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Observations placeholder

Christina the Astonishing - Heaven, Hell and Purgatory



Type of Spiritual Experience


Christina related that during her near death experience, she had witnessed Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. She said, "As soon as my soul was separated from my body it was received by angels who conducted it to a very gloomy place, entirely filled with souls" where the torments there that they endured "appeared so excessive" that it was "impossible to give an idea of their rigor.

All those words ..................... a think a little license was taken by her biographer after the event.

A description of the experience

Thomas de Cantimpré, The Life of Christina the Astonishing

She said “I saw among them many of my acquaintances" and, touched deeply by their sad condition, asked if this was Hell, but was told that it was Purgatory. Her angel guides brought her to Hell where again she recognized those she had formerly known. Next she was transported to Heaven, "even to the Throne of Divine Majesty" where she was "regarded with a favorable eye" and she experienced extreme joy and these words were spoken to her, " Assuredly, My dear daughter, you will one day be with Me. Now, however, I allow you to choose, either to remain with Me henceforth from this time, or to return again to Earth to accomplish a mission of charity and suffering. In order to deliver from the flames of Purgatory those souls which have inspired you with so much compassion, you shall suffer for them upon Earth: you shall endure great torments, without however dying from their effects. And not only will you relieve the departed, but the example which you will give to the living, and your continual suffering, will lead sinners to be converted and to expiate their crimes. After having ended this new life, you shall return here laden with merits.

Christina, at hearing this and "seeing the great advantages for souls" without hesitation she agreed to return to life and arose that same moment. She told those around her that for the sole purpose of relief of the departed and conversion of sinners did she return and that none should be astonished at the penances that she would practice, nor the life that she would lead hence forth, she is quoted as saying, "It will be so extraordinary that nothing like it has ever been seen." Making penances for the souls of Purgatory and Hell would henceforth become a major theme in her life.

Christina immediately commenced the work for which she believed she had been sent by God, renouncing all comforts of life, reducing herself to extreme destitution, she lived without home or hearth, and not content with privations she eagerly sought all that could cause her suffering.

The source of the experience

Christina the Astonishing

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps