My Medjugorje Experience
My husband, Stan, told me we are going to raise our son, Alex, as a Catholic I told him "No way!" I had the usual Protestant issues against Catholics and Catholicism. I was not Catholic and had no intention of becoming Catholic, even though my husband and his friends and relatives wanted badly for me to be In 1986 our friend, Cecilia Borowski and her husband, Richard, both devout Catholics, gave me brochures and articles about how the Virgin Mary was appearing to six children in a little village in Croatia called Medjugorje since 1981 and was giving them messages. The articles were written by a Lutheran named Wayne Weible. (He has since become a Roman Catholic). Oddly enough, I couldn't put them down, and kept reading and re-reading them I told Cecilia I would go with her to this place called Medjugorje.
I love to travel and I'd heard of Fatima and Lourdes, so if the Blessed Mother was really in Medjugorje that was fine, but I really only wanted to go because it was someplace new, as well as out of curiosity. Just because a bunch of hysterical Catholics believed the Mother of God was there, that didn't mean she really was, and I was determined not to get caught up in any "mass hysteria". One night before our trip, the program 20/20 with Barbara Walters came on and to my great surprise the program was about the Blessed Mother and the visionaries in Medjugorje! I watched with fascination and then came the time when Barbara Walters interviewed one of the visionaries named Vicka. The second I saw her I said out loud, "I'm going to be friends with her!" I felt a link with her, and felt really drawn to Medjugorje during that program. How strange! I have to add here that Cecilia had been diagnosed with breast cancer a year or so before, so when we went to Medjugorje in April of 1987, she knew she didn't have very long to live. Cecilia had told me to buy a rosary and have it blessed and bring it along,. which I did. I also brought a little brochure that showed how to say the rosary. I was against "repetitive prayers, but "When in Rome...... ".
We arrived in Medjugorje at midnight. The feeling that came over me when we stepped out of the cab in front of the Church is hard to describe. I know now that it was a feeling of intense peace. But it was so foreign to me and a little too intense, that I immediately rejected it and was uncomfortable with it, because I didn't really want to believe in any of this. The lights were all on and the Church was packed! Cecilia was sooo excited that she ran into the Church. I waited outside. Finally she came out and we went to the house we were staying at, unpacked and went to bed. The next morning, we had breakfast and went to English Mass. I d never attended a Mass before. 37 priests were concelebrating! I found myself wanting Communion so badly! Again, what an odd thing to want, especially when I had no idea or concept of the Real Presence. When it came time to leave the Church after Mass, I also found that I didn't want to leave. How badly I wanted to stay! But you can't...you have to clear out immediately for the next Mass, as there are Masses in all the languages throughout the morning. So I left and we climed Kriezvac, or Cross Mountain.
What a climb! I thought I would die! Once I found I could still breathe, I snapped some pictures, and then we headed down the mountain for a talk by Father Slavko (who I also got to know later on, and who at this writing, is another intercessor for us in Heaven). After the talk, Cecilia and some people we had befriended, wanted to climb the mountain again! There was no way I was going to go up again, but I asked Cecilia to please take my camera and take some more pictures. So she did. When they arrived at the top, she knelt down to take a picture of the big cross (which has a relic of the True Cross by the way). She heard a voice telling her to "wait." So she waited. Then she heard the voice say "Go ahead." So she snapped the picture. Later that night we went to the Croatian Mass during which the visionaries see the Blessed Virgin. I saw 3 flashes of light when She appeared and 3 flashes of light when she disappeared. They were definitely not from a camera. I felt an overwhelming urge to cry, but stifled it thinking, "No way am I giving in to this mass hysteria!" The next morning after our showers and breakfast, we grabbed our rosaries and headed out for Mass. As I grabbed my rosary and glanced at it, THEN I started to cry. It had turned gold! Well, that did it for me. I stopped resisting and believed everything on the spot. I knew then that it was not just a coincidence that we just happened to go to Medjugorje. We were called, like everyone is being called to Medjugorje. In Medjugorje I felt like I'd finally come "home". It was all too much for me to shake off anymore. When it came time to leave for home it was awful. I can still remember my pain at having to leave Medjugorje. I cried on the bus all the way to Dubrovnik. I cried HARD...sobbing worse than a baby. If it wasn't for my husband and son back home there's no way I could have left. When I arrived back home, I developed the pictures. All were 'normal' except for the one of the Cross that Cecilia took. On the left of the Cross was a deep blue with a flash of light. Most people see Jesus and/or Mary in the flash of light in the blue. The Cross itself was bathed in red and to the left of the Cross was a vivid yellow. Its really the most amazing picture and quite unexplainable. I was received into the Catholic Church in 1988, which is another story for another time. I believe that everyone is called to experience Medjugorje, and it's definitely a place that everyone should experience at least once.
