(by a 19th century Jesuit)
St. Louis Bertrand's father was an exemplary Christian, as we should naturally expect, being the father of so great a Saint. He had even wished to become a Carthusian monk until he learned that it was
not God's will for him.
When he died, after long years spent in the practice of every Christian virtue, his saintly son, fully aware of the rigors of God's Justice, offered many Masses and poured forth the most fervent supplications for the soul he so dearly loved.
A vision of his father still in Purgatory forced him to intensify a hundredfold his suffrages. He added most severe penances and long fasts to his Masses and prayers. Yet eight whole years passed before he obtained the release of his father.
St. Malachy's sister was detained in Purgatory for a very long time, despite the Masses, prayers and heroic mortifications the Saint offered for her!
It was related to a holy nun in Pampluna, who had succeeded in releasing many Carmelite nuns from Purgatory, that most of these had spent there terms of from 30 to 60 years!
Carmelite nuns in Purgatory for 40, 50 and 60 years! What will it be for those living amidst the temptations of the World and with all their hundreds of weaknesses?
St. Vincent Ferrer, after the death of his sister, prayed with incredible fervor for her soul and offered many Masses for her release. She appeared to him at length and told him that had it not been for his powerful intercession with God, she should have remained an interminable time in Purgatory.
In the Dominican Order it is the rule to pray for the Master Generals by name on their anniversaries. Many of these have been dead several hundred years! They were men especially eminent for piety and learning. This rule would not be approved by the Church were it not necessary and prudent.
Saint Anthony tells the story of a sick person who suffered so atrociously that he considered it beyond human nature and thus continually prayed for death. One day, an angel appeared to him and said, "God sent me here to offer you a choice. You can spend one year of suffering on earth, or one day in Purgatory." Choosing the latter, he died and went to Purgatory.
When the angel went to console him, he was greeted with this groan of pain, "Deceitful angel! At least twenty years ago, you said that I would spend only one day in Purgatory . . . My God, how I suffer!"
To this the Angel responded, "Poor deluded soul, your body is not even buried yet."
When Padre Pio was asked how long a particular soul would stay in purgatory he replied “At least one hundred years. We must pray for the Souls in Purgatory. It is unbelievable what they can do for our spiritual good, out of gratitude they have towards those on earth who remember to pray for them. “