Category: Testimonies

Medjugorje pilgrim heard bombs and machine gun fire explode, as she ascended Cross Mountain

Medjugorje pilgrim, Flaget Nally

Flaget Nally and her friend, Carrie, traveled as pilgrims to Medjugorje in 1992, at the height of the Serbian Croatian war in Yugoslavia. Clinging to each other on Cross Mountain, they listened to bombs and machine gun fire explode over the nearby city of Mostar, which sounded as close as a few blocks away. Soon streams of refugees were literally running into Medjugorje.

To hear Flaget tell her remarkable story of what happened next,  click here .

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

The Medjugorje “Miracle Mysteries” that the ABC Nightline special didn’t tell you about

Christine Watkins with Flerida and Max Gutierrez atop Apparition Hill in Medjugorje. Mrs. Watkins, the author of Full of Grace: Miraculous Stories of Healing and Conversion through Mary's Intercession, and Flerida Gutierrez, Catholic evangelist, were featured on the ABC Nightline special, "The Miracle Mysteries."

Click here to see a clip of Nightline co-anchor,Bill Wier, interviewing Christine Watkins, author of Full of Grace, and asking pilgrims, “What does the Virgin Mary look like?”

To see the entire ABC show on Mary, click here.

Flerida Gutierrez had little idea that her pilgrimage to Medjugorje in June, with Trinity Pilgrimages and Michael Brown of Spirit Daily, would mean revealing to approximately eight million viewers across the nation that she was a woman of faith, and that she was a woman with stage four cancer.

On this pilgrimage, ABC News producer, Jenna Millman, and Nightline co-anchor, Bill Weir, along with a camera man, accompanied the pilgrimage to film the Medjugorje portion of their special on the Virgin Mary, which aired Wednesday, July 13th. The diminutive, humble, yet vocal Philippina woman, affectionately known as Flerida, was filmed being prayed over by the Medjugorje visionary, Vicka, who placed her loving hand on Flerida’s bowed head. Flerida was “slain in the Spirit” and rested peacefully on her side for a full half hour. So what happened to her during that time?

Here is Flerida’s full story, in her own words . . .

In November of 2010, I received test results showing that I had three cancerous nodules in my liver. I traveled to Medjugorje, to ask the Blessed Mother to pray for my healing, but I also completely surrendered to the idea of death. None of us are going to stay here on earth forever. We’re going to go back home.

On the day of the pilgrimage, when we went to see Vicka give her talk, on the steps of her parents’ small Medjugorje home, I was hoping to be one of the three hundred pilgrims in the crowd to receive prayer from Vicka, who individually laid her hands on every pilgrim present. I felt like I needed her prayers, but since our group arrived later than other pilgrims, some of whom had been waiting now for an hour or two to hear Vicka speak, I assumed I wouldn’t be able to get close to her. “But even if she doesn’t pray over me,” I said in my heart, “I know, Mother Mary, that you will pray to Jesus for me.”

Then our pilgrimage guide, Miki Musa, suddenly whisked me away from where I was standing. My husband, Max, standing next to me, turned around, and I was gone. Miki didn’t tell me where we were going, and I assumed he was bringing me closer to Vicka. “How can we get through these crowds?” I asked.

“Just trust me,” he said, and proceeded to press forward, holding my hand, parting waves in the crowd, saying, “Excuse me, excuse me.”

Before long, I was standing at the front of the crowd, just at the base of the stairs, where Vicka speaks. I knew then that I was going to be prayed over by Vicka, since I was now so close to where she would speak. Out of gratitude and joy, I became hysterical, and started crying.

At the same time, I felt so badly, cutting in front of these people who had been waiting a long time. I was wearing my favorite pair of large sunglasses, which look like something Jackie Onassis wore, and someone asked me, “Are you blind?”

“Good!” I thought to myself. Let them think I’m blind, so no one feels any resentment. There should only be stillness, peace, hope, and joy in people’s hearts at this moment, not because their lives are perfect, but because the Blessed Mother is with all of them.

Then a Croatian woman said to me, “Would you mind going up the steps?”

“Me?” I asked

“Yes,” she said.

Before I could blink twice, I was standing on the balcony of Vicka’s parents’ home. My husband said he spotted me there, wondering how this had happened.

Then Vicka walked past me, and Miki whispered something into her ear. She looked at me with kindness and told me to go inside the house.

I started crying again hysterically. She looked at me and said, “Shh . . .” as if to say, “Don’t worry, there should only be joy.” Then she hugged me tightly for a long time. With that embrace, I felt like I was being held, not by Vicka, but by arms of the Blessed Mother herself.

“Please pray over me,” I said to her.”

“I know, I know,” she said. She knew what I had come for.

