A True Medjugorje Miracle
After a recent Peace Mass at St. Rita Church in Harahan, LA, several teens who traveled to Medjugorje this summer briefly shared some of their experiences of renewed devotion. The two main themes of this pilgrimage were prayer and sacrifice.
Jessie went to Medjugorje many times. Each time she received numerous graces but came back home to fall in her old ways. This was her fifth pilgrimage. Her fourth trip was when she really allowed Christ to penetrate her heart and began to live for Christ. This trip she was called to step up into a leadership role, and Our Lady taught her how to serve and lead others through love and sacrifice.
Saint Tells His Medjugorje Experience
Saint Tells His Medjugorje Experience
Danny to go to Medjugorje with his wife,
Claudia, to see what the foundation could do for Medjugorje. They
Ivan’s house. Danny’s first experience was in a room with his wife,
the Blessed Mother during an apparition. He felt very undeserving of
The Donum Dei Foundation built a new radio tower to help them broadcast Radio Mir Medjugorje which transmits its program live through a satellite. You can listen to the voice from Medjugorje in Europe, in the Near East and in North Africa. It also built an adoration chapel behind Ivan Dragicevic’s house and is responsible for putting the mosaics of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary behind the church.
A year later,
Joseph invited Danny and Claudia to check on
the medical clinic in Medjugorje. They brought Dr. Dan Jacobs and his
found that the clinic had seen 5,000 patients in the first year! While
did not go to Medjugorje when he initially wanted to in 1986, in less
years he had visited there 3 times. Danny said, “The Lord does things
just stay out of the way.”
Danny ended his talk with the following thoughts: “Do you know how many people’s lives were changed because of Medjugorje?” Danny asked. “How many vocations came from Medjugorje? Why did God pick Medjugorje? God can do anything He wants. It is great to see the sun spin and rosaries change to gold, but the biggest thing is the change of hearts. You don’t have to go to Medjugorje. He can touch your heart if you are open. It can happen right where you are. Don’t worry about the glitz—just be faithful. Churches are going through hard times; still it is an honor to be a priest or nun. Did God stop calling, or did we stop listening? Ask Mary to open our hearts.”
“It was said that Rome would not fall, that Greece would not fall, that Communism would not fall, and they all did. One thing they all had in common—no God! Think about it.”
Danny Abramowicz is the founder of Crossing the Goal Ministries. He can be seen on EWTN each Sunday at 6:30 pm EST and on Friday evening at 9:00 pm EST. It also streams on his website www.crossingthegoal.com. He wrote the book, Spiritual Workout of a Former Saint, and is co-author of the book Crossing the Goal: A Playbook on the Virtues with the Crossing the Goal team.
Books are offered through The Medjugorje Star 1-800-625-1981
Mary Leads Us to Bethlehem
by Dominique Monelzun, Jr.
So we went to Medjugorje. Sweet. But is there supposed to be a change in us? I mean, are our days and relationships, prayers and actions supposed to be different since we got back? Come to think about it, what about those shepherds that the angel appeared to and led them to Jesus in the manger on Christmas—I wonder if they were thinking the same thing…
They had seen the long promised Son of God. Ballin’. So going back to work that next day, they must have had a pretty big grin on their faces when their friends asked them how the night watch went. Imagine their faces; they couldn’t contain the joy. It had to explode.
I believe that Mary is also calling us to something we can’t contain. To a God that we can’t place in a neat corner of our messy lives, to a God we can’t just be comfortable with as a weekend hobby. Mary is calling us to a God before whom we tremble in our nakedness and fall helpless to our faces, in terror and awe…and love. To a God that takes our breath away, to the piercing gaze of our Eternal Lover…
Because I believe that Mary wants us to be more than just shepherds in our hearts, more than just witnesses to the peace and power in Medjugorje. She offers us her gentle hand to lead our hearts to become another Elizabeth, to cry out in recognition, “And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke1:43). Yet she doesn’t want us to stop there. She wants to lead our hearts even further, to Bethlehem. To form in our hearts, laid bare, a bed of straw gathered from our quiet moments of silent obedience. In that bed, Mary yearns to gently place her only Son, Jesus, born into our surrendered hearts—hearts that cannot contain the beauty and the greatness of this mystery. And with our hearts beating madly in love with the Son, the Father will send through our Blessed Mother shepherds to come to our side as they did 2000 years ago in Bethlehem, to feel the undying warmth of the Divine Love in our hearts—that their hearts are bursting for.
“Do not be afraid;
for behold, I proclaim to you good news
of great joy that will be for all the people.” Luke 2:10
Praise Mary. Praise Jesus.
A Second Pilgrimage, One of Surrender
By Sarah Denny
How can one describe the experience of Medjugorje? The beauty that I envision whenever I think of Medjugorje is something I will never be able to forget. It is a place of peace, a place of love, a place focused on God. I have been blessed to have been able to travel to Medjugorje two times, the first time in November 2006 and the second time in August for the Youth Festival. Both trips were wonderful, but each was unique in its own way. This past time I went without any specific intentions. I decided to just see where the Lord would lead me. During the months leading up to the trip, the Lord had decided to prepare me by revealing to me so many things about Mary’s beauty, grace, constant faith, and humble submission to His will.
I have truly found Mary to be my model of everything I want to be. And why is that? Mary in the midst of pain and suffering, through the worst of trials and the best of joys, constantly kept her heart focused on God. She has shown me what it truly means to be a woman of God. Upon learning that she would become the mother of God, Mary responded, “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” That was it. She refused to allow fear and anxiety to get in the way of her complete submission to God’s will. I have seen that anything that I might experience as a woman, Mary has already experienced. The different stages of her life are models for my own on how to endure and on how to love. She experienced rejection, suffering, and heartache. In those times, she humbly accepted God’s will for her and allowed those pains to form her into the woman he was constantly calling her to be. She also experienced moments of true joy, being blessed to have been the mother of God, the first tabernacle of Christ. In those times, she once again was humble and referred all praise unto the Lord. As a woman Mary had her doubts, her fears, her struggles, her mental turmoil as to whether or not she was raising her son, the Son of God, in the right way. She lost most of her friends, was judged by those who once loved her, and had to be moved from her family for a time, and yet she never lost faith. She was a silent witness of peace, of hope, and of joy.
Medjugorje is a place where Mary appears to share messages of peace with the world. Just as she did during her life here on Earth, she constantly directs our gazes towards God. She constantly calls us back to the precious heart of God. She never calls us to worship her. She asks that we look to her Son for our peace, for true peace, which can only come from a heart, which acknowledges its nothingness in the presence of the Lord. By bringing our hearts to her Son, we are able to see His love for us, his perfect and complete and true love, a love, which no human being can bestow upon us. Medjugorje is such a beautiful and peaceful place for many reasons. One of those reasons is that the people there acknowledge Mary as their mother. They know that they are loved by her. They live joyously and lovingly under her motherly mantle. They know that she comes to share with them what she can so that they might constantly look to Him.
