Sister Josefa Menendez, The Devil and Hell

“The devil will work assiduously to make you fall, but My grace is more powerful than his infernal malice” -Jesus to Josefa Menendez, April 6, 1921
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One of the many victim souls who had to undergo horrific attacks from the evil spirits was the Spanish born mystic, Josefa Menendez (1890-1923), who became a nun in France. The devil often appeared to her in the form of a terrifying black dog, a black snake, or in the form of a “shadow” man. 
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On December 4th, 1921 Josefa was violently pulled from her bed and she was thrown to the ground, and then pummeled by a barrage of demonic blows she was made to listen to abominable blasphemies against Our Lord and Our Lady. Long hours were so spent, and the torture renewed on the two following nights. After one such terrible night, she wrote on the morning of Tuesday, 6th December:
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“Unable to bear any more, I knelt beside my bed, endeavouring to forget the horror of that malevolent voice insulting Our Lord and Our Lady. Suddenly I heard gnashing of teeth and a yell of rage. Then all vanished and before me stood Our Lady, all loveliness.
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“Do not fear, my daughter; I am here.”
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“I told her how terrified I was of the devil, who made me suffer so much.
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“He may torment you, but he has no power to harm you. His fury is very great on account of the souls that escape him . . . souls are of such great worth . . . If you but knew the value of a single soul!”
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“Giving me her blessing, she said: ‘Do not fear.’ 
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“I kissed her hand and she went away.”
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Later Jesus appeared to Josefa, and she immediately told Him of her greatest concern–the fear that in those hellish torments that her soul had lost something of its purity, or at any rate of its former innocence. “Because I never know anything about all those things with which the devil torments me.”
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Jesus replied to her: “Do not be afraid; your soul is steeped in My Blood, and none of that can stain it.”
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Then alluding to a specific word which more than once in the preceding days had given her strength: “Your Mothers have found the word . . . “Abandonment”. The devil has no power but what is given him from on high. Tell your Mothers that I am supreme.” 
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[The “mothers” in the quote of Jesus given to Josefa refer to the Mother Superior of her convent and also the Mother Master of Novices who was personally responsible for Josefa during that time period. -Editor]
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Nevertheless, the demons sought to discourage her from her mission of sacrificing and suffering for souls, and they endeavored by all means to drive her to despair, and she overheard them saying such things as:
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“You will be one of us! … we shall tire you out! … we shall overcome you! …Don’t let go of her; be on your guard to plague her in any way you can! … she must not escape!…we must induce her to despair! 
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And in the life of Josefa Menendez there occurred an even greater phenomenon that is very rare in the lives of the Saints: God permitted the devil to take her down to hell. There, in hell, she spent long hours, sometimes a whole night, in unspeakable agonies. Though she was dragged down into the bottomless pit more than a hundred times, each sojourn seemed to her to be the first, and appeared to last countless ages. She endured all the tortures of hell, with the one exception: that of the hatred of God. For Josefa, the most painful of these torments was to hear the horrid confessions of the damned, their cries of hatred, of pain and of despair.
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Under the eyes of those in her convent, Josefa would suddenly disappear, and after long search she would be found thrown into some loft, or beneath heavy furniture, or in some unfrequented spot. In their presence she was burnt, and without seeing the devil, they saw her clothes consumed and on her body unmistakable traces of fire, which caused wounds that took very long to heal. Likewise the effects of fire which burned her were seen on her garments and flesh; fragments of scorched linen are still preserved to this day. Ten times in all Josefa was thus set on fire. She saw the devil vomit on her flames of which visible traces were seen not on her clothes only, but on her person. Painful wounds which took long to heal left on her body scars which she carried to the grave. The evil one suggested despairing thoughts, blasphemies, and wicked temptations that continued for days and nights, during which God hid Himself, and Josefa, bewildered, felt as if abandoned and at the mercy of the most ignoble and infamous of tormentors. Yet, when at long last she came back to life, completely worn out and spent, her body agonized with pain, she looked upon no suffering, however severe it may be, as too much to bear, “…if by it I should save a soul from that dreaded abode of torment.”
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“In the night of 16th March towards ten o’clock,” wrote Josefa, “I became aware, as on the preceding days, of a confused 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 Mother Superiors cell; then I came 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.”
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“Tie her feet and bind her hands,” he cried. . . .
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“Instantly I lost sight of where I was, and felt myself tightly bound and being dragged away.
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Other voices screamed: “It is no good to bind her feet; it is her heart that you must bind.”
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“It does not belong to me.” came the answer from the devil.
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“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 this narrow corridor were niches out of which poured smoke, though with very little flame, and which emitted an intolerable stench. From these recesses came blaspheming voices, uttering impure words. Some cursed their bodies, others their parents. Others, again reproached themselves with having refused grace, and not avoided what they knew to be sinful. 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 violent punch 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 needle points. Opposite and beside me souls were blaspheming and cursing me. What caused me most
suffering . . . and with which no torture can be compared, was the anguish of my soul to find myself separated from God. . . 
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“It seemed to me that I spent long years in that hell, yet it lasted only six or seven hours. . . .
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Suddenly I was violently pulled out of the niche, and I found myself in a dark place; after striking me, the devil disappeared and left me free. . . . How can I describe my feelings on realizing that I was still alive, and could still love God!
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“I do not know what I am not ready to endure to avoid hell, in spite of my fear of pain. I see clearly that all the sufferings of 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.”
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(Taken primarily from “Josefa Menendez, The Way of Divine Love)

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