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Maria Rosario Desnoyers wrote:

Hi, guys —

I was raised a Roman Catholic and my mother recently completed her journey here on earth, and passed away about a month ago. It was so sudden; right after she went to church.

She was a leader of a Catholic organization in our town for 25 years. She:

  • was very down to earth
  • a follower of Jesus by heart and deeds
  • prayed the Rosary every day
  • was very compassionate, very helpful, and
  • just showed love to everyone, even to those who were jealous of her!

  • I just want to know where she is at right now: in Heaven or in Purgatory?

I believe that I will be reunited with her when it's my time to go.

Thanks a lot!

And God Bless,


  { Can you tell me right now, whether my mother is in Heaven or in Purgatory? }

Eric replied:

Hi, Maria —

None of us can judge another person's soul for certain, except the Church in its canonization process — or perhaps by a private revelation, but even by a private revelation, we can't know for sure. Whether they are in Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory — we just don't know.

Pray for her unceasingly.


Mike replied:

Hi, Maria —

In addition to Eric's fine comments, I just wanted to add that Purgatory is not an everlasting place. Those that depart from this earthly life have chosen either Heaven or Hell.

If we die in a state of grace, but have not been totally purified from our sins, by nature, any remaining self-love, will get burned off as it approaches the Throne of Grace.

You can think of Purgatory as a suburb of Heaven. Those being purified in Purgatory have been saved by Jesus, but their souls have not been totally purified. I call Purgatory the Holy Hospital of Heaven.

  • Why?

Because when we sin, it's like cutting our hand with a knife. We can be forgiven of the sin but in order to restore the hand, the doctor or nurse will have to use a disinfectant to ensure no bacteria enters and as you know alcohol on a cut is painful.

It hurts, but it's necessary for a total purity and recovery of our hand. A similar purifying process is applied to our souls after we die.

That said, we should always keep our immediate family members, who have passed away, in our prayers and remember that they are not really gone! In all likelihood, they are close to us spiritually and praying for us all the time.

Both my parents (Stephen and Dorothy Humphrey) died within the past five years and made a lot of sacrifices so their three sons (I'm the middle one) would have a better life. I regularly mention a silent intention for them at Sunday Mass (and daily Masses, when I can get to them) on a regular basis. I also ask them to "team-up" prayer-wise on certain things I need in my life.

  • I've asked my father to team up with St. Joseph in guiding me on how to use my finances.
  • I've asked my mother to team up with Our Blessed Mother in guiding me on making sure I stay warm enough, clothing-wise, during the winter months.

Selfish Side note: When I pass to my particular judgment, please have a lot of Masses said for me and keep me in your prayers. That's the attitude I would want my immediate family to have.

If you or anyone wishes to take "praying for their departed family members" seriously, check out my other web site, Helpers of the Holy Souls. It's dedicated to praying for the Holy Souls who are being purified in Purgatory. We have a FREE Purgatory Prayer Program starter kit we can send you at:

St. Thomas Aquinas tells us:

"Of all prayers, the most meritorious, the most acceptable to God are prayers for the dead, because they imply all the works of charity, both corporal and spiritual."


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