During the youth
festival it was incredible to see thousands and thousands of teenagers
Mary as their mother and allowing her to bring them to her Son. Jakov, one of the visionaries, spoke to us
and said something, which touches my heart still today.
It is written in my journal, and I will share
it here. “What does it mean to be holy? …to have God in your heart and peace in your
heart and in your family. When you feel
God in your heart, you will know what to do. What
is more beautiful than saying I surrender my heart
and my life to
God?” He revealed to us what Mary had
revealed to Him. And that is that we
have been called to surrender our hearts and our lives to the Lord. We are only secure in His love.
He has made us beautiful and strong. There
is nothing that we have to do to make
ourselves more beautiful.
God has made us each as a unique individual and has a plan bigger than we know of. So what should we do? Well, just as Mary showed through her life and even does today, we must completely surrender ourselves to His will for our lives. Just be. Sit at His feet and just be. A beautiful soul is one, which knows its strengths and its weaknesses. It is one, which acknowledges that God is God, but I am not. Be confident in knowing that God has you exactly as He wants you in this exact moment. Let Him lead you, and let Him love you. With his perfect love, only then can you have true confidence because you are allowing your maker to work through you. With Him you have true peace, and only with His perfect love completing you, will you ever be able to truly love. Mary answered her call quietly and with perfect humility. She allowed God to work through her, and so she had a gentle and peaceful spirit, which radiated the glory of Christ.
In closing I
must add something else, which was shared with us by one of the
speakers. He directed us on how to live by
“Regardless of your disposition, may you be a vessel.
Simple or complex, be the vessel in the hands
of the Lord.” Life has its mixtures of
joys and sorrows, but through all of it God is molding you into the
He has created you to be. Let Him do
so. He is bringing you closer to His
heart. I found myself on this trip
because I found God’s heart on this trip. I
desperately threw myself at His feet, and He didn’t
there. He looked me in my eyes, and He
loved me exactly where I was in that moment. He
took me into His arms and held me next to His heart.
I can only hope that I might continue to grow
every day in His love. That by following
Mary’s example, I might daily decide to give my complete self to the
the wonderful and loving maker who has made my heart with His very
who has a plan for me that is bigger, and more loving, and more joyful
anything I could ever hope for or imagine. Pray
each day that you might be submissive to His will for
you. He loves you and is holding your
heart in His
hands so you have nothing to fear. Just
be. Let Him lead you, and let Him love
you. He, after all, will never force
himself on you. He is patiently waiting
for your yes, the same yes that Mary gave. So
give him permission and open your heart. I
promise that the joy you find is something
that will stay with you forever, and it is a joy, which only He can
The Run of a Lifetime
by Emmi Aguillard
Medjugorje is a tiny village nestled away in the green, serene, rolling mountains of Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is surrounded by acres and acres of ancient yet lively vineyards, as far as you can see, and is populated by some of the holiest and happiest people you will ever meet. It’s not uncommon to find those of all ages, cultures, and continents walking down the road with a rosary in their hands, praying the “Hail Mary,” or “Zdravo Marijo,” in countless languages that somehow all blend together in perfect symphony.
so many parts of Medjugorje where God is present. Everywhere
you turn, there are signs of Him,
and you can find Him in whichever way is right for you. There is the
pilgrim-beaten Apparition Hill on which Mary first appeared to the six
visionaries, which is why we all go to Medjugorje in the first place.
While I was there, the International Youth Festival was underway. Over 40,000 young adults, and some not-so-young adults, from all over the world were crammed into this quaint and holy little village, waving their country’s multicolored flags with pride, speaking every language imaginable, yet all singing and praising God in unison. It would seem that all of this confusion would make it hard to find peace, yet peace was everywhere. It felt as if you could just take a bottle and fill it with peace and bring it anywhere you went.
When at times I did start to feel a bit cramped, I found a solution: running. Early in the morning, I would wake up before any of the others, by the “cock-a-doodle-doo” of an actual rooster. How much more peaceful can you get than that? The sun was just beginning to peak over the horizon, lighting up the sky, the world. I would dress and head out for my morning run, before any of the mobs of enthusiastic Italians had risen and flocked to wherever that day’s apparition or event would be, making it almost impossible for anyone else to get near to see what was going on. This was a chance for me to explore the city on my own, without chaperones or anyone else telling me where to go; I could go where I wanted, when I wanted, however I wanted.
Most days I stuck to the long, winding vineyards, with the miniature, tree-like grape vines providing a cool and quiet peace. They offered shade in the afternoon, and contrasted starkly to the heat and humidity of summer in Louisiana. The crisp breezes ruffled the leaves, and as I passed through the millions of purple or green, round, juicy grapes just ready to burst, they seemed to be begging for someone (like me) to stop and devour them. There were even wild berries of some sort, nestled in a thorny clove, sweet and delicious. After stopping for a taste, I would turn down narrow dirt rows leading between the vines, ending up in front of a little house, or perhaps on another dirt road, or in the middle of nowhere. Now and then I got lost, but I was always able to find my way back to the main road.
Once I happened to stumble upon a little green, grassy clearing in the middle of a woods, surrounded by old stone walls no higher than a tree stump. The cool winds picked up, swaying the long grass; it felt like the Holy Spirit blowing down from heaven. Nearby was a tiny pigpen, with great, huge, smelly hogs filling it up. Oddly enough, they weren’t repulsing, but actually somehow added to the scene to make it just right.
When I left the vineyards, I would make my way down into town, past all of the bright tourist shops that have sprung up over the years, and on to The Risen Christ. During the day, the plaza surrounding this larger-than-life statue was crammed with pilgrims hoping to get a drop of the miraculous water that slowly trickled from its side. On my morning runs, though, nearly deserted, this place was mine. This world was mine. This God was mine.
As I made my way back through town, slowly I would begin to see signs of life. Shop owners were beginning to set up for the day, pulling out carts filled with beautiful rosaries and hand-made statues of Mary. In tents, or sleeping in their cars near the edge of the vineyards, pilgrims began to pop out, stretching and yawning. The church bells were ringing. The sound of singing voices could be heard in the distance. The world was not mine alone any longer, yet sharing it with others was half as fun.
Running anywhere else is just a pleasant pastime of mine, but in Medjugorje it became a part of me. It was my time to be able to meditate on all of the things going on around me, with the steady beat of my feet going down the path, not always knowing where it was leading, but knowing that no matter where I ended up, I would be okay.
is a 16 year-old Junior at
by Paige LaCour
Raised in a colorful, Catholic, Italian family, I’ve been enrolled in Catholic schools for the majority of my life. Only recently have I developed a passionate appreciation for my faith. I go by the name of Paige LaCour and I am 17 years old.
