An Explanation Of This Particular Devotion. Its Usages, Its Benefits, and Its History.
With the Permission of the Superiors
Origin of The Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory
In the writings of St. Margaret Mary, we find the following exhortation: “In union with the divine Heart of Jesus make a short pilgrimage to Purgatory at night. Offer Him all your activities of the day and ask Him to apply His merits to the suffering souls. At the same time implore them to obtain for you the grace to live and die in the love and friendship of this divine Heart. May He never find in you any resistance to His holy will, nor any wish to thwart His designs in your regard. Fortunate will you be, if you succeed in obtaining deliverance for some of these imprisoned souls, for you will gain as many friends in heaven.”
This pious practice which St. Margaret Mary recommended to her novices for the octave of All Souls, was introduced to the members of the Arch-confraternity of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in the year 1885. Since then many of the faithful have made this pilgrimage daily. Our world-wide Arch-confraternity, therefore, would seem to have been chosen by divine Providence to obtain comfort and deliverance for many souls in Purgatory.
In a letter of recommendation, given on January 5, 1884, his Eminence, Cardinal Monaco la Valette, Vicar General of His Holiness, sanctioned the propagation of the “Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory." On October 8 of the following year, his successor, Cardinal Parochi deigned not only to honor us with a letter of approbation, but also delivered a splendid sermon on this practice in the church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Rome, in which it had been introduced. May it please the divine Heart of Jesus to use this booklet as a means of spreading this work of sympathetic love for the Poor Souls everywhere. May this most benevolent of hearts extend to all who in any way assist in its circulation, the fullness of His graces and blessings.
Advantages Of This Practice
It is short. The Daily Pilgrimage requires little more of your time than an ordinary prayer, a religious thought, or a devout ejaculation.
It is easy. It can be practiced by anyone without effort, regardless of age or state of life, at any time, and in any place.
It is comforting. No more is required than to descend in spirit for a few moments into Purgatory, and to petition God to send light, relief and peace to the holy souls, to relieve them of their sufferings, and to hasten the hour of their deliverance.
It is holy. It is in accordance with the wishes of the Sacred Heart. It increases His honor. He is our companion on this pilgrimage. We share in His love, and receive from Him light, relief and peace for the suffering souls.
It is generous. It offers to the Sacred Heart every meritorious deed performed in the course of a day: prayers, mortifications, good works, alms, suffrages of every kind, and places them at His disposal on behalf of the Poor Souls.
It is inexhaustible. It implores Our Lord and Savior to apply to them the infinite merits of His Life. His Passion and Death, and also those of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and all The Saints.
It is efficacious.…. If only you knew with what ardent desire these holy souls long for this new “remedy” which has such efficacy to relieve their sufferings. For this is what St Margaret Mary calls the devotion to the Sacred Heart.
It is meritorious... By extending this act of brotherly love to the Poor Souls, our own merits are increased in the same measure as the pious thoughts which it inspired, the good disposition which it creates, the acts of virtue which it prompts.
It goes on increasingly…... At every moment of the day and night, somewhere on earth members of the Archconfraternity pray for our departed friends according to our intention. There is an uninterrupted sequence of holy Masses, Stations of the Cross, good works, prayers and indulgences. Those whose death we mourn will never be forgotten.
It is approved by the Church…… Many bishops have readily given their approval. His Eminence, the Cardinal Vicar of his Holiness, has recommended it twice in a most explicit manner. The Holy Father himself has deigned to bestow the richest privileges upon the altar of the Poor Souls in the Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Rome.
It is favored by God himself …… Numerous spiritual and temporal favors have manifested, again and again, how pleasing this practice is to the Sacred Heart. One may use it with confidence as a means of obtaining the conversion of a sinner, the restoration of health, or a special grace. Very effective also is the promise to promote this devotion if a petition be heard. If the Lord rewards in this life the gift or a cup of cold water, given in His name to the poor, He certainly will reward, even more generously, the help offered for His sake to the Poor Souls.
It is salutary…… By helping the Poor Souls, we assure ourselves their perpetual gratitude; they will pray for us, especially after their entrance into eternal happiness; in particular will they endeavor to obtain for us the grace of a happy death.
“On awakening on this morning on the Sunday of the Good Shepherd” wrote St. Margaret Mary two hundred years ago, “two of my suffering friends came to take leave of me, today the Good Shepherd received them into His eternal home. They left with untold joy and happiness. When I asked them to remember me, they replied: “Ingratitude has never entered heaven.”
It deserves to be propagated……O you my Christian friends who read these lines, priests, religious or devout laypeople, help to spread this devotion, It is so simple, and requires so little effort; moreover, you will be rewarded for it. Let at least one tiny drop of water trickle into Purgatory every day. If no one refuses to do so, many souls will be released, and a refreshing stream of grace will flow without ceasing through that prison of fire.
Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory Preparation:
(Either one of the following acts or a similar one will suffice.)
