Sister Josefa Menendez’s Bio
Bio: Sister Josefa Menendez was born on February 4, 1890 in Madrid, Spain. Being of Spanish descent, she initially sought to enter the religious life in Spain, but God’s Providence lead her elsewhere and eventually, after many trials, she entered a French Convent and became a Coadjutrix Sister of the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1920 at age 29. As far as external appearances go, nothing signalized that Josefa was in any way fitted for so high a mission as to bring forth a Message of Jesus to the world. She was a religious Sister for only 4 years before her death and prior to this she repeatedly delayed entering into the religious life. Then if we take in consideration her humble rank in the Community, her status as a mere novice, her reserved natures and great love of retirement, and the very real obstacle of her ignorance of the language of the country (French), -all these hindrances combined would at first sight appear insurmountable to the proclamation of a Message to the world.
In reality however they were signs of God’s choice. Though she was but a simple novice, often reserved and quite meek, she would show later an unconquerable strength of will. In the blinding light of divine revelations, she only crept deeper into her littleness, and the closer God drew to her the more she humbled herself. In spite of the evidence of God’s action, she was ever fearful of being deceived herself, and of deceiving her Superiors. In reality her Superiors had rarely met with a more obedient and docile subject, or one more deferential, more eager to submit to their authority, more ready to sacrifice herself.
In her devotions, as in everything else, there was no exaggeration; she was sincere, straightforward and simple. She was mentally healthy and had a well-developed spirituality and devotion. The supernatural graces and gifts, whose weight was often crushing, purified her to the depths, though her spiritual equilibrium was at times shaken by the extraordinary visions and communications, which at times required an almost superhuman endurance. All this was in reality the best guarantee to Superiors that her communications were divine in origin.
Her daily life within the Convent was very ordinary as she carried out her humble tasks and chores with grace and humility. Her fellow Sisters did not know of the extraordinary graces and lights that God was bestowing upon His humble servant, nor did they know of the inner struggle Josefa was undergoing as the devil tempted her to doubt God’s voice and her Religious calling, but through it all Josefa maintained a strong prayer life, which aided her in resisting the deceitful voice of the evil one.
It was because of her simplicity, humility and ordinary life that our Lord said to Sister Josefa:
“You yourself shall be My sign. […] I will reveal to you the burning secrets of My Heart and many souls will profit by them. I want you to write down and keep all I tell you. It will be read when you are in Heaven. Do not think that I make use of you because of your merits, but I want souls to realize how My Power makes use of poor and miserable instruments.”
Sister Josefa Menéndez, died a holy death at age 33 on December 29, 1923, at the Convent of Les Feuillants, Poitiers, France. She lived as a sister in the Society of the Sacred Heart only four years, and in so hidden a way that the world ought never to have heard of her, and even in her own community she should have soon been forgotten. It was not until after her death that her fellow religious Sisters heard of all the extraordinary graces that God had bestowed upon her.
On November 13, 1923 shortly before her death, our Lord had said to Sister Josefa:
“My words will be light and life for an incalculable number of souls, and I will grant them special graces of conversion and enlightenment.”
These words have been verified, for as soon as the first volume of Sister Josefa’s writings appeared, it was eagerly read and promulgated, and was quickly reprinted several times, while letters from all parts of the world gave testimony to the profound impression it created and to the signal graces that followed on the delivery of the Message.
Download the Way of Divine Love (Book 1 of 3)
Sister Josefa Menendez’s Description of Hell
“The Way of Divine Love” consists largely of her notebooks, that she wrote down under obedience from our Lord, with the revelations of his Sacred Heart, plus portions of her biography. This material was composed after Rev. Schouppe wrote his book on Hell. This young Spanish sister, who had a short religious life of great suffering, experienced revelations throughout much of her life, compiled in The Way Of Divine Love. More than once, she was taken to Hell to witness and feel the suffering first-hand. Sister Josefa was reluctant to write on the subject of Hell, and did so only to conform to Our Lord’s wishes. Sister Josefa repeatedly dwelt on what she described as the greatest torment of Hell, namely, the soul’s inability to love. 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…But we cannot, we live on hatred and malevolence…” (March 23, 1922).
