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Considered Beyond Hope,
An Old Woman Is Saved

St. Alphonsus Liguori
We read in the life of Sister Catherine, an Augustinian nun, that in the place where she lived, there lived also a woman named Mary, who in her youth was a sinner and obstinately continued in her evil ways, even to extreme old age.

woman praying

A woman appears asking for prayers and Masses

For this she was banished by her fellow-citizens, forced to live in a cave beyond the borders of the town and died in a state of loathsome corruption, abandoned by all and without the Sacraments. On this account she was buried in a field, like a beast.

Now Sister Catherine, who was accustomed to recommend very affectionately to God the souls of those who had departed this life, after learning of the miserable death of this poor old woman, did not think of praying for her, as she and everyone else believed her already among the damned.

Four years having past, a soul from Purgatory one day appeared to her and said: “Sister Catherine, how unhappy is my fate! You commend to God the souls of all those who die and for my soul alone you have had no pity.”

“And who are you?” said the servant of God.

She answered: “I am that poor Mary who died in the cave.”

“What! Are you saved?” exclaimed Sister Catherine.

“Yes, I am saved,” she said, “by the mercy of the Virgin Mary!”

“And how?”

Mother of mercy

Our Lady, refuge of even the most abandoned souls

“When I saw death drawing near, finding myself laden with sins and abandoned by all, I turned to the Mother of God and said to her: 'Lady, thou art the refuge of the abandoned. Behold me at this hour deserted by all. Thou art my only hope, thou alone canst help me; have pity on me.'

“The Holy Virgin obtained for me the grace of making an Act of Contrition. I died and am saved, and my Queen has also obtained for me the grace that my pains should be abridged and that I should, by suffering intensely for a short time, pass through that purification, which otherwise would have lasted many years.

"A few Masses only are needed to obtain my release from Purgatory. I pray thee to have them offered for me, and I promise to pray God and Mary for thee.”

Sister Catherine immediately caused those Masses to be said for her, and that soul, after a few days, appeared to her again, more brilliant than the sun. She said to her: “I thank thee, sister Catherine: behold I am now going to paradise to sing the mercy of God and pray for thee.”


Blason de Charlemagne
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The Glories of Mary
NY: PJ Kennedy & Sons, 1888, pp. 36-37
Posted February 11, 2017

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