, my trip to Medjugorje began with many
challenges. An hour before my plane was scheduled for take off from
It seems that with all of my unfortunate happenstances, I could have been easily frazzled, but instead, I was graced with a sense of calmness in my anticipation. On this journey of mine, I left no room for doubt; knowing in my heart, that surrendering myself to a will greater than my mind may be able to conceive, can only lead me to a place past the limits of my imagination.
In 1981 the Virgin Mary started to appear to six young, ordinary, resident children. I admire those visionaries. Like them, I want people to see the love of Christ through me. People from all over the world visit this village to experience the intense presence of the Holy Spirit and to observe the discipline and strong faith that the humble people there exhibit. The village has been through trying times of war and repression, but remained dedicated to our Lord, Jesus Christ.
There was an estimated 35,000 people from all over the world in the village at the time we visited, for a youth festival. The girls and the boys in our Sojourners group lived in separate houses that were surprisingly more modern than we had anticipated, despite their simplicity. Our hosts were an inviting and welcoming family. Each morning and night they graciously served home-cooked European meals. The houses were within walking distance from the church, located in the center of the village.
Here we celebrated
daily Mass, sometimes more than once a
day, nightly Eucharistic adoration, and even a dramatic play about the
gospels. In addition, we climbed Apparition Hill to pray the
the original site of the apparitions. Some of us also meditated on the
of the Cross while climbing
I wanted to share
something that I wrote while I was
It’s as I
sit on the balcony soaking up the fresh air. No one in my house is up
yet; so I enjoy the brilliant sunrise alone. I listen to the
coming from a short distance. As I do this, I have time to
last night. It was an amazing first evening in Medjugorje. Our
guide briefed us on the history of the sites before we hiked trough the
vineyard that lead us to a cemetery. It resembled the cemeteries
This love for Mary
that has been sparked within me has
reformed many of my stubborn ways and taught me Truth. My experience in
simple village has developed my sense of understanding. It was here
that I made
a connection of my newly-merged school, The Academy of Our Lady. It is
me that God really does have a plan for us. Thank God for Medjugorje.
Paige is a Senior at the Academy of Our Lady in Gretna, Louisiana.
by Katherine Schluter
to many beautiful places. I’ve felt cold
waves crash against my feet sinking into warm sand, and I’ve gazed upon
snow-capped mountain peaks of
The people of Medjugorje are constantly living the messages of Jesus. They are all so selfless and willing to serve others at any possible opportunity. Every citizen showed love and respect to us and for the good reason of it being God’s request. The smiles to which we awoke were more than enough for beginnings of a great new day living with Jesus and His people. I’ll never forget the way our hosts went out of their way to give us butter with our bread at dinner. They quickly obliged as if it were the least they could do for us, when, in reality, they had already done more than enough.
Medjugorje is centered solely and “soul”ly on Jesus. Although our Mother appears there daily, she tells us how we can be closer to her Son. The messages of Jesus are revealed to all visitors of Medjugorje, and the peace found there is unimaginable. I pray that one day we’ll all be able to experience great peace with our Lord and love, Jesus Christ, whether we obtain it from a pilgrimage to Medjugorje or even an hour with Him in the Blessed Sacrament.
Schluter is a
“Mighty are His Plans”
by Tammy Dupuy
I am forever amazed at the vastness of our God’s love for us and the awe-inspiring way that He turns every little yes into a glorious plan. My journey to Medjugorje began in 1987, when as a young Methodist wife, I began to pray the rosary. My husband and I were trying to conceive a child and had exhausted all means that we considered acceptable. I turned to Our Lady in desperation. I had never had a relationship with Mary nor did I know much about her other than that she was a part of the manger scene at Christmas. But somewhere deep in my heart I felt that she could understand my deepest desire for a child. I purchased a cassette tape of the rosary from a Catholic bookstore I found in the Yellow Pages and I prayed it three or four times a day every day.
Only a few months later my sister-in-law contacted my husband and me to tell us that she was going to Medjugorje and taking my mother-in-law, Jean. She asked if we wanted to be put on the waiting list, and after some time we agreed. I told Mary that if she wanted me to go, I would do whatever she asked. I was, however, very reluctant and not very excited about going. One week before the trip, I got a call that there was one opening. My husband thought that I should go even if he could not … so off I went.
overwhelmed by the love and peace that I
found in Medjugorje. As a non-Catholic, there was a lot I did not
but it did not matter. I KNEW Our Lady was appearing to the children
great graces were being poured out. On October 10th we
mountain and I went off by myself to pray. I told Mary that I knew she
there, that I knew miracles were happening, but that I needed to know
knew I was there, that I had been called there and did not just “happen
on the trip.” At that moment an intense peace filled my heart and I
felt like I
was wrapped in a warm blanket. My mother-in-law ran up to me and said,
going to have that baby.” I smiled and knew she was right. Exactly one
Eighteen years later a close friend of my son went to Cenacolo in Medjugorje to live in the community. Several of us decided we wanted to go visit him, and I thought it was time for me to bring my 18-year-old back to be presented to his real mother, Mary. Several of us tried to go in August but were told it was not a good time to go see our friend and that we should wait. I was so disappointed, but my son said, “Mom, if that is what is best, then we have to be obedient.” (Don’t you just hate it when your children are wiser than you?) Of course, he was right, and wow, did God show us His better plan. We rescheduled for Thanksgiving and ended up taking 20 teens with us!!! What an incredible, faith-filled journey it was. We were blessed more abundantly than any of us could imagine! We stayed in Jakov’s home, were able to do the music and readings for many of the English Masses, were each prayed with by Father Jozo, spent time with the visionary, Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo, spent lots of time with Patrick and Nancy Latta (Fr. Jozo’s interpreter), and, best of all, we were able to be right up front in the church during Adoration. The kids spent endless hours on Apparition Hill praying together at night and grew in faith by leaps and bounds. I was able to present my son to Our Mother on the top of the mountain. And to top it off, I had my precious 16-year-old daughter with me. She had dislocated her knee a few days before the trip and popped her hip out on the trip but climbed the mountain with the rest of us as a prayer. And that young friend from Cenacolo, he had come home and was able to return with us at Thanksgiving! What a gift.
But Our Lord
did not stop there.
Mighty indeed are His plans. Word spread among the teens in the
Medjugorje is more than just a retreat or even your average pilgrimage. It is a place of grace, a place of deep conversion. Our Mother calls us there to know her Son, to draw closer to Him. And when we do…God can do so much and reach so many with just one tiny “yes.” Next June we will be going back to Medjugorje with more teens and we would love for you to join us or send a friend or family member. Open your hearts and say yes. You will be amazed at the miracles He will work. How great is Our God!!!
