Category: Testimonies

Is Medjugorje approved by the Church?

Cardinal Camillo Ruini

Cardinal Camillo Ruini, head of the commission that investigated Medjugorje.

During the pontificate of Benedict XVI, the Vatican adopted direct jurisdiction over Medjugorje in an unprecedented move. A commission was appointed to assess the apparitions under Cardinal Ruini, and remarkably, the commission, which met from March 2010 to January 2014, concluded in 2017 that the first seven apparitions were authentic. This was an exceptional breakthrough in terms of official recognition of an apparition. It was also unprecedented because the phenomenon is still in progress. Although Pope Francis has yet to officially release the Ruini report, the Pontiff, himself, confirmed in an interview that the Commission had reached this conclusion. In point of fact, the Pope had actually stopped attempts by the then Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, to block this judgment. The pope also asked that the Ruini report be sent to him for a review and determination, as opposed to Müller, who was originally set to receive it.

Archbishop Henryk Hoser, Apostolic Visitor to Medjugorje

Archbishop Henryk Hoser, Apostolic Visitor to Medjugorje

On February 11, 2017, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Poland as his papal envoy to coordinate all matters relating to Medjugorje. In December of 2017, Archbishop Hoser shared the breaking news that the Vatican now permits official pilgrimages to Medjugorje. “Today, dioceses and other institutions can organize official pilgrimages. It’s no longer a problem,” he said.[2] At a recorded Medjugorje press conference on April 5, 2017, the archbishop reconfirmed this fact.[3] Müller’s 2013 CDF statement that Catholics should not participate in any meetings in which the authenticity of the Medjugorje apparitions were taken for granted is now null and void. In Archbishop Hoser’s own words: “My mission was not to close Medjugorje, but to evaluate whether the pastoral ministry was proper, consistent with the doctrine and teaching of the Church, effective and well organized. I conclude that this is the case. On the pastoral side my assessment is very positive. Thus, the ongoing pastoral activities, liturgical order and conferences should continue.”[4]

At the conclusion of the press conference, in which he urged everyone to bring the light of Medjugorje “to the world that is sinking into darkness. . . ,” he stated, “You, my dear friends, should be the carriers of the joyful news. Say to the whole world that in Medjugorje we can find the light again!”[5]

Archbishop Hoser on Medjugorje altar

Archbishop Hoser celebrating his first Mass in Medjugorje for throngs of pilgrims

The Church took another positive step toward Medjugorje when on May 31, 2018, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Hoser as Special Apostolic Visitor to Medjugorje. The Vatican declared that Monsignor Hoser would take up residence in Medjugorje in his new role “for an indefinite period and ad nutum Sanctae Sedis,” which means “at the disposal of the Holy See.” In Medjugorje, where belief in the authenticity of the apparitions is long-held due to the daily conversions, long lines of confessions, and miracles constantly witnessed by the locals, the news of Archbishop Hoser’s new position was received with great joy.[6]

It can safely be said that Medjugorje now has received as much official recognition as it can receive, given that the phenomenon is still going on. It is well known that two of the most illustrious saints of recent times, St. Mother Theresa of Calcutta and St. Pope John Paul II, were ardent devotees of the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje. Thanks to them and millions of the faithful, Medjugorje’s message of repentance, reconciliation, peace, and penance has spread across the globe.

St. Pope John Paul II's handwritten words about Medjugorje

St. Pope John Paull II’s handwritten note about his gratitude for Medjugorje

St. Pope John Paul II, when addressing American bishops at the Philadelphia Eucharistic Congress five years before Our Lady’s apparitions in Medjugorje began, stated:

We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. . . We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the Gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist. This confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is therefore in God’s plan and a trial which the Church must take up!” 

Given that St. John Paul II understood that these days were those of the final confrontation, when he learned of Our Lady’s coming to Medjugorje and her words, “I have descended among you,” he knew her presence with us had now changed everything, victory was assured. To Monsignor Murilo Sebastiao Ramos Krieger, Archbishop of Florianopolis in Brazil, he stated, “Medjugorje is the spiritual center of the world!” He told friends, including Cardinal Frantisek Tomasek, who made the words public, that if he weren’t Pope, he’d be living in Medjugorje as a priest, helping to hear confessions. In the Pope’s own hand, he wrote to friends in Poland:

I thank Sophia for everything concerning Medjugorje. I too go there every day as a pilgrim in my prayers. I unite in my prayers with all those who pray there or receive a call for prayer from there. Today we have understood this call better. I rejoice that our time is not lacking people of prayer and apostles. (See the picture of this note in St. Pope John Paul II’s original handwriting.)

St. Pope John Paul II fully believed and told us in his will that “Victory when it comes, will be a victory through Maria!”

“Dear children, my real living presence among you should make you happy because this is the great love of my Son. He is sending me among you so that, with a motherly love, I may grant you safety!”

            —Medjugorje message from Our Lady on July 2, 2016 

Denis Nolan
Author of Medjugorje and the Church

Of Men and Mary bookThis article is excerpted from the Appendix of the new book, OF MEN AND MARY: How Six Men Won the Greatest Battle of Their Lives, by Christine Watkins. Click here for more information about the book: For the full text of this article, which gives more history of the Church’s stance on Medjugorje, click here

[1]  (Glas Koncila, August 15, 1993).

[2]  Jesús Colina, “Official pilgrimages to Medjugorje are being authorized, confirms Pope Francis’ envoy,” Aletia, December 7, 2017, accessed April 29, 2018,

[3] Papal envoy, Archbishop Henryk Hoser Press Conference, April 5th, 2017, streamed live through and available for viewing at is a Medjugorje Internet TV channel that broadcasts 24/7 to help people stay connected to important ongoing events.  Free apps are available for smart phones and Apple TV.

Transcription of the press conference in Polish: “Konferencija za medije posebnog izaslanika mons. Henryka Hosera,” Medjugorje: Mjesto Molitve I Pomirenja, April 4, 2017, accessed April 29, 2018,,8795.html.

[4] “Breaking News—Historic Moment in Catholic Church History…Vatican Special Envoy to Medjugorje: ‘Everything indicates that the apparitions will be recognized, perhaps even this year.’” Published at (Catholic News Site in Poland—8.18.2017), August 18, 2017, accessed April 29, 2018,

[5] Ibid., Papal envoy, Archbishop Henryk Hoser Press Conference

[6] “Breaking News: The Vatican places Special Apostolic Visitor in Medjugorje—Archbishop Henryk Hoser,” www.medjugorjemiracles, accessed May 31, 2018,

Lack of prayer is hindering Mary’s plan, says Vicka, after Medjugorje apparition

The Virgin Mary’s plan is far from being realized because the necessary prayers do not come, visionary Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic said, upon receiving one of Mary’s rare public messages to her during short visit to Foggia, Italy, on March 11, 2015.

“Dear children! Once again I invite you to pray more and talk less, especially during Lent. Pray that you realize my plan that is still far from being realized. I ask you, in particular, to pray for families and for young people who are in a very difficult situation: you can only help them with your prayers and your love. I bless you” the Virgin Mary said to Vicka, according to Medjugorje Council of Ireland.

Commenting briefly the words of Our Lady, Vicka pointed out that the plan of the Our Lady is far from being realized because “the prayers do not come.” She also remarked that Our Lady lately suffers much for families and for young people who are now living a very very difficult time.

