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Purgatory   By: (1820-1903)

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This E text was prepared by Juliet Sutherland, Joshua Hutchinson, Charles Franks, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.

PURGATORY:

Doctrinal, Historical and Poetical,

BY

MRS. J. SADLIER

LO! PURGATORY! DOCTRINE BLEST, ENGARLANDED WITH LEGENDS WILD, HISTORIC LORE AND POETRY'S FAIR FLOWERS!

"Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the just wait for me, until thou reward me."

Ps. CXLI 8.

DEDICATION

TO THE GRACIOUS MEMORY OF MY DEARLY BELOVED SON, REV. FRANCIS X. SADLIER, S.J. WHOSE TENDER DEVOTION TO THE Souls in Purgatory LED HIM TO TAKE A DEEP AND ACTIVE INTEREST IN THE PROGRESS OF THIS WORK, BUT WHO WAS NOT PERMITTED TO SEE ITS COMPLETION, BEING CALLED HENCE, SCARCELY THREE MONTHS AFTER HIS ORDINATION, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MONTH CONSECRATED TO THOSE Holy Souls, November 14th, 1885.

R. I. P.

INTRODUCTION

I have written many books and translated many more on a great variety of subjects, nearly all of which, I thank God now with all my heart, were more or less religious, at least in their tendency; but the circle of these my life long labors seems to me incomplete. One link is wanting to the chain, and that is a work specially devoted to the souls in Purgatory. This omission I am anxious to supply while the working days of my life are still with me, for, a few more years, at most, and for me "the night cometh when no man can work."

As we advance into the vale of years and journey on the downward slope, we are happily drawn more and more towards the eternal truths of the great untried world beyond the grave. Foremost amongst these stands out more and still more clearly, in all its awful reality, the dread but consoling doctrine of Purgatory. When we have seen many of our best beloved relatives, many of our dearest and most devoted friends those who started with us in "the freshness of morning" on the road of life, which then lay so deceitfully fair and bright before them and us they who shared our early hopes and aspirations, and whose words and smiles were the best encouragement of our feeble efforts when we have seen them sink, one by one, into the darkness of the grave, leaving the earth more bleak and dreary year by year for those who remain then do we naturally follow them in spirit to those gloomy regions where one or all may be undergoing that blessed purification which prepares them for the eternal repose of Heaven.

Of all the divine truths which the Catholic Church proposes to her children, assuredly none is more acceptable to the pilgrim race of Adam than that of Purgatory. It is, beyond conception, dear and precious as one of the links that connect the living with the vanished dead, and which keeps them fresh in the memory of those who loved them on earth, and whose dearest joy it is to be able to help them in that shadowy border land through which, in pain and sorrow, they must journey before entering the Land of Promise, which is the City of God, seated on the everlasting hills.

When I decided on adding yet another to the many books on Purgatory already existing even in our own language, I, at the same time, resolved to make it as different as possible from all the others, and thus fill up a void of which I have long been sensible in our English Purgatorial literature. Doctrinal works, books of devotion, e have in abundance, but it is, unhappily, only the pious, the religiously inclined who will read them. Knowing this, and still desirous to promote devotion to the Holy Souls by making Purgatory more real, more familiar to the general reader, I thought the very best means I could take for that end would be to make a book chiefly of legends and of poetry, with enough of doctrinal and devotional matter to give a substantial character to the work by placing it on the solid foundations of Catholic dogma, patristic authority, and that, at the same time, of the latest divines and theologians of the Church, by selections from their published writings.

I have divided the work into five parts, viz... Continue reading book >>




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