The following was found among the papers left by a nun who died in a convent in Germany. It is not completely clear whether this was a vision or just a vivid dream. It is remarkable that Sister Claire was actually able to read the letter in the dream; in dreams, the written word is too visually unstable to read. Also remarkable about the dream is the orthodoxy of every detail of the letter. (Footnotes indicating Catholic doctrine are provided.) Whether or not this is a private revelation, it is a very poignant meditation on hell.
Let us think of Hell while we are still living, so that we will not fall into it after we die.
In my youth, I had a friend, Anne, who lived near my house. That is to say, we were mutually attached as companions and co-workers in the same office. After Anne married, I never saw her again. We never had what can be called a real friendship, but rather an amiable relationship. For this reason, when she married well and moved to a better neighborhood far from my home, I didn’t really miss her that much.
In mid-September of 1937 I was vacationing at Lake Garda when my mother wrote me this bit of gossip: “Imagine, Anne N. died. She lost her life in an automobile accident. She was buried yesterday in M. cemetery.”
I was shocked by the news. I knew that Anne had never been very religious. Was she prepared when God called her suddenly from this life? The next morning I assisted at Mass in the chapel of the convent boarding house where I was rooming. I prayed fervently for the eternal rest of her soul and offered my Holy Communion for that intention.
Throughout the day I was unsettled, and that night I slept fitfully. Once, I awoke suddenly, hearing something that sounded like my door being opened. Startled, I turned on the light, noting that the time on the clock on my nightstand showed ten minutes after midnight. The house was quiet and I saw nothing unusual. The only sound was from the waves of Lake Garda breaking monotonously on the garden wall. There was no wind. Nonetheless, I thought I heard something else after the rattling of the door, a swooshing sound like something being dropped. It reminded me of when my former office manager was in a bad mood and dropped some problem papers on my desk for me to resolve.
Should I get up and look around? I wondered. But since all remained quiet, it didn’t seem worthwhile. It was probably just my imagination, somewhat overwrought by the news of the death of my friend. I rolled over, prayed several Our Fathers for the Poor Souls in Purgatory, and returned to sleep. I then dreamed that I arose at six to go to morning Mass in the house chapel.
Upon opening the door of my room, I stepped on a parcel containing the pages of a letter. I picked it up and recognized Anne’s handwriting. I cried out in fright. My fingers trembled, and my mind was so shaken I couldn’t even think to say an Our Father. I felt like I was suffocating, and needed open air to breathe. I hastily finished arranging myself, put the letter in my purse, and rushed from the house.
Once outside, I followed a winding path up through the hills, past the olive and laurel trees and the neighboring farms, and then on beyond the famous Gardesana highway. The day was breaking with the brilliant light of the morning sun. On other days, I would stop every hundred steps or so to marvel at the magnificent view of the lake and beautiful Garda Island. The sparkling blue tones of the water delighted me, and like a child gazing with awe at her grandfather, I would gaze with admiration upon the ashen-colored Mount Baldo that rose some 7,200 feet above the opposite shore of the lake.
On this morning, however, I was oblivious to everything around me. After walking a quarter of an hour, I sank mechanically to the ground on the riverbank between two cypress trees where only the day before I had been happily reading a novel, Lady Teresa. For the first time I looked at the cypress trees conscious of them as symbols of death, something I had taken no notice of before, since these trees are quite common here in the south.
I took the letter from my purse. There was no signature, but it was, beyond any doubt, the handwriting of Anne. There was no mistaking the large, flowing S or the French T she made that used to irritate Mr. G. at the office. It was not, however, written in her usual style of speaking, which was so amiable and charming, like her, with those blue eyes and elegant nose. Only when we discussed religious topics did she become sarcastic and take on the rude tone and agitated cadence of the letter I now began to read.
Here, word for word, is the Letter from Beyond of Anne V. as I read it in the dream.