From Medjugorje Today

In Medjugorje, One Finds a “Peace” of Heaven

Christine Watkins with her son, Christian, in front of St. James Church in Medjugorje


Not once did I intend to travel half the circumference of the globe to Medjugorje, a small town in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the former Yugoslavia. I even poked fun at people who made return voyages to this distant place where the Blessed Mother was allegedly appearing in our lifetime. These repeat offenders and other past pilgrims seemed far too eager to send me overseas. At the Medjugorje conferences I attended, they would say to me with pleading eyes, “You should go!” They talked about a peace not of this world, reports of miracles, and handed out rosaries like Halloween candy. But why must I go? I wondered. I had no objection to the idea of Mary appearing in Medjugorje and giving messages. She had visited earth many times following her Assumption, and her current and repeated pleas from a mother’s heart, calling the world to prayer, fasting, receiving the Eucharist, reading the Bible and going to confession seemed sound enough. Her words could hardly benefit the designs of the devil; and were Medjugorje of human origin, its six visionaries, persecuted by the communists when the visions began in 1981, and hounded by pilgrims asking the same questions every day since, would have called it quits long ago. As one of the seers, Mirjana, put it:

“I also often asked myself: Why should I invent such a lie? If I were lying, this would make me an abnormal person. Even during communism, the doctors stated that we were normal. I had a nice life. I lived with my parents as the only child for nine years; they cherished me. Why would I want to turn my life upside down? Why bring turmoil, anxiety, agony and pain into my life – why? In my opinion, only an unstable person can do such a thing.”* (See previous post.)

Since I needed no convincing, I saw no reason to join a pilgrimage even once, much less multiple times, like those odd repeat-pilgrims who perhaps had an over-abundance of free time, too much money, or a fanatical streak? Couldn’t I just get in my car and cruise to St. Barnabas Church just five minutes away from my home? After all, the Eucharist was there.

Be careful what you make fun of. I have since traveled to Medjugorje five times.

Each trip was an unexpected calling full of untold graces, practically ducktaped together with frequent flyer miles and faith. My first pilgrimage with my husband saved my marriage. On my second trip, God asked me directly to write a book of Medjugorje conversion stories, now a bestseller for Ave Maria Press called, Full of Grace: Miraculous Stories of Healing and Conversion through Mary’s Intercession. The third time, I providentially met two people whose stories ended up gracing the book. I organized the fourth trip and gathered a group of friends who received heavenly gifts. The fifth time, ABC television planned to interview me there, so I hopped on a plane again and experienced that peace I’d always heard about—a sweet ecstasy that satisfies every longing, every possible desire of the human heart.

The 14-ton, 12 meter-high cement cross atop Cross Mountain in Medjugorje

On those trips, I discovered that in Medjugorje, the miraculous is commonplace. The following are but some of the experiences of my family and friends alone: the miracle of the sun, where one can stare safely at it; the uncommon desire to pray for hours; the spontaneous healing from chronic, debilitating back pain; lightning striking earth in rainbow colors; a vertical light splitting the sky in two on a cloudless day, a fourteen-ton, twelve meter-high cement cross, free from all electricity, lit up and spinning like a top at the summit of Cross Mountain; a beating heart appearing in the host during Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; the smell of roses where no roses or perfumes were present; atheists finding faith without foxholes; breast cancer healed; cures of debilitating depression and anxiety; golden clouds in the sky and a golden dust covering the earth. The millions of other people who have passed through Medjugorje would undoubtedly have more to share. . .

One never knows what will happen in Medjugorje, because Medjugorje is part Earth, part Heaven.  Even with the modern build up of hotels and religious knick knack stores at every turn to shelter and cater to the growing stream of pilgrims, Medjugorje captivated me. I didn’t know that a physical place on Earth could contain so much of heaven. Never before Medjugorje had I experienced such intense spiritual communion, such palpable belief, everywhere I looked. In Medjugorje, graces seemed to rain down in torrents, renewing parched souls with the living water Jesus offered to the woman at the well. I once heard a priest say, “Show me another place on earth besides Medjugorje where I can take teenagers for a week and they come home transformed, and I’ll take them there instead.”

The Mother of God has introduced herself in Medjugorje as the Queen of Peace, and she clearly desires to impart that peace to her children. The peace often granted to souls through Medjugorje is not that of a relaxing vacation, a human embrace, or a happy outcome. It is the peace of Philippians 4:7, which surpasses all human understanding and guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. I remember standing in front of St. James Church in Medjugorje, doused in peace, and thinking that there must be something I should be concerned about, but my mind refused to worry.

One particular moment of peace stands tall in my memory above the rest. After eating dinner at a restaurant where I sat near a table seating the three-person crew from ABC television, I left to walk a short block to the area behind St. James where hundreds of people sat outside in the warm summer night air, facing the Blessed Sacrament—a large Host carefully placed in a stunning monstrance circled by golden rays. As I walked into the midst of the Real Presence of Jesus, a multitude of prayers, and sweet live music, I felt overcome with a deeply peaceful, tingling, ecstatic joy that filled my heart to capacity. When I sat down to pray, that capacity somehow grew. Giddy waves of peace carried my heart off to heaven while it somehow remained in my chest. Off to the left, the sky flashed with lightning, but without a sound, as if the Holy Spirit were delighting in showing himself off to his people—perhaps he was.

Suddenly I became the one acting like a crazed fanatic. I promptly stood up and ran back toward the restaurant. If only the ABC crew could experience this! Surely then their hearts would be touched, and they could share with the world what was truly happening here at this holy site.

I bounded back into the restaurant trying to calm myself down. Still gasping for breath, I approached the crew’s table and exclaimed, hardly making sense: “You might want to see this. You might want to film this. The peace—the lightning with no thunder–the music, the multitudes. It’s so beautiful. It’s warm. It’s adoration. It’s what we Catholics do. Then looking at them with pleading eyes, I said, “You should go!”

They looked at me with courteous amusement , and then I left. They never budged. They hadn’t finished their beers and saw no reason to disturb their comfortable dinner. Without interest or faith or the desire to change, even one block is too far to travel.

Miracles are simply neglected sideshows when the soul is left untouched. As Fr. Jozo Zovko, OFM, the pastor of St. James church when the apparitions began, once said:

Fr. Jozo Zovko

“In Medjugorje, the miracle is not so much in Our Lady’s apparitions or in the words she speaks to us, but in the pilgrim’s reply, who accepts to change his heart and life. That is the great miracle!

Take St Francis: the miracle was not that Jesus spoke to him, but in the fact that he gave up everything to become poor in everything.

In the Gospel we read of the rich young man who was called by Jesus. The miracle wasn’t that he saw Christ and heard his call; it would have been in his response, had he responded. But he preferred his riches to Jesus. That is a miracle which did not occur.

It is not a miracle for God to talk; it is normal. In Medjugorje it is the pilgrim who decides if a miracle will occur or not. All he has to do is to open his heart to respond to the call.”*

Medjugorje would mean nothing without the conversion of the human heart. My work gathering stories for the Full of Grace book introduced me to Medjugorje’s inner world, the world within each heart, as I wrote down some of the most amazing conversions I had ever heard: a former crack addict who experienced his own apparition of Mary in Medjugorje and is now completely free from his addiction; a lonely youth who found healing from abortion, depression, and anxiety; a Nobel Peace Prize who, with Mary’s help, rescues children living in the sewers of Colombia; a violent, homeless heroin addict, diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic who is now a happy, sane, kind-loving family man; a former stripper who has considered becoming a nun; and a former atheist, who was me, caught up in serious sin and miraculously saved from imminent death through Mary’s Intercession. The book and subsequent talks I’ve given around the country have introduced me to hundreds of Medjugorje conversion stories, more than the mind can run after.

