St. Anthony’s Search and Rescue of Lost Souls
By June Klins
In the message of Nov. 25, Our Lady gave a very different kind of message. She said, "Dear children! I look at you and I see in your heart DEATH WITHOUT HOPE, restlessness and hunger. There is no prayer or trust in God, that is why the Most High permits me to bring you hope and joy. Open yourselves. Open your hearts to God’s mercy and He will give you everything you need and will fill your hearts with peace, because He is peace and your hope. Thank you for having responded to my call."
On October 25, Our Lady said, "pray and seek the intercession of all the saints."
The following story combines both messages – a story of death without hope that turned into hope and mercy, through the intercession of one of my favorite saints, St. Anthony.
One January night seven years ago, I was not able to sleep because I heard loud train whistles all night. I have never heard so many trains in my life. It was constant. And what was really odd is that it was winter, and all the windows were shut. But the trains were so LOUD! I kept thinking, "What’s with all the trains?"
At 3:00 AM I got on my knees and prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet. I always pray it for someone in the world who is dying and needs mercy. After I got back into bed, I continued to hear trains until morning.
Later that day, I called a friend of mine, and she asked me if I would pray for a girl she knew of who had thrown herself in front of a train the night before and killed herself. I was dumbfounded! In that moment I knew why I had heard the trains all night.
Ever since that night, whenever I hear the whistle of a train, no matter where I am, I mentally pray the “Eternal rest” prayer for the souls who are in Purgatory for taking their own lives.
Now – flash forward to Tuesday, November 9, 2010, which was the 15th anniversary of my father-in-law’s suicide. A priest called me that night to ask me if I had a devotion to St. Anthony of Padua. I said I did. Then he told me that he had been prompted to lend me his first class relic of St. Anthony until Christmas. He had no idea why. I did not know at the time, but later realized that St. Anthony is the Patron of Lost Souls. He gave me the relic the next morning. That evening, a lady waited outside our Adoration chapel to talk to me. She had prayed that she would run into me because she needed to talk. I asked her if she wanted to pray with the St. Anthony relic and she did. She told me that her cousin, who had recently committed suicide, had a devotion to St. Anthony, so she was consoled in praying with the relic. St. Anthony was already at work.
Two days later, I was off work and it was a sunny and pleasant day, so I went to the outdoor Stations of the Cross near our seminary, and as I was praying the Stations, I began to hear train whistles – constant again, just like before. It was very eerie. After I finished, I went to the nearby Carmelite Monastery, took the St. Anthony relic, and prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet for the dying. I wrote this up in my journal because it was so odd
The next day, Saturday, November 13, was another beautiful day. While I was working outside, I began to hear the train whistles again. Later I took my camera and went to the beach. The train whistles continued. I took a video hoping to capture the sound of the trains in the background, but the train sounds did not come out on the video. I knew for certain then that those whistles were meant for me. I started getting sick to my stomach and crying, because I knew in my heart that someone was committing, or had committed suicide. I prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet several times and prayed with a first class relic of St. Anthony of Padua for the person.
The next evening, Sunday, I read in the paper that a young man named Brian had shot and killed his girlfriend and two of their children and then himself. THAT IS WHY I HEARD ALL THE TRAINS THOSE LAST TWO DAYS!
As the week went on, I could not stop thinking about the trains and the murder-suicide. I wondered if Brian had been saved. Most people would find it hard to believe that he would have been saved after committing such a heinous crime, but Jesus told St. Faustina that when the Divine Mercy chaplet is prayed for the dying, He will stand between the Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge, but as the merciful Savior (Diary, 1541). St. Faustina wrote in her Diary, “My prayer reaches out even there where I cannot reach physically.” (1636) Because of this powerful prayer, at the last minute, Brian could have repented. St. Padre Pio told a woman whose husband jumped off a bridge to his demise, that on the way down he repented, so he was saved. So who are we to judge? Also, Brian had admitted himself to the hospital the week before for mental health issues, so the Lord would probably deem him less responsible. (How unfortunate that the hospital discharged him the following day.)
Three days later, while on my way to pray in our Adoration Chapel, I ran into a woman who mentioned to me that the bereavement luncheon for the families of the murder-suicide would be at our church the following day. I could not believe the “co-incidence” that this luncheon was at my church. I wanted to tell the family about the trains and how I thought that Brian was saved, but I really did not know if he was or not. My prayers are so poor. But then I remembered that I had asked St. Anthony to pray with me, and his prayers ARE perfect. He is the “Patron of Lost Souls.” He is also called the “Miracle Worker.”
On the way home, I rode by the apartment where the couple had lived. There were a number of teddy bears hanging on the fence in memorial of the children. I cried and I asked God to give me a sign that Brian was saved. I did not ask for anything specific, just something that would show how merciful God is. God “wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.” (1Tim 2:4)
When I got home and checked my email, someone from my Internet prayer group, whom I did not know, had sent a note that said in the subject line: “Suicide and the Power of Prayer!” I took this to be my sign from God. I put aside everything I had to do that night, and invoked the help of St. Anthony to help me “find” the right words to write the family a letter of consolation and tell them my story. I had no idea if they were Catholic, Christian, or any religion, but prayed that they would be open to what I was about to tell them.
The following morning, I went to 7:00 AM Mass. Before Mass, I began to have doubts about giving the family the letter I wrote. I opened the Bible at random to Wisdom 11:23, which says, “But You have mercy on all, because You can do all things; and You overlook the sins of men that they may repent.” No longer did I doubt. I wrote this passage down, to also console the family. I offered my Communion that the family would be open to what I wrote in the letter.
When I went into the church office to drop off the letter, the secretary told me that one of our parishioners – a lady I know – was in the Adoration chapel sobbing, It turns out that she was Brian’s aunt! I had no idea that anyone I knew was related to him. I showed the Wisdom passage to the secretary and she told me to take the passage and the letter into the chapel to give to Brian’s aunt. I went in and hugged her and gave her the letter, whispered my condolences and that I had no idea that she was related.
When I left, the secretary waved me into the office to talk. I told my story to her and two other women who work there. They were in awe. When I got to the part about praying the Divine Mercy, they said that they got chills. It turns out that my pastor had done the service at the funeral home for Brian the day before and had talked about Divine Mercy! He even had special prayer cards made up to give the family, that had a picture of the Divine Mercy image on the front and the Divine Mercy prayers on the back with Brian’s name inserted in the place of the pronouns, so the family could pray it for him. Wow! How could one miss the hand of God amidst this tragedy?
Although this is the end of this story, it is not the end of the story for me. I continue at times to hear train whistles like I heard those two days. It is very draining when I hear constant trains, because I know in my heart that someone is taking his/her own life. I later found out that someone my colleague at work knew committed suicide on November 17. My friend asked me if I had heard trains that day. I looked back in my emails and found that I did hear trains the night before, which was most likely when she would have taken the pills. St. Anthony and I had prayed so hard. I know what suicide can do to a family. I have been there. My mother-in-law and father-in-law both took their own lives.
My son has warned me that I am going to be hearing a lot more trains because of the holidays and the economy. Please help me to prove him wrong. St. Anthony, Miracle Worker and Patron of Lost Souls, please pray with us!
To join our team to pray for the souls in Purgatory who have committed suicide, for the salvation of those who are in the midst of committing suicide (for their final repentance), and/or those who are contemplating suicide (that they come to know God's love and do not follow through with it) , you can sign up right here in the comment box. You can also post the names of souls who have committed suicide so we can pray for them - first names only though, please.