"I BURN IN HELL" We read in the life of Bl. Richard of St. Ann:

In his town, there were students who were dissolute and scandalous. One night they were in a house of ill-repute. After some time one of them said to the other: "Let us go back, I have had enough." And the other one answered: "And I, not enough."

The first one left and went back to his apartment. As he was about to go to bed, he remembered the daily prayer he used to pray to the Blessed Virgin. Although he did not feel like praying, he fulfilled his act of devotion.

He had hardly finished when he heard a knock on the door. A second and third he heard the blows but did not wish to answer.

Suddenly, his companion whom he had just left in the house of ill-repute entered through the closed, locked door! There was a stunned silence. Then his companion said: Don't you recognize me?"

In truth, the man who had just said his prayer replied: "To see your face and to hear your voice you are the companion whom I left a little while ago; but your sudden and surprise appearance here causes me to doubt."

The mysterious visitor gave a long sigh. "No" he said, "while we were in the house of ill-repute, ignoring all fear of God, Satan had us before a divine Tribunal and claimed a sentence of damnation against both of us. The Sovereign Judge gave the sentence and it was only a question of executing it, but the Virgin, your advocate, interceded in your favor at the same moment you...invoked Her. Your judgement is deferred but mine has been executed because when I left the house where I committed my crimes, I was strangled; the devil took my soul from my body and dragged it into Hell where I now burn."

Saying this, he uncovered his breast and showed it eaten with worms and devoured by fire. Then, leaving a terrible stench, he disappeared.

The young man who had been saved by Our Lady remained in a kind of stupor until suddenly he heard the midnight matin bell at the nearby convent of the Franciscans. He could no longer sleep. At daybreak he went to the convent, threw himself at the feet of the Franciscan superior and told him what had happened.

The superior had difficulties believing what he was being told, so he went to the place where the strangling would have happened. Then he found the body, hideous and repulsive, lying on the ground.

This event was actually witnessed by Bl. Richard, the Franciscan, who was then 19 years old. It was this story that caused him to join the Franciscans in the convent of Nivelles. He was martyred in Japan in 1622.