Sister Josefa has not been declared a saint yet but I am sure that she is already celebrated as such in Heaven. The suffering and torment she endured for love of Christ and Souls made me fall in love with this simple nun. She was a Spanish sister who lived out her short vocation in France. Once she is more widely known, her cause for sainthood will catapult quickly. Sister Josefa Menendez Journeys to Hell Compiled by Catholic Family News Our Lord Jesus Christ appeared often during the years 1921 through 1923 to Sister Josefa Menendez (1890-1923), a coadjutor sister of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Spain. The story of Christ’s visits to Sister Josefa is gripping and inspiring, unique in the annals of Church history. It is published in the The Way of Divine Love, a book sponsored by the nun’s own religious order, with instructions from Our Lord that its message be broadcast widely. It contains over 500 pages, all of which are devoted to telling mankind Our Lord’s love for us, and His pleading for our love in return. The book also caries the endorsement of Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, who later became Pope Pius XII. Sister Josefa was a victim soul who willingly endured untold sufferings for the salvation of souls. Our Lord sent Sister Josefa into hell so she, too, could testify to the torments of the damned to prepare men for Heaven through the fear of God if “the love of God is not strong enough to gain us salvation.” the following is from Sister Josefa Menendez’ own writing after her return from descents into hell. Sister Josefa wrote with great reticence on this subject. She did it only to conform to Our Blessed Lord’s wishes, Our Lady having told her on October 25, 1922: “Everything that Jesus allows you to see and to suffer of the torments of hell, is … that you may make it known. So forget yourself entirely, and think only of the glory of the … salvation of souls“. She repeatedly dwelt on the greatest torment of hell, namely: “One of these damned souls cried out: ‘This is my torture … that I want to love and cannot; there is nothing left me but hatred and despair. If one of us could so much as make a single act of love … This would no longer be hell … but we cannot, we live on hatred and malevolence’ …” (March 23, 1922) Another of these unfortunates said: “The greatest of our torments here is that we are not able to love Him. While we hunger for love, we are consumed with desire of it, but it is too late.” “Some yell because of the burning of their hands. Perhaps they were thieves, for they say: ‘Where is our loot now? … Cursed hands … Why did I want to possess what did not belong to me … and what in any case I could keep only for a few days?’ “ “Others curse their tongues, their eyes … whatever was the occasion of their sin … ‘Now, O body, you are paying the price of the delights you granted yourself … And you did it of your own free will …’ “ (April 2, 1922) “I saw many worldly people fall into hell, and now words can render their horrible and terrifying cries: ‘Damned for ever … I deceived myself; I am lost … I am here forever’. “ “Today, I saw a vast number of people fall into the fiery pit … they seemed to be worldlings and a demon cried vociferously: ‘The world is ripe for me … I know that the best way to get hold of souls is to rouse their desire for enjoyment … Put me first … Me before the rest … no humility for me! But let me enjoy myself … This sort of thing assures victory to me … and they tumble headlong into hell’.” (October 4, 1922) “Tonight,” wrote Josefa, “I did not go down into hell, but was transported to a place where all was obscure, but in the center was a red smoldering fire. They had laid me flat and so bound me that I could not make the slightest movement. Around me were seven or eight people; their black bodies were unclothed, and I could see them only by the reflections of the fire. They were seated and were talking together. “One devil to another said: ‘We’ll have to be very careful not to be found out, for we might easily be discovered’ Another devil answered; ‘Insinuate yourselves by including carelessness in them … but keep in the background, so that you are not found out … by degrees they will become callous, and you will be able to incline them to evil. Tempt these others to ambition, to self-interest, to acquiring wealth without working … Excite some to sensuality and love of pleasure’.” “Sounds of confusion and blasphemy cease not for an instant. A sickening stench asphyxiates and corrupts everything; it is like the burning of putrefied flesh, mingled with tar and sulfur…a mixture to which nothing on earth can be compared.” “In the night of 16th March towards ten o’clock”, wrote Josefa, “I became aware, as on the preceding days, of a confusing noise of cries and chains. I rose quickly and dressed, and trembling with fright, knelt down near my bed. The uproar was approaching, and not knowing what to do, I left the dormitory, and went to our Holy Mother’s cell; then I went back to the dormitory. The same terrifying sounds were all round me; then all of a sudden I saw in front of me the devil himself. “ ‘Tie her feet and bind her hands,’ he cried. Instantly I lost sight of where I was, and felt myself tightly bound and being dragged away. Other voices screamed: ‘No good to bind her feet; it is her heart that you must bind’. ‘It does not belong to me’ came the answer from the devil. Then I was dragged along a very dark and lengthy passage, and on all sides resounded terrible cries. “On opposite sides of the walls of the narrow corridor were niches out of which poured smoke, though with very little flame, and which emitted an intolerable stench. From these niches came blaspheming voices, uttering impure words. Some cursed their bodies, others their parents … It was a medley of confused screams of rage and despair. “I was dragged through that kind of corridor which seemed endless. Then I received a punch in the stomach, which doubled me in two, and forced me into one of the niches. I felt as if I were being pressed between two burning planks and pierced through and through with scorching needlepoints. Opposite and beside me souls were blaspheming and cursing me. What caused me most suffering … and to which no torture can be compared, was the anguish of my soul to find myself separated from God … “It seemed to me that I spent long years in that hell, yet it only lasted six or seven hours … “I see clearly that all the sufferings on earth are nothing in comparison with the horror of no longer being able to love, for in that place all breathes hatred and thirst to damn other souls.” Let us thank Our Lord Jesus Christ for giving us these sober warnings, and avoid sin that could send us to Hell. Our Lord established the great sacrament of Penance as a font of mercy for us. Let us also receive often Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist to grow in the life of grace.