Saint of the Day – 6 November – Nostra Signora del Suffragio / Our Lady of Suffrage for the Souls in Purgatory.
The Archconfraternity of Death and Prayer (mortis et orationis), founded in Rome, 1538, to provide for the burial of the poor and abandoned, still exists (cf. Berignani, loc. cit).
At the beginning of the 17th Century, it was granted a new Indulgences by Pope Paul V (Rescr. auth. S. C. Indulg., n. 26, pp. 448 sqq. Moroni, II, 303).
About 1687, the Rules for a special Confraternity “for the relief of the Most Needy Souls in Purgatory” under the Sacred Names of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, were approved in Rome.
The Confraternity for the relief of the departed under the title of “Jesus Christ on Mount Calvary and the Sorrowful Mother” enjoyed special popularity and on 8 September 1760, inaugurated, the processions of the Way of the Cross in the Roman Coliseum. Among its illustrious members was St Leonard of Port Maurice OFM (1676-1751).
In 1874, the Ingolstadt Mass Association, formed by the Franciscans of Ingolstadt in 1726, to procure for all members the grace of a happy death and for those already deceased, speedy assistance and liberation form the pains of Purgatory, was raised to a formal and legal Confraternity, under the title of the Immaculate Conception.
An ancient, highly venerated painting of the Mother of God, was adopted as the Titular image of the Association, which has received all the Indulgences of the Confraternity of the same name, in the Ara Coeli at Rome, that is, the Indulgences of the Blue Scapular.
It numbers its members by tens and hundreds of thousands; almost 2000 Masses are daily celebrated for the intentions of the Marian Mass Association, which includes the intention of particularly assisting for the most recently deceased members.
At the close of the Middle Ages, the old Confraternities, generally confined to a town or small district, gradually disappeared, as also did many of the later ones in the confusion at the end of the eighteenth century, while others preserved only a semblance of life.
Since the beginning of the 19th Century, they have been replaced by vigorous new Associations, which, richly endowed with Indulgences by ecclesiastical authorities, have rapidly extended to the entire Church.
By brief of 5 October, 1818, Pope Pius VII endowed the Archconfraternity of Our Mother of Sorrows and Suffrage of the Poor Souls in Purgatory, which was erected in the Basilica of San Maria in Trastevere, with rich Indulgences.
First among the later Confraternities which have extended throughout Christendom, is the “Archconfraternity for the Relief of the Poor Souls in Purgatory under the title of the Assumption of Mary, in the Redemptorist Church of San Maria in Monterone at Rome.” Founded in 1841, it rapidly developed, especially in England and North America and was endowed with Indulgences in 1841-63. Priests empowered to receive the faithful into the Confraternity enjoy various other faculties. This Confraternity is especially adapted for rapid expansion because in 1860, it was expressly authorised to include, every Confraternity of whatever name and object and to communicate to them its graces and privileges, provide they added to their original Titles “and for the relief of the Poor Souls in Purgatory.” The Redemptorist Fathers conduct this Archconfraternity.
Indulgences of the Confraternities are ever applicable to the Souls in Purgatory and the privileges of the Altar for Churches and for Priests, who are members, may be used in favour of dead members or for all poor souls. The formation of the “Catholic League for Constant Intercession for the Poor Souls in Purgatory” was proposed by certain pious citizens of Rome, approved by Leo XIII in the last years of his reign, and enriched with Indulgences. The only requisite for membership is to recite thrice daily the prayer, “Requiem æternam – Eternal Rest grant unto them O Lord …” thereby gaining, once daily, an Indulgence of 200 days.
O Turn to Jesus, Mother! Turn
By Fr Frederick William Faber CO (1814-1863)
O turn to Jesus, Mother! turn,
And call Him by His tenderest Names;
Pray for the Holy Souls that burn,
This hour amid the cleansing flames.
Ah! they have fought a gallant fight;
In death’s cold arms, they persevered
And after life’s uncheery night,
The harbour of their rest is neared.
In pains beyond all earthly pains,
Favourites of Jesus! there they lie,
Letting the fire wear out their stains,
And worshipping God’s purity.
Spouses of Christ, they are, for He
Was wedded to them by His Blood
And Angels o’er their destiny
In wondering adoration brood.
They are the children of thy tears,
Then hasten, Mother! to their aid;
In pity think each hour appears
An age while glory is delayed.
See, how they bound amid their fires,
While pain and love their spirits fill;
Then with self-crucified desires
Utter sweet murmurs, and lie still.
Ah me! the love of Jesus yearns
O’er that abyss of sacred pain,
And as He looks His Bosom burns
With Calvary’s dear thirst again.
O Mary! let thy Son no more
His lingering Spouses thus expect,
God’s children to their God restore,
And to the Spirit, His elect.
Pray then, as thou hast ever prayed;
Angels and Souls, all look to thee,
God waits thy prayers, for He hath made
Those prayers, His law of charity.
Tune: “Eltham” Nathaniel Gawthorn – 18th Century