Matt C. Abbott
The latest book by 'the purgatory lady'
By Matt C. Abbott
March 26, 2017

Below is the foreword to best-selling Catholic author Susan Tassone's latest work, St. Faustina Prayer Book for the Conversion of Sinners. Ms. Tassone is affectionately known as "the purgatory lady" because of her ministry for the holy souls in purgatory.

The book's foreword was written by Father Andrew Apostoli, CFR.

Thanks to Ms. Tassone for permitting me to publish this excerpt in my column. Click here to order a copy of her latest book.

Foreword by Father Andrew Apostoli, CFR

Helping Jesus Find 'The One' Who Is Lost by Helping 'The One' Who Is Lost Find Jesus

There's no doubt why Jesus came into the world: "To seek and to save the lost" (Lk 19:10). To save all of us. To save you. To save me.

He was and is the Good Shepherd, willing to leave the ninety-nine sheep in the wasteland and follow the lost sheep until he finds it. Then, rejoicing, carrying it home on his shoulders and returning it to his flock.

God doesn't want any of his wayward children to be lost, but truly rejoices when they repent of their sins, turn back to him, and are saved. This is conversion.

In her latest book, St. Faustina's Prayer Book for the Conversion of Sinners, Susan Tassone clearly explains the nature of conversion and the dynamics involved. Jesus wants all of us, each of us, to be involved in his mission of universal salvation. In other words, we must help bring souls to him by our prayers, sacrifices, good example, works of mercy, and efforts at evangelization. This, along with growth in personal holiness, has always been a major focus in living our Christian lives. The famous saying of St. John Bosco, founder of the Salesian Congregation, sums this up: "Give me souls; you can have the rest!"

It's evident, though, that as the world becomes more materialistic (focusing only on things one wants in this world), more hedonistic (seeking sexual pleasures of all kinds despite God's law and commandments), and more proud and arrogant (developing a pompous attitude of being self-sufficient and not needing God), conversion will become an increasingly major focus of the Church's mission, and for each of us personally.

Even now as a priest, people often ask me: "Father, please pray for my children who refuse to go to Mass any more... for my son who is living with his girlfriend... for my daughter who wants to marry her girlfriend...for my grandchildren who are on drugs... for my sister's daughter who wants to get an abortion... for my friends, who have four children, and are getting a divorce...." The list is endless.

Those for whom these prayers are requested are, ultimately, living lives of great unhappiness, but, infinitely worse, they're in grave danger of being separated from God for all eternity. What can be done to save them? Here Susan Tassone's book gives us solid guidance.

In our own time, we've seen Pope Francis focus on mercy and conversion of hearts, with special emphasis during the 2015-2016 Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. His message for all of us is the one St. Faustina received from Jesus. The one Our Lord entrusted to her. The one she recorded so faithfully in her diary.

And what St. Faustina teaches us echoes the words of Our Lady in Fatima, Portugal, a century ago. When Mary appeared to three shepherd children – Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta – she told them: "Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them."

Conversion has never been very easy, but it's always been crucial. The soul of the person converted will be saved from eternal death and punishment. And! The one who helps the sinner convert will share in his or her glory in heaven. Above all, God himself will be glorified by those who have been saved. As Jesus told St. Faustina, "I want a vast crowd in Heaven to praise my mercy for all eternity."

The conversions of an individual (a family member, friend, and even an enemy) usually takes perseverance and sacrifice. One of the greatest examples is the conversion of St. Augustine by the prayers and tears of his mother, St. Monica. Augustine was caught up in a life of lust, having lived with two women and fathered a child by one of them. Even when he came to the point where he wanted to give up his sinful ways he felt helpless to resist his passions. His devout mother prayed her heart out for him. She went to the church twice a day, morning and evening, for sixteen years. Finally, her prayers, her pleas, were answered. And what a conversion that was! Because of her trust in God's mercy and her incredible dedication to praying for her son, St. Monica became an example of trust and hope for those who pray for the conversion of loved ones. Thank God, there are many "modern Monicas" in our Church today!

Yes, St. Monica's example can be intimidating but it's important to keep in mind that praying for conversions in general – for a most-needy sinner, for a sinner who will die today, for someone who has drifted, or stormed, away from the Church – requires simply that we pray. We can have confidence that Jesus in his Divine Mercy will hear our prayers and apply them to whom he wishes. Only in heaven will we know the effectiveness of our prayers for sinners when we share the Lord's joy, when we rejoice, with those whom our prayers have helped.

Thank you, Susan Tassone, for writing this book. Thank you for a guide that will inspire many to pray and sacrifice for the "one sheep" who is lost.

© Matt C. Abbott


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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 'Unsolved' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and other media outlets. In 2005 and 2006, he was among the first writers to expose former cardinal Theodore McCarrick's abuse of power with and sexual harassment of seminarians. He can be reached at

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