cell door for as long as he possibly could.He called several people over who were nearby and each one said they also experienced the wonderful fragrance.Genarro paused briefly before each one of the other cells in the monastery but perceived no fragrance.

On certain ocassions when Padre Pio celebrated mass the church would become filled with the distinct and acteristic  perfume.Brother Modestino,who knew Padre Pio for many years,recalled:”In the morning I presented myself in the sacristy to serve Padre Pio’s mass but there were already some others who were disputing over this privilege.Padre Pio interrupted this subdued shouting by saying,He alone will serve Mass,indicating me.Not another word was said.I accompanied Padre Pio to the altar of St.Francis and,the little gate being closed,he began to say Mass completely recollected.At the “Sanctus” I had an unexpected desire to smell again that indescribable scent that I had already experienced many times when kissing Padre Pio’s hand.The wish was immeadiately granted.A cloud of scent enveloped me.It kept on increasing until I could hardly breathe.I gripped the balustrade so as not to fall.I was about to faint and mentally I asked the Padre to prevent me from making a fool of myself in front of the people.At that precise moment,the scent disappeared.That evening as I accompanied Padre Pio to his cell,I asked him for an explanation of the phenomenon.He said to me,My Son,it is not I.It is the Lord who acts.He allows it to be smelled when and by whom He wishes.It all happens as and how He wishes.”

~Source:”Pray,Hope and Don’t Worry by Diane Allen”