Historical fiction: The Children of the Blue Nun

Chapter IIIC: The Souls in Purgatory come out one by one

By Larry Torres
Posted 10/17/19

The Reverend Mother remained thinking about the praises that Sister María was offered by an unknown composer. How was it that an adolescent novice who had barely reached the age of reason was able to inspire such mystic fervor? Sister María was sleeping, overcome by a heavy sleep. Nothing could disturb her.

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Historical fiction: The Children of the Blue Nun

Chapter IIIC: The Souls in Purgatory come out one by one

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The Reverend Mother remained thinking about the praises that Sister María was offered by an unknown composer. How was it that an adolescent novice who had barely reached the age of reason was able to inspire such mystic fervor? Sister María was sleeping, overcome by a heavy sleep. Nothing could disturb her.

The Reverend Mother picked up the book of prayer from the cot at her side. Suddenly she could make out a little paper stuck between the pages of the missal. It was a personal note signed with the name "Theresa." It contained some advice as to how to help the souls come out of Purgatory where they were being purified.

From what the Reverend Mother understood, Holy Mother the Church was divided into three parts: The Church represented by the saints was called The Church Triumphant. The Church of the living was called The Church Militant. The Church of the souls was called The Church Suffering. The souls were being purified from all sins in Purgatory.

She knew that the souls needed the living to pray for them before they could ascend to heaven. She had heard some other nuns whispering that Sister María would sometimes talk with the souls of certain dead people, interceding on their behalf. Sister María was not afraid of the dead; for her, the souls were her family. Assuredly, many of the dead had been delivered from their agony through the intercession of Sister María. But, how did she do it? The Reverend Mother did not know.

All she knew was that certain people were afraid of the dead. Whenever they would see the dead walking among them, they would call them "the unfleshed ones." Now that their bodies no longer functioned in this world, some knew them as "the defunct ones." While the Reverend Mother was leafing through the missal, she found the prayer that Sister María used to pull souls out of Purgatory, one at a time. She read the prayer, word by word, quietly:

"Christ Jesus has gone missing and the Virgin seeks him out, from garden spot to garden spot, rosebushes there about. Beneath a bush of roses white, there sits a garden youth: 'Dear gardener, for the sake of God, now tell me the whole truth: Have you seen the Christ of Nazareth now pass by here forsooth?'

"'Yes, Lady, I did see him before the rooster crowed. A cross he had upon his back; he staggered with its load. A crown of thorns that made him faint and falter with great pain. A noose was hung around his neck and stretched with such disdain, and many Jews were at his side that had him bound and towed.

"'Let's hurry thus, dear Virgin pure, to Calv'ry on the mound, regardless of the haste we make, to Cross they'll have Him bound. They've nailed his feet upon the Cross. By now they've nailed his hands - a lance was pointed at his breast and in his side it lands.

"'The blood he shed, in sacred cup is held there safe and sound. The man who drinks this blood of life in time will be well-blessed; he'll be most favored in this life and crowned within the next.'

"Whoever says this prayer by day each Friday of the year will draw a soul from greatest pain and his own from all fear. Whoever hears and doesn't heed this message or disdains, on Judgment Day will come to know the power it contains."

Reverend Mother put down the prayer book and placed it on the pillow thinking that Sister María must have great patience, endeavoring to pull the souls from Purgatory one by one through her intercessions. She sighed, reflecting on the tenacity of the nun. Perhaps that was the secret of her success in mysticism.

The Spanish version of this story is on Page C4.

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