The following material is quoted verbatim from the book “Way of Divine Love” of Sister Josefa Menendez (1890–1923). She records, too, the accusations made against themselves by these unhappy souls:
“Some yell because of the martyrdom of their hands. Perhaps they were thieves, for they say: ‘Where is our loot now?’ …Cursed hands… Others curse their tongues, their eyes…whatever was the occasion of 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 several souls fall into Hell, and among them was a child of fifteen, cursing her parents for not having taught her to fear God nor that there was a Hell. Her life had been a short one, she said, but full of sin, for she had given in to all that her body and passions demanded in the way of satisfaction…” (March 22, 1923).
“My soul fell into abysmal depths, the bottom of which cannot be seen, for it is immense. . . ; Then I was pushed into one of those fiery cavities and pressed, as it were, between burning planks, and sharp nails and red-hot irons seemed to be piercing my flesh. I felt as if they were endeavoring to pull out my tongue, but could not. This torture reduced me to such agony that my very eyes seemed to be starting out of their sockets. I think this was because of the fire which burns, burns. . . not a finger nail escapes terrifying torments, and all the time one cannot move even a finger to gain some relief, not change posture, for the body seems flattened out and [yet] doubled in two. 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. . . although these tortures were terrific, they would be bearable if the soul were at peace. But it suffers indescribably. . . All I have written,” she concluded, “is but a shadow of what the soul suffers, for no words can express such dire torment.” (September 4, 1922).
“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). (That is, illegitimate delights).
“It seemed to me that the majority accused themselves of sins of impurity, of stealing, of unjust trading; and that most of the damned are in Hell for these sins.” (April 6, 1922).
“I saw many worldly people fall into Hell, and no words can render their horrible and terrifying cries: ‘Damned forever… I deceived myself; I am lost… I am here forever… There is no remedy possible… a curse on me…’
“Some accused people, others circumstances, and all execrated the occasions of their damnation.” (September 1922).
“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, 1923)
“I heard a demon, from whom a soul had escaped, forced to confess his powerlessness. ‘Confound it all… how do so many manage to escape me? They were mine’ (and he rattled off their sins)… ‘I work hard enough, yet they slip through my fingers… Someone must be suffering and repairing for them.'” (January 15, 1923). (“Repairing,” that is, “making reparation” for them).
“Tonight I was transported to a place where all was obscure. . . Around me were seven or eight people; I could see them only by the reflections of the fire. They were seated and were talking together. One said: ‘We’ll have to be very careful not to be found out, for we might easily be discovered.’
“The devil answered: ‘Insinuate yourselves by inducing 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, whether it be lawful or not. Excite some to sensuality and love of pleasure. Let vice blind them. . . As to the remainder. . . get in through the heart . . . you know the inclinations of their hearts. . . make them love. . . love passionately. . . work thoroughly. . . take no rest . . . have no pity. Let them cram themselves with food! It will make it all the easier for us. . . Let them get on with their banqueting. Love of pleasure is the door through which you will reach them . . .’ ” (February 3, 1923).
“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 said: ‘We’ll have to be very careful not to be found out, for we might easily be discovered.’
“The devil answered: ‘Insinuate yourselves by inducing 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, whether it be lawful or not. Excite some to sensuality and love of pleasure. Let vice blind them…’ (Here they used obscene words).
“‘As to the remainder… get in through the heart… you know the inclinations of their hearts… make them love… love passionately… work thoroughly.. take no rest… have no pity; the world must go to damnation.. and these souls must not be allowed to escape me.’
“From time to time Satan’s satellites answered: ‘We are your slaves… we shall labor unceasingly, and in spite of the many who war against us, we shall work night and day. We know your power!’
“They all spoke together, and he whom I took to be Satan used words full of horror. In the distance I could hear a clamor as of feasting, the clinking of glasses… and he cried: ‘Let them cram themselves with food! It will make it all the easier for us… Let them get on with their banqueting. Love of pleasure is the door through which you will reach them…’
“He added such horrible things that they can neither be written nor said. Then, as if engulfed in a whirl of smoke, they vanished.” (February 3, 1923).