Such graces have to come from heaven. They can’t possibly come from man. As I encountered testimony after testimony, I saw how each conversion, healing, or a prayer answered ministered so perfectly to the individual that only an all-knowing, all-loving, Almighty God could manage such feats. No human being could weave such tapestries of exquisite experience, could manipulate lives with such life-altering results and reach the heart where only God can speak. Like seashells, or grains of sand, or snowflakes, each story was intricately unique, beautiful, and perfect—so clearly created by an infinitely fertile imagination. If souls say yes to what Mary is asking, they become a holy expression of their true selves. And they find true peace.

“There is only one danger alone for Medjugorje – that people will pass it by!”**

–Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar,

regarded by Pope Benedict XVI

as one of the greatest theologians of our time

By Christine Watkins, MTS, LCSW

Catholic speaker and author of Full of Grace: Miraculous Stories of Healing and Conversion through Mary’s Intercession.


** Entire quote from Medjugorje and the Church by Denis Nolan: “The theology of Medjugorje rings true. I am convinced of its truth. Everything concerning Medjugorje is authentic from a Catholic point of view. All that happens there is so evident, so convincing! . . . There is only one danger alone for Medjugorje – that people will pass it by!”– Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar

Video of Christine Watkins’ talk at the Notre Dame Medjugorje Conference

“Nothing is more important in life,” says Catholic author and speaker, Christine Watkins, “than climbing our way to heaven and helping others to come with us.” Mrs. Watkins is the founder of Queen of Peace Media (, whose slogan is “Find your way Home.” God-given mission in life is to help people do just that. She gave her testimony of conversion at the 2012 Medjugorje Conference at Notre Dame, and since this video was posted, requests have come pouring in for the guided prayer meditation, called “Meeting Mary,” which closes her talk. (Should you wish to order a copy, click here:

The call to live Mary of Medjugorje’s messages is urgent, and the call isn’t for tomorrow, but for now: pray with the heart, in particular the Rosary; go to Mass, go to monthly Confession; read the Bible, and fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. Is all of this easy? No. Is all of it possible? Yes. Click on the video below to hear Christine Watkins amazing testimony of conversion and to learn more about Mary’s messages. During the guided prayer meditation to Mary, you are encouraged to invite the Mother of God, herself, to speak to you, heal you, and guide you with her tender hand. Just as she came to everyone present at the conference, she will come to you.

Christine Watkins, MTS, LCSW, was a professional dancer with the San Francisco Ballet Company and an atheist, lost in sexual sin and the New Age Movement, before her miraculous healing and conversion to Catholicism, which saved her from death. She is an inspirational Catholic speaker and the author of two popular books of Medjugorje conversion stories: Full of Grace: Miraculous Stories of Healing and Conversion through Mary’s Intercession and Of Men and Mary: How Six Men Won the Greatest Battle of Their Lives; as well as the highly acclaimed Transfigured: Patricia Sandoval’s Escape from Drugs, Homelessness, and the Back Doors of Planned Parenthood. See

Mary of Medjugorje comes to save young man through apparition on the Internet!

I have heard many beautiful stories of Mary coming to a person and pulling them out of darkness in an instant, with her overwhelming embrace of love, and this is perhaps the most immediate conversion I’ve encountered. And, of all ways, it happened through the Internet!

The visionary Ivan and Cardinal Schönborn

Coming Home through the Intercession of Our Lady

Scurrying down the steps, I frantically found myself in search of my gym shoes, which I’d misplaced the night before. I was due at the gym in five minutes to meet friends for a Thursday evening workout. Yes, once again, I was running late. At that exact moment, my phone rang. It was my mother: “Did you get a chance to watch Ivan’s and Marija’s apparition yet?” she asked. Responding impatiently, I replied “No mom, I’m already late as it is. I’ll watch it when I get back.” Sitting down to tie my shoes, I suddenly stopped. Feeling drawn towards the webcast of the Medjugorje visionaries’ apparition, and guilty for being reluctant with my mother, I gave in. It was the evening of September the 23rd, 2010, and my life, as I knew it, was never going to be the same.

My senior picture at Bryan High School in Omaha, Nebraska, back in my "cool" days

Growing up I attended St. Bernadette Catholic grade school. Although tuition was expensive, the sacrifice my parents endured was worth the Catholic-based education my siblings and I received. Their sacrifice instilled in me a foundation I would newly discover later in life. When I was in grade school, we attended weekly Mass, including Sundays. After my eighth grade year, I decided to enroll in a public high school, solely for athletic reasons, and found myself going to Mass on Sundays only. And to be honest, the only reason I went is because my parents forced me and my twin brother to go; if I’d had it my way, I would have slept in until noon.

Life at this time was going as planned. I graduated from high school and entered my first year of college. College was exciting: new friends, new environment, living away from my parents. However, with this newly acquired freedom came the element of choice. I suddenly found myself choosing not to attend Mass. At this stage in my life, I became distant from God and the Catholic Church. I obtained a job working security at a downtown club and started traveling down a dead-end path. I found myself going home with various women whom I met at work. On several occasions, I ended up at strip-clubs until the early morning hours. With after-hour parties taking place weekly, there wasn’t a weekend when I was in bed sleeping before the sun came up. I would drive home intoxicated, past the church I used to attend, observing families arriving at morning Sunday Mass. The devil had me right where he wanted me, and I was only adding fuel to his fire. My life continued on this path for the next several years.

One evening my mother invited me to attend a speaking engagement at our local parish, where a man, having returned from the pilgrimage site of Medjugorje, gave a testimony of his recent trip to the small town located near Bosnia and Herzegovina. I reluctantly went, only because it would make my mother happy. As I sat there that night, I heard the man talk about a place where six visionaries were experiencing apparitions of Our Blessed Mother. I had no clue about Medjugorje, and to be completely honest, I didn’t care and wasn’t really paying attention. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

Myself and one of God's greatest gifts to me, my twin brother. We were born on December the 8th, the feast day of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception

Time passed until last September, 2010. As a gift, my mother gave me a book that left a great impression on me. The book was titled, Queen of the Cosmos: Interviews with the Visionaries of Medjugorje. I took the book to work where it sat on my desk for several weeks, collecting dust. One day while sitting at work, with an hour or so to spare, and nothing else to do, I did something that would forever impact the depths of my soul. I opened the book and began to read. In this book, the visionaries shared how they saw the Virgin Mary, as I’ve never heard Her described, comparing Her beauty to beyond our comprehension. As I continued to read, I began to fall completely in love with the lady whom they were describing. After reading the book in just two days, I knew nothing but understood everything. This young, pure, loving, vibrant woman was my Mother, and I was Her son. I developed a passion and curiosity for the apparitions of Our Lady of Medjugorje, and this marked the beginning of what I call my miraculous conversion through her intercession.

A week after I’d read the Queen of the Cosmos book, my mother informed me that an apparition would be streamed live through the internet to various parts of the globe; and not only this, but according to the visionary Ivan, special graces would be granted to those witnessing the broadcast of the apparition, no matter where they were located. Although I felt somewhat reluctant to take time to observe the apparition, I was extremely excited to see the visionaries Ivan and Marija communicate with the Mother of God.

