In Life of Blessed (Now Saint) Margaret Mary Alacoque, it is found on p. 3:

It is related in the revelations of St Gertrude that she once asked St John the Evangelist why the devotion to the Sacred Heart was not publicly acknowledged in the Church at that time, and the reply was that God had reserved the manifestation of the devotion to the latter days of the Church, when the love of the people would have grown cold.

And indeed, on the Feast of St John the Evangelist, December 27th, 1674, Our Lord disclosed to St. Margaret Mary great revelations about His Sacred Heart.

QUESTION: Have there been any mystic Catholic Saints (or Blesseds) who have written about the sufferings Our Lord had endured during the night He spent in the dark prison? What did the mystic(s) write?

2 Answers 2


Catholic Mystics Who Have Written About Our Lord's Sufferings While Jesus was Imprisoned

One of the problems with finding an answer to your question is that Catholic authors and Mystics do not tend to generally distinguish between Christ’s Passion and his time he spent in prison.

Even on Good Friday, the Church does not make this distinction. The complete Passion of Jesus Christ according to the Gospel of St. John engulfs Jesus’ arrest, imprisonment, trial and crucifixion of Christ!

Mystics will often not make a distinction of only Christ’s sufferings he experienced while in prison only.

We could start with the Apostle St. Paul himself. Yes, St. Paul was definitely a true mystic. However, most Catholics do not associate mystic phenomena with this great Apostle of the Gentiles.

12 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. - 2 Corinthians 12:1-7

St. Paul’s third heaven is traditionally associated with the third stage of mystical union with God.

Now we know that St. Paul wrote several letters while in prison.

Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church. - Colossians 1:24

Yes, St. Paul even in prison is uniting his sufferings ot Jesus Crucified.

The prison epistles—Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon—are so named because they were written by the apostle Paul during one of his incarcerations. Paul mentions this imprisonment in each of the prison epistles: Ephesians 3:1 and 4:1, Philippians 1:13, Colossians 4:3, 18, and Philemon 1:10. It is generally accepted that Paul wrote the prison epistles during his first Roman imprisonment. - What are the prison epistles?

St. John of the Cross wrote the Dark Night of the Soul while in prison between the years 1578 or 1579.

The mystical teachings of St. John of the Cross and other spiritual paths and especially the passion and death of Jesus the Christ, are that the dark night is there to connect us with God. That we can only have Union with God when the things that separate us from God have been removed or dissolved. And what separates us from God? - The Dark Night of the Soul: Why does suffering exist?

The Dark Night of the Soul is one of the most difficult books a person can read, but its difficulty is surpassed by its reward. One of the most profound works of Christian mysticism, this book is highly recommended for those seeking union with God. By uniting with the sufferings of Christ we will grow in holiness.

All taken into consideration, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich writes about the prison in which Jesus stayed in.

After Our Lord endured the mock trial under Caiphas, and before being led in chains to Pilate, He was held in a prison cell in the high priest’s house. It was on His way to this cell that He looked upon Peter after the crowing of the cock.

It was not a cell. It was a deep hole in the ground, a dungeon. There is no mention of this prison in the Gospels, but its horror was revealed to holy mystics. The following extract is what Blessed Maria de Agreda saw in her vision of this most horrid incarceration (The City of God). (Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich also describes this dungeon in her revelations in The Dolorous Passion.)

“Already past midnight, the whole council resolved to lock Jesus in the subterranean dungeon below Caiaphas’s house. Scarcely any light penetrated into this prison to dispel its darkness. It was filled with such uncleanness and stench, that it would have infected the whole house, if it had not been so remote and so well enclosed. You see it hadn’t been cleaned for many years, both because it was so deep down and only criminals were confined in it, for none thought it worthwhile making it more habitable, and so this place became unworthy of all human kindness.

“God foretells Jesus being thrown into prison by the prophet Jeremiah; he likewise was thrown into a dungeon. Jeremiah 37:15. The princes were enraged, and had Jeremiah beaten and thrown into prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe, which they were using as a jail. 37:16 And so Jeremiah entered the vaulted dungeon, where he remained a long time.

“The servants dragged the Lord to this polluted and subterranean dungeon. As Jesus was still bound with the chain and ropes, these men freely exercised all cruelty dragging Him forward by the ropes, causing Him to stumble. Having fallen on the ground, these men loaded upon Him their kicks and curses.

