Immediately on the heels of All Saints Day in Catholicism is All Souls Day that is celebrated today, November 2nd. Why do I say “celebrated” when I’m making reference to the deceased? Because for those souls who are in Purgatory, today could be their lucky day - a special grace from above called a plenary indulgence has the effect of a “get out of jail free” card for a soul in Purgatory who is prayed for today.
Purgatory is where souls go to atone for their sins in life before they’re granted entrance into Heaven and when prayers are said for the dead on All Souls Day, a plenary indulgence is granted that releases a soul from the punishment from sin which in turn releases the soul from Purgatory. How can you give someone you love whose crossed over a plenary indulgence? It’s easy – all that’s required is:
- visit a church
- say one Our Father http://www.catholicplanet.com/catholic/our.htm and the Apostle's Creed http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/creeds/nicene.htm
- receive Communion
- pray one additional Our Father and one Hail Mary http://www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/prayers/mary3.htm for the intentions of the Holy Father
The final step is taking part in the Sacrament of Confession (but there’s a seven day grace period for that so you don’t have to do it today).
Two souls who passed from this life into the next through the agony of abuse are weighing on my mind today as well as those who were left behind to survive them: Louisa Richardson and Ronela Pascual.
This past Monday, I received an email from a beloved colleague that read in part
Today, Louisa has joined her sister, Denise Richardson in God's loving arms and they are with their brother Mikie Richardson whole, healthy and happy with God in heaven. Now I am left alone. I do hope I am not alone to carry on to fight against Domestic Violence for all three of us, let us hope others will join the fight so other mothers are not left childless too!
Hopefully Louisa and Denise’s names are ringing a bell because I wrote about what happened to them here. http://www.examiner.com/article/no-justice-for-the-living-how-about-for-the-dead Their mother and author of the email, Betty Jean Kling, has been selflessly caring for Louisa for the past five years as she fragilely held onto life. Louisa’s suffering has ended but for Betty Jean, a new suffering is just beginning.
Is there anything you can do? Actually, yes – at the end of her email Betty Jean asked for any donations, no matter how small, to be given in Louisa’s name that’ll go toward $400 needed for a center circle brick in Van Saun Park's "Pathway to Freedom" sponsored by Shelter our Sisters in Hackensack, New Jersey. For more info, go to http://www.shelteroursisters.org/
The obituary announcing the passing of Ronela Pascual would be considered “standard”
RONELA BALUBAR PASCUAL Age 11, of Wahiawa, HI, passed away April 12, 2013 in Aiea. Born December 28, 2001 in Wahiawa. http://obits.staradvertiser.com/2013/05/17/ronela-balubar-pascual/
The remainder of the announcement goes on to name the family members who survived her, but there was nothing standard about Ronela’s short life and no mention of the couple who probably loved Ronela (or Nelly as they called her) most in this life: Scott Hawver and Beverly Braumuller-Hawver, Nelly’s foster parents.
What happened in Nelly’s life was incomprehensible; not just the severity of the abuse she suffered – the consequences of which eventually claimed her life – but what happened to her after she had a partial lobe of her brain removed for it. http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-70785 Left in little more than a vegetative state, Nelly was placed in an Ewa Beach nursing home and the Hawvers were denied all access to her! Throughout all the years that Nelly could’ve benefited from loving arms, she instead was isolated in a nursing home while her foster parents pined and pleaded for her on the outside unbeknownst to Nelly - can you just imagine what that must have felt like for all of them?
Rather than casting blame about what happened to Nelly, it’d probably bring more honor to her life to see her case as a learning opportunity for the rest of us because what happened to Nelly is what happens when we place policy over people.
The good news is that Nelly, Louisa, Denise and all the others who lost their lives to abuse are now forever free from it so if you can, send up a little prayer for them today so they will know that they didn’t die in vain.