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Blessed Mary of Providence
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Blessed Mary of Providence


(Source: "The life of Me're Marie De La Providence, Foundress of the Helpers of the Holy Souls " PP 22-24, by Lady Georgiana Fullerton)

Born: 25 March 1825 at Lille, France
Died: 7 February 1871 at Paris, France of Cancer
Beatified: 26 May 1957 by Pope Pius XII in Rome, Italy
Canonization: pending
Memorial: 7 February

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The first whispering of grace of her special vocation for the Holy Souls in Purgatory happened at an early age. Two of many episodes that illustrate this are below:

Long ago a ray of this sublime understanding was given to a little girl playing in the summer fields and chasing butterflies. Awestruck and wondering, she paused, and after a long halt called to her companions. Childlike, she tried to explain in metaphors that strange enlightenment:

'If one of our friends was imprisoned in a house of fire,' she said, 'how we should rush to her help. Then think how we should try to deliver the souls in Purgatory.'

Blessed Mary of  Providence


Thoughtfully the little group listened. That child, as Mother Mary of Providence, was granted in after years a very real participation in the mysterious sufferings of Purgatory and the way she spoke of them made older people pause and listen.

The second episode happened on the feast of All Saints, 1853, that Eugenie Smet received a stronger reinforcement of her special vocation to the holy souls.

As she was praying with her head bowed down before our Blessed Lord in the Sacrament of His Love, the idea of an association of prayers and good works in behalf of the dead was rising distinctly before her eyes. But then came the doubt - was it God who was inspiring here with thought or was it the result of her own fancy? In unhesitating faith she determined to ask Our Blessed Lord, by some unmistakable sign, to give a token of His Will. If you want me to begin this work my Lord, make at least one of my friends, think of something and let her speak to me about it as soon as I come out of Church.

She slowly descended the long flight of steps of the Church to the village square, anxiously thinking over the prayer she had made. Her heart sank within her when she reached the bottom of the stairs and no one had spoken to her. But just at that moment a young girl at her own age, a great dear friend to hers, came forward and said,

"Dear Eugenie, I am so glad to have met you. During Benediction I had an inspiration. I thought of offering to join you in doing everything we can during November for the Souls in Purgatory. Have you indeed had that thought?"

The rest is history. On January 19 1856 she founded the Society of Helpers of the Holy Souls in Paris, France.

The day following the ceremony of beatification, on May 26, 1957, Pope Pius XII summarized, in a speech, the essence of the message left by Sister Mary of Providence:

"Whoever acts thus in a manner devoid of all personal interest and selfishness, and consecrates himself to the universal work of redemption, will know, like Mary of Providence, the suffering and the travail, but also the invincible security of those who are established on the strength of God Himself and await with humble confidence the hour of endless triumph:

In Thee, O Lord, I have hoped, let me never be put to confusion (Psalm 70: 1)."

The Father loves His dear ones in Purgatory.