As a lifelong Catholic and while only 26, I have experienced the darkest of the supernatural but also the brightest. These two (light & dark) leave a question, what is in the middle? I know that Purgatory is a Roman Catholic belief but I would like to share a few thoughts & quotes on the subject and I invite you to do the same. We all know that the Catholic Church has a dark, bloody, and horrific past, up to and including the recent sexual molestation revelations. But, for all the evil committed by these "men of God" I think one man we can all agree was truly good was Padre Pio. Padre Pio was a good and devout man who received the stigmata. However, a lesser known series of events in his life was the visitation of souls from Purgatory coming to him to ask for prayers and masses said on their behalf, so as to be released & accepted into heaven. Padre Pio's encounter with a soul from Purgatory: “While in the friary on a winter afternoon after a heavy snowfall, he was sitting by the fireplace one evening in the guest room, absorbed in prayer, when an old man, wearing an old-fashioned cloak still worn by southern Italian peasants at the time, sat down beside him. Concerning this man Padre Pio states: ‘I could not imagine how he could have entered the friary at this time of night since all the doors are locked. I questioned him: ‘Who are you? What do you want?’ The old man told him, “Padre Pio, I am Pietro Di Mauro, son of Nicola, nicknamed Precoco.” He went on to say, “I died in this friary on the 18th of September, 1908, in cell number four, when it was still a poorhouse. One night, while in bed, I fell asleep with a lighted cigar, which ignited the mattress and I died, suffocated and burned. I am still in Purgatory. I need a holy Mass in order to be freed. God permitted that I come and ask you for help.” According to Padre Pio: “After listening to him, I replied, ‘Rest assured that tomorrow I will celebrate Mass for your liberation.’ I arose and accompanied him to the door of the friary, so that he could leave. I did not realize at that moment that the door was closed and locked: I opened it and bade him farewell The moon lit up the square, covered with snow. When I no longer saw him in front of me, I was taken by a sense of fear, and I closed the door, reentered the guest room, and felt faint.” A few days later, Padre Pio also told the story to Padre Paolino, and the two decided to go to the town hall, where they looked at the vital statistics for the year I908 and found that on September 18 of that year, one Pietro Di Mauro had in fact died of burns and asphyxiation in Room Number 4 at the friary, then used as a home for the homeless. Around the same time, Padre Pio told Fra Alberto of another apparition of a soul from Purgatory which also occurred around the same time. He said: One evening, when I was absorbed in prayer in the choir of the little church I was shaken and disturbed by the sound of footsteps, and candles and flower vases being moved on the main altar. Thinking that someone must be there, I called out, “Who is it?” No one answered. Returning to prayer, I was again disturbed by the same noises. In fact, this time I had the impression that one of the candles, which was in front of the statue of Our Lady of Grace, had fallen. Wanting to see what was happening on the altar, I stood up, went close to the grate and saw, in the shadow of the light of the Tabernacle lamp, a young confrere doing some cleaning. I yelled out, “What are you doing in the dark?” The little friar answered, “I am cleaning.” “You clean in the dark?” I asked. “Who are you?” The little friar said, ‘I am a Capuchin novice, who spends his time of Purgatory here. I am in need of prayers.’ and then he disappeared,” Padre Pio stated that he immediately began praying for him as requested, and it is not known if he had any further dealings with this particular soul. However, in regards souls in Purgatory it is very interesting to note that later in life Padre Pio once said that ‘As many souls of the dead come up this road to the monastery as that of the souls of the living.” Marshall, T. (2015, November 2). Padre Pio’s Mysterious Encounters with Souls from Purgatory. Retrieved from http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2015...terious-encounters-with-souls-from-purgatory/ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ There are many more of these encounters recorded by Pio, Mother Theresa and various people across time. My question to all of you above remains unchanged, I would like to know your beliefs and thoughts on this. However, when you start digging into this subject a deep sadness will set in to you. I have read of encounters with these souls and Padre Pio and others and the souls in Purgatory say they are all but forgotten. They say that very few people on earth offer prayers or masses for them anymore. And that there are billions of souls in Purgatory, searching for salvation. Please let me know your thoughts!! And to those of you who do believe in Purgatory, I humbly beg you to offer a prayer to those still in Purgatory or for any loved ones who may be there, as Purgatory seems to be the universal "waiting" and "cleansing" area before moving on to heaven.