“The evil one was bewailing the escape of a soul: ‘Fill her soul with fear, drive her to despair. All will be lost if she puts her trust in the mercy of that…’ (here they used blasphemous words about Our Lord). ‘I am lost; but no, drive her to despair; do not leave her for an instant, above all, make her despair.’
“Then Hell re-echoed with frenzied cries, and when finally the devil cast me out of the abyss, he went on threatening me. Among other things he said: ‘Is it possible that such weaklings have more power than I, who am mighty… I must conceal my presence, work in the dark; any corner will do from which to tempt them… close to an ear.. in the leaves of a book… under a bed… some pay no attention to me, but I shall talk and talk… and by dint of suggestion, something will remain.. Yes, I must hide in unsuspected places.'” (February 7, 8, 1923).
“Souls were cursing the vocation they had received, but not followed… the vocation they had lost, because they were unwilling to live a hidden and mortified life…” (March 18, 1922.
“On one occasion when I was in Hell, I saw a great many priests, religious and nuns, cursing their vows, their order, their Superiors and everything that could have given them the light and the grace they had lost…
“I saw, too, some prelates. One accused himself of having used the goods belonging to the Church illicitly…” (September 28, 1922).
“Priests were calling down maledictions on their tongues which had consecrated, on their fingers that had held Our Lord’s Sacred Body, on the absolution they had given while they were losing their own souls, and on the occasion through which they had fallen into Hell.” (April 6, 1922).
“One priest said: ‘I ate poison, for I used money that was not my own… the money given me for Masses which I did I not offer.’
“Another said he belonged to a secret society which had betrayed the Church and religion, and he had been bribed to connive at terrible profanations and sacrileges.
“Yet another said that he was damned for assisting at profane plays, after which he ought not to have said Mass… and that he had spent about seven years thus.”
Josefa noted that the greater number of religious plunged into hell-fire were there for abominable sins against chastity… and for sins against the vow of poverty… for the unauthorized use of the goods of the community… for passions against charity (jealousy, antipathies, hatred, etc.), for tepidity and relaxation; also for comforts they had allowed themselves and which had led to graver sins… for bad confessions through human respect and want of sincerity and courage, etc.
Here, finally, is the full text of Josefa’s notes on “the hell of consecrated souls.” (Biography: Ch. VII–September 4, 1922).
“The meditation of the day was on the Particular Judgment of religious souls. I could not free my mind of the thought of it, in spite of the oppression which I felt. Suddenly, I felt myself bound and overwhelmed by a crushing weight, so that in an instant I saw more clearly than ever before how stupendous is the sanctity of God and His detestation of sin.
“I saw in a flash my whole life since my first confession to this day. All was vividly present to me: my sins, the graces I had received, the day I entered religion, my clothing as a novice, my first vows, my spiritual readings, and times of prayer, the advice given me, and all the helps of religious life. Impossible to describe the confusion and shame a soul feels at that moment, when it realizes: ‘All is lost, and I am damned forever.”
As in her former descents into Hell, Josefa never accused herself of any specific sin that might have led to such a calamity. Our Lord meant her only to feel what the consequences would have been, if she had merited such a punishment. She wrote:
“Instantly I found myself in Hell, but not dragged there as before. The soul precipitates itself there, as if to hide from God in order to be free to hate and curse Him.
“My soul fell into abysmal depths, the bottom of which cannot be seen, for it is immense… at once, I heard other souls jeering and rejoicing at seeing me share their torments. It was martyrdom enough to hear the terrible imprecations on all sides, but what can be compared to the thirst to curse that seizes on a soul, and the more one curses, the more one wants to. Never had I felt the like before. Formerly my soul had been oppressed with grief at hearing these horrible blasphemies, though unable to produce even one act of love. But today it was otherwise.
“I saw Hell as always before, the long dark corridors, the cavities, the flames… I heard the same execrations and imprecations, for–and of this I have already written before–although no corporeal forms are visible, the torments are felt as if they were present, and souls recognize each other. Some called out, ‘Hullo, you here? And are you like us? We were free to take those vows or not… but no!…’ and they cursed their vows.