Vicka motioned for me to sit on a couch. She put her strong right hand on my head and started praying over me in Croatian, while I continued to cry. Then I rested peacefully in the Spirit. When I came to, the ABC crew told me I had been lying down on my right side for a half hour, but I was not aware of my body, or how long I was in an altered state.

To explain what happened next, I should mention that I speak four languages, with English being my second language. I came to the United States forty-two years ago, at age twenty-two. When I was a little girl growing up in the Philippines, my parents spoke to me in a dialect called Pampango. For years, I hadn’t used or heard this language, especially since my parents are deceased and my husband speaks only English and Tagalog, the National language of the Philippines.

As I lay down, resting in the Spirit, I was thinking of the Blessed Mother, and my soul felt completely still, immersed a beautiful, heavenly peace. I sensed Mary’s presence with me. I could not make out her face, but I knew she was there. Then she spoke to me in a voice that was as clear as any woman’s voice spoken near me in my waking hours. In the Pampango dialect, in the language of my childhood, I heard her say, “My child, you came.” Those four short words contained so much love and meaning! I sensed that she was smiling at me and expressing her joy over my coming in Medjugorje. I woke up crying and smiling at the same time and feeling weightless.

The medical tests I took in November were repeated after I came back from Medjugorje; and where there used to be three cancerous nodules in my liver, now there is only one. Either they consolidated, or two of them disappeared. I feel good, I don’t have any symptoms whatsoever. I eat well. I sleep eight hours a day. I am so strong. Just the other day, I saw an oncologist from Germany, and she told me that, in her entire career, she hasn’t seen anyone with stage four cancer who looks as healthy as I do.

I truly believe I will be healed. I will know more in four months, when I take another CAT scan. I am looking forward to going back to Medjugorje, to thank the Lord for a complete healing. At this time, I believe I am helping along my healing and keeping my immune system strong, because I have such a positive attitude. I have surrendered myself completely to the Lord. I am not afraid to die. What is there to fear? I believe that we are just on a journey. Before we leave this life, we pass through so many hills and valleys, and then our passports will expire. At the end of life, God will take care of our loved ones, and God will take care of us. We have to go home. And if it’s not my time yet, I’ve told God, “If you will extend my visa here on hearth, I will speak for You. I will speak of Your power, Your mercy, Your glory, and Your unconditional love.”

Shortly after I returned home to Las Vegas, from Medjugorje, a fellow pilgrim, Julie Quintana from Los Angeles, said she would be coming my way to visit relatives. I invited her to my prayer group the evening she was in town, and there to my great joy and delight, she shared her own testimony of healing in Medjugorje. Here’s what she said:

The Wednesday before I left on my trip to Medjugorje, I had to have a biopsy done on my breast. I also received test results from a papsmear, which revealed I had a polyp in my cervix and pre-cancerous cells. I couldn’t see a specialist for this in such short notice, and would have to wait until I returned from my pilgrimage. So off I went to Medjugorje in a daze, wondering why on earth I was going to travel across the world at such a time.

One of the many beautiful gifts of Medjugorje, standing a few yards behind St. James Church, is a statue of the crucified Christ, which has been exuding a special oil from its right knee, continuously for many years now. Healings have been attributed to this oil, so my roommate Sue Larson stood in a line of pilgrims to collect some of this liquid. She decided to bless her eyes with drops of the liquid, since she’d had eye surgery in the past, and preferred not to go through it again. I touched the oil with my fingers, made the sign of the cross, and put the special oil on several handkerchiefs I’d brought as gifts; and then I placed a drop of the oil on the center of my right breast, on top of my clothing, just over where there was a cluster of calcifications in the ducts, where the biopsy was done.

As we were walking away from the crucifix, Sue stopped and exclaimed, “My eyes are burning with heat!” She was feeling an intense sensation of heat in the tissue of her eyes, from the top of her eyelids down to the top of her cheekbones. After she said this, I stopped in my tracks. I, too, was feeling a strong heat where the oil had touched my body, both on my fingertips and on the exact spot on my right breast. Finding this hard to believe, three times I tested how that area on my right breast felt, compared with my left. Each time the left one was cold, while the right one was very warm, not only externally, but internally as well.

We arrived home on Wednesday the 15th of June, and a week later, I received a report that my breast biopsy was benign. Then I saw the specialist, who put a big scope inside of me, which magnifies my insides with bright lights. “There is nothing there,” he said, “absolutely nothing. There’s no polyp, and the precancerous cells are completely gone.”

I wanted to know how he was responding to this news, so I asked him to explain this, and he said, “Well sometimes the body heals itself.”

“Well I just went on a religious pilgrimage, I told him.”

And he responded with a smile, “It could be that.”

