Do some people see the souls of those departed?
This comes up after a recent conversation with a woman from Australia, Valentina Papagna, originally from Slovenia, who says that in addition to visions of Mary and Jesus -- actually, apparitions -- she frequently, in fact just about daily, encounters souls in purgatory or roaming the earth in need of prayer.
"I could see souls and would tell my mom things," she asserts, for our considered judgment. "This started when I was probably seven or eight, maybe younger. She would later say, 'Gosh, what you told me this morning, the person died!' The person I saw did die that day. I could see a lot of shadows in my room when I was sleeping. It was mostly every day that I would see these people, sometimes plunging toward a great darkness -- it must be very low purgatory. I could see a spark and then like a black shadow falling in."
Dark shadows: They always three Holy Water, she says, and as a family said a nightly Rosary or prayed with her grandmother. "I could see the fire and the souls swarming in," she adds. "Blessed Mother said, 'I don't mean to scare you, but you must see the reality.' The Lord would take me on a tour of these things, and He explained how close the lowest part of purgatory is to Hell. The Blessed Mother told me from hell, there is no way out. Hell for those who don't want to now the love of God. They are really angry and really hate us, really bad hatred. They look like demons -- they are not normal people. They go around tormenting people, they go around the world, tormenting people. Purgatory is more of an even way."
As we'll explore, perhaps in a "special report," she claims -- and it's quite a claim -- to have seen a number of famous people in various states in the afterlife, in many cases not pleasant ones.
This brings to mind other alleged mystics such as Maria Simma of Austria, who saw souls much of her life, including well-known ones.
I was once asked to write a book about her but declined pending further discernment.
We do carry a little booklet about her, Amazing Secrets of the Souls Purgatory, written by a religious sister, a booklet that many find anointed. In Austria was a woman of nobility, a countess, who logged a lifetime of visits from purgatorial souls in a horrible, beastly state.
It goes without saying (though it is good to repeat, at the risk of battologizing) that we have to be careful with such things. There can be deception. There can be imaginings. But a major part of her mission, it seems, is praying for all souls who have not entered Heaven (yet also have been condemned) and among those, allegedly, have been celebrities.
Is it valid -- any of it? She said she saw one, a famous singer who had spent more than two decades in purgatory and a more recent rock musician who was in such a hideous state -- had such a frightening look -- that at first she thought it was an evil spirit (and used Holy Water). She says spirits cry for her help, and that she offers sufferings, including physical ones, for their salvation, which does come (she says she say the famous singer dressed now in white in an anteroom of Heaven).
A leader of a European nation whom she thought would have been in hell due to his Communism she instead saw in the dark of deepest purgatory, begging for intercession, as all souls do. Middle purgatory, she says, is more like a "warehouse" with people shuffling about, often praying for those on earth.
"My child, how free you are, you are dressed in white and able to go wherever you want," she supposedly heard him say. "Here I am a prison, Help me to get out."
"He was dressed very very poorly," she adds. "And under his arm he had these medals, three stars, red ones on it. 'It's all I got is this,' he said/ He was with other men. They were all looking at me very sad. His face kept changing, like puffed up. They go around and around and around."
"There are different purgatories, according to the way you live on earth," explains Valentina. "Three or four levels I have seen, the last close to Heaven, the bottom one very near hell -- just, just the soul didn't fall into hell but they are in total darkness. Most of time souls go through tunnel of darkness. They must learn to love God."
Those who scoff at such things, or believe all they have to do is attend church, may find themselves surprised some day.
We must not only confess but purge wrongful patterns (God forgives each sin when confessed; it is the pattern -- constantly repeating a fault -- that gets us into purgatory).
In purgatory, we are bound to what we are attached to on earth -- chained to it, sometimes literally; repeating vices until we free ourselves from such attachment (particularly, she says, material things). "If people don't pray," she says, "they can be there or centuries and centuries."
As for the earthbound -- or those doing purgatory on earth (seen by many historic saints and mystics, especially Saint Padre Pio) -- she says:
"When people die they get very confused and run everywhere because they still think they are alive and are attached to worldly things, so they hang around here as a ghost."
"The angel told me that most people go to purgatory," she says. ""You have to give account when you die for every little thing. For me it was tasting fruit at the store. The Blessed Mother showed me that this was wrong, that I was taking what was not mine."
In hell, murderers and hate God. "They transform into animals. They scream like -- nothing but scream. And the smell and the smoke and the fire." For our discernment.
Easter Sunday she said Mary came to her and said, "I will show you what you have been suffering for" -- the various trials and tribulations offered up. "They feel suffering more than we do in reality," says the reputed seer, upon whom her archdiocese has not ruled, as far as authenticity. "Blessed Mother and Saint Michael go there to speak with them and offer them encouragement. Down there it is like you go underground to get a train. I would see like matches -- oh my!
"God wants us to be perfect, hundred percent clean, before entering Heaven. On Easter Sunday this year the Blessed Mother took me and showed me the people I had prayed for, and they were all dressed in white with blue ribbons or some kind of -- like the Legion of Mary, with ribbons around the neck, and so anxious to get to Heaven. Blessed Mother was so very very happy and she told me most people go to Heaven on Christmas and Easter time. Many times I have been taken. They are all dressed beautifully. They had to wait until an exact moment. It still looked sort of like earthly around, no trees or many houses, sort of bare, but like sunshine. When they are in purgatory they are like underground, in the dark. These souls were so happy. A couple hundred, four by four in a procession."