Prayer - O St. Margaret Mary, whom the Lord has chosen to reveal to the whole world all the treasures hidden in his merciful heart of Love! O thou who hast heard how the Poor Souls in Purgatory begged for this new remedy, the devotion to the Sacred Heart which relieves them so effectively of their torments! O thou who hast set free so many of these poor prisoners by practicing this devotion: obtain for us the grace to make this Pilgrimage worthily in the company of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Amen.
Unite your own intentions with those of the faithful who make this pilgrimage daily.
Consecration of the Day:
Divine Heart of Jesus, in making this pilgrimage with Thee as my Companion, I consecrate to Thee all my thoughts, words and actions of the entire day. I pray Thee to unite my small merits with Thine and to apply them to the Poor Souls, especially the soul of Thy servant, N.N.
Likewise do I entreat you, holy souls, to help me obtain the grace to persevere in love and loyalty toward the Sacred Heart, by submitting readily and without complaint to whatever designs He may have in my regard.
Offering - Eternal Father, we offer Thee the Blood, Passion and Death of Jesus Christ and the sorrows of the most holy Mary and St. Joseph in payment for our sins, in suffrage for the holy souls in Purgatory, for the wants of our Holy Mother the Church and for the conversion of Sinners. Amen.
Ejaculation - “May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be loved everywhere.” 300 days.
“Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, pray for us.” 300 days
“St. Joseph, model and patron of those who love the Sacred Heart, pray for us.” 300 Days, Plenary Indulgence, once a month
Let us for a moment, in company with the Sacred Heart, descend in spirit into the consuming flames of Purgatory.
How many of these souls are beginning their painful imprisonment this very moment! I know many of them have been there for a long time and shall be there for a longer time to come! And what a holy legion almost entirely purified and cleansed at the present moment, shall rise to heaven this very day!
How happy the Poor Souls are! They have escaped hell forever. They are certain to obtain eternal happiness. They are friends of God; they are saved. And yet, how miserable they are at the same time. They must still suffer temporal punishment for sins which have been already forgiven them. The gates of their heavenly fatherland are still closed to them; they are sentenced to expiating fire.
Behold them in their present plight! Listen to their lamentations! Speak to them a word of friendship and sympathy, and hasten to their assistance!
The Heroic Act of Charity in Favor of the Poor Souls in Purgatory
The heroic Act of Charity is the most beautiful and most effective manifestation of devotion to the Poor souls, as well as of love of God and neighbor in general. For those of our associates who did not make it as yet, we give the following explanation.
1. Purpose of meaning of Heroic Act of Charity.
The heroic act of charity on behalf of the souls in Purgatory consists of a voluntary offering, made by one of the faithful in their favor, of all works of satisfaction done in this life, as well as of all suffrages which shall be offered after death. By this act he deposits all these works and suffrages in the hands of the Blessed Virgin, that she may distribute them on behalf of those holy souls whom it is her good pleasure to deliver from the pains of Purgatory, and at the same time he declares that by this personal offering he forgoes on their behalf only the special and personal benefit of those works of satisfaction, so that, if he be a priest, he is not hindered from applying the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass according to the intention of those who give him alms for that purpose.
Every meritorious act performed in the state of sanctifying grace and with a good intention, gains for us the following spiritual privileges:
- An increase in sanctifying grace and heavenly glory.
- Many graces of body and soul for ourselves and for others.
- Remission of temporal punishment for our sins.
Only this third fruit, the satisfactory or expiatory part of the works that we accomplish is conceded or applied to the souls in Purgatory, whereas the fruit of merit and impetration (of prayer), remains ours. The heroic act therefore does not prevent us from praying for ourselves or for others, nor to let others share in our good works.
In making the heroic act and desiring to gain the indulgences attached to it, one foregoes in truth and in fact, without reservation of any kind, and without exception, the special and personal benefits of all works of satisfaction and suffrage, and deposits them as a voluntary offering to God in the hands of the Blessed Virgin.
This act of charity is not a vow and does not bind under sin. It may be revoked at any time. It stands to reason, however, that, by doing so, one can no longer gain the indulgences attached to the heroic act.
The priests who have made this offering may enjoy the benefits of the privileged altar personally every day of the year. All of the faithful who have made this act may gain:
1. A plenary indulgence applicable only to the departed, every day that they receive Holy Communion, provided they visit a church or public oratory and pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.
2. A plenary indulgence every Monday, if they hear Mass in suffrage for the souls in Purgatory and fulfil the usual conditions. The sick, old people, those living in the country, travelers, prisoners, etc., who cannot hear Mass on Monday may offer to this end that of the Sunday.
3. All indulgences granted, or to be granted and gained by the faithful who have made this offering, are applicable to the holy souls in Purgatory, even when this faculty is not so expressed in the formula or decree of the concession of such indulgences.
Motives For Making The Heroic Act
1. You gain many indulgences.
2. Innumerable souls are quickly released from Purgatory; heaven is filled with new saints, who will glorify and praise God for all eternity, also on your behalf.
3. You will gain the special love of the Holy Trinity, of Our Savior, and of all the saints and you have the promise of
Our Lord applied to you: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” (Math. 5, 7.)
