Home People November 24: Stories that Inspire for the Month of the Holy Souls: One Day in Purgatory

November 24: Stories that Inspire for the Month of the Holy Souls: One Day in Purgatory

November 24: Stories that Inspire for the Month of the Holy Souls: One Day in Purgatory

The book, The Month of the Holy Souls, presents daily considerations for the month of November in the form of meditations and practical examples. The example for today is as follows.



St. Antoninus relates that a sick person besought God with many tears to free him from his excruciating sufferings.

An angel appeared to him and said, “The Lord sends me to you to give you your choice, a year of suffering on earth or a single day in Purgatory.”

The sick man did not hesitate. “One day in Purgatory,” said he, “and I shall at least see the end of my sufferings.”

He expired soon after, and his soul was precipitated into the abyss of expiation. Then the compassionate angel came to comfort him. On seeing him the unfortunate man uttered a terrible cry, that was like a shriek from hell, and called out: “Deceitful angel, you have deceived me; you assured me that I should be but a single day in Purgatory, and already I have passed twenty years in the most frightful torments.”

“Unfortunate soul,” replied the angel, “you are mistaken; the severity of your torments has made you exaggerate the length of time, and caused you to imagine an age what is but the effect of a moment. Be not deceived; your death took place but a few minutes ago, and your corpse is not yet cold.”

“Obtain, then leave for me to return to earth, to suffer for a year all that God pleases.”

His request was granted, and the sick man endeavored to induce those who came to see him to accept willingly all the pains of this world, rather than expose themselves to the torments of the next.

He often repeated: “Patience in suffering is the golden key of heaven.” Let us, then, profit by the sufferings Providence is pleased to send us, both for ourselves and for the souls in Purgatory.


This anecdote comes from Month of the Souls in Purgatory by Abbé Berlioux, originally published in English in the year 1886. This book contains meditations and an example story for each day of the month. In an effort to preserve short inspiring stories from our Catholic past, every day for the month of November you can find the example story for the day published on the website under people/stories.

The same author also published similar books for the months of March (St. Joseph), May (Our Lady), and June (Sacred Heart). We are planning to post the stories for these months in the future, as well as re-publish a collection of these four books as a set, so be sure to check back in a few months.