Praying for the Souls in Purgatory: A Rosary, a Novel, and a Prayer Book

I was called on to sing at a funeral Mass one day this past summer, and after I read the obituary it became clear that the death was due to addiction. Sadly, this is not the first in that family to die in this way. These are not people I know, but they live in my neighborhood.

On the night before the funeral, I woke up suddenly in the middle of the night and that was on my mind. I couldn’t go back to sleep because I kept thinking about it, so I decided to pray a Rosary. On the bedside table, I had a knotted-twine Rosary made for me by a friend.

I dedicated that Rosary for the repose of the soul of that recently deceased young man.

As soon as I finished the whole Rosary, I went right off to sleep. I guess I was not being let off the hook — I needed to pray for him right that minute.

In the morning before the funeral, I got in touch with the friend who had made that Rosary for me, and asked her to pray too.

An urgent impulse to pray for a soul who has clearly struggled in life is not something we should ignore. And who better to intercede for such a soul than the Blessed Mother — our Mother?

As we commemorate the holy souls this month, let’s remember them in our prayers, especially in the Rosary.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.


Scared straight: but with Purgatory.

The story above reminds me of Theresa Linden’s novel, Tortured Soul, a compelling tale of a haunting — with a twist. Jeannie Lyons is pushed out of her family’s home by her older brother and into a remote cottage that also houses a gruesome “presence.” Afraid to be at home, but with nowhere else to go, Jeannie enlists the help of the sort-of-creepy guy her brother had once pushed her to date. This edge-of-the-seat story of guilt and forgiveness emphasizes the importance of praying for the souls of the deceased — and would make a great movie.

Tortured Soul reminded me deeply that the deceased need our prayers — not only our deceased loved ones and friends, but in particular those who have no one to pray for them. Maybe they were alienated from family during their lives, as depicted in Linden’s novel; maybe their loved ones don’t pray. But we can, and we should.


Susan Tassone’s The Saint Faustina Prayer Book for the Holy Souls in Purgatory focuses on the power of intercessory prayer for the needs of the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

The Saint Faustina Prayer Book for the Holy Souls in Purgatory contains more than prayers. You’ll also find essays on conversion, sin, penance, Purgatory and the spirituality of St. Faustina Kowalska. Organized by theme, the book leads the reader through learning and devotions.


Download a free set of printable bookmarks with the prayer for the holy souls, and make a commitment to pray for them every day.


Copyright 2020 Barb Szyszkiewicz
This post contains Amazon affiliate links. I was provided a free review copy of Susan Tassone’s book, but no other compensation. Opinions expressed here are mine alone.

Tech Talk: Prayer and Social Media

I’ve been a regular at Eucharistic Adoration for just over two years, and it’s taken me this long to find a way to use the time as a prayer intercessor for others.

For too long, I’d gone to the Adoration Chapel with an agenda and a tote bag: a spiritual book (or three) to read, a rosary, a journal, and my iPad so I could pray Liturgy of the Hours. It was getting to the point where Adoration was another task to check off my list, a quiet hour to read a book I’d promised to review. Check, check, check.

Checking off tasks is not what Adoration is supposed to be about.

I’d been noticing for a while that my friend Allison Gingras would share on Facebook that she was heading to Adoration, and offer to pray for any special intentions people posted. I knew she wouldn’t mind if I adopted her idea, so I created a graphic with a photo from our Adoration Chapel and shared it on Facebook for the first time in late February.

adoration-today

The response was tremendous. Over 40 likes. Over 35 comments. And a whole host of messages with private intentions. And I wasn’t just hearing from Catholics. I filled 2 index cards, both sides, with intentions posted in under 3 hours.

People are hungry for that intercessory prayer. People carry secret burdens and don’t always know how to ask for help, or even prayer over their situation. It’s a comfort to know that someone else is holding them up in prayer.

I took those two index cards and my rosary to the chapel. I always pray the Franciscan Crown rosary, and it’s a good thing it has 7 decades, because at one bead per intention I needed all those prayers to cover my list, plus my family and one general prayer for any late-breaking intentions (I wasn’t checking Facebook in the chapel.)

Later that day I got an email from one of the deacons at our parish, who’s my friend on Facebook. He wanted to let me know that he and his wife were going to begin inviting their Facebook friends to share intentions, to be prayed for during their Adoration hour.

He also said that this is a great way to evangelize. I hadn’t thought about that, but it’s true. Originally I’d hesitated to mention on Facebook that I was going to Adoration–but this has shown me that it’s something needed and appreciated.

I created a rosary prayer intentions printable to use each week to list intentions: my own, as well as those of my friends on Facebook. It’s also a Franciscan Crown Rosary tutorial. Download this printable and set it up for your “intentional rosary.”

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz

Of Prayer, Twitter and Red Minivans

Yesterday I was tagged in a tweet with an emergency prayer request.

twitter-prayer-request

After promising to pray that Emergency Novena for Christine’s friend, I messaged her to ask what color car her friend drives.

That may seem like a weird question, but I use visual prayer cues for special intentions. When I see a car that resembles one belonging to someone I know and love, that’s a reminder to me to pray for that person.

Christine told me that her friend drives a red minivan.

This morning at Mass, I remembered her friend in prayer, then resolved to turn off the radio on my way home and pray that day’s Emergency Novena.

After Mass, I got into my car, turned off the radio, and prepared to leave my parking space. The car in front of me moved away, revealing that the car parked in front of it was a red minivan.

A couple of miles later, I saw another one.

In your kindness, when you see a red minivan, say a special prayer for Christine’s friend. If you commit to doing this, I’m quite sure that God will make sure you see plenty of those cars.

intercessory-prayer-gets-behind-the-wheel
Photo copyright 2016 Lisa M. Hendey. Title added by author. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

For the One in this Room Who Needs It Most

I learned the Morning Offering my sophomore year in high school. (It was only my 5th year in a Catholic school, so I still had a long way to go to catch up on things like that.)

The room was quiet. Heads were bowed, eyes were closed and hands were folded as we sat at our desks for morning prayers before beginning class.

My homeroom teacher, Sr. Lucille Marie, would add at the end of the prayer, “And for the one in this room who needs it most today.”

Sometimes, the silence would be broken as a student (or several) whispered, “Me.”

All these years later, I still remember those whispers.

I remember those girls who projected all the confidence in the world every other minute of the day, but who let down their shields for that one moment when they could anonymously admit that they were in need of prayer.

You don’t have to be in a classroom to pray this prayer. You can pray it for the people in your home. You can pray it for the people standing in line with you at the supermarket. You can pray it for people driving ahead of you and behind you on the highway.

Where two or three are gathered, you can pray this prayer:

For the one in this room who needs it most, I pray.

God knows what they need. He can take it from there.

"For the one in this room who needs it most" at Franciscanmom.com
Image via Pixabay (2016), CCO Public Domain. Text added in PicMonkey.

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This month I’m joining all the cool kids in the #Write31Days adventure! I didn’t pick a keyword or a theme, because just getting something written for all 31 days is challenge enough for me right now.

"Write 31 Days" logo from write31days.com. (@franciscanmom)
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