The visionaries Marija and Ivan at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna for their September 23, 2010 apparition

The date was September 23, 2010, at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna. As I sat witnessing this live event on the Internet, I felt someone surround me with her presence, as though she had entered the room. I quickly looked up, expecting to see someone standing there. I didn’t see anyone, yet the person’s presence was becoming more and more intense. I describe it as if someone were standing with their face inches from yours, but you’re unable see anyone. At that moment, I felt a love that was not of this world, a love more pure that anything I’ve ever experienced. I was so overcome with the love radiating from this person in the room with me that I began to cry. In my humanity, I couldn’t comprehend the love that was being bestowed upon me. I could feel it radiating off of me. I compare it to someone running a high fever, being able to physically feel the heat emanating from his body. And I knew exactly who was in the room with me. I yelled out, “Mary!” “Mary!” “Mary!” while crying uncontrollably. My heart expanded like fire, “Mary!” I exclaimed. “Mary, I love you!” “I love you, Mary!” This love became so intense I put my hands over my face and continued crying. I asked aloud, “What’s happening to me?” “What is happening?” and cried, “Mary!” “Mary!” “Mary!” in between sobs. Finally, unable to stop my tears, I yelled out, “Show me yourself!” “Let me see you, Mary!” “Mary, please. I know you’re here. Please allow me to see you with my eyes!”

That night of September 23rd, 2010, I was twenty-four years old, still very young, and with my whole life ahead of me. However, after feeling the love of Mary, I was truly ready to die. I never saw her with my eyes, but I felt her with my whole being. Knowing that I could never receive that same love from anything or anyone here on Earth, I was ready to leave this world and go with Our Blessed Mother. It was a love so indescribable that at one point I cried out, “Mary, I’m ready to go. Mother, if you want to, take me with you, I’m ready.” And I meant this from the depths of my soul.

Growing up Catholic, I had received the Sacrament of Reconciliation many times, confessing my sins, not out of sorrow, but due to the fear of hell. As I sat wondering if my tears were ever going to cease, I realized that for the first time in my life, I was truly sorry for everything I’d done. I mean I was truly sorry from the bottom of my heart. I managed to pick my head up, and with tears streaming down my face, for the first time, I looked to God and said, “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!” And I truly meant it.

After experiencing this miraculous conversion, I did one of the scariest things I’ve ever done in my life. I gave my yes to God; I gave Him complete control over my life. I figured I’d messed things up enough; and by turning the reigns over to Him, I couldn’t go wrong. Ever since giving God and Mother Mary my yes, I’ve been blessed with many gifts. Six months after my conversion, my mother and I flew to Sacramento, California, for a Medjugorje conference. To our surprise, the Medjugorje visionary, Marija, was present there. If you recall, Marija was one of the visionaries I observed at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna. At the conference, I was able to meet and receive a hug from Marija: an incredible gift from God and Our Blessed Mother!

My Mother and I at the 2011 Sacramento Marian Conference. Here I was able to meet and be present with Medjugorje visionary, Marija Pavlovic, during her apparition with Our Blessed Mother.

My life hasn’t been the same since the evening of September 23, 2010. I have taken Our Lady’s messages to heart: fasting, praying the rosary, receiving the sacraments. I also recently joined a Bible study on campus. I have to laugh because growing up I was always extremely close to my mother. God saw that I was slipping away from Him and knew exactly what to do. He sent His Mother to bring Me back to Him. There isn’t a day or hour that goes by when I’m not thinking about Mary. I love her so much, and I’m so happy to have her as my Mother. I recently heard a man quote a wonderful phrase that I knew directly related to me. He said, “When my time comes. When I die and leave this world and am standing in front of Jesus at Heaven’s gates, Jesus will look at me and say, “Oh yes, My Mother has told Me all about you.” I’m so thankful for Our Lady’s intercession. She saved my life and healed my soul, bringing me closer to Her Son. I can’t help but feel excited, as I sit in anticipation, wondering where this new found love will lead me next.

Adam Holubar (Omaha, NE), edited by Christine Watkins

Read more stories, such as this, in the book, Full of Grace: Miraculous Stories of Healing and Conversion through Mary’s Intercession.

Dying toddler healed of 19 tumors in Medjugorje

Joshua de Nicolo during one of his TV appearances. The boy and his parents have appeared on a handful of major Italian tv channels: RAI 1, RAI 3, Channel 5, and Rete 4

The following is excerpted from the extraordinary story of Joshua de Nicolo’s healing in Medjugorje:

Elizabeth de Nicolo, Joshua’s mother said, “The doctor told us that Joshua “was miraculously healed.” And Dr. Xavier Ladogana, the director of the oncological department, went further: “What happened to your child is scientifically inexplicable. With the resources and knowledge we have at our disposal, we cannot give an accurate and incontestable medical explanation. We can only say that the child no longer has the same disease he had before the pilgrimage.”

For the full story, see

Medjugorje miracles: Man hears again! 532 documented healings, 643 vocations

An 87-year-old man from Italy, who had been using a hearing device since the 1970s, suddenly started to hear during a Mass at Medjugorje.

Domenico Mascheri says his wife still cannot understand that she does not have to shout anymore. It all happened at an outdoor service on September 27 of this year. During the Mass, he started to hear by himself after 40 years of being totally dependent on hearing devices. When he went to the Mass that evening, it was after two days of total silence, as the batteries in his hearing devices had run out, and he did not have spares. He had climbed Apparition Hill that day with the help of a wooden cane.

Domenico sat on the bench with a small group of pilgrims and about half-way through reciting the Ave Maria–he told reporters back at home–he started to hear the pastor’s voice, which slowly became stronger until he could hear everything. He began to cry, and did not even tell his companions.

Later that evening Domenico told everyone in the group what had happened. They spent the rest of the evening partying and praising God for the beauty of the miracle of Domenico. (Source:

Medjugorje is a fountain of spiritual fruits for the world. As of October, 2011, Medjugorje parish archivist Marija Dugandzic has confirmed that 532 healings were medically documented; 520 men became priests, as a result of a visit; 123 women became nuns, as a result of a visit, and 540,000 visits were registred from Cardinals, Bishops, priests, and nuns. (Source: www.

And it is likely that hundreds, if not thousands of  healings, vocations, and visits have gone unreported to the the Medjugorje parish. On this Thanksgiving Day, 2011, let us give praise and thanksgiving to God for Medjugorje.


A Muslim mystic foresaw Medjugorje!

Let us pray and fast, as never before, for the Medjugorje commission investigating the apparitions. A fascinating article posted on by Jakob Marschner, reveals how important your prayers and sacrifices may be.

Sufi mystic, Hasan Shushud, predicted Medjugorje in detail one year before the apparitions began.

“If Mary and her plans are accepted quickly, the suffering will be short-lived. If, however, Rome does not meet Mary with the needed firm, truthful acceptance when God grants to Rome the time and freedom to choose, then God once more will have offered peace, joy and love in vain, and mankind will feel the consequences of Satan’s plans,” said Hasan Shushud in 1980.

“We Sufis have realized that Mary gives messages solely when she appears within the frameworks of the Roman Catholic Church. Therefore, we Sufis have been praying for Rome for a long time. Because the answer that Rome gives to Mary will be a response which will be binding on behalf of all humanity.”

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Muslim foresaw Medjugorje one year ahead

by on Oct 12, 2011

“If Mary and her plans are accepted quickly, the suffering will be short-lived,” Hasan Shushud said in 1980, about the present time. The renowned Sufi mystic wrote several books and had The Masters of Wisdom in Central Asia, published in English.

“Soon a unique Marian apparition will begin. A place for this was chosen long ago, and we Sufis have been praying that all will go well. The place is being prepared, without anyone being aware of it, for an apparition which will be different from all previous apparitions. Mary will come closer to the earth than ever before. Many will see her, hear her, touch her.”

According to Inger Jensen, an experienced Danish pilgrims leader who has visited Medjugorje more than 100 times, these were some of the words she heard when she visited the Muslim Sufi mystic Hasan Shushud in the Summer of 1980, one year before the apparitions began in Medjugorje.