“Then I was pushed into one of those fiery cavities and pressed, as it were, between burning planks, and sharp nails and red-hot irons seemed to be piercing my flesh.”
Here Josefa repeated the multiple tortures from which no single member of the body is excluded:
“I felt as if they were endeavoring to pull out my tongue, but could not. This torture reduced me to such agony that my very eyes seemed to be starting out of their sockets. I think this was because of the fire which burns, burns… not a finger-nail escapes terrifying torments, and all the time one cannot move even a finger to gain some relief, nor change posture, for the body seems flattened out and yet doubled in two.”
“All this I felt as before, and although those tortures were terrific, they would be bearable if the soul were at peace. But it suffers indescribably. Until now, when I went down into Hell, I thought that I had been damned for abandoning religious life. But this time it was different. I bore a special mark, a sign that I was a religious, a soul who had known and loved God, and there were others who bore the same sign.”
“I cannot say how I recognized it, perhaps because of the specially insulting manner in which the evil spirits and other damned souls treated them. There were many priests there, too. This particular suffering I am unable to explain. It was quite different from what I had experienced at other times, for if the souls of those who lived in the world suffer terribly, infinitely worse are the torments of religious. Unceasingly the three words, Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, are imprinted on the soul with poignant remorse.”
“Poverty: You were free and you promised! Why, then, did you seek that comfort? Why hold on to that object which did not belong to you? Why did you give that pleasure to your body? Why allow yourself to dispose of the property of the Community? Did you not know that you no longer had the right to possess anything whatsoever, that you had freely renounced the use of those things?… Why did you murmur when anything was wanting to you, or when you fancied yourself less well treated than others? Why?
“Chastity: You yourself vowed it freely and with full knowledge of its implications… you bound yourself.. you willed it… and how have you observed it? That being so, why did you not remain where it would have been lawful for you to grant yourself pleasures and enjoyment?
“And the tortured soul responds: ‘Yes, I vowed it; I was free… I could have not taken the vow, but I took it and I was free…’ What words can express the martyrdom of such remorse,” wrote Josefa, “and all the time the jibes and insults of other damned souls continue.”
“Obedience: Did you not fully engage yourself to obey your Rule and your Superiors? Why, then, did you pass judgment on the orders that were given you? Why did you disobey the Rule? Why did you dispense yourself from common life? Remember how sweet was the Rule… and you would not keep it… and now,” vociferate satanic voices, “you will have to obey us not for a day or a year, or a century, but forever and ever; for all eternity… It is your own doing… you were free.”
“The soul constantly recalls how she had chosen her God for her Spouse, and that once she loved Him above all things… that for Him she had renounced the most legitimate pleasures and all she held dearest on earth, that in the beginning of her religious life she had felt all the purity, sweetness and strength of this divine love, and that for an inordinate passion… now she must eternally hate the God who had chosen her to love Him.”
“This forced hatred is a thirst that consumes her… no past joys can afford her the slightest relief.”
“One of her greatest torments is shame,” added Josefa. “It seems to her that all the damned surrounding her continually taunt her by saying: ‘That we should be lost who never had the helps that you enjoyed is not surprising… but you… what did you lack? You who lived in the palace of the King… who feasted at the board of the elect.”
“All I have written,” she concluded, “is but a shadow of what the soul suffers, for no words can express such dire torments.” (September 4, 1922).
Message of the mercy of Jesus for all
especially those living a sinful life
Some excerpts from the book “The Way of Divine Love” by Josefa Menendez:
Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez:
“It is My intention also, to show souls that I never refuse grace, even to those who are guilty of grave sin; nor do I separate them from the good souls whom I love with predilection. I keep them all in My Heart, that all may receive the help needed for their state of soul.”
“The world does not know the mercy of My Heart. I intend to enlighten them through you[…] I want you to be the apostle of My love and mercy. “
“I would like these [those living with sin] to understand that it is not the fact of being in sin that ought to keep them from Me. They must never think that there is no remedy for them, nor that they have forfeited for ever the love that once was theirs […]No, poor souls, the God who has shed all His Blood for you has no such feelings for you!”
