Mary, Queen of Purgatory

13 11 2008

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Translations taken from this site , on Guatemalan folk traditions.

…María, Reina del Purgatorio: te ruego de modo especial por aquellas almas que más padecen. Es verdad que todas sufren con resignación, pero sus penas son atroces y no podemos imaginarlas siquiera. Intercede Madre nuestra por ellas, y Dios escuchará tu oración.

…Mary, Queen of Purgatory: I pray especially for those souls that suffer. It is true that they all suffer with resignation, but their pains are horrible and we cannot even imagine them. Our Mother, intercede for them, and God will hear your prayer…

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A tale:

Near midnight, Pablo convinced Carlos to go serenade the love of his life. It was really cold and foggy that night. They were walking on top of Carmen’s Hill on the way to Rosita’s house. The bells of the church on Carmen’s Hill struck midnight. From afar, the audacious youngsters spotted the balcony of the young Rosita. When they appeared under her window, they threw pebbles at her window for her to come out. When she finally emerged, they began the serenade with maracas and guitar:

This night my heart wants to sing to you…
I am in love with your eyes and your sweeet voice…
You know that love is my executioner, without you
I would die without even thinking about it.

But the real surprise came when her father came out with a club, cursing at them and and chasing after them. The boys ran away at full speed, but when they saw that they had outrun Rosita’s father, they stopped for a little break. They were talking about the little adventure that they had both just went through when suddenly they began to hear strange voices in the street, like dark prayers coming from every corner. And thus, when they finally felt able to move, they ran back to the orphanage where they had lived since they were children.

Carlos and Pablo, having just turned eighteen, had to finally leave the orphanage. There, thanks to the good faith of the people who had saved them, they had learned the tailor’s trade. In that recently constructed city of Guatemala of the Assumption, being a tailor was more that just a trade; it was an art that paid very well.

The two youngsters, as people were accustomed to saying in that village, were very Catholic and always used to pray to the Virgin all the days of the week to remedy their situation. One day in his routine of prayers, Carlos decided to pray for the holy souls in Purgatory, and he began to ask for the intercession of the Virgin Mary and the angels for those beings most in need of the absolution of their sins.

At hearing this, Pablo asked, “What type of prayer was that? What were you asking the Virgin Mary for?”

Carlos responded, “Do you remember what happened last night? I think those were the holy souls. When my parents were still alive, they told me about them. These souls are ones who are in pain who wander around the streets of the city asking for help. And when you pray for them, they in return provide you with a holy and prosperous life. The souls are only looking for help and they will never do you any harm. The fear that we felt was not something bad; it was something different and to tell the truth I feel much better today. And since tomorrow we will abandon the hospice, Mr. Luis de Chavarria will give us employment as tailors in his shop. Now you will see that all will go well.”

In the end, Pablo and Carlos left the orphanage. They rented a room with a woman named Carmen, who had a big house and appreciated the presence of the two young men.

In their new house, the two guys worked late nights making their suits that would help them find work. Mr. de Chavarría would not employ them since they had no experience working in tailor shops.

During one of those long nights of work and chatter, a strange sound was heard. Carlos began to feel the same fear that he felt the night of the serenade of Rosita on Carmen’s Hill.

After a few minutes, they began to hear the same terrible cries and they were paralyzed with fear.

Both could almost not feel their bodies, and they felt those strange beings dragging them against their will to an unknown place. As they floated with the souls, they heard a a dark voice loudly saying:

Absolution is for those with good faith,
If you forgive someone, you too will be forgiven…
Now they are free, now they are free.

Finally the souls let go of the young men and they began to have feeling and be able to move their bodies again. When they finally came to, they realized that they were not near their home, but on Carmen’s Hill.

The youngsters, caught off guard, finally realized their situation and began to run with all their might back to their house. But their real surprise came when they stumbled upon a procession of what seemed to be monks in hoods, who did not let them see their faces. Their fright was even greater when they encountered the same funeral procession when trying to go home by another street, which surrounded them and did not give them any way out.

Without any escape, they found no other alternative than to kneel down and pray an “Our Father”.

Finally, the night ended and the young men began to see the sun emerge through their windows. Surprisingly, they found themselves in their home and not in the street on Carmen’s Hill. The men were startled by a knock on the door by the assistant of Rodrigo Ramos, the city’s most prestigious tailor, who gave them the news that his boss wanted to hire them as the managers of his workshop. The young men were so gratified by such news that they presented themselves to work at once. Afterwards, Pablo married Rosita and ended up having a large family with her. The lives of the young men changed completely due to the intercession of the holy souls, and after that night they were always present in their prayers. They always remembered their sufferings, and how no one ever remembers them.


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3 responses

2 07 2010
heidy Munoz

i love la virgen del carmen. she is the best virgen in the world.

14 11 2008
FrGregACCA

Yes indeed, Shepherd, and there are many such stories, some of which have the theme of this or that poor soul found on earth, expiating his or her sins in some fashion or another: a spectral priest found at a side altar saying Mass in the wee hours, or one who, although a rich man in this life, is now acting as a poor servant.

13 11 2008
The Shepherd

Nice post! A Catholic “ghost” story…

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