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A story for every day...

Our Lady of Purgatory

The souls delivered from Purgatory by his prayers save him from a fatal trap

Father Louis Monaci, religious of the Order of the Clerics-Miners, very devout to the poor souls, was travelling alone, if however a Christian accompanied by his guardian angel can ever believe himself alone. The night came as he entered a deserted countryside, which he hurried through to reach a house where he could stop until morning. In his haste, the good Father did not want to omit a pious habit he had, that of using even the time of the walk, and he began to recite the rosary in favor of the souls of the faithful departed, so that in return they would guard him from the perils always sown under the footsteps of the traveler. God allowed him to experience the effect of his trust.

Not far from the inhabited place that Father Monaci was trying to reach, there were two bandits, living with the wild beasts and eventually taking on some of their customs. They saw the religious coming from afar, and immediately the plan to arrest him was formed, and measures taken to carry it out. They were dealing with a single man, whose defense did not offer them any great danger. So they set up an ambush, and patiently waited for their victim, determined to kill him if he resisted. A moment later, they heard the sound of a war trumpet; they got up in a hurry and looked around. The Father advanced with great strides, but in front of him walked a soldier armed with this trumpet which he sounded with all his strength, and around the religious were pressed a phalanx of soldiers armed to the teeth, accompanying him with honor, as one would do to a general who comes to take possession of a military command. As for the one they were guarding so well, he seemed to have no idea of anything, peacefully reciting his rosary and acting as if he were alone. The robbers immediately imagined that they had been mistaken about the costume, that the man they had taken for a monk was simply an officer sent to pursue the bandits, and they escaped as quickly as possible.

The Father, however, reached the village and entered the hostel where he was going to stay until the next day. Our men, after a few moments, approaching the houses, inquire where the troops they had seen had gone; they are surprised at their request, and are told that not a single soldier has appeared, and that the only stranger of the evening is a poor religious who has been taken to the inn, who certainly has nothing warlike about him. More and more amazed, sure that their senses had not deceived them, since they had both heard and seen, they entered the inn, where they were known, approached the Father under some pretext and struck up a conversation with him. They wanted to know where he was going, where he had come from, and then, after some hesitation, what had become of those who served as his escort. Monaci, to this last question, did not know what to answer. “I came alone, he said, and I don’t know what you mean. – Well, Father, God will have done some miracle for you: for we swear to you that you had a strong and brilliant escort around your person, we confess with some shame, that it saved you from our hands and that you may owe it your life, for we were not people to shrink from murder.”

Frightened by this confession, the good monk thought that the souls for whom he interceded might well have lent him this help at the moment of peril. He expressed this thought, and the brigands were so struck by it that they decided to embrace this devotion in their turn. The Father exhorted them to follow such a good thought, and for that reason to be reconciled with God, which they did immediately. A secluded room was transformed into a confessional, where they came one after the other, with great sentiments of contrition, to confess their iniquities and promise to serve God in the future as His best children.

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