Tammy lives in River Ridge, Louisiana with her family"Medjugorje Brought Mary Back into my Life"
by Gerry Cancienne
the pilgrimage to Medjugorje in November 2006, with a teen group was so
incredible, Mimi Kelly asked each member of the group to write a
testimony. The witness below was
e-mailed to her by Gerry Cancienne, one of the adult pilgrims. Gerry and her new husband, Herman, joined the
grew up on the Westbank of New Orleans and lived there all of his life. He married and was very active in his church
there. Gerry also grew up on the
Westbank, however, she married and moved to
50 years later. A mutual friend dies and
Gerry returns to
“I have been meaning to write and started a few times, but words never seemed to express how our pilgrimage changed me.
I hadn’t really talked to the Blessed Mother since I pleaded for help to endure the pain of watching my young 30 year old son die. When I got back to my son, Scott’s, room from the hospital chapel, he was clutching a holy picture of Our Lady and refused to let it go and he died still holding it. I have no idea where it came from and neither did anyone else. She had to show me she heard my cries for help. I felt her help then, but as the years slowly passed and the pain turned to wonderful memories of him, she became a part of the rosary I said now and again.
Being in Medjugorje brought her back into my life completely. I’m not sure when exactly – was it being with the wonderful, innocent teenagers or the church filled to overflowing night after night with the townspeople; was it the music that made tears run down my cheeks or was it being so near to her and to all the people who loved her so completely?
I watched the old and young climb those rocky mountains barefoot, on their knees or carrying babies. They all had understood the message of Our Lady and were telling us. I watched a tiny four-year-old girl teaching a two-year-old how to make the sign of the cross. I saw taxi drivers saying the rosary as they waited for a fare.
Our beautiful Mother was everywhere. But you know I know all these things brought her in full view, but somehow I feel she touched my heart by just being so close to her, I could feel her warmth, her love and her sweetness. She is my mother holding me close and telling me all will be OK now. Whatever I will face, I can be strong. She was with me and helped me to be strong as my youngest son just had his cancerous kidney removed last week. We can talk as one mother to another now.
In this Holy Week I feel her pain so deeply, as she felt mine so many years ago.
When we got back home to our quiet home in the woods, I felt so homesick for Medjugorje, but I’ve brought her love back with me; and it is so, so wonderful to have my mother with me. I now start my day with the rosary and smile knowing I can face the day under her mantle of love.
Thank you, Mimi, for making our pilgrimage a visit of love,
Gerry”Mary Is That Perfect Mother
Sarah Denny is 18 years old. She went to Medjugorje as a senior from
I had always
been fascinated as a child by the stories of
“those children who had seen the Blessed Virgin Mary.”
I remember always hearing stories about
Medjugorje, but to me it was just this far-off place that I would never
actually see for myself. Through the
incredible grace of God, I was given the opportunity to travel to
and countless little miracles helped pave my way to that wonderful
What I found in Medjugorje can never be lost. I found a newfound love for prayer, especially the rosary. God was working on my heart the entire time, and I realized there how truly amazing and powerful God really is. But I also learned how truly amazing Mary, our mother, is. I prayed to her constantly for peace in my heart. I have come to realize that Mary is that perfect mother. She is always there for you and just wants to cradle you in her arms and take away your pains. Our earthly mothers try so hard, but they are human. In my current situation I found that I could relate so much to Mary. She had so much to go through and suffer, even losing her friends and being judged for her supposed actions. But through it all, she kept her eyes and, most importantly, her heart fixed on God. She is my model of all that is real and pure and true. I wish that everyone, especially the women in our society, would strive to be like Mary. She has always been described as beautiful, and the visionaries have even said that no real painting has ever captured her perfect beauty. The visionaries once asked her why she is so beautiful. She answered them by saying, “Because I love.” Our world is in such need of true love, pure love, not lustful, abusive “love.” She is such an example to all of us of how we need to love.
While in Medjugorje, I experienced her love for me. The people there have followed her example and love as she does. They welcomed us with open arms and open hearts. It is such a peaceful, beautiful place filled with peaceful, beautiful people. I have learned that the greatest things in life can’t be seen with the eyes but are felt with the heart. That is why faith can be such a struggle at times. You can’t see it with your eyes, but you can feel it and must believe it with your heart. And that is why I believe Medjugorje is such a wonderful place. You can feel the peace and love of God envelope you in its nature and in its people.
We were told as youth to bring Medjugorje home with us. I believe that everyone can experience Medjugorje even if they are never able to travel to the physical place. I learned so many things that I want to share with others. Most importantly, I learned that all you have to do is open your heart to God’s love and mercy. In even the smallest way, every person can be a beacon of light and peace to others. Pray hard and realize that God accepts you no matter who you are or what you have done. Love your family, love your friends, and love your enemies. Always love. And in that way you will find true peace as I did. You will find God. You will find love, and with all of that, you will have found your Medjugorje.
the most beautiful thing I could never describe"
is from Rachel Varisco, she's 18 and a senior.
Try to picture a place… a place where you are the happiest you have ever been. Think of a place where you feel just as much at home even when you’re far away. Think of the most peaceful place you could imagine. Think of a place where there is a boundless amount of hope instilled in the fact that you are able to celebrate your spirituality in the way you are most comfortable. Have you thought of it yet? Does such a place exist? I have the answer. For me, this place is Medjugorje.
I went on a trip to Medjugorje this past November , and I can honestly say that it was a trip that will affect me for the rest of my life. Being able to experience a place of tranquility and hope in the midst of this chaotic world we live in gave me a better outlook on how to continue my religious life back at home. Being there with the group of teenagers that went was enough of an amazing experience in itself. I was always able to share my faith with those around me, but knowing I have so much support from those people has made me even stronger and more able. The things that you are able to do in Medjugorje make it so worthwhile as well. Nowhere else can you go to receive the Eucharist twice a day, celebrate Mass (the greatest prayer there is) with people from around the world despite any language barriers, climb a mountain, witness the miracle of the Risen Christ statue, visit with visionaries, or go to the castle of the Queen of Peace. My trip to Medjugorje taught me so many things. I learned just how widespread God’s love is and that, no matter where you go, it always follows. I learned how powerful God’s love is and how many peoples’ lives were changed by such a holy place. I learned to see God’s amazing beauty in all of my surroundings and that if you just let go and let God be the center of your life, you can experience such a peace that you never even thought was possible. Here is a passage that I wrote in my journal at the top of Cross Mountain:
“Medjugorje—the most beautiful thing I never could describe. If I sit at the top of the mountain and close my eyes, I can still feel the beauty. That’s how strong it is. That’s how powerful it is. It is a beauty so deep that you can’t even see it all when you look with all of your might. The feeling you get here surpasses any sense you could feel or anything you could see with the naked eye. If you look around and think you see how amazing it is—think again. Multiply the beauty you see by one thousand and that doesn’t even begin to describe it.”
