The battle for souls -Stories of the attacks of the demons against modern day mystic saints
“….And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a Angel of Satan to beat me, to keep me from being too exalted.”
-St Paul to the Corinthians [2 Corinthians 12:7]
The primary mission of the mystics is to be victim souls—that is, they are especially called by God to suffer in union with Jesus for the conversion of souls. It is a spiritual battle for souls between God and the demons, where the victim soul is essentially the “battle ground”, and the stakes is the conversion of many persons who are at that moment in the hands of the devil.
For the majority of us, the devil and his demons prefer to wage a silent, hidden war, primarily because it is through this method that the demons stand the best chance of tempting and deceiving us, for if we physically saw a demon in its efforts to tempt and lead us to sin, we would be absolutely horrified by its hideous appearance and would in fact be strengthened in our resolutions against sin and evil deeds. So it is in our daily lives that most of us are subjugated to unseen temptations and attacks by the demonic spirits–but in the lives of certain mystics, God allows the malignant spirits to use open warfare.
“War! War against you and your spiritual director!”
When it comes to the mystic Saints however, there is much more at stake than one individual soul, for it is the victim soul who, through their mystical union with Jesus on the Cross, actually snatches souls out of Satan’s hands. And with the victim soul, the devil is met with resolute resistance from the one who has offered him/herself in union with Jesus for the conversion of sinners; and with the prospect of losing souls in his grasp, and unable to make the victim soul sin in any serious way, he takes the most fearful vengeance against them, using all the powers of hell in a demonic torrent of attacks in countless forms, all in an effort to cause the victim soul to despair and lose their trust and love for God.
So it is that in the case of many mystics, the battle with the demons is not hidden one but it is in fact open warfare. And this open battle is permitted by God to manifest to everyone the reality of both the devil and hell, which unfortunately many today try to disclaim the existence of. For the devil and the demons are very much a reality, and in their dealings with God’s mystic saints they show themselves in the most horrid and undisguised perversities of their vicious and corrupt nature, in the wicked hope of snatching from Christ the souls He loves, and for whom He has paid such a high a price in the shedding of His Precious Blood.
These battles between the demons and the victim souls are often epic, and terrible to witness or to even read of. Just one of many examples we will document below be that of St Gemma Galgani, who died in 1903. The devil, in the form of either a hideous, hairy, ape like man or sometimes in the form of a black dog who would grab her by the hair and rip her out of bed onto the floor, taking out clumps of hair in the process, and would proceed to beat her mercilessly, dislocating her shoulder among many other things in the process, horribly cursing God and shouting “War! War against you and your spiritual director!” (Those interested can read about Gemma’s epic battles against the demonic here).
But for the many reasons that God allows such diabolic and hellish attacks in the lives of the mystics, certainly one of these reasons is to teach us to have a great horror for grave sin. And so let us contemplate a few of these battles of the mystics vs. the demons, so as to gain some new perspectives on the beneficial fear that we should have within ourselves for sin.
The demons apparitions under different forms and what they mean
Before we get started with the stories of these epic spiritual battles in the lives of a number of 20th century Saints, it is very important to note that Satan and perhaps a good number of the higher ranking demons can appear in most any form imaginable–commonly called “phantasms”, the demons can visibly appear as any variety of animals and animal-like creatures, as Angels, Saints, the Virgin Mary and even as Jesus Christ Himself, as we shall see in the stories below. However, in this writers investigations of the lives of the mystics I would list the following as the most common forms. We should bear in mind that everything the devil and the demons do is in direct opposition to God and they often seek to mock God and anything that is holy and pertains to Him.
-Black ape or hairy man–Symbolizes satan’s mockery of Jesus, for he is really the “ape” of God.
-Black serpent or snake– Symbolizes satan’s intelligence and cunning temptations (as in the book of Genesis)
-Large black cats and black dogs make their appearances quite often in the lives of the mystics. Their precise symbolism seems to be unknown, but they both are very often used in physical attacks. Note, the demonic black dog is not to be confused with the large grey dog who often mysteriously appeared in the life of St John Bosco and whom literally saved his life on several occasions.
-Black human-shaped “shadow people” are also quite common, and are demons in “raw” form. Their purpose seems to be to terrorize and scare, hoping to lead the victim to despair.