“In one corner of the dungeon protruded part of a rock, which on account of its hardness had not been cut out. To this block protruding from the floor, they bound Jesus to it. These men forced the Lord in a most painful and torturing posture, so that He could neither seat nor stand upright for relief. Thus they left Him bound to the rock, closing the prison door with a key and giving it in charge of one of the most hateful of their number.

“Now some of the servants decided to return to the dungeon to have some fun at the Lord’s expense. Going up to Him they began to violate Him with their spittle and rain blows upon Him with their fists. Jesus opened not His mouth or made any answer; He raised not His eyes or lost the humble serenity of His expression. Their motive was to try His patience, for they wished to drive Jesus to some ridiculous saying or action. When they witnessed His unchanging meekness, they allowed themselves to be incited still more.

“They untied Jesus from the stone block and placed Him in the middle of the dungeon, at the same time blindfolding Him with a cloth. They began to come up one after the other and strike Him with their fists, or slap or kick Him, each one trying to outdo the other. ‘Prophesy,’ they would say. ‘So who was it that struck You.’ The meekest Lamb silently accepted this flood of insults and curses.

“Next these most hateful men decided to remove the Lord’s clothes. But God’s justice would not allow this indecency. Thus it happened that none of these men could execute their design. Their limbs became as if it were frozen or paralyzed until they changed their intent. As soon as they abandoned their indecency, the use of their limbs would again be restored. Although these men saw themselves paralyzed and suddenly restored, they attributed it to the sorcery and magic of this Man Jesus. They continued to practice their insulting mockery and tortures until they noticed that the night had already far advanced. They again tied Jesus to the column and departed.” - The Suffering of Jesus in Caiphas’ Dungeon

The Sacred Pit in Caiphas’ House, under the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu

The Sacred Pit in Caiphas’ House, under the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu

Other works written by Catholics while in prison are as follows, but not necessarily mystics nor of Christ’s Passion but make excellent work I would recommend:

  • Noviciat d'un évêque: huit ans de captivité sous Sékou Touré (Novitiate of a Bishop: Eight Years in Captivity under Sékou Touré; Paris: Fayard), by Mgr Raymond-Marie Tchidimbo, Archbishop of Conakry, French West Africa (now Guinea).

Archbishop Tchidimbo wrote spiritual poetry each day and memorized it in order to keep his mind sharp while in solitary confinement over the years. Pope John Paul II called him a living martyr. His tortures were such that I will not describe here.

On the Consolation of Philosophy was written in 523 while Boetius was imprisoned and awaiting execution by the Ostrogothic King Theodoric, it is often described as the last great Western work of the Classical Period.


St. Faustina (from her Diary) (1515):

I spent this whole night with Jesus in the dark dungeon. This was a night of adoration. The sisters were praying in the chapel, and I was uniting myself with them in spirit, because poor health prevents me from going to the chapel. But all night long I could not fall asleep, so I spent the night in the dark prison with Jesus. Jesus gave me to know of the sufferings He experienced there. The world will learn about them on the day of judgment. (1515)

And, from (1054) as well:

I earnestly desired to spend the whole night with Jesus in the dark prison cell. I prayed until eleven o'clock. At eleven, the Lord said to me, Lie down and take your rest. I have let you experience in three hours what I suffered during the whole night. And immediately I went to bed.

I had no physical strength left; the suffering had deprived me of it completely. Throughout all this time, I had been in a sort of swoon. Every beat of Jesus' Heart was reflected in my heart and pierced my soul. If these tortures had concerned me only, I would have suffered less; but as I looked at the One whom my heart has loved with all its might and saw that He was suffering, and that I could not bring Him any relief, my heart dissolved in love and bitterness. I was dying with Him, and yet I could not die. But I would not have exchanged that martyrdom for all the pleasures in the whole world. In the course of this suffering, my love grew immeasurably. I know that the Lord was supporting me with His omnipotence, for otherwise I would not have been able to endure it for even a moment. Together with Him, I underwent, in a special way, all the various tortures. The world still has no idea of all that Jesus suffered. I accompanied Him to the Garden of Gethsemane; I stayed with Him in the prison; I went with Him before the judges; I underwent with Him each of the tortures. Not a single one of His movements or looks escaped my notice. I came to know all the omnipotence of His love and of His mercy towards souls. (1054)

St. Faustina, in addition to being a mystic, was also a prophetess. Hence, it would appear from the last line she wrote in (1515), that---that is why writings such as this among the Saints are hard to find---if such are to be found at all.

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