Later, Sue and I were talking, and I said, “Sue, I have absolutely nothing wrong with me. And you know what? This was a plan in God’s heart, because He knew I was going to receive these difficult test results, and He whisked me off to Medjugorje to help me. On that trip I felt very positive that I would be fine. By the end of the tip, I somehow knew that I didn’t have cancer. I just knew I’d been healed.”

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.

Medjugorje to be featured on an ABC News “Nightline Prime” show about the Virgin Mary, called “The Miracle Mysteries”

I recently returned from a whirlwind two-day trip to Medjugorje with Trinity Pilgrimages, where the ABC News “Nightline” co-anchor, Bill Weir, interviewed me at the base of Cross Mountain, for a show called “The Miracle Mysteries,” to air Wednesday, July 13th, (NEW DATE AGAIN! The show has been postponed twice, due to the Casey Anthony trial), at 9pm in central and mountain time zones, and at 10pm in eastern and Pacific time zones. The hour-long program will explore the history, theology, and importance of the Blessed Virgin to Christians and even non-Christians throughout history.

ABC anchor Bill Weir and Christine Watkins in Medjugorje

At twilight, on June 9th, while sitting amidst the jagged red rocks, which cover the mountainside, I shared my story of miraculous healing and conversion to Catholicism and my husband’s witness of a miracle at the top of Cross Mountain—all of which are covered at length in my book, Full of Grace. I then answered Bill Weir’s questions, such as, Why do we need Mary? Why did she come to Medjugorje? What do you think she looks like?

Once my interview was over, I happily entered into the grateful state of a pilgrim. That night, I chatted far too long about God with a delightful new friend and roommate, and early the next morning, climbed Apparition Hill with my large flock of pilgrims, including the show’s producer, Jenna Millman, cameraman, Rupert, and Nightline co-anchor, Bill Weir, who kindly assisted pilgrims up the jagged terrain.

At the site where Mary first appeared to the children, and where a beautiful white statue of her now stands, I prayed that Mary would intercede on behalf of all those who were praying for me and for the Nightline program about her. Mother Mary, please tend to their every need and deepest desires.

The next day, I visited a seminarian friend, who happened to be spending his summer, working at the “castle” in Medjugorje, a beautiful fantasy-like structure, built by the converts Patrick and Nancy Latta, who wanted to offer a refuge, a home away from home, for vowed religious and those seeking religious life in the Church. Resting my back against the cool stone walls of their chapel, I gratefully escaped the noon summer heat to listen to Patrick tell his dramatic story. His was a life shattered by the pursuit and acquisition of money, transformed into a life of joyful service to Mary of Medjugorje, as a result of reading just one sentence of one of Mary’s Medjugorje messages: “I am calling you to conversion for the last time.”

At the end of Patrick’s sharing, a fellow pilgrim sitting next to me announced to me and Patrick, with emboldened joy, that I should write another book with his story in it, and then it should be turned into a movie with Robin Williams as the star. Anyone have his number? This should be no problem.

Patrick Latta shares his testimony with pilgrims

Moments later, back at the visionary Mirjana’s pension where we were staying, I listened to author Michael Brown, a major attraction of this pilgrimage, give a compelling talk to our group regarding Medjugorje, which referred to what we do and don’t know about the secrets, and what we are called to do to prepare ourselves spiritually for what lies ahead. We will revisit our own lives one day, he reminded us, and we will see through God’s eyes how our actions, even our thoughts, affected the world around us. Wouldn’t it be a joy to review a life well-spent and full of love? It is best to convert our hearts now, for we can always begin to live a new life today, a life we’d be proud to rewind and replay.

I recently learned that a couple days after I had to leave (due to my two small children awaiting me at home), almost the entire pilgrimage group saw the miracle of the sun, while atop Cross Mountain. Miracles abound in this special pilgrimage site on earth, but not one rosary turned gold, or one sun caught spinning in the sky, compares in value to the invisible miracles of healing rushing through human hearts.

What a gift is was for me to be back in Mary’s lap. I’d forgotten how incredible the peace can be in Medjugorje. But I was reminded, as my last day as a pilgrim came to a close. When I was at adoration, amidst a sea of people, outside on a warm summer night, behind St. James Church, with silent lightning flashing in the sky, what I felt inside was a mixture of peace with a quiet ecstasy and joy—it had a heavenly sweetness to it, which I’ve never felt anywhere else. It was hard to come home.

By Christine Watkins, author of Full of Grace: Miraculous Stories of Healing and Conversion through Mary’s Intercession

The joy of friendship with Medjugorje visionary Marija Pavlovic

On my first trip to Medjugorje, in 1987, I was instantly drawn to the Medjugorje visionary, Marija, in a spiritual way. I prayed to Our Lady to allow me to know Marija better as a friend, in order to learn from her how to love God more by living Our Lady’s messages. Through God’s providence, little steps led me closer to her, and on my third trip to Medjugorje, in 1990, I was able to spend as many as twelve hours a day with her for three months. We became close friends.

