Praying for the Souls in Purgatory

On November 2, we observe All Souls Day; on November 8, we observe All Dominican Souls Day.  Especially during November, the month customarily dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory, we encourage everyone to pray for the souls in Purgatory.

Why Pray for the Souls in Purgatory?

Our Catholic Faith teaches us: “Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven—through a purification [namely, Purgatory] or immediately,—or immediate and everlasting damnation” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1022).

All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. . . . The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire. . .

From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God.  The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead.  (From the Catechism, parts of paragraphs 1030-1032.)

Our prayers and good works on behalf of the souls in Purgatory help them be cleansed more quickly from their venial sins and the left-over temporal punishment due to sin.  Once in Heaven with Our Lord, they also remember us gratefully and pray for us in return.

Join us in prayer

As Dominicans, we have a special devotion to praying for the poor souls in Purgatory, and do so frequently throughout the day and more intensely on special days each week and throughout the year.  Our holy Father St. Dominic and many of our Saints lead us in this practice.

Here are some ways you can help the souls in Purgatory this month and all year round:

  • Have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered for the souls in purgatory, for your loved ones after their death and every year on the anniversary of their death.
  • Offer your devout attendance at Mass and reception of Holy Communion for the repose of the faithful departed.  Offer other prayers such as the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, Divine Mercy Chaplet, or even a short “Jesus, I love You!” for the holy souls.  You can also visit a cemetery to pray for the departed.
  • Fast, give alms, or do some other work of mercy with the intention of offering it to God for the relief of the souls in Purgatory.  Offer your ordinary daily sufferings for the same intention.
  • Enroll your deceased loved ones in the associations of perpetual prayers offered by many religious orders. You may enroll your departed loves ones to receive a share in our prayers and good works by using the form on our Enrollment Page.
  • Add the simple prayer, May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace, to the end of your graces before and after meals.
  • Make provision for your own soul ahead of time, first of all by living a holy life now, but also by leaving money in your will to have Masses offered for the repose of your soul.

If any of those you pray are no longer in need of prayers, Our Lord will certainly use them to help those in most need of His mercy.  Our Lord will certainly bless you for coming to the aid of these often-forgotten souls in Purgatory.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  Amen.

Vocation Letters: Life as a Novice

After a hiatus of two years, we continue following the story of our fictional novice, Sister Mary Rosaria, taking up her life where we left her after her Vestition.  For the history of this series, see our Vocation Letters page.

Ave + Maria

Dear Mom,

Joyful greetings as we close this month of the Holy Rosary!  I have been meaning to write you about my life as a novice, as I know you have been wondering how things have changed for me in the months following my Vestition (reception of the habit).

I have found it to be a beautiful experience of entering more deeply into this vocation as a Dominican novice—even literally, as I “enter into” the habit each morning as I dress myself in this sign of dedication to Christ and of belonging to this Dominican community.  Of course, it takes some time to get used to wearing a flowing white garment every day, and to handle the white Dominican scapular that hangs down in front and back, a sign of Our Lady’s loving care all around us.  Looking so much more like a nun, and responding to my new name each day, reminds me continually to strive to correspond to God’s call by giving myself more fully to Jesus and Mary for the salvation of souls.

As a novice, I am assigned new roles in our singing of the Divine Office, which is lovely, and I have a greater responsibility to give a good example to the Sisters younger than I.  Most daily activities, though, remain the same: my daily Hour of Guard praying the Rosary, our novitiate classes, helping cook on the days the novitiate helps in the kitchen, enjoying recreation with the novitiate or with Mother and all the Sisters, being ready for whatever big or little project Sister Mary Magistra has planned for our work period or to do at recreation!  It is mainly my perspective which continues to grow as I enter more deeply into the life of a Dominican nun.

I keep you all in my prayers—pray for me and give my love to everyone at home!

With love in Our Lady,

Sister Mary Rosaria


Further Reading:

Novena for the Feast of St. Jude

You are welcome to join us today as we begin our yearly novena leading up to the feast of our patron, St. Jude on October 28.

Hymn to St. Jude

Sung to the tune of “Come Thou Almighty King”

Saint Jude of glorious fame
We praise and honor your name
God gave you power
O help us in our need
Please for us intercede
You are our haven blest
O great Saint Jude.

