Mary, Mother of Mercy

Icon of the Mother of Mercy – Vilnius, Lithuania

We read, in the life of Sister Catharine of St. Augustine, that in the place where she resided, there was a woman, of the name of Mary, who in her youth was a sinner, and in her old age continued so obstinate in wickedness, that she was driven out of the city, and reduced to live in a secluded cave; there she died, half consumed by disease, without the sacraments, and was consequently interred in a field like a beast. Sister Catharine, who always recommended the souls of those who departed from this world, with great fervor to God, on hearing the unfortunate end of this poor, poor old woman, never thought of praying for her, and she looked upon her (as did every one else) as irrevocably lost. One day, four years afterwards, a suffering soul appeared, and exclaimed: “How unfortunate is my lot, Sister Catharine! Thou recommendest souls of all those that die to God: on my soul alone thou hast not compassion.” “And who art thou?” ask the servant of God. “I am,” she replied, “that poor Mary who died in the cave.” “And art thou saved?” asked Catharine. “Yes,” she answered, “by the mercy of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” “And how?” “When I saw myself at the point of death, loaded with sins, and abandoned by all, I had recourse to the Mother of  God, saying, ‘Lady, thou art the refuge of abandoned creatures; behold me, at this moment, abandoned by all; thou art my only hope; thou alone canst help me: have pity on me.’ The Blessed Virgin obtained for me the grace to make an act of contrition. I died, and am saved; and besides this, she my Queen obtained for me another favor, that my purgatory should be shortened, by enduring, in intensity, that which otherwise would have lasted for many years: I now want only a few masses to be entirely delivered; I beg thee to have them said; and on my part, I promise always to pray for thee to God and to Mary.” Sister Catharine immediately had the masses said; and after a few days that soul again appeared to her, shining like the sun, and said: “I thank thee, Catharine: behold, I go to Paradise, to sing the mercies of my God, and to pray for thee.”

From The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

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