The words that I write cannot even begin to describe Medjugorje, either. It is truly an experience you must live through yourself. Through prayer and guidance in such a holy and remarkable place, I was blessed with so many incredible gifts during this trip and I am able to more clearly see how I can be used as God’s instrument to others. I truly believe that if I had not gone on this trip, my life would not be the same as it is now.
I have the opportunity to go back to Medjugorje in August, and excitement does not even begin to describe how I feel. I know that this is another opportunity for my faith to grow even deeper. Many people who did not have the chance to go on the last trip will be able to make it on this one also, as long as we are able to raise enough money. I truly believe we will be able to get them there by the grace of God and through lots of prayer and hard work. I cannot wait to see what more God has in store for us on this next trip. I cannot wait to see what amazing blessings others’ lives, as well as my own, will be touched with. I hope everyone who goes will be able to come back with a more restored faith than what they had. There is no doubt that a trip to Medjugorje provides you with more than just memories. It gives you many lessons, graces, and blessings to last you a lifetime.
The Most Amazing Thanksgiving Day of My Life
testimony is from Alex Lorio, 18 years old, senior at
traditional belt loosening and football watching Thanksgiving that most
enjoy, I accepted an opportunity to spend my November holidays among
I joined 18 fellow
teenagers and 11 adults on what was planned to be a weeklong pilgrimage
very holy European
Among the teenagers in our group were six fellow Raider seniors: David Dupuy, Roy Maffe, Joey Pistorius, Glen Bougieous, Lamar Edwards, and Peter Gibson. Having so many friends around made being away from home for Thanksgiving a much more tastier pill to swallow.
After over 15 hours of
traveling, we finally arrived in
On our first day in Medjugorje, we visited what I believe is a spiritual phenomenon. The Resurrected Christ statue was oozing water from Christ’s knee. The bottom half of the statue (where the liquid trickled from) is packed with concrete, and reports are that the water oozing out has been tested to be the same contents as human tears.
Praying before the statue was a powerful experience and a sampling of the peace that I would feel throughout the week. Each day we were blessed with the chance to attend two daily masses, one in English and the other in Croatian.
Throughout the week we grew closer in our relationships with God through prayer, talks, and meetings with numerous joyful people. The noticeable thing about Medjugorje, well, other than Mary’s appearances and the picturesque landscape, is the town’s residents. Never have I met more peace and joy than in the people of Medjugorje. God was so evident in their love, in their generosity, and in their daily lives. Seeing their peace was a witness to God’s love for me, as well as an incentive to know God more fully.
The power of the rosary and a relationship with the Blessed Virgin was often preached. We learned of the importance of prayer, Reconciliation, and fasting, to our lives. I realized that our true place in life is honoring and revering God. We are all called to different methods of glorifying God, whether a priest or a fireman, a nun or a librarian; in whatever we do, we are called to exalt God.
Putting God in the center of my life during the pilgrimage helped me grow closer to Christ and His love. When I opened up to Him, I felt an overwhelming peace and joy that I hope to bring back to my everyday life.
Arriving in Medjugorje, I was intensely skeptical of the apparitions. Coming away, I feel certain that the Blessed Virgin has in fact appeared to the six visionaries. Numerous scientific studies have been completed concluding that the visions are supernatural. The visionaries were stabbed with pins and sharp objects during the apparitions and did not react in any way; sensors were placed all over the body, and results proved that they were witnessing something supernatural. I am convinced.
After numerous flight
cancellations and a stay in
by Kay Mule
visionary Ivan Dragicevic has visited
Ivan is always happy to pray with us, but he finds it very hard to leave Our Lady. Each apparition is so special and it is so hard to describe a meeting with her. This night she came to Ivan so happy and greeted him with her usual greeting, “Praise be Jesus, my dear children!” She opened her arms and said three words, “Mir, Mir, Mir.” She said to pray for peace in the world and in families. Then she prayed with hands extended, blessing us with her motherly blessing. She prayed for all those who are sick and for peace. She leaves in the sign of light of the cross and says, “Go in peace, my dear children.”
Throughout these 25 years, Our Lady has asked so many times for us to pray for peace and to renew prayers in our families. She introduced herself as Queen of Peace, so who can possibly know more of the peace we need, especially in these times we live. She said, “Dear children, with prayer and fasting you can stop wars.” She wants to lead us on the way of peace, to bring peace to today’s youth and to our tired Church.
She wants to bring us hope, to make us stronger and to console us. “Dear children, today more than ever the world is going through a crisis—the biggest crisis is the lack of God in the world.” Today humanity is going into the future without God. Today’s parents are not praying with their family. There is no more faith in marriage, so many broken families and so many youth living away from the family. Only with prayer in the family can we build strong families.
Today’s humanity has to heal spiritually. Our Mother comes to bring us Godly medicine to heal our wounds and our pain with so much love, so much tenderness and so much motherly warmth. She said, “Dear children, I want to bring peace to you, but I need you. I can achieve peace only with you. Decide for good and against sin.”
She repeats so many times and does not get tired. Is there a mother so happy that she says something only once to her child and her child listens?
Our Lady did not come to scare or criticize us. She did not come to talk of the end of the world or the second coming of Christ. She wishes to bring hope to the world and families. The world has a future, but we have to change and put God in first place. We are pilgrims in this world. We don’t know when Jesus will call us to Him. We have to be prepared and to live the way God calls us to live.
The most important message is to pray with the heart. To do this we must pray with love, with all our being so that our prayer becomes a talk, a meeting, a rest with Jesus. After prayer we feel refreshed and happy. How can we concentrate on prayer and not let our thoughts wander? She knows we are not perfect. She wants us to persevere and be patient. We are in the school of prayer and, remember, there is no weekend! If you want to pray better, pray more. We think that time is always the problem, but time is not the problem. The problem is love. If you love something, you will find the time to do it. If you want to pray better, you have to pray more. To pray better is a grace given to those who pray more.
Why is Our Lady coming so long? What is she looking for? We have the Church, sacraments, and the gospel. Yes, we have all that, but do we live it? She is coming to awaken us from a spiritual coma, to make us stronger in faith and love. She asks us to decide to continue spiritual renewal in our families, to decide for God. Only in God is our real, true peace.
A Man of Hope Faces Hostage Situation
Cliff’s house was the final focus of a
massive manhunt for a
fugitive who had wounded a policeman, killed another, and led police on
Eighty-one-year-old Cliff has a strong
spiritual life. “I
have been close to the Lord for a long time,” he said. He and his
Betty, gave their lives to the Lord in 1976 through the Catholic
The peace that comes from the Lord gave him the presence of mind to be
throughout this ordeal. We have known Cliff for many years. He was a
reader and Eucharistic minister in our parish. Though he never went to
Medjugorje, he was very involved with the Medjugorje Peace Masses we
He had no idea what was going on as he walked into his living room to face a man with wild eyes holding an AK-47 and a pistol. “Is anyone else here?” Cheek asked.
