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: http://www.theresalinden.com
Tortured Soul is available on Amazon and through any bookseller. Support your local Catholic bookstore by requesting this book through them.