The Mystic That Inspired Tortured Soul


Ever since I was a young woman, I’ve been interested in learning all I could about the Four Last Things: death, judgment, heaven, and hell. This led to me reading about purgatory. Which led to me reading about apparitions of souls in purgatory to the living. Which led to me caring deeply for the suffering souls. Which led to me praying for them.

I remember the suffering souls at Mass and, in addition to other favorite prayers, I often say the St. Gertrude prayer:

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.

Prayer given by Our Lord to St. Gertrude

For the past few years, I’ve felt inspired to write a story that will draw attention to the teaching on purgatory and to the need of the suffering souls for our prayers. Tortured Soul is that story.

This supernatural thriller is set in contemporary times and upstate New York even though it was inspired by modern-may mystic Eugenie von der Leyen, who lived from 1867-1929 in Germany.

Today I’d like to tell you a bit about the visionary. You can watch the video below or skip down to the modified transcript.

This story is unlike anything I’ve ever written. Most of my books are geared toward Catholic teens but this story was written for adults.

Eugenie was a princess who lived in a castle in Waal, Bavaria, Germany.

She was a well-educated and well-loved woman who seemed to know everyone in town, including a shepherd who died several years previously.

Eugenie was very devout but she was not a saint. Many saints have received visitors from the suffering souls and seen visions of purgatory–St. Padre Pio, St Gertrude the Great, St. John Vianney, St. Faustina–but I wanted to use Eugenie’s experiences because of the message it sends: praying for the holy souls in purgatory is not just the work of the saints but is something we are all called to do.

Another reason I decided to use Eugenie’s experiences for my story was because once she began receiving these unusual visits, her confessor ordered to write them down in a diary. After her death, this diary was given to Bishop Eugenio Pacelli, who later became Pope Pius XII. In this diary, she recounts her experiences in great detail, telling what the souls looked like, what they said and did, and also how they made her feel. Sometimes she felt great pity and compassion but other times terrified, depending upon the level of purgatory the soul came from.

In one experience, she describes the soul who appeared to her as looking like a tree. While this soul terrified her, she prayed for him–showing just how courageous this woman was. She prayed for him at Mass, offering her Holy Communion, and with other prayers. She also sprinkled holy water on him and in a few days, he started to appear more like a person. After more prayer, she could tell that this was a man and not a woman. A few more days of prayer and she thought she recognized him–it was the shepherd who had died several years previously, a man she had pitied and prayed for during his life. However, he did not respond to his name. He could not speak until she offered more prayers on his behalf. Then he could tell his story.

I combined two of the souls that appeared to this mystic for the sake of the plot. One of these souls had a dark connection with the actual mystic, which I can’t share without spoiling the story. But Tortured Soul is very much a story of mercy.

The protagonist in Tortured Soul, Jeannie Lyons (her name is a modified version of the mystic’s name), is called to a great act of mercy. The soul in this story also makes known the profound mercy of God at work in his salvation. Purgatory itself is the mercy of God.

This teaching and other teachings on purgatory come to light in this story. For example:

  • the suffering souls benefit greatly from our prayers and sacrifices
  • the state of one’s soul at death determines the level of purgatory a soul goes to/through
  • the souls in purgatory experience the greatest pain–unlike anything we experience in the world–but they also experience the greatest joy–again, unlike anything we experience in the world
  • their suffering is a great longing for God
  • souls wouldn’t have it any other way; they want to have that purity needed to be in the presence of our All Holy God

“Nothing impure can enter heaven”

Revelation 21:72

I am honored to have the endorsement of Susan Tassone (the Purgatory Lady) for this book.

Visit my website to learn more:

Tortured Soul is available on Amazon and through any bookseller. Support your local Catholic bookstore by requesting this book through them.

New Release: Supernatural Thriller TORTURED SOUL

release date: May 12, 2019

Have you been participating in the Virtual Book Tour for Tortured Soul? Thank you! This is the last stop and your last day to enter the giveaway.

For many years now, the Holy Souls in purgatory have had a place in my heart. I’ve read many non-fiction essays and books about them, including some by Susan Tassone “The Purgatory Lady”. One of my favorites is a little pink prayer book called The Rosary for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. In addition to helping the poor souls with your prayers, this book is filled with Scripture verses that deepen your understanding of purgatory.

It is an honor to have Susan Tassone’s endorsement for my book:

“Theresa Linden’s Tortured Soul gives an accurate, captivating, and ‘novel’ way for readers to learn about and better understand the Church’s teaching on purgatory. Thank you, Theresa!”

Susan Tassone “The Purgatory Lady”, author of Day By Day with the Holy Souls in Purgatory: 365 Reflections

As I learned about the Poor Souls and prayed for them, I grew in my love for them and the idea of writing a purgatory story began to “haunt” me. I wanted to write a novel that would:

  • give readers a deeper understanding of purgatory and clear up common misconceptions
  • inspire many to trust in the mercy of God (concerning loved ones that have gone before them)
  • inspire many to pray for the Holy Souls (especially those that are most forgotten)

While the souls in purgatory can still pray for us, they can no longer pray for themselves, so it is up to us to pray for them. I hope that my book Tortured Soul gains many prayers for the souls in purgatory.

“Theresa Linden brings devotion to the Holy Souls to a new audience with Tortured Soul. Not everyone will read the historical books or pray with devotional texts, but many will read novels. A wonderful reminder to pray for our beloved dead.”

Fr Edward Looney, author of A Heart Like Mary’s

The main character and this story are loosely based on a German woman named Eugenie von der Leyen (1867-1929) and the apparitions she received. I chose this little-known person, rather than a saint, to emphasize the universal call to assist these souls.

This story takes place in modern times, beginning close to All Souls Day and ending just after Christmas. To write this story, I not only read about apparitions and Church teaching–since Eugenie von der Leyen lived in Germany–I researched German food and Christmas traditions too. I hope these elements, along with the elements of suspense, entertain readers.

“As inspiring as it is chilling, Tortured Soul will not only keep you up all night, heart racing and palms sweating, but will make you pray for the Souls in Purgatory like you never have before!”

Susan Peek, author of The King’s Prey

One of the most powerful prayers we can say on behalf of the Holy Souls is the prayer given to St. Gertrude by Our Lord. According to the saint, this prayer, piously recited, releases a vast number of souls from their suffering in purgatory.

“Eternal Father, I offer You the most precious blood of thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, for those in my own home, and in my family. Amen.”

Prayer for the Holy Souls in Purgatory by St. Gertrude the Great

I am releasing this book on the anniversary of my father’s death. Please say a prayer for his soul. Thank you!


I just drew the winner of the giveaway (5/20/19):

Congratulations, Melanie H.!

Tortured Soul is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and through Ingram (if you are a bookseller). It is available in paperback and ebook. Consider asking your Catholic bookseller to carry it!

Do you have a book club? Bulk discounts are available.

Email: for details.