Welcome to part five of this six part blog series on Purgatory. Don’t worry we are almost done! In part one we debunked Protestant arguments against Purgatory. In part two we looked at the three points the Catechism makes about Purgatory. In part three we took a closer look at an analogy that can help us better understand Purgatory. And in part four I gave you some fun facts the saints and souls tell us about Purgatory If you missed any of those, take a peak at the links below.
- Historical Evidence for Purgatory
- What the Catechism Says About Purgatory
- Scriptural Analogies for Understanding Purgatory
- What Our Holy Experts Say About Purgatory
- The Purgatory Museum
- Conclusion: How Does This Relate To Us?
Now, there’s a Purgatory Museum? Yes! Yes there is.
You’ve probably heard of mystics seeing souls from Heaven or Hell, but did you know that there have also been many Purgatory sightings as well? Believe it or not there have been numerous Catholics who have also seen visions of Purgatory, and relics of their experiences are preserved at The Little Purgatory Museum in Rome.
The Little Purgatory museum is located inside the Sacred Heart of Suffrage Church, where many of the relics have been kept for nearly a century. It all began when the chapel belonging to the Order of the Sacred Heart caught fire on September 15, 1897. It is said that once the fire was put out, the ashes and smoke left behind a burnt image of a suffering face on the wall behind the alter. This suffering face is believed belong to a poor soul of Purgatory. Shortly after the fire, local priest, Fr. Jouet, gained authority of the chapel (Wills). Unsurprisingly, Fr. Jouet was already very devoted to prayer intentions for the souls in Purgatory. He was given the responsibility of building a new church in place of original building that was damaged in the fire. After gaining the necessary donations from generous benefactors, he was able to begin construction. The new Church would be built in an unusual neo-gothic style, and designed by former architect, Fr. Jouet himself (Montagna). As the construction continued, money slowly began running out, and Fr. Jouet needed to discern a new way to fund the building project. After first seeking support from the Pope, he began his well-known quest for more donations and authentic relics and testimonies of Purgatory. With the help of these donations, the church was finished in 1917 (Wills).
The relics that Fr. Jouet originally collected would become what are known today as the pilgrimage site of the Little Purgatory Museum of Rome. It now houses over twenty relic items from people who claim to have seen souls from Purgatory (EWTN, Montagna). Here, there are many types of relics that were touched by the poor souls, most of which display burned or scorched markings of basic items, inline with the idea that souls in Purgatory are literally burning. Some of these items would include numerous book pages and clothing items with burn marks in the shape of a handprint. Some famous pieces include a piece of a wooden desk with burned marks in the shape of a handprint, and a scorched night cap of someone who saw the souls of family members in the night. Only two items in the museum are not the original relics and these include photocopies of a burnt book page and a partially melted coin (EWTN).
EWTN talked to the Currator of the Museum and he gives a detailed account of the museum and its contents
Did you know their was a Purgatory Museum? What was your reaction when you read this article? I would love to hear your questions and comments below!