-The devil has been often known to take on the form of a goat, to mock Jesus as the lamb of God who takes away the sins of humanity.
-Some of the Saints describe being watched by a pair of fiery-red glowing “burning” demonic eyes which contradicts the ever watchful “Eye of God”, which itself symbolizes the omnipresence and omniscience of God, who watches over all things.
For example on July 2, 1961 the four children of Garabandal, Spain purportedly saw a very large “Eye of God” above and to the right of the Blessed Virgin Mary as She was appearing to them. After the apparition, each of the children individually all described this to be precisely the “Eye of God” who presumably was revealing to the children that He is watching over all events..
Stories of the great battles between the victim souls and the demons
The devil drags Josefa Menendez into 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
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.
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:
“Unable to bear any more, I knelt beside my bed, endeavoring 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.
“Do not fear, my daughter; I am here.”
“I told her how terrified I was of the devil, who made me suffer so much.
“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!”
“Giving me her blessing, she said: ‘Do not fear.’
“I kissed her hand and she went away.”
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.”
Jesus replied to her: “Do not be afraid; your soul is steeped in My Blood, and none of that can stain it.”
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.”
[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]
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:
“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! …
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.
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.”
“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.”
“Tie her feet and bind her hands,” he cried. . . .
“Instantly I lost sight of where I was, and felt myself tightly bound and being dragged away.
Other voices screamed: “It is no good to bind her feet; it is her heart that you must bind.”
“It does not belong to me.” came the answer from the devil.
“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. . . .
“It seemed to me that I spent long years in that hell, yet it lasted only six or seven hours. . . .
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!
“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.”
(Taken primarily from “Josefa Menendez, The Way of Divine Love”; TAN Books and Publishers, Inc, 1981)
The devil versus St Padre Pio
“The tempter, ever on the watch, wages war most violently against those whom he sees most careful to avoid sin” –St. Leo the Great, died, 461.
Many people throughout the world are well aware of the Italian priest affectionately named “Padre Pio” who bore the stigmata for exactly 50 years and 3 days—longer than any known stigmatic in the history of the Catholic church. The miracles God wrought through this holy Capuchin friar are also well known. But surely what is less known about him are the many demonic battles he was forced to undergo to snatch souls from the demons.
Padre Pio spent countless hours each day hearing the confessions of sinners, and the devil was to make him pay for bringing souls to Jesus. Father Joseph Martin, O.F.M. Cap. who was Padre Pio’s close companion the last three years of his life tells the story of how one night the devil beat Padre Pio so severely that he fell on the floor of his cell and cut his head quite badly. The next morning, when Father Martin came to his aid and asked what had happened, Padre had told him how the devil had beat him. Furthermore, a blood-stained pillow, which is kept to this day in his cell at Our Lady of Grace Friary had been found underneath the Padre’s head. When asked where all the blood on it came from, he claimed that the Blessed Virgin Mary had placed it under his head during the night, while She consoled and comforted him.
But there were many other times where Padre Pio was beaten by the demons, as stated in his letters to his spiritual director:
“The ogre [devil] won’t admit defeat. He has appeared in almost every form. For the past few days he has paid me visits along with some of his satellites armed with clubs and iron weapons and, what is worse, in their own form as devils. I cannot tell you how many times he has thrown me out of bed, and dragged me around the room. But never mind! Jesus, our dear Mother, my little Angel, St. Joseph and our father St. Francis are almost always with me …. (Letter to Padre Agostino, Jan. 18, 1912.)
The devil does not cease to appear to me in his horrible forms and to beat me in the most terrible manner …. (Letter to Padre Agostino, March 21, 1912.)
I had a very bad time the night before last; from about 10pm, when I was in bed, until five o’clock in the morning, that wretch did nothing but beat me continually. At five in the morning, when that wretch left me, my whole body became so cold that I trembled from head to foot like a reed exposed to a violent wind. This lasted for a couple of hours. I spat blood …. (Letter to Padre Agostino, June 28, 1912.)
Listen to what I had to endure a few evenings ago from those impure apostates. The night was already well advanced when they began their attack with the most hellish noises, and although I saw nothing in the beginning, I understood who was making the strange noise. Instead of being frightened, I got ready to fight them with a scornful smile on my lips. Then they appeared to me in the most abominable forms and to make me act dishonorably they began to present themselves to me all dressed up [as a woman], but, thank heaven, I scolded them severely and treated them as they deserve.