Shushud also hit home when Inger Jensen heard him estimate where the apparition would take place:

“This place is situated west of Istanbul at a shorter distance from Istanbul than that between Istanbul and the eastern-most border of Turkey. It is in a geographical area with a nature and climate much like what we have in Turkey. But it is not in Turkey,” Shushud told Inger Jensen and her group.

The distance between Istanbul and Dogubeyazit, the eastern-most point in Turkey, is 1289 kilometers (801 miles). There are 955 kilometers (593 miles) from Istanbul to Mostar, the major city closest to Medjugorje from which it is 25 kilometers (15 miles) apart.

A long and decisive apparition predicted

[As a Medjugorje pilgrimage leader since 1985, Inger Jensen from Denmark has more than 100 pilgrimages under her belt. In 1980 she became a first-hand witness of Hasan Shushud’s prediction of the Virgin Mary’s apparitions in Medjugorje.]

With Medjugorje celebrating the 30th anniversary of the apparitions this year, Hasan Shushud’s prediction of a long apparition has also come true. So has his prediction that peace would be a main topic of the apparition:

“You will see that Mary will suffer, wait, hope and continue to call for a long time, as she is inviting to the way of peace. During this period Satan will get the opportunity for his plans of godlessness, chaos, suffering, death,” Hasan Shushud told Inger Jensen.

In recent years, the Virgin Mary’s suffering and waiting have been particularly expressed in messages passed on by visionary Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo.

“Mary needs a firm, truthful “yes!” to her plan, and this will not be given at the beginning. Therefore, Mary will be forced to take up a stand-by position. During the period when Mary suffers rejection, earthquakes the like of which have never been seen before will occur. Storms more violent than ever. Thunderstorms. Flooding. Fatal, contagious diseases. And egoism, materialism and violence will pervert societies”, Hasan Shushud continued.

“If Mary and her plans are accepted quickly, the suffering will be short-lived. If, however, Rome does not meet Mary with the needed firm, truthful acceptance when God grants to Rome the time and freedom to choose, then God once more will have offered peace, joy and love in vain, and mankind will feel the consequences of Satan’s plans,” Inger Jensen recounts Hasan Shushud’s words from 1980.

Great responsibility entrusted to Rome

[Istanbul (in the middle) is closer to Medjugorje (around the “V” in Sarajevo) than to Turkey’s eastern-most border, as predicted by Hasan Shushud in 1980.]

While it might sound surprising that Shushud, a Muslim, kept pointing to the position of The Catholic Church as decisive for the fate of the coming all-important apparition, to Shushud himself, it was not anything controversial:

“We Sufis have realized that Mary gives messages solely when she appears within the frameworks of the Roman Catholic Church. Therefore, we Sufis have been praying for Rome for a long time. Because the answer that Rome gives to Mary will be a response which will be binding on behalf of all humanity.”

[Blessed Pope John Paul II was a firm believer in the apparitions in Medjugorje, but deciding the case did not fall under his pontificate.]

“Thus, we realize that God has entrusted the Roman Catholic Church with the great responsibility to accept Mary. A God-given authority to this Church means that a “no” to Mary is a “no” on behalf of all of us. Thereby, a door is closed. It also means that, if this Church accepts Mary in truth, humanity also accepts her. A door is then opened for the help God wants to give through Mary.”

“For this reason, we Sufis have constantly prayed for Rome,” Hasan Shushud said according to the Danish pilgrims leader.

Since March 17th 2010 a Vatican Commission led by Cardinal Camillo Ruini has investigated the events of Medjugorje, with the purpose of enabling the Pope to say either “yes” or “no.”

Inger Jensen has personally handed over her three-page written testimony of her meeting with Hasan Shushud to a high-ranking Cardinal, she tells Medjugorje Today.

Shushud’s words are matching Mary’s messages

As to the reason for the Virgin Mary’s coming, the words of Hasan Shushud closely match the Virgin Mary’s messages as they have been presented by the Medjugorje visionaries. Like the Virgin did to visionary Mirjana Dragicevic in 1982, two years earlier Shushud had stated that Satan had extended power in the 20th century:

In 1887 Pope Leo XIII had his famous vision when he saw Satan being given extended power over the 20th century. In 1982 a message to Mirjana confirmed the vision of the Pope. Hasan Shushud told Inger Jensen the same in 1980.

“Satan stood in front of God’s throne and asked for permission to make use of all his power, in order to try to tear humanity away from God. (…) God granted Satan one hundred years for his new plan. Thus, the 20th century is under Satan’s power,” Hasan Shushud said in an echo of the message to Mirjana – and of a similar vision given to Pope Leo XIII in 1887.

“At the beginning of this century Satan, first of all, worked on “teaching” people through psychologists and psychiatrists that he, Satan, does not exist, and that all that men previously considered to be evil was not evil, but just the result of a lack of development. As man grows more clever, as his intellect becomes more mature, during the ongoing development, he will automatically choose that which is good.”

“After a period Satan could work on his plan in a more free way because he could hide himself behind the lie that he does not exist, as though he stood behind a shield. Then he began to destroy the family and all inherited moral codes,” Hasan Shushud added.

“Satan wants to destroy the family. The family is in crisis. “Pray!” the Virgin Mary told Medjugorje visionary Ivanka Ivankovic-Elez on June 25th 1995. In the early days of the apparitions the Virgin also entrusted Ivanka with the special call to pray for the world’s families. Also visionary Ivan Dragicevic has oftentimes lamented the present moral state of the world.

[Hasan Shushud (right) engaging in a conversation by the end of his life.]

In 1980 Hasan Shushud continued:

“Now Satan has already been working for a long time to have humanity believe that God does not exist. He has been highly succesful in this. Observe the Jews: for so many centuries they have kept together around their religious practice, but now even they have become secularized. All over the planet people are losing faith in God.”

“Soon Satan will be seen out in the open. Children and youngsters will begin to play his games. Pictures of him will be visible in the streets. Also, during the next two decades, egoism, materialism and violence will increase more rapidly than you will be able to imagine,” the Sufi mystic said in words later echoed by the Virgin Mary in her message of September 25th 1991:

“Dear children! Today in a special way I invite you all to prayer and renunciation. For now as never before Satan wants to show the world his shameful face by which he wants to seduce as many people as possible onto the way of death and sin. Therefore, dear children, help my Immaculate Heart to triumph in the sinful world. I beseech all of you to offer prayers and sacrifices for my intentions so I can present them to God for what is most necessary. Forget your desires, dear children, and pray for what God desires and not for what you desire. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Many individual calls and roles predicted

“Mary needs many soldiers for the battle. Each of them will be attracted to the place just in time. Each one is chosen for one little task. A detail which, when all the details are combined, will form a beautiful pattern,” Hasan Shushud said in 1980. A few years later the Virgin Mary mentioned the same theme in messages from Medjugorje where visionary Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti has also elaborated upon it.

Hasan Shushud affirmed the Virgin Mary’s leading role in bringing mankind back to God. And in predicting the Virgin Mary’s great numbers of individual calls with the purpose of combining millions of people into a heavenly mosaic or pattern, more of Hasan Shushud’s words from 1980 went on to appear in the Virgin Mary’s messages from Medjugorje.

“Mary will lead the battle against Satan and, co-operating with Archangel Michael, will lead mankind back to God. Mary needs many soldiers for the battle. Each of them will be attracted to the place just in time. Each one is chosen for one little task. A detail which, when all the details are combined, will form a beautiful pattern. These soldiers, most of them women, will be drawn from all over the world. From their earliest childhood they will have been prepared for “their” special little task, without them having been aware of it,” Hasan Shushud said in 1980.