“Come all of you to Me and fear not, for I Love you al […]I will wash you in My Blood and you shall be made whiter than snow. All of your offences will be submerged in the waters in which I myself shall wash you, nor shall anything whatsoever be able to tear from My Heart its Love for you.”
“Oh, all you who are steeped in sin, and who for a time more or less long have lived as wanderers and fugitives because of your crimes[…]if the offences of which you have been guilty have hardened and blinded your hearts […]if to grant satisfaction to one or other of your passions you have sunk into evil ways […]Ah! when the motives or accomplices of your sin have forsaken you, and you realize the state of your soul, oh then, do not yield to despair! For as long as a breath of life remains a man may have recourse to mercy and ask for pardon.
“If you are still young, if already the scandals of your life have lowered you in the eyes of the world, do not be afraid […]Even if there is reason to treat you as a criminal, to insult and cast you off […]your God has no wish to see you fall into the flames of hell. […]On the contrary He ardently desires you to come to Him so that He may forgive you. If you dare not speak to Him, at least look at Him and let the sighs of your heart reach Him, and at once you will find His kind and fatherly hand stretched out to lead you to the springs of pardon and life.
“Should it happen that you have spent the greater part of your life in impiety and indifference, and that the sudden approach of the hour of death fills you with blinding despair […]Oh! do not let yourself be deceived, for there is still time for pardon. If only one second of life remains to you, in that one second you can buy back eternal life!
“If your whole life has been spent in ignorance and error […]if you have been a cause of great evil to other men, to society at large, or to religion, and if through some set of circumstances you have come to realize that you have been deceived […]do not allow yourself to be crushed by the weight of your sins and of the evil of which you have been the instrument; but with a soul penetrated with deep contrition throw yourself into an abyss of confidence, and hasten to Him who awaits your return only to pardon you.
“The case is the same for a soul that has been faithful to the observance of My law from childhood, but who has gradually cooled off into the tepid and unspiritual ways of an easy life. She has so to say forgotten her soul and its higher aspirations. God was asking of her greater efforts, but blinded by habitual failings, she has fallen into tepidity worse than actual sin, for her deaf and drowsy conscience neither feels remorse nor hears the voice of God. “
“Then, perhaps, that soul awakens with a shock of realization: life appears to have been a failure, empty and useless for her salvation […]She has lost innumerable graces, and the evil one, loath to lose her, makes the most of her distress, plunges her into discouragement, sadness and dejection […]and finally casts her into fear and despair.”
“Oh soul whom I love, pay no heed to this ruthless enemy […]but as soon as possible have recourse to Me, and filled with deepest contrition implore My mercy and have no fear. I will forgive you. Take up again your life of fervour, and you will have back your lost merits, and My grace will never fail you. “
“Finally, shall I speak to My chosen souls? Supposing that one has spent long years in the constant practice of the Rule and of her religious duties […]a soul that I have favoured with My grace and instructed by My counsels[…], a soul long faithful to My voice and to the inspirations of grace […]and now this soul has cooled in her fervour on account of some petty passion […]occasions of faults not avoided […]some yielding to the claims of nature and a general relaxation of effort […]and in consequence has fallen to a lower level […]to a commonplace kind of life […]then lastly, to give it its true name, tepidity.”
“If, for one cause or another, you awake from this torpid state, the devil will instantly attack you in every way, jealous of a soul he. hopes to claim. He will try to persuade you that it is too late, and that my effort is useless, he will accentuate your repugnance to make an avowal of your state of soul […]he will, so to speak, throttle you to prevent you from speaking and accepting the light he will do his best to stifle trust and confidence in your soul.”
“But listen rather to My voice, and let Me tell you how to act:
As soon as your soul is touched by grace, and before the struggle has even begun, hasten to My Heart; beg of Me to let a drop of My Blood fall on your soul […]Ah! hasten to My Heart […]and be without fear for the past; all has been swallowed up in the abyss of My mercy, and My love is preparing new graces for you. The memory of your lapses will be an incentive to humility and a source of merit, and you cannot give Me a greater proof of affection than to count on My full pardon and to believe that your sins will never be as great as My mercy, which is infinite.
“Remain hidden, Josefa, in the abyss of My love, praying that souls may be filled with the same sentiments.”