Cousin of Jesus the Lord
You earned your just reward
You gave your life
Preaching amid the strife
Converting to new life
People most dear to God
O great Saint Jude.

Novena Prayer to St. Jude

Most holy Apostle St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the traitor who delivered thy beloved Master into the hands of His enemies has caused thee to be forgotten by many, but the Church honors and invokes thee universally, as the patron of hopeless cases, of things despaired of. Pray for me, who am so miserable; make use I implore thee, of that particular privilege accorded to thee, to bring visible and speedy help where help is almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolations and succor of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly – (here make your request) – and that I may bless God with thee and all the saints forever. I promise thee, O blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, and I will never cease to honor thee as my special and powerful patron, and to do all in my power to encourage devotion to thee. Amen.

Eucharistic Adoration on October 13

October is traditionally celebrated as the month of the Holy Rosary, so it is fitting that this October 13 we will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the last apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. In 1917, after a series of apparitions in each of which Our Lady urged the children to do penance for the salvation of souls and to pray the Rosary, she appeared to them a last time as the crowd of upwards of 30,000 spectators observed the spectacular Miracle of the Sun.

Celebrating October 13 with Eucharistic Adoration

In honor of this occasion, Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi of our Archdiocese of Mobile has called for a day of Eucharistic Adoration: “This anniversary of Fatima gives us a wonderful opportunity to observe a historic moment in which all churches and chapels of the archdiocese are asked to join together in prayer through the Exposition of the Holy Eucharist on the same day.”

“The apparitions of our Mother Mary at Fatima brought, and continues to bring, God’s blessings to the people of God,” the Archbishop said. “Her message or prayer and repentance is as simple as it is profound. We often live our lives without opening our hearts to God’s powerful call to ‘repent and believe!’ (Mk 1:15)”

For What Should We Pray?

Exhorting the people of the archdiocese to participate by spending at least an hour in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, Archbishop Rodi continued:

For what should we pray? The prayer of the Our Father gives us a great starting point. We should ask God for “our daily bread.” In other words, to pray for the needs in our personal lives and in our world. Let us pray for our world, nation, state, communities, families, loved ones and ourselves. This is certainly pleasing to God. As Jesus taught us in the Gospel of John: “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” (Jn 14:13-14)

Let us also remember to pray: “Thy will be done.” So often our prayer is asking for “My will be done, not Thy will be done.” God’s plans are always better than ours. God’s plans are always for our good. God’s plans are always what is best for us. The miracles of prayers are often not that we get what we ask for but that prayer changes us and makes us willing to open ourselves to God’s will. In this way, prayer brings us closer to God and allows us to trust God and lean on Him for strength.

Join Us in Eucharistic Adoration

For us as Dominican nuns dedicated to the perpetual prayer of the Rosary before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, Eucharistic Adoration and prayer are a way of life! We invite you to join us in prayer especially on October 13 in response to the Archbishop’s exhortation, either in our chapel, at a church near you, or in spirit from your home.

On Friday, October 13, our normal 7:30 am daily Mass will be in honor of Our Lady of Fatima. Eucharistic Adoration will follow as usual, with the chapel open to the public until 6:00 pm. At 11:25 am we sing Midday Prayer followed by the recitation of the Rosary until noon; at 3:00 pm we sing Midafternoon Prayer. Anyone is welcome to join us for Eucharistic Adoration and silent prayer throughout the day.

As Archbishop Rodi concluded, “May this day of archdiocesan observance honor the Immaculate Heart of Mary by honoring her Son, Jesus Christ, who is the Savior of sinners and the hope of salvation. Let this day remind us of our need to pray, to repent, to do penance and to renew our resolve to live in the dignity of the children of God.”

St. Dominic’s Feast Day Newsletter 2017

Click image above to open St. Dominic’s Feastday Newsletter PDF.

Belated greetings and best wishes for the feast of our Holy Father Saint Dominic!

On August 8th, his feast day, we celebrated with a special Mass and festivities in the monastery.  We thank God for the grace of our Dominican vocation, and for the generosity and support of our many friends who have responded to our summer appeal.  May God bless and keep all of you through the intercession of our Lady and our Holy Father Saint Dominic!

With grateful prayers in Our Lady,

Mother Mary of the Precious Blood, O.P. and Sisters