“Dear children, behold, also today I want to call you to start living a new life as of today. Dear children, I want you to comprehend that God has chosen each one of you, in order to use you in a great plan for the salvation of mankind. You are not able to comprehend how great your role is in God’s design. Therefore, dear children, pray so that in prayer you may be able to comprehend what God’s plan is in your regard. I am with you in order that you may be able to bring it about in all its fullness. Thank you for having responded to my call,” the Virgin Mary said on January 25th 1987, in a message recognized by experts as a cornerstone within the Medjugorje corpus.

[Medjugorje when the apparitions began in 1981, one year after Hasan Shushud had prophesied them to be very close. “The place is being prepared, without anyone being aware of it, for an apparition which will be different from all previous apparitions,” he told Inger Jensen.]

“Dear children, I have been inviting you for years by these messages which I am giving you. Little children, by means of the messages I wish to make a very beautiful mosaic in your heart so I may be able to present each one of you to God like the original image,” the Virgin Mary said on November 25th 1989.

How the Virgin Mary’s messages, to themselves, constitute a heavenly mosaic that can be more fully perceived and understood only through prayer has been a recurring theme in interviews given by visionary Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti.

Seers echo call to fearlessness

In 1980 Hasan Shushud was as sure of God’s final victory through the Virgin Mary as the Medjugorje visionaries have been from the earliest days. And like the seers were later to do, Shushud also called to trust and fearlessness:

“Whatever happens, do not fear! In the end, God wins. The Bible says it, the Koran also. Those who keep close to God and to Mary will be given all the help they need. It does not matter which hardships they must go through: they have nothing to fear,” Hasan Shushud said according to Inger Jensen.

This closely mirrors visionary Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo’s much repeated words that all people who live the Virgin Mary’s messages and see God as their Father and the Virgin Mary as their Mother have nothing to fear from the secrets that the Virgin Mary has entrusted to her.

Famous Medjugorje testimony of conversion: Patrick Latta

Scroll down to see Patrick’s testimony on video.

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Retreat House in Medjugorje

I recently traveled to Medjugorje for just two days to be interviewed by ABC Nightline for their show on Mary. One of my fondest memories of that blink-of-an-eye pilgrimage entailed visiting Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Retreat House, an impressive castle-like structure that tickles the eye—the home and vision of Patrick and Nancy Latta, who built it, and are still building it, to support, refresh, and foster vocations to religious life.

On the “castle” grounds, I felt like I was walking into ancient history and a bit of Disneyland, all in one. As I walked onto the property, a friendly, vibrant man, with white hair and a white smile, welcomed me like a dear relative. I didn’t know I was shaking the hand of Patrick Latta—the reason I had come there.

Earlier that morning, a fellow pilgrim had told the pilgrims at our breakfast table that Patrick was going to share his testimony, and we weren’t to miss it. I’m so glad I didn’t.

Chapel in the Retreat Center

Later that day, I followed a handful of pilgrims into a petite, round, stone chapel, where Patrick mesmerized us with a lively telling of his story of conversion. With humor and humble self-effacement, mixed with shock and disappointment over his own past behavior, he shared a life of debauchery turned disciple. Just one sentence, from one Medjugorje message, saved him from a life of “doing it my way,” which included affairs, adultery, and alcohol. Once the owner of seven car dealerships, with twenty-eight salesmen working underneath him, he swam in what he worshipped: money. On weekends, he traveled from his home country of Canada all the way to Las Vegas, to “live it up.” And on week nights, he took his employees to a bar, announcing proudly, “Drinks are on me.”

“How much do you think that cost me?” He asked us, as were calculating numbers in our heads.

“Two divorces,” he said, and shared how he ruined his own family and never took any of his four kids to church, although he was supposedly Catholic.

When his son came home one day and asked, “Dad, what’s this God stuff?”

Patrick took out a few bills, gave them to his son, and said, “What is God stuff? Here, my son. Here’s God. Get a sack of these, and you’ve got all the God you want.”

To this day, that one encounter is all the son remembers of his father from his childhood. “Dad,” he said years later. “You handed me money and said it was God.”

“My kids had everything money could buy,” reflected Patrick. “And it corrupted them. I corrupted them.”

Patrick Latta sharing his Medjugorje testimony

Patrick didn’t change his ways, even after marrying his third wife, Nancy, a lapsed Catholic. Then one day, Nancy handed him a book, containing messages from Medjugorje. Patrick gave it back, telling her to throw it away, but his wife retorted, “You throw it away, my pagan husband. Let it be on your conscience.”

Patrick suddenly found himself wrestling with a conscience he didn’t know he had. To allay this strange new feeling of guilt, he decided to read nothing more than “a little two-liner,” before throwing the paperback away. So he opened to the back of the book and laid eyes on the shortest message he could find:

I call you to conversion for the last time.

“I don’t know what happened at that moment,” Patrick told us pilgrims. “I have no idea to this day what happened. All of a sudden, my heart was beating twenty miles per hour, and tears were running down my cheeks.

‘Nancy!” I yelled, ‘Why didn’t you tell me about these messages? Nancy, why didn’t you tell me that they were true? Nancy, that message was for me!’

It was the first time I saw myself. I had been living in mortal sin for thirty years. I had walked away from the Catholic Church when I was fourteen years old, saying, ‘I don’t need this.’ You can walk out of the Church and walk straight into hell quite easily—a lot easier than you can walk into heaven. You get into mortal sin, and then you convince yourself you’re right. ‘I can do what I want. I don’t need Church. I don’t need Confession.’

My Italian immigrant mother—five feet, two inches, both ways—prayed for me for forty-eight years. Forty-eight years of rosaries, and she saw nothing. Then one day, one message changed my life. I believe her prayers helped me believe that the Medjugorje messages were true.”

The Latta's embracing

Nancy complimenting her husband, Patrick

Today, Patrick, alongside his wife, Nancy, serves pilgrims from sun up to long past sun down, as people come and go from their home and retreat center, the “castle.” A friend of mine, who knows Patrick well, said that although he’s seventy-two and his back gives him constant, sometimes debilitating pain, he never complains and treats everyone he meets with a father’s love and acceptance.

Below are videos of Patrick Latta, on the grounds of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Retreat House, giving his testimony of conversion to a large group of pilgrims—an account similar to the one he shared with my little group that day in Medjugorje. His story concludes with him saying . . .

Castle structure on the grounds of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Retreat House

“Our Lady has appeared on this property twelve times, not because I’m holy or spiritual. It’s just that Marija, the visionary, lives next door, and she has four boys. So at about four o’clock in the afternoon, we get out the hot dogs and ice cream for the boys, and she comes over with her kids, and I say, “If you’re bringing us all an apparition, you might as well stay.” The car dealer in me never dies.

It’s been a great grace, and two years ago, Our Lady gave a message for this place. She said through Maria, “I am joyful that you consecrated this place to me and my Son, that He may reign here.” And then Our Lady added the big words, “Those who come here I will bless and protect.”

Imagine that. This is the guy who did everything wrong in his whole life. “Those who come here, I will bless and protect.” Marija was shocked. I was shocked. We were all in tears over this message, because this was a message for a private home. It was unbelievable. But it really did happen. This message is for you!”

By Christine Watkins

Read more stories, such as this, in Watkins’ book, Full of Grace: Miraculous Stories of Healing and Conversion through Mary’s Intercession.


He became Jesus, right before her eyes

“What the hell are you doing?” I yelled out the back door.

“Go back to bed!” he shouted back. “I’m just protecting my house and my family.”

