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Can souls in purgatory visit us?

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Philip Kosloski - published on 11/10/22

Is it possible for a deceased relative in purgatory to visit us on earth?

When a loved one dies, we might often want to see that person again. We find it difficult to deal with their death. Our thoughts might turn to the possibility of contacting them in some way, feeling their presence one last time.

Catholics believe that it is possible that a deceased relative or friend could visit us after they die, though the possibility is very slim.

St. Thomas Aquinas considers this topic in a supplement to his Summa Theologiae.

[A]ccording to the disposition of Divine providence separated souls sometimes come forth from their abode and appear to men, as Augustine, in the book quoted above, relates of the martyr Felix who appeared visibly to the people of Nola when they were besieged by the barbarians. It is also credible that this may occur sometimes to the damned, and that for man’s instruction and intimidation they be permitted to appear to the living; or again in order to seek our suffrages, as to those who are detained in purgatory, as evidenced by many instances related in the fourth book of the Dialogues.

Souls from purgatory could appear to us to ask us for our prayers.

Many saints have experienced this type of encounter, where a soul from purgatory appears to them, specifically to ask for their prayers.

Sometimes those souls in purgatory will visit a saint multiple times, until their soul is finally “released” from a state of purification.

However, this type of encounter is extremely rare. God only allows such an experience for a specific reason and is not something that we can demand from God.

For most of us, we will not see a deceased relative on this earth, but can look forward to the day when we will be reunited with them for all eternity.

Tags:
DeathPurgatorySpiritual Life
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