Margaret of Cortona and her special empathy for the Poor Souls
The Souls in Purgatory would appear to Margaret of Cortona and beg her to offer all her suffering to diminish their pain and anguish.
In particular, there were two merchants who had been slain on the road and died suddenly without having made restitution to those with whom they had dealt unfairly, cheating them while still alive.
Death had come upon them so unexpectedly, they had not had time to go to a priest and confess their sins. They said that only by the Grace of God with His Most merciful Compassion, and with the intercession of His most precious Mother, were they able to make a last minute act of contrition, before taking their final breath and were spared from eternal damnation.
They now pleaded with Margaret to help them, as their suffering was excruciating, to pay for the wrongs they had committed against people who had trusted in them.
They told Margaret they would have no relief until these debts were paid on earth. Would she go to their families and ask them to make amends to those whom they had cheated, giving them back all the money they had unjustly taken from them. Having imparted to our Saint where she could find them, the souls of the merchants disappeared. Margaret fulfilled their wishes and the souls never reappeared.
Margaret of Cortona did not only show undying love and compassion for all the Poor Souls in Purgatory, but most passionately for her deceased mother and father, the father who had rejected her and her son, and her most unloving stepmother who had shown so little charity toward her.
She never stopped offering up all her suffering for them; she sacrificed much needed sleep; she handed to the Lord her dear and precious Holy Communions and all the Masses in which she had most reverently participated for their deliverance from Purgatory.
The Lord heard His little bride; He appeared to her and declared, because of her supplications, not only had she lessened the immeasurable period of suffering, her parents would have had to endure, through her pleading they had been released from Purgatory and were in Paradise.
Was Margaret of Cortona compassionate and caring for the Poor Souls in Purgatory, offering all her mortification and suffering for their release, because she felt herself such a great sinner?
We do not know the innermost regions of her heart; we only know that when she was dying, she saw an Army of Souls that had been delivered from Purgatory forming an honor guard, a royal escort to Heaven.
On her deathbed, she had become enraptured in ecstasy and when she came to briefly, she shared with those surrounding her bed, how the Lord had shown her a precious Army of Saints whom He said, through her prayers and mortification, were with Him and His Father in Paradise.