In the middle of the night, I woke up to see my husband outside, in nothing but his underwear, walking the property with guns. I had three children to protect and care for, a boy age seven, and two girls, eight and seventeen, and I got scared. “He’s gone nuts!” I thought to myself. This wasn’t the sweet, normal husband I once knew.

Rosemary and Mark Geiger

I was aware of Mark’s progressive drinking problem—up to ten or twelve beers a day, but I didn’t know that he had also started to take speed and marijuana. Crushed and pressured under the stress to get his tire product business off the ground, the speed kept him working late hours into the night, and the marijuana helped him to finally pass out. Then after just four hours of sleep, he would get up to start the work day again, and at 11 a.m., pour himself a beer.

Clues of his drug use popped up when I started helping him with work. I had never before gone downstairs into his office, and when I did, I found guns and pornographic magazines. When confronted, he told me the pornographic magazines had been brought into the office by the guys who drove delivery trucks for the company—this turned out to be true, and the guns were there because he needed them, since somebody was trying to kill him—not true. Then one day, in a hidden corner, I found the drugs.

“Yes, they’re mine,” he confessed, and after a couple more days of his paranoid prowling, I told him that he needed to go to a doctor or to rehab. He told me he didn’t need to, that he could quit all on his own. For a few weeks, he seemed to have stopped, and then the drinking and surveillance pacing in his underwear began all over again.

I told him I was leaving him, and I did. One day, I packed up myself and our three kids and left to go live at my brother’s house. During my stay there, Mark must have called me twenty-five times a day to ask me to come home. We fought terribly, and I told him, “No, not until you get help and go to rehab.”

Paranoid and ready to fight, Mark instigated a domestic violence brawl with my brother, over who should be taking care of our children, and my husband ended up in jail. Caught behind those bars, he made the decision to go to rehab.

I truly don’t understand how you can love somebody one day and gradually fall out of love with that person, but I lost all the love I’d had for my husband. I felt disgusted with him and really wanted a divorce. He called and begged me to come and see him in rehab and to bring the children, but I couldn’t stomach the thought of being near him.

During my husband’s thirty-one days in a recovery home, he received a lot of help, and so did I. I had always had a strong devotion to Our Lady, so I never stopped praying the rosary, and I was seeing a female Catholic therapist. When it was time for my husband to check out of rehab, he begged me to let him come home, rather than go to a half-way house. Still feeling no love in my heart for him, much less a desire to live with him, I let him back into our home on sheer faith. I saw that he was trying.

My husband came back a different person. He was calm and filled with peace. Three to four times a week, he attended AA meetings, received the help of a sponsor, and switched from drinking beer to Dr. Pepper. Mark had always been thoughtful and helpful to me around the house, and now these traits were magnified. He was still walking the property, but now he was out early in the morning; and instead of a gun in his hands, he carried a Bible.

A few months after my husband returned home, my love for him tricked back into my heart, slowly, almost imperceptibly. Once a week, we went together to see his male Catholic therapist, and I went regularly to see my therapist. It took a year, but eventually our lives returned to some semblance of normalcy.

The Geiger Family

With my home life under more control, I began to immerse myself in Catholic women’s ministries, attending meetings and prayer groups at night. During one of these prayer groups, a lady came in and shared how she and her family had won a trip to Europe and had ended up going to this little town called Medjugorje, where the Blessed Mother was appearing.

“You’ve gotta be kidding me!” I exclaimed. “You mean the Blessed Mother is appearing in this town?”


I had only known of Mary’s apparitions in Fatima, Portugal, and Lourdes, France. As I listened to this lady’s story and of how her rosary turned gold, I just couldn’t believe it. So excited, I couldn’t wait to get home to tell my husband about how the Virgin Mary was actually visiting earth in Medjugorje. “I have to go there. I have to go there!” I exclaimed spontaneously.

I couldn’t understand why no one had told me about this. This was 1990, and she had allegedly been appearing there since 1981. I rushed home and shared the news with Mark, because I always told my husband everything. And he said, “Well, how much does a trip like that cost?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, honey, we don’t have the money.”

“I know. But I have to go.”

“Okay. Well, you’re the pray-er in the family. Just pray.”

So I took the rosary I’d had for many years, held it in my hand, and said, “Blessed Mother, if you want me to go there, please give me a sign. Help me.” I went to sleep with my rosary in my hand and Medjugorje on my mind, and when I woke up in the morning, my rosary had turned gold.

I went to morning Mass, after taking my kids to school, and approached one of the priests there, whom I liked a lot: “If I form a group to go to Medjugorje, would you come along and lead it?”

He said, “Yes.” He had never been there, but had heard about it and wanted to go. Organization comes naturally to me, so I got a flyer out to all the churches in my area, and through the mouths of my friends, little by little, calls of interest came in. In February of 1991, myself, the priest, and twenty others were flying off to Medjugorje. Tucked in my bag were hundreds of prayer petitions I’d gathered, plus my own. I wanted Mary of Medjugorje to help my husband, a “CEO” Catholic, “Church Easter Only,” to develop a strong devotion to her and become active in the Catholic Church. I prayed three to four rosaries a day, if I could, but my husband never joined me.

During a wonderful week in Medjugorje, I was present in the apparition room, when the visionary, Vicka, saw the Blessed Mother; I witnessed the miracle of the sun, spinning in the sky; and I prayed for my husband. Never did I let him know about my special petition.

I came back home, and it all started to happen. Bit by bit, Mark started to change. He joined a jail ministry, then started preaching in the jails. Already an executive chef, he agreed to cook at any and every function in the church, when prompted. Then he and I started to cook a special once-a-month meal for a retired priest, then for other priests, then we befriended them all. Our friendships began to change to primarily Catholic couples, and over time, completely on his own, my husband developed a strong devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

When ten years had passed since my trip to Medjugorje, my petition to Mary of Medjugorje was close to being fully realized. My husband was well on his way to becoming a true man of God. Only one last mountain to climb remained.

One mysterious night, as I lay wide awake, unable to sleep, I curled up under my husband’s outstretched arm. Mark was lying on his back, sound asleep, with both of his arms extended out straight from his sides, and he was bare-chested, with a beard and dark hair. As I lay there, I glanced up at his face. Then a moment later, I looked up at him again. What I saw shocked me. My husband’s face had literally turned into the face of Jesus on the cross. I looked away and started blinking, then turned my eyes to stare at him again and saw only him. I thought I was seeing things, or perhaps dreaming, so I tested this several times. But I wasn’t dreaming or delusional. I was very alert and awake, and had never hallucinated in my life. Looking away, and then back again, I saw my husband on the cross. Then I saw Jesus Christ on the cross. My husband—then Christ—then my husband.

I started to cry and sat up overwhelmed with tears. Shaking my husband to wake him up, I said, “Mark, Mark! You’re not going to believe what I just saw.”


I told him my vision of him, and he said, “Well, get me off that cross. I don’t want to be there!”

I said sadly, “I’m sorry. I can’t change that. I know what I saw.”

Soon after the vision, my husband gradually became weak. But we didn’t think anything of it for a couple of years. We just figured he was simply growing old. Little things were happening to him but nothing big enough to get him to the doctor. “I was out in the yard,” he’d say, “and you know I just was so clumsy. I fell.”

“C’mon, pick yourself up,” I’d joke.

In November of 2005, as I was making dinner, I called down to him in the family room, and when he answered me, his words were jumbled. I came downstairs and asked, “What did you say?”

”I don’t know. I was thinking of what I wanted to say, but this mumbo jumbo came out.”

“Are you feeling okay? Do you have a headache or anything?”

“I feel perfectly fine. I don’t know why that popped out.”

Once again, we let it go, because we didn’t have an answer for it. Then about a week later, the same thing happened again. He spoke in jumbled words. He wanted to say one thing, but out came gibberish.