4. After you have made the heroic act, the Poor Souls will become your debtors; in heaven they will labor that you may not be lost, that you shall not suffer Purgatory at all, or at least be released from it soon.
5. The Blessed Virgin receives an increase of signal veneration, since she will be proclaimed, loved, and invoked as the most loving Queen of the Poor Souls and sweet dispenser of our merits to them. There can be no doubt that she will have a special affection for those who love and honor her in this way, both while they are in this world and after they have passed into eternity.
Unnecessary Apprehension In Regard To The Heroic Act
Do not be afraid that you will suffer any loss by this act of charity. Neither need you fear that you yourself will be in danger of having to endure a long and painful Purgatory. On the contrary, you can only gain by it, since you will enjoy the special love of the Most Holy Trinity, of Our Savior, the Blessed Virgin, and of all the saints. Who shall fare better in the end: he who relies solely on justice of God, or he who heroically offers his merits to the Poor Souls and trusts entirely in God‟s infinite mercy and generosity? The latter without doubt. In making the heroic act of charity, therefore, you have nothing to fear for yourself; you can only gain by it.
Nor need you fear that the souls of your relatives, friends and benefactors will be slighted in the least. The Blessed Virgin does not distribute arbitrarily the good works offered for the Poor Souls, but according to that measure of charity and justice which God himself employs in the distribution of His graces. She will therefore favor with your merits preferably those souls towards whom you have special obligations.
Many persons, distinguished by their position, learning and holiness, have made this heroic act in favor of the Poor Souls and will not regret it in eternity. Follow their example, and likewise offer the atoning merits of your good works for the comfort and deliverance of the Poor Souls.
No special formula for making the heroic act is prescribed. For your convenience however, we herewith give the formula taken from the works of St. Alphonsus de Liguori. Its briefness lends itself to a frequent and profitable renewal of this act.
“Oh my God, in union with the merits of Jesus and Mary, I offer Thee for the souls in Purgatory, all my satisfactory works, as well as those which may be applied to me by others during my life, and after my death. And, so as to be more agreeable to the Divine Heart of Jesus and more helpful to the departed, I place them all in the hands of the merciful Virgin Mary.
Invocations for the Poor Souls.
We beseech Thee, Oh Lord, help the souls detained in the fire of Purgatory, whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.
Dear Lord Jesus, grant them (or him) eternal rest.
The Daily Pilgrimage To Purgatory - A Pious Union of Prayer
“In union with the Divine Heart of Jesus make a short pilgrimage to Purgatory at night. Offer Him all your activities of the day and ask Him to apply His merits to the suffering souls. At the same time implore them to obtain for you the grace to live and die in the love and friendship of this divine Heart. May he never find in you any resistance to His holy will nor any wish to thwart His design in your regard. Fortunate will you be, if you succeed in obtaining deliverance for some of these imprisoned souls, for you will gain as many friends in heaven.”
The purpose of this “Pious Union” is to obtain relief and deliverance from Purgatory for the Poor Souls. Its secondary aim is the attainment of personal holiness, the conversion of sinners and the acquisition of the necessary spiritual and temporal graces.
a. Special protection of the Sacred Heart, Who considers every act of charity towards the Poor Souls as done to Himself.
b. Gratitude of the souls in Purgatory. “If only you knew,” writes St. Margaret Mary, “with what great longing these holy souls yearn for this new „remedy‟, which relieves them so effectively of their sufferings. For this is what they call true devotion to the Sacred heart, especially the sacrifice of the holy Mass offered in His honor.” In another place the Saint says: “Ingratitude has never entered heaven.”
c. A share in the prayers and good works of the associates.
d. The departed members of this “Pious Union,” particularly those who have been specially recommended, receive unceasingly the fruits of the numerous holy Masses, offered for the intention of this association.
a. Promise without binding yourself in conscience, to meditate every day, no matter how briefly, on Purgatory or some other pious practice, e.g. on some ejaculatory prayer to which indulgences applicable to the Poor Souls are attached.
b. Send, if possible once a year, a holy Mass for the intention of this “Pious Union .Offer for the same intention all the Masses you attend, all the Holy Communions you receive, all the good works you perform, particularly those which have for their purpose the veneration of the Sacred Heart.
Help to spread the devotion to the Sacred Heart, so dear and beneficial to the suffering souls.
Distribute the booklet: “Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory.”
Enrol, if you have not yet done so, in the Archconfraternity of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. All of its indulgences are applicable to the Poor Souls.
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ in satisfaction for my sins, and in supplication for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, and for the needs of the Holy Church.
500 days. Plenary Indulgence once a month if said daily.
Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation!
300 days. Plenary Indulgence once a month if said daily.
My Jesus mercy!
300 days. Plenary Indulgence once a month if said daily
Jesus, meek and humble of Heart, make my heart like unto Thine!
500 days, once a day. Plenary indulgence once a month if said daily
May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be loved everywhere! 300 days.
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, pray for us! 300 days.
St. Joseph, Model and Patron of those who love the Sacred Heart, pray for us! 300 days. Plenary Indulgence once a month.
August 15, 1933
✠ EDWARD F. HOBAN
Bishop of Rockford