“No, I am alone. Can I do something for you?” Cliff calmly asked. “No,” the man answered.
“Do you need money?” Cliff asked. “No, I have money,” he replied.
“Do you know me?” Cliff asked. “Yes, I’ve been here 4 hours while you slept.”
“I am a Christian,” Cliff informed the man. “I can see that,” he answered. There is a 2 ½ foot statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a plaque of the Holy Family and a picture of his wife receiving the Order of St. Louis award from Archbishop Hannan in the living room, a cross with Jesus the High Priest and a Last Supper picture in the kitchen, a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary in the adjacent dining room. The bedroom altar has a large picture of the Sacred Heart, a crucifix, statues of saints, angels and the Pieta, votive lights, a picture of the Divine Mercy and Pope John Paul II, Cliff’s “hero.”
“It can’t be so bad, want to talk about it?” Cliff asked. At first Cheek said no, but later he confided that he had killed a man. They heard helicopters overhead and Cheek decided to sit Cliff in a chair and tape his hands, feet and mouth with package tape. He had a distraught look, but he was gentle. “Sorry you have to go through this,” he told Cliff. Cliff thought to himself, “God is with me all this time. If it is my time, I’ll go. I am a man of hope, so I will wait it out.”
Cheek looked out the window and saw a SWAT tank. He was afraid they would kill him. The police broke through the front door and when they saw Cheek with two guns standing behind Cliff, they backed out and shouted, “He has a hostage!”
Cheek wanted to move to another room, so he gently removed the tape from Cliff and they went into the bedroom. Cheek sat next to the altar, where Betty used to pray on her knees for hours for peace. Cliff began to talk to him about his triumph over his illnesses of the past three years.
“I can relate to you,” Cliff told the fugitive. “No one wants to listen to you. I’ll tell you of my life of the last three years. I’ve had by-pass surgery, two hernia operations, and several weeks of ‘sea-dip’ diarrhea. I was moved three times during Katrina. I almost died; my two kids were very stressed. But by the grace of God I am still here.”
Cliff’s testimony had an effect on Cheek who then decided to call his mother. He used Cliff’s cell phone as he had ripped the wall phone out earlier. “I love you, Mom,” he said. Then he called his dad who encouraged him to surrender. Cliff heard him say, “I love you, Dad.” Cheek’s father spoke to Cliff and said to keep cool, that the officers will tell him what to do.
The troopers sent in a cell phone via a robot. They were assured that Cliff was all right and began careful instructions that Cliff relayed and that led to Cheek leaving the house on his own at around .
“I think God sent him here,” Cliff told me. “All those wonderful people were praying for me. I have gotten so many hugs—from people who just nodded before. We have to realize that God is in everything. We think we are in control, but we are not. It is a mystery that we can’t understand. The proof is in the fact that the man left the AK-47, pistol and knife and walked out of here on his own. I can’t judge the man. Only God can judge. I was never mad at the man.”
Cliff and his wife, Betty, had such a good relationship. They were both sacristans for our neighborhood church, St. Matthew the Apostle. Betty died 2 years ago. She suffered with Alzheimer’s, which was hard for the family, but Cliff looked at it as a test. He always tried to bring joy and hope into the situation. His 6-hour experience as a hostage was also a test and Cliff passed with flying colors. Perhaps his testimony of peace and trust in God in the face of danger will bring peace to us in our daily trials.
From the Heart…“Bagasse!”
by Hubie Mule
Everyone has a “Katrina Story.” Here is
mine. A voluntary
evacuation was strongly encouraged. In all honesty, I was so sick with
four-day migraine headache that I couldn’t have traveled if my life
it … and, in fact, it did. My wife, our
daughter Celeste and granddaughter Abigail Marie Mule bravely and,
without incident rode out the storms.
On the second day after Katrina, I rode my
bicycle to check
the store. This was the only way I could navigate past fallen trees and
power lines along the way. My daughter Celeste accompanied me until we
about 6 blocks from the store. The water was getting higher and she did
want to go farther. She did not want me to go on either. “But you don’t
understand,” I told her, “I have to go.” In
my heart I know my trust is in the Lord!
We were about a block from the store when
the water was over
the seat of my bicycle and I could pedal it no more. I set it on a high
and walked the rest of the way next to the man. We entered through the
door as the front doors were boarded up. I was surprised and relieved
that water had not entered the store. Our floor had perhaps the only
in the area. I could have kissed the ground, like the late John Paul II
Water had backed up in the bathrooms, and
when I got the mop
to clean up the mess, the man took the mop from me and proceeded to
disinfect the floors. I was truly thankful for the help this man gave
name I do not know. We left together and he went back to his house. I
only once again a few days later in a line to receive food and water. I have not seen him again and could never
figure out which house he came from. He was truly a gift from God.
We were very fortunate and survived with only wind damage to our home and retail store. I give all thanks and praise to God because many years ago I built the foundation of the building up a couple of feet higher and further back than the buildings next to it.
My heart is saddened with all the devastating stories of friends, relations and customers coming into our religious store. All I can do is listen and express my concern and prayers. Now is the time for our law-makers to step up to the plate and help our people in their insurmountable battle to move on with their lives.
I didn’t realize for several days
after Hurricane Katrina
passed that our local officials called for a mandatory evacuation of
drainage pump operators. This resulted in the loss of compressed air
discharge tubes which prevents lake water from back flowing through the
stations. This back-flow caused sewage
from street drains and toilets to cause a great deal of flooding to
businesses on the East Bank of Jefferson Parish. Many houses flooded
Katrina even hit.
The levees bordering the canals that pump
the “below sea
level water” out of the New Orleans area were built many years ago and
cases were reconstructed after Hurricane Betsy destroyed them in 1965. The levees were constructed by the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers and to quote our own
As reported at our parish Holy Name Society
meeting by our
Jefferson Parish councilman, the foundation of the metal sheet piling
driven into a by-product of sugar cane called bagasse. Bagasse is the
refuse left over after sugar cane is processed. It was used to make
board; however, it was replaced by wood chips and glue as it was not
enough. When it got wet, it fell apart. The pressure on the poor
caused the pilings to give way and the levee to be breached. Another
interesting aspect is that bagasse is like a candy store for termites,
serious plague in the
For this reason it is my sincere prayer that
affected be compensated. Contrary to popular opinion, I feel our
did the best they could during the storm as they faced life-threatening
circumstances and destruction, the worse catastrophe in
Hvaljen Isus I Marija!