I asked, “Are you sure you’re feeling okay?”

“Yeah, I feel fine.”

“Are you on drugs?”

”No. I haven’t had any drugs in years.”

“Are you drinking again?”

“No, I haven’t had any drinks. No nothing.”

I didn’t believe him. The next day when he was at work, I went through the whole house, everywhere—the garage, the upstairs, the downstairs, looking for drug paraphernalia. I even checked his wallet to see if there were any unusual telephone numbers, perhaps drug dealers in there, but I couldn’t find anything.

Then it happened again. He opened his mouth, and out came gibberish.

This time I called the cardiologist. “Something is wrong with Mark. I think he’s had a stroke. His words are jumbled.”

“Bring him to me right now,” he said. The cardiologist found nothing wrong, so from him, we were referred to a neurologist. Meanwhile, Mark’s speech worsened. At different times, I could hardly understand what he was saying, and his body was growing rigid at a rapid rate. “I’m so stiff,” he’d say. “My legs are killing me.”

The neurologist did a bunch of tests and had Mark stand up and walk for him. Then in an icy, impersonal manner, the doctor said, “There’s a strong possibility this is Lou Gerrig’s disease. I’m really thinking that this is probably what it is.” His words were flippant, as if he were diagnosing a cold. There is no cure for Lou Gerrig’s disease.

My husband put his head down on a table in examining room, and I tried to console him, like a mother would console her child. “That’s probably not it. They’ll get something for it.”

Then the doctor said pointedly, “I’m going to have to report this to the DMV, and you’re not going to be able to drive.” My husband’s body stiffened. Bristling over the doctor’s words, bedside manner, and casual life-threatening diagnosis, he blew up in anger, “Well, what do you mean DMV?”

“You’re not going to be able to drive because of the condition of your body.”

“You’re not taking away my driving privileges. This is bullshit.”

Afraid that my husband would knock the doctor out, I told him, “Mark, you have to leave.” So he went outside.

Turning to the neurologist, I said, “I’m so sorry for my husband’s anger. I’m going to get a second opinion. I’ll be calling you to have the tests you ran sent over there.”

We went home, and my husband collapsed from sadness. But we still didn’t know for sure. Lou Gerrig’s disease, also called ALS, was just a strong possibility. My son and youngest daughter, now in their 20’s, and my eldest daughter, who now lived forty-five minutes away, got on the internet; and my son, who was in paramedic school at the time, started to pore over his medical books. The children and I were looking up everything that we could about the disease, without telling or showing Mark anything. As more was learned, my kids grew very, very upset, for when they read about the symptoms of ALS, they began to recall different things their father had experienced. “Oh mom, it can’t be,” they said, “But this is dad. This is dad.”

I didn’t want to believe what was happening, but always practical, I sprang into action. I got in touch with the Association for Lou Gerrig’s Disease, and they said the best place to go for a diagnosis was the Mayo clinic in Arizona. We went, and in three days, Mark must have seen ten different doctors and undergone every test possible. When all was done, and they called us in for the final analysis of it all, they said with compassion, “We’re very, very sorry, but you do have ALS, and it looks like you have a very fast progression of ALS.”

For years, every evening after dinner, around 7 p.m., I would say to my family, “I’m going to say a rosary. Is there anybody who wants to join me?” And my children and husband would say, “No.” After we received Mark’s confirmed diagnosis, my kids still said, “No,” but my husband looked up at me and said, “Yes.”

I felt scared, but never angry with God. I never lamented, “Why me? Poor me! Poor Mark! Poor family!” Never. When something difficult happens, I can be strong. I’m the first on who picks up the reins and looks for a solution. I turned our entire downstairs into a medical facility, with an adjustable bed, which I shared with him, for as long as I could. And when I couldn’t sleep with him any more, I bought a twin. If he got up or needed anything, I needed to be right there. He never slept through the night—ever. After tucking him in at night, I would go outside, have a glass of wine and cry, asking God help us get through this.

By this time in life, I had traveled to Medjugorje, Fatima, and Lourdes, as well as to a couple different Marian apparition sites in the United States, but I had never been to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, even though I’m Hispanic—three-fourths Mexican, to be exact, with my mother being pure Mexican and my father part German and Spanish. Aware of my husband’s devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, I said, “Let’s go to visit her shrine in Mexico and ask for a miracle.”

“Yes, let’s do that,” he responded.

In May of 2006, just a month after visiting the Mayo clinic, we traveled to Mexico with twelve people from our church, including two deacons and their wives, and my brother and his wife, in order to pray for Mark’s physical healing. Not only did our tour bus take us to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, but to other churches in Mexico, old and beautiful. At some of the churches, the deacons would take Mark, saying, “You go on ahead with the girls,” and relieve me of my caretaking responsibility. I appreciated that because all I did was live and do for Mark’s disease. My husband was going to die, so my whole focus was trying not to cry in front of him, being strong for him.

On that trip, my husband walked into one of the churches ahead of me, and when I followed, I gasped to see a beautifully sacred and ornate atmosphere of murals and gold and statues of saints everywhere. When I walked over to the left side of the church, I looked down to see my husband lying prostrate on the floor, face down, sobbing like a baby.

Seeing my husband weeping caused me to cry, because I loved him. “Oh Mark!” I cried out, as the two deacons walked towards him and lifted him up.

Then Marked looked at me and said, “I’ve had a healing. I’m okay.”

“What do you mean?” I asked him. “A physical healing?”

“I’ve had a spiritual healing,” he said. “It’s going to be okay.” Then he began repeating, “Thy will be done. . . Thy will be done. . .”

In the days to follow, he said those words over and over again: “Thy will be done.” Mark said it so much, that my youngest daughter had a hidden tattoo put on her ribs, which said, “Thy will be done.” My son also had a tattoo painted on him six months later. It was “November 21, 2006,” the date that his dad died.

During his last six months on earth, Mark became childlike. He sometimes giggled like a little kid and had an innocent playfulness about him, despite his debilitating disease. My husband had always been silly, friendly, generous and giving, and these traits, though restrained, were also now magnified in the twinkle of his eyes. Toward the end, my husband’s spirit remained strong, even as all his strength left him. During his last four months, he no longer had the ability to inhale the medical marijuana, which had temporarily relieved his intense pain, nor could he swallow, since ALS attacks the muscles. He lay in bed, stiff as wood, and I couldn’t move him. Hospice came into our home and started bathing him, because I couldn’t do it any more. By then, my work at a school district allowed me to work from home, and my wonderful church and school communities were getting together to feed us every single night for those four months.

People also came by to hold my husband’s hand and cry, as he cried silently with them—people who thanked him for helping them get off of drugs, save their marriage, teach them to cook, lead them to God.

Mark wrote a letter to me, which he put it on the computer, and I did not find it until two months after he died. It was a love letter that he wanted me to read on Valentines Day, but I found it sooner. In it he told me all the things that a wife wants to hear—how important I was in his life, how beautiful I was, and how thankful he was to God for me. As tears welled in my eyes, I felt like the thankful one, thankful to have lived with and loved a true man of God.

By Christine Watkins, for Rosemary Geiger

Read more stories, such as this, in Watkins’ book, Full of Grace: Miraculous Stories of Healing and Conversion through Mary’s Intercession.

Rosemary Geiger is the founder of the Mystical Rose House of Prayer and Retreat in San Diego, California–truly one of the most beautiful and peaceful retreat houses in California. Each bedroom is graced with a mural of Mary–Our Lady of Medjugorje, Fatima, Lourdes, and Mystical Rose.