Then, when they saw all their efforts going up in smoke, they hurled themselves on me, threw me to the ground and proceeded to beat me very severely, throwing pillows, books and chairs around the room, with desperate shrieks and most obscene language …. (Letter to Padre Agostino, Jan. 18, 1913.)
They flung themselves upon me like so many hungry tigers, cursing me and threatening to make me pay for it. My dear Father, they kept their word! From that day onward they have beaten me every day …. (Letter to Padre Agostino, Feb. 1,1913.)
Jesus never stops loving me in spite of all my shortcomings, for he allows those ugly-faced creatures to afflict me incessantly. For the past twenty-two days Jesus has allowed them to vent their anger on me continually. My body, dear Father, is bruised all over, from all the blows it has received at the hands of our enemies. More than once they even went so far as to pull off my nightshirt and beat me in that state …. (Letter to Padre Agostino, Feb. 13, 1913.)
Satan with his malignant ways never tires of waging war on me and attacking my little citadel, besieging it on all sides. In a word, Satan is for me like a powerful foe who, when he resolves to capture a fortress is not content to attack one wall or one rampart, but surrounds it entirely, attacks and torments it on every side …. (Letter to Padre Benedetto, Aug. 4,1917.)
So far we have seen how Lucifer is a frightening adversary, most especially for the victim souls who are called to suffer for the conversion of sinners. The devil is in fact very powerful and should be taken seriously. In closing with St Padre Pio, let us read his words which tells us just how powerful a enemy we have in the devil:
“We must have no illusions about the enemy who is exceedingly strong, if we do not intend to surrender. In the light infused by God the soul understands the great danger to which it is exposed, if it is not continually on its guard”. -Letter to Padre Agostino, St Padre Pio, May 9,1915.
The devil tries to appear in disguise as Jesus
It should be of no wonder to us that the demons often try to appear as Angels, Saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary or even Jesus Himself, since the Scriptures themselves warn us to be on our guard, stating that “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light”. [2 Corinthians 11:14].
In light of this we see how in her journal Josefa Menendez writes:
“On the night of the 13th or 14th of January, 1922 that the devil began once more to torture me. He tried to force me to abandon my vocation. In his increasing fury he even tried to ensnare me by taking on the appearance of Jesus .”
In fact the devil continued to try to appear as Jesus so to remedy this problem her spiritual director, Father Boyer O.P. at first had her renew her profession vows [as a nun] whenever a “heavenly” visitor would appear, and later upon the appearance of any “visitor” he told her to recite the ‘Divine Praises’ of which she asked the visitors to repeat after her. In their great pride and hatred for God the demons could never utter any of the “Blessings” of the Divine Praises [ie- the “Blessed be God” and “Blessed be Jesus Christ” etc..]
Josefa’s spiritual director most assuredly discovered this new powerful weapon against the demons disguises from the life of St Gemma Galgani (1878-1903), for it was precisely through the reciting of the “Divine Praises” that Gemma was finally able to thwart the devil who was frequently appearing to her under different disguises in an effort to deceive her. For as Gemma learned (thanks to her spiritual director, Venerable Fr. Germanus C.P.) that the devil with his polluted lips is never able to utter such words of praise and benediction.
In the life of Blessed Alexandrina da Costa (1904-1955) –a Portuguese mystic and stigmatic of whom we will speak more about below—we read another occurrence of the devil making himself out to be Jesus. In this case Blessed Alexandrina writes:
“Every now and then I see a rapid light. Twice I have seen two very big eyes, wide open, staring at me, but they disappeared quickly. On Sunday, I heard a very sweet voice saying, ‘My daughter, I come to tell you not to write anything of what you see: your sight is deceiving you. Don’t you feel how weak you are? You displease me with this; it is your Jesus who speaks to you, not Satan.’