Seven Sorrows of Mary In Relation to Hurricane Katrina
by Kay Mule
Many years ago we learned that Our Lady encouraged the Medjugorje visionaries to pray the Seven Sorrows of Mary every day. Since then, nearly every day on my way to work, I pray the “Sevens.” Since Hurricane Katrina struck our area, I have come to realize how much those sorrows parallel our own sorrows. Perhaps, I can share some of my thoughts and reflections relating the Seven Sorrows to the sorrows Katrina has caused.
First Sorrow of Mary—Prophecy of Simeon
Simeon prophesied that swords of sorrow would pierce Mary’s heart. She did not know when that would happen, so she held his words in her heart. Simeon did not live to see his prophecy fulfilled.
For as long as I can remember there have
predictions about the flooding that would result if a serious hurricane
the mouth of the
Second Sorrow—Flight into
When they knew that their child’s life was in danger, Mary and Joseph fled from their home. They became refugees in a strange country among strangers.
When the impending risk of Hurricane Katrina
lives of people along the
Third Sorrow—Loss of the Child Jesus in the
For three days Mary and Joseph searched for their missing Son.
In the turmoil of mass evacuation from flooded areas, many families were separated: husbands from wives, parents from children. The sorrow and distress they experienced were the same as that of Mary and Joseph. One televised reunion of a father and son was so emotional that the child could only cry for joy. There are still some children whose parents do not know where they are. Hopefully, one day soon, they will have that joyous reunion also.
Fourth Sorrow—Mary meets Jesus on the Way of the Cross
Imagine the sadness of Mary as she met her Son carrying His heavy cross and seeing all the pain He had to bear. He had no place to call home and no place to rest His head.
As news filtered from the flooded city, residents began to experience their own cross. While it was not a physically painful cross as Jesus’ was, it was a painful cross in other ways. Many people lost the entire fabric of their lives—all their memories were washed away or covered in muck. Some houses were completely washed away while most were so flooded as to be unlivable. Entire communities have no place to call home again. However, the heaviness of these crosses has been eased by the kindness and generosity of others who have taken into their own homes those who had no place to rest their heads.
Fifth Sorrow—Jesus dies on the Cross
He was condemned by men who had no idea of what they were really doing. As Mary and John stood at the foot of the cross, Jesus expired. Mary did not leave then and she does not leave now.
The number of dead from Katrina continues to
rise. As of
this publication, 1,073 lives have been lost in
Sixth Sorrow—Jesus is placed in His Mother’s arms
The Pieta scene evokes such a sense of loss not only to Mary but to us. Mary consoles us in our grief.
As the deaths became known, families grieved
over loss. It
seems that nearly everyone in the
Seventh Sorrow—Jesus is placed in the tomb
It seemed so final when Jesus died, yet Mary did not lose hope. Her faith carried her through to the Resurrection and to Pentecost.
The hurricane entombed many areas of the
city and the
What is God trying to tell us through this natural disaster? This catastrophe has caused us to reflect on what is really important in life. Pip Brennan, a wise person who lost every material possession during the flood, said the experience has caused him to realize that God gave him what he needed, not what he wanted. We will never be compensated for all the suffering we bear in this life, yet suffering is of great value. By uniting our suffering to Christ we participate in His saving work for the sanctification of the Church and the good of all men. Illness or suffering “can make a person more mature, helping him discern in his life what is not essential so that he can turn toward that which is.” Often it can “provoke a search for God and a return to Him.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church)
Like Mary, as our Mother and Model, we
proceed in faith, in
humility and in simplicity by trusting and obeying her Son. We may
what she experienced, especially her sorrows. Yet all her suffering was
naught. She merited a glorious crown and now reigns as Queen of Heaven
Earth. Mary knew that she would be with her Son again; we must have
in our sufferings in life we will be too. In
Medjugorje, she teaches us that God exists and that she
has “come to
earth to teach you how to listen out of love, to pray out of love and
compelled by the fact that you are carrying a cross. By means of the
is glorified through every person.”
[Praying the Seven Sorrows of Mary is an old custom in Medjugorje. To say this chaplet, pray the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be for each sorrow. Add the Apostle’s Creed at the end. The visionaries asked Mary if this was a good prayer and she told them it was. It is always recited after the evening Croatian Mass in Medjugorje.]
We survived Hurricane Katrina with relatively minor damage to our home located next to the Mississippi river levee, about 15 miles up-river from downtown New Orleans. This was the storm we hoped would never come. During our bout with Katrina I could not help reflecting on our second pilgrimage to Medjugorje. It was extremely hot that September of 1987, and water was rationed in the village. At in the morning the mother of our house was able to get the water we needed for that day’s washing and drinking. The village was jammed with busloads of pilgrims on September 14, for the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. Everyone was in prayerful unity.
Fast forward to August 2005. Powerful
Hurricane Katrina hit
I remember the pleasant experience of taking a hot shower for the first time after that pilgrimage. After taking cold showers during Katrina, my first hot shower was just as pleasant!
The strong wind from the storm not only uprooted and snapped an unbelievable number of trees but also stripped the leaves of the trees that remained standing. It blew pine cones with such force that it sounded like bombs were hitting against the house. When Katrina moved away from us, the silence after the roaring of the storm was striking. There were no birds singing in the morning. As we emptied our freezer of defrosted food, we threw some bread on the grass for the birds. The next day the bread was untouched! The birds were gone there were none to eat the bread. Katrina had chased them away. Everyday we watched for the birds to return, but the sky was quiet.
However, the nights were not quiet. The frogs croaked so loud as if to make up for the lack of birds’ songs. At night it seemed that all the stars of the universe were visible in the deep darkness of the unlit sky. We experienced a different body rhythm. With no lights to keep us awake, we became very sleepy as soon as it became totally dark. We prayed the family rosary by candlelight and fell asleep early.
There were no newspapers, no mail delivery,
no groceries or
malls open, no TV and only one broad-band radio station that kept us
through a battery operated radio. After two days the phone service
Even though we had not evacuated, we felt so separated from family and
A week before Katrina, I recalled thinking about the flight into
The silence after the storm did not last.
Around the fourth
day, helicopters of every size began to rescue people trapped by rising
All day long and into the night they flew missions, passing overhead
in pairs. There were Black Hawk helicopters and some with guns. We were
martial law with a dawn to dusk curfew yet we did not feel fear. The
patrolled day and night with help from a group of
We prayed in thanksgiving for the volunteers and workers from the Louisiana Agriculture Department who help us by distributing bottled water, ice and food. We prayed for all the displaced families and for all those who suffered so much during this catastrophe, the likes of which we have never seen. We prayed in thanksgiving for the many people who opened their hearts to those in so much distress. Their kindness is such a blessing. We also prayed in thanksgiving that the Medjugorje Star and our religious store was spared destruction.
