We have culled references to Purgatory from a few sources.
Click 'Reference' for bibliographical details, and link, if available.


: Thurston
, Herbert, S.J., and Donald Attwater, editors, Butler's Lives of the Saints: Complete Edition    St. Gregory the Great   -  March 12: Volume I, pp. 567-568

"The trental of Masses or Gregorian Masses for the Dead are also connected in origin with this period. Justus, one of his monks, being ill, acknowledged to having three golden crowns hidden away, and the abbot sternly forbade the brethren to have any communication with him or to visit him on his death bed. Upon his death, he was excluded from the monks' burial ground and was interred under a dunghill, the pieces of gold being buried with him. Nevertheless, as he died penitent, the abbot ordered that Mass should be offered for thirty days for the repose of his soul, and we have St. Gregory's own testimony that at the close of that time, the dead man's soul appeared to Copiosus, his natural brother, assuring him that he had been in torments but was now released."

: Schouppe
, F.X., S.J., Purgatory: Explained by the Lives and Legends of the Saints    St. Drithelm - Chapter 11: pp. 41-45

"There was a man in Northumberland named Drithelm, who, with his family, led a most Christian life. He fell sick, and his malady increasing day by day, he was soon reduced to extremity, and died. to the great desolation and grief of his wife and children. The latter passed the night in tears by the remains, but the following day, before his interment, they saw him suddenly return to life, arise, and place himself in a sitting posture. At this sight they were seized with such fear that they all took to flight, with the exception of the wife, who, trembling, remained alone with her risen husband. He reassured her immediately: 'Fear not,' he said; ' it is God who restores to me my life; He wishes to show in my person a man raised from the dead. I have yet long to live upon earth, but my new life will be very different from the one I led hereto fore.' Then he arose full of health, went straight to the chapel or church of the place, and there remained long in prayer. He returned home only to take leave of those who had been dear to him upon earth, to whom he declared that he would live only to prepare himself for death, and advised them o do likewise. Then, having divided his property into three parts, he gave one to his children, another to his wife, and reserved the third part to give in alms. When he had distributed all to the poor, and reduced himself to extreme indigence, he went and knocked at the door of a monastery, ad begged the Abbot to receive him as a penitent Religious, who would be servant to all the others.

The Abbot gave him a retired cell, which he occupied for the rest of his life. Three exercises divided his time -- prayer, the hardest labor, and extraordinary penances. The most rigorous fasts he accounted as nothing. In winter he was seen to plunge himself into frozen water, and remain here for hours and hours in prayer, whilst he recited the whole Psalter of David.

The mortified life of Drithelm, his downcast eyes, even his features, indicated a soul struck with fear of the judgments of God. He kept a perpetual silence, but on being pressed to relate, for theedification of others, what God had manifested to him after his death, he thus described his vision:

"On leaving my body, I was received by a benevolent person, who took me under his guidance. His face was brilliant, and he appeared surrounded with light. He arrived at a large deep valley of immense extent, all fire on one side, all ice and snow on the other; on the one hand braziers and cauldrons of flame, on the other the most intense cold and blast of glacial wind.

This mysterious valley was filled with innumerable souls, which, tossed as by a furious tempest, threw themselves from one side to the other. when they could no longer endure the violence of the fire, they sought relief amidst the ice and snow; but finding themselves only a new torture, they cast themselves again into the midst of the flames.

I contemplated in a stupor these continual vicissitudes of horrible torments, and as far as my sight could extend, I saw nothing but a multitude of souls which suffered without ever having repose. Theirvery aspect inspired me with fear. I thought at first that I saw Hell; but my guide, who walked before me, turned to me and said, 'No; this is not, as you think, the Hell of the reprobate. Do you know,' he continued, 'what place this is?' 'No,' I answered. 'Know.' he resumed, 'that this valley, where you see so much fire and so much ice, is the place where the souls of those are punished who, during their life, have neglected to confess their sins, and who have deferred their conversion to the end. Thanks to a special mercy of God, they have had the happiness of sincerely repenting before death, of confessing band detesting their sins. This is why they are not damned, and on the great day of judgment will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Several of them will obtain deliverance before that time, by the merits of prayers, alms, and fasts, offered in their favor by the living, and especially in virtue of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered for their relief."

Such was the recital of Drithelm. When asked why he so rudely treated his body, why he plunged himself into frozen water, he replied that he had seen other torments, and cold of another kind.

If his brethren expressed astonishment that he could endure these extraordinary austerities, "I have seen," said he, "penances still more astonishing." To the day when it pleased God to call him to Himself, he ceased not to afflict his body, and although broken down with age, he would accept no alleviation."

: Schouppe
, F.X., S.J., Purgatory: Explained by the Lives and Legends of the Saints    St. Gertrude - Chapter 31: pp. 267-268

"Venerable Denis, the Cartusian, relates that the Virgin, St. Gertrude, had made a complete donation of all her works of satisfaction in favor of the faithful departed, without reserving anything wherewith to discharge the debts which she herself might have contracted in the sight of God. Being at the point of death, and, like all the saints, considering with much sorrow the great number of her sins on the one hand, and, on the other, remembering that she had employed all her works of satisfaction for the expiation of the sins of others, she was afflicted, lest, having given all to others and reserved nothing for herself, her soul, on its departure from this world, should be condemned to horrible suffering. In the midst of her fears our Lord appeared to her and consoled her, saying: 'Be assured, My daughter, your charity towards the departed will be no detriment to you. Know that the generous donation you have made of all your works to the holy souls has been singularly pleasing to Me; and to give you a proof thereof, I declare to you that all the pains you would have had to endure in the other life are now remitted; moreover, in recompense for your generous charity, I will so enhance the value of the merits of your works as to give you a great increase of glory in Heaven.'""