MY SECOND TRIP TO MEDJUGORJE
I was so obsessed with going back to Medjugorje that I went back in October of 1987, 6 months after my first trip. I went alone, not with any tour group or friends. It wasn't until I arrived that I wondered just what the heck I was going to do there. I was alone, didn't know anyone or even the visionaries, barely knew how to get to Apparition Hill or Cross Mountain, wasn't Catholic, and didn't even pray or know how to pray. My idea of fun certainly wasn't staying in Church. So now what? I was sitting in the gazebo that was being built behind the Church while pondering on just what was I going to do to keep from being bored out of my mind, when an English couple leaned over and informed me that Ivan (one of the visionaries) was going to be giving a talk here in about ten minutes. That was a pleasant surprise! After Ivan's talk, I wandered over to one of the café's and was sitting, looking up at Cross Mountain, when a lady approached me and asked me if this was my first time in Medjugorje. I told her it was my second time and asked her if this was her first time. She said, "No! Its my seventeenth time and I'm a tour guide." She had some "miracle pictures" with her that people had taken and she shared them to me. They were really interesting. Afterward, I told her about the picture that my friend, Cecilia Borowski had taken with my camera during our trip to Medjugorje last April. She was intrigued and I gave her one. As she was about to leave, she turned and asked me if I had ever heard of Father Jozo. I had never heard of him. She was astounded that I had not heard of this "living saint" and said that her tour group was going to see him in about fifteen minutes and would I like to come along. An offer I couldn't refuse! Father Jozo was amazing and I won't go into his story here, but he's someone you definitely don't want to miss if you're in Medjugorje. After we returned to Medugorje, I heard from someone else that Vicka was giving her talk for English speaking pilgrims. I followed a group there and got to hear her talk. Things like this went on and on, and to make a long story short, I was so busy during the week that I hardly had any time to myself. It wasn't until I was on the flight home that I realized just how well I had been taken care of in Medjugorje. I came to realize that Our Lady takes such good care of us that we really have nothing to worry about ever. I was overcome by this realization and cried all the way home again on the plane. There were just too many coincidences. Padre Pio, who didn't believe in coincidences, once said to someone who remarked that "it was just a coincidence", said, "Yes. But Who makes those things happen?" Don't worry how you'll get to Medjugorje or what you'll do when you get there. Just go. Our Lady is calling you too!
MY THIRD TRIP TO MEDJUGORJE
My husband, Stan, our son, Alex, and our cousin, Dorothy, all went to Medjugorje one Easter. Dorothy had taken care of my mother in law until her death just a week before and Dorothy was practically on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Dorothy had never been to Medjugorje so we took her with us as we were on our way there anyway. Dorothy was up before the rest of us and headed out for Church around 8:00 a.m.. We were to meet her at Church for the ten o'clock English Mass. We went to Mass, but didn't see Dorothy anywhere. We looked everywhere, inside and out, but couldn't see her. It wasn't until almost noon that we found her, although it was her that actually found us. She had been standing just inside the door of the Church for four hours and thought she'd only been there for maybe 10 minutes! She was amazed at hos much time had gone by. It was amazing that we didn't see her, and I couldn't figure out how we could possibly not have seen her there.
Dorothy and Stan decided they would climb Cross Mountain. I stayed below with Alex. I told Alex who was only five or six at the time that I wanted to go into the Church to pray. He asked if he could stay outside and play and I said "Yes, but stay right here in this area! Don't go anywhere else!" Alex was very good at obeying and I knew I could trust him.
I was in the Church for maybe a half an hour and came out looking for Alex. I couldn't see him anywhere. I looked and ran around and around the Church calling for him and looking in every conceivable place for him. Where could he be? After about fifteen minutes of this I panicked. I was crying rather hysterically looking everywhere, but he was nowhere to be found. A Franciscan was walking towards the gift shop from the Church and I ran over to him, and in my blind panic, grabbed him and started shaking him and yelling at the same time, "I've lost my son! I've lost my son!" He calmly said that he would pray for me and get the other Franciscans to pray for me too and he walked away.
Pray? That word just struck me. In my panic, I had forgotten that I could pray, and indeed, hadn't even thought of praying. I went back to the front steps of the Church and prayed to Our Lady begging, "Please! Have Alex come around the corner, normal and fine, wondering why I'm crying, within 2 minutes! Just have him walk around that corner in two minutes!"
Why two minutes? Why not two seconds? I don't know.I was barely coherent with panic and the words just came out. I waited Exactly two minutes later, Alex walked around the corner of the Church, saying "Hi mom! What's the matter?" I cried even harder with relief and just held him, thanking Our Lady for her intercession. Afterward I wanted to kill him! Where was he? There was a pile of rocks in back of the Church, near the gazebo, and Alex was just over the little hill of rocks, on the other side.. I would have seen him if I'd just walked closer to the rocks and looked over. He was right where he was supposed to be, except not on the side where he was easily visible from the Church.
I learned a couple of lessons that day. One lesson was that faith is everything. Have confidence in prayer, and know that nothing is impossible for God. Know that He listens to His Mother and that she really is a powerful intercessor! The second was that I could identify a lot more with the fifth joyful mystery, where Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the Temple after three days. Three days! Can you imagine the panic Our Lady went through for three whole days? For me it was one hour. I can barely imagine missing my son for three days! That incident alone has helped me say the Rosary more devoutly.
In Medjugorje or anywhere else, never doubt what a powerful intercessor Our Lady is!
TO VIEW MY PICTURES OF MEDJUGORJE:
Click on the Album called "Medjugorje". After entering the album, click on slideshow and sit back and enjoy!
None of the pictures are copyrighted and you are free to copy them, have prints made of any of them, or whatever you like anytime.