One day a song bird returned. His lone song
was a much
welcomed sound. Soon a few more birds came. Their return brought hope.
relative whose house is in St. Bernard Parish went to check on her
The flood waters destroyed 99% of the area. Everything is misplaced.
on roofs and on top of other cars, trees were down everywhere and
was in complete disarray. Yet the statues of Our Lady in yard gardens
standing. I could not help but think that Our Lady did not leave us! In
her message of
A Very Different Thanksgiving
by Kay Mule
by Kay Mule
This Thanksgiving Day was cause for
reflection on the first
pilgrimage our family made to Medjugorje during Thanksgiving week of
1986. My husband
had read a book about six children who had apparitions of the Blessed
and was determined to go the “the place where Our Lady appears.” I was
reluctant traveler that year. After all at the time Medjugorje was
“Iron Curtain.” I remember telling him that I would rather stay home.
replied, “You can stay, but I am taking our three children with me.” I
that I did not want to stay home and eat turkey alone so the five of us
a group of 48 pilgrims and trekked across the
Tt the dinner table one day I could see the grandmother in the adjacent kitchen throwing something over and over again. After dinner of stuffed peppers, pork chops, cabbage and cake, I decided to see what she was throwing. She was feeding a small wood-burning stove with sticks and small pieces of wood. The women prepared dinner for us on this small stove.
by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC
Fr. Donald Calloway, M.I.C, was the main speaker on Friday night, November 28, 2003 the opening night of the Marian Conference in New Orleans.
The October 2003 issue of The Medjugorje Star presented some of his testimony. There is much more to hear of his conversion. He went through about everything a young man could go through, beginning at the young age of 11 doing drugs -- using opium, heroine, crack, LSD - every day! By the age of 14 he was committing felonies. By the age of 20 he had experienced all the sinful sides of life. He wanted to satisfy everything sensually and if that meant sleeping with a different girl every night, so be it! He was living a life cycle of death! At the time of his conversion he not only wasn't a Catholic, he didn't even know there was a Blessed Virgin Mary! He had no idea who Jesus was. He thought Jesus was like Santa Claus, something to make the kids happy! One night he made a 180-degree turn and gave his life to Our Lady. After ten years of study, he was ordained a Catholic priest.
Fr. Donald Calloway, who is the Assistant Director of the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, made his first pilgrimage to Medjugorje in September 2003. His amazing testimony included his experiences in Medjugorje as a dream come true. After having been converted at the age of 20 from hedonism (seeking pleasure as the only source of good in life) as a result of reading a book about Medjugorje, he had been trying to get to Medjugorje for 11 years. He said, "I never imagined that it would be like it was. That place is blest and consecrated as a source of renewal in the Church and in the world!"
The little known story
by Kay Mule
Benoite often led the flock to pasture at the Vallon des Fours
(Valley of Kilns). There, one day in early spring of 1664, she noticed
a beautiful lady with a child by the hand. Since they were near the
limekilns, she asked the lady if she wished to buy lime. After a while,
without answering Benoite 's questions the Lady disappeared. The
beautiful lady appeared for two months without speaking.
Benoite was so happy just to see the lady. Even if she was
be humble and meek she couldn't hide what was happening to her for
soon the authorities too got involved and curious people asked for an
Her employer forbade her to go to the valley because people said it was
good for grazing. Although Benoite obeyed, the sheep went to the valley
The employer decided to see about it himself, went to the valley and
all day long but could not get the sheep out! Then he noticed
the sheep were as healthy as could be so he let Benoite take them there.
Eventually the judge of the district told Benoite to ask the
lady who she was. The following day the apparition answered, “I am
Mary, the Mother of Jesus. My Son wishes to be honored in this valley,
but not on this spot.” Then she vanished and did not appear again for a
Every day Our Lady came to Benoite and guided her giving her
the exact dimensions of the future shrine. But Laus Valley stands high
up on the
mountainside, entirely surrounded by wild and rocky hills up which no
can climb. Mary, however, had said it was to be; and, with hardy good
the pious peasants carried the stones up the mountain. And increasing
of pilgrims came to help. Some people donated building stones, others
money. One day a roll of gold coins was found in the donation box even
the slot on top was not large enough for the roll.
As soon as the church was begun a miracle took place – the cure of a young man, son of a doctor of Gap, who had been ill from birth. During the first summer as many as 60 cures were recorded by officials. Stillborn infants when placed on the altar came to life and received baptism.Laus became a pilgrimage site for people coming from far away.
Our Lady continued to appear to Benoite every day for
fifty-four years. Often Our Lady appeared with the Infant Jesus; and
many times she beheld
the Divine Child in the Sacred Host. Our Lady showed Benoite heaven,
she received the gift of discovering all kinds of sin by the sense of
The hidden secrets of many lives stood out clear as daylight before
She was thus able to warn sinners who were encouraged to repent and to
the sacrament of Confession.
She became a Dominican Tertiary and suffered the stigmata for
twenty years. No illness preceded her peaceful death which occurred on
1718. Despite the snow-covered mountains and Alpine glaciers, people
far off villages somehow knew of her death and flocked to the
funeral. She was buried in the church at the foot of Our Lady’s
Seventy years after her death, a workman repairing the
sanctuary dropped a marble tablet on the tomb. The tombstone was raised
and a portion of the wooden coffin was found broken. The splinters
caused a wound on Benoite’s cheek from which issued blood as fresh and
red as if she were still alive. When the lid was removed, the body was
perfectly preserved. In 1854, the coffin was again opened, and
Benoite’s habit found intact, though of her
precious body nothing remained except the bones.
On September 7, 1871, Pius IX declared her Venerable, the
to sainthood, and in 1893 the church was declared a minor basilica by
French Bishop Describes Laus Visionary
In 1995, Bishop Georges Lagranges from Gap, France visited
Medjugorje for a week. He was asked, “What does the fact that the
apparitions are continuing this long mean to you and does it surprise
you?” The bishop answered, “No, not in the least because this happened
to us 300 years ago in my diocese. The Blessed Virgin appeared to a
young girl who was only 16 years old and those apparitions lasted to
the end of her life. She died at the age of 72. No one ever counted how
many times she saw the Blessed Virgin! Our Lady began speaking to her
by teaching her how to be a patient little shepherdess. She continued
and ended with mystical visions of the crucified Christ and his
sufferings in which the visionary herself participated. It is
interesting to note that Our Lady led the little girl to a place of
abundant water. She told the girl that a house for priests had to be
built there where they could receive pilgrims who would come to be
reconciled with God in the sacrament of penance. That's how the Marian
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Laus began.
I want to say that there exists today numerous conflicts
between religions and nations and they have become especially prominent
in these regions.
I believe it is exactly for that reason the Blessed Virgin chose
as a place of complete and sincere reconciliation."