Holy Souls in Purgatory
This icon was originally commissioned by Susan Tassone, sometimes called “the purgatory lady” because she has written multiple books on the subject. It appeared on the cover of her book The St. Faustina Prayer Book for the Holy Souls, and it now resides at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
In the center we see Christ surrounded by the golden clouds of heaven. His hands are pieced by the wounds of the cross, on which he suffered and died in order to open heaven to all the just. From his chest emanate the rays of divine mercy, which rain down upon the souls in purgatory. To his right is Mary Star of the Sea, who carried in her hand a sea shell full of water to bring relief to the souls in purgatory.
To the left of Christ is St. Faustina, who described her vision of purgatory and of Mary Star of the Sea bringing solace to the souls in preparation there in her diary of her visions. Mary and St. Faustina each hold a rosary, which reminds us of the importance of praying for the souls who are in purgatory. The prayers of the rosary are the ladder on which souls may ascent from purgatory to heaven.
The souls themselves are praying, both in intercession for others and in anticipation of salvation.
Three of the souls are portrayed in white garments, showing that their time of preparation is over and they are about to ascend to heaven. Each of them is assisted by his or her guardian angel, who will now accompany the soul to heaven.
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