I was suspicious and began to kiss the crucifix. The voice became enraged and thundered, ‘If you continue to write I will destroy your body. Do you think I cannot do this?’ (From the writings of Blessed Alexandrina da Costa, 1934)
The devil appears as a Priest -Two cases
“Go ahead and pray for yourself, but if you pray for others I will make you pay dearly for it! -Lucifer to St Gemma Galgani
The attacks that the demons waged against the Italian mystic and stigmatic St Gemma Galgani are legendary. Known for her extraordinary virtues and a deep love for Jesus and Mary, Gemma was only 25 when she died in 1903 having reached a high degree of sanctity. The devil appeared to her in many different forms: a hairy man and a black dog–both of whom would beat her mercilessly; a black “panther” like cat; and as an “angel” resplendent with light.
The devil even carried these wicked disguises so far as to feign to be a priest to whom Gemma used to make her confession to–Monsignor Giovanni Volpi, a priest whom she had known for almost her entire life! She had gone one day to Church, and while preparing herself to make her confession, she saw that Monsignor Volpi was already in the confessional, a fact which caused her to momentarily wonder, having not seen him pass and enter. At the same time she began to feel very much disturbed in spirit, as generally happened to her when in the presence of the malignant spirits.
She entered the confessional however, and began her confession as usual. The voice and ways were indeed those of the confessor she knew since childhood, but his words and advice were not pious, and were accompanied by improper gestures. “My God”she exclaimed, “what has happened?”
At such a sight and at such words the angelic child trembled, and realizing it was the devil in disguise, she hurriedly left the confessional, and saw as she did so that the pretended “confessor” had disappeared. She knew then that it was the devil, who by his coarse and fiendish ways had sought to deceive her, or at least make her lose all confidence in the minister of God.
In the life of St Dominic (1170-1221), the great founder of the Dominican Order, we read the following:
“The servant of God, who had neither bed nor cell of his own, had publicly commanded his fellow Priests and Brothers that they should retire to bed at a certain hour, so as to be able to arise at a later hour for Matins, and as their superior and the founder of their Community his instructions, of course, were strictly obeyed.
Now, at that time Dominic, the holy man of God, had no bed or cell, and rested before the Lord in the church, the devil appeared before him in the form of one of his fellow religious, and since it was past the prohibited time, the Saint went softly up to him, and expressed his desired for him to go to his cell, and sleep with the others.
The pretended friar inclined his head in sign of humble obedience, and went as he was told; but on each of the two following nights, he returned at the same hour and in the same manner. The second time, the man of God rose very gently (although, indeed, he had reason to be somewhat angry, seeing he had already reminded his fellow priest the night before), and again asked him to go to his cell for rest. Once again, he went; but in the same manner the following evening he returned yet a third time.
Then it seemed to the Saint that the disobedience and pertinacity of this brother priest was too great, and he reproved him with some severity; and the demon, who desired nothing else but to disturb his prayer, stir anger within him, and move him to break the silence, gave a loud laugh, and, leaping high into the air, he said:
“I have made you break the silence, and moved you to wrath!”
But Dominic calmly replied, ‘Not so, for as superior of the Community I have power to dispense; and neither is it blameworthy wrath when I utter reproofs unto the disobedient.’
And with this truthful reply the demon was obliged to fly.
(Taken from “The Life of Saint Dominic” by August Theodosia Drane, published by TAN Books and Publishers)
The devil appears as a Saint
In his memoirs, the holy Benedictine Abbott Guibert of Nogent (1055-1124) tells of a story of a compatriot of his who unfortunately for him had sexual relations outside of marriage. Afterwards, having felt deep remorse for the grave sin that he had committed, he decided to make a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint James of Galicia to seek the Saints holy intercession, as Saint James was very popular in that locale at that time.
After having set off on his pilgrimage, he was suddenly surprised by a vision of Saint James of Galicia (that is, the Saint in whom he was invoking on his pilgrimage). Impressed by this surprising vision he listened attentively to the “Saint” who with a stern voice and forceful appearance reminded the man of the Gospel teaching “If you hand causes you to sin, cut it off” [Matt 5:30] and thus told the man that he needed to take his knife and cutoff his private part, in reparation for his sin. Immediately the man did so, out of obedience.
A few moments later, after having recovered somewhat from his self induced injury, the “Saint” then told the man that it was necessary for him to now cut his throat. Fearing the anger of God and that of the “Saint” the man then raised the knife to his throat, when suddenly there appeared before him the Blessed Virgin Mary, who looking directly at the man simply stated “NO!” Next the Blessed Virgin turned to the “Saint” apparition, and upon setting Her heavenly gaze upon the “Saint”, it let out a angry shriek and then suddenly disappeared. Thus we see how in this instance the Blessed Virgin Mary Herself interceded and put an end to the demons ruse.
The Devil versus Alexandrina da Costa
Among the many mystics and stigmatists in the Church of recent memory is Blessed Alexandrina da Costa (1904-1955). The malevolent spirits waged a hellish war against her to try to get her to abandon her mission as a victim soul. Here are a few examples of the demonic attacks:
“There are days when the devil makes me feel so exhausted and puts so many evil suggestions and doubts into my mind, that were it not for the goodness of God, he would have won over me already… He has tempted me so much that on some days I feel that Hell itself is about to engulf me. He urges me to kill myself, and says he will give me the means to do this without any pain. He adds that I am suffering here for no recompense, that Our Lord does not love me at all, that my spiritual director does not believe a word of what I write to him, that what I hear and feel within myself when Our Lord speaks to me is caused by the weather, or by my illness.”
Alexandrina was tormented by these demonic verbal assaults for many years. Here is another example of the diabolical attacks:
“If it were not for that imposter which you hold in your hand I would put a foot on your neck. [Alexandrina was holding a crucifix] I would reduce your body to a pulp. But you will see that He will do this to you himself. You will then wish to come to me, but I will not accept you. Thank that object of superstition [crucifix] … I don’t fear it anymore, but I hate it!
And yet another:
“Excommunication! A thousand excommunications if you continue to write to your spiritual director! Already you are burning in Hell. Be converted, unhappy one! Be converted, miserable wretch! It is the affection I have for you that makes me speak in this way. I come now from your Christ who told me to take you, because he can no longer save you. He was distressed by your writings….
And here is one of the demons many physical appearances to Alexandrina:
“One moonlit night after prayers I felt a need to sleep, when suddenly into my room came a great darkness … I perceived a black shadow and saw it jump towards me, and it said to me, ‘I come on behalf of your Christ to carry you to Hell, bed and all.’
I kissed the crucifix and the voice continued,
‘You kiss that wicked thing!’
He then tried to order me to do things that I cannot speak of … It was only when I blessed myself with holy water that I was left in peace….”
(Primary source for the above quotes is from “Alexandrina da Costa: The Agony and the Glory” by Francis Johnston, TAN Books and Publishers, Inc., 1979.)
Names that the mystics used for the devil
The nicknames that some of the Saints had for the devil would be humorous, if only this matter was not so serious and the devil was not as wicked as he is, and hell bent on destroying us and damning our souls.
St John Vianney, the holy Cure of Ars, nicknamed the devil “Grappin”, which literally means “the wrestler”. This was in fact a very suitable term since the devil often attacked him at night, and even tried to burn his straw bed while the Saint was lying in it! St Padre Pio called the devil the “Ogre”, which means “hairy, beast-like man”. St Gemma called the devil “Chiappino”, which is the equivalent of “burglar” or “thief”.
Other Saints who were oppressed by the demons
Those interested in further exploring this subject can find more of these events in the lives of Marthe Robin (1902-1981) -in her case, the devil was so enraged over her joining the Third Order of St. Francis that he had struck her a blow to the face, breaking two of her teeth, also Therese Neumann of Konnerseuth (1898-1962), Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) who once received blows to the face from the devil who appeared to her, like he also did to St Gemma, that is, in the form of a large black dog, St Teresa of Avila, St Joseph or Copertino, St Paul of the Cross and St Dominic, just to name a few of the many.
Additionally, those interested in this subject may find the following articles very interesting:
St Gemma versus the devil and also How to get rid of evil spirits
“The devil, in the form of a great black dog, put his paws upon my shoulders, making every bone in my body ache. At times I believed that he would mangle me; then one time, when I was blessing myself with holy water, he twisted my arm so cruelly that I fell to the ground in great pain. After a while I remembered that I had around my neck the relic of the Holy Cross. Making the Sign of the Cross, I became calm. Jesus let me see Himself, but only for a short time, and He strengthened me anew to suffer and struggle.” -St Gemma Galgani
Credit: Mystics of the Church