My twin brother befriended her, as well, and that year we helped her in many ways: planting flowers, feeding the chickens, taking out the garbage, cementing the driveway, rearranging her furniture. We had the honor of escorting her to and from the apparitions at St. James Church. Each day pilgrims would gather in her courtyard, and she asked me to lead them in the rosary. When she spoke in Italian or Croatian, I would verbalize her presentations on Our Lady’s messages in English.

This was more than a dream come true, because I felt so unworthy. Three years later, I would have similar feelings when I attended, through personal invitation, her small family wedding in Milan, Italy.

Marija has received daily apparitions, since 1981, when the Virgin Mary first appeared in Medjugorje. At the nuptial Mass, Our Lady appeared to Marija after Holy Communion, when all was quiet in the church. She gave her blessing and prayed for several moments over those gathered. Marija told me that Our Lady appeared happy. No public message was given.

As I stood in line after the wedding to greet the bride and groom, I was a little nervous. But Marija was as happy and natural as usual. After a hug and kiss, she said, “I am so happy to see you. This is one great grace for me . . . I think I have to get married, in order for me to see you!” Marija has a great sense of humor. Then she jokingly berated me for not coming to Medjugorje last spring, when she knew I was in Rome. I stood there speechless.

The hardest part of my trip was saying goodbye to my friend. I told Marija I hoped it wouldn’t be so longbefore we met again. I told her I loved her. Her parting remark to me meant so much. “I love you, too,” she said.

Though we exchanged several letters over the next eight years, I didn’t know if I’d get to see her again in person, until I caught wind that Marija would be speaking at a Medjugorje conference, On March 26, 2011, in Sacramento, California–only an hour’s drive from Napa, where I presently live with my wife and three young children. March 26th was also my daughters eighth birthday.  At that conference, I was able to reconnect with Marija and introduce her to my wife and kids. I was so happy to see her again. That evening, Marija was to have her apparition in the main conference hall, packed with people. My family and I visited with her privately outside during the day, and then, like the good old days, I escorted her into the hall where she was to give a talk. As we walked in, I told Marija I still prayed the rosary in Croatian, like she had taught me to do in 1990. After Marija gave her talk, all of us—about one thousand people—began praying the rosary, in preparation for her apparition at 5:40 pm. Marija knelt on the conference stage, before a statue of Our Lady, and I knelt just behind her on the floor. I had been begging Our Lady for the opportunity to reconnect and renew my friendship with Marija, and now I was praying to have my kids kneel next to Marija for her apparition, since it was my daughter’s birthday. I didn’t dare ask Marija myself.

While a translator was leading the first part of the “Hail Mary” from the microphone, everyone was responding in English, except for Marija and me. Since I was kneeling so close to her, she heard me praying in Croatian in unison with her, and about two minutes before her apparition, she turned around to me and pointed to my daughter who was kneeling beside me. I understood she wanted me to pick her up and set her on the stage next to her.  After that, she point to my five year old son, John-Paul, and I did the same with him. She then pointed to my oldest son, Anthony, who is ten, to see if he wanted to kneel on the stage too, but he was content kneeling next to me, since there was not much room left up there anyway. Our Lady then appeared and looked lovingly at all the people gathered and prayed over us with her arms extended.

Needless to say, it was a huge blessing for me and my family to experience exactly what my heart had begged for. On top of that, the next day at the conference, Marija gave me the rosary she prayed with and held during the apparition and said it was for my daughter Melanie. I then gave her a copy of the picture we took together with my family the previous day, just before her talk, and she smiled and said she would keep it in her prayer book! Our Lady knows our desires, and I truly believe those events with Marija were her way of expressing her love for me.

By Christopher Berghout

Edited by Christine Watkins, with excerpts adapted from Medjugorje Magazine, Winter ’92-’93 issue.

A deacon is embraced by an unusual apparition of the Blessed Mother

The family of Finns on Easter Sunday, 2011, with Deacon Ken and his wife, Marie, in the center

The following is Deacon Ken Finn’s account of his remarkable interactions with Mary, the Mother of God.

My first encounter with the Blessed Mother happened when I was travelling in an RV with my wife, Marie. We co-authored a Catholic Bible-study, called The Bread of Life, and we were making a grand circle, clock-wise through the outer states of the country, introducing our study to parishes. One night, at the beginning of our trip, we parked our RV in the parking lot of the mission in Santa Barbara, and as we lay down to go to bed, our conversation turned to the sadness of people who are unable to bond with their mothers from birth. My wife and I had adopted three children, who were about eight weeks when we got them, and we wondered if they might have been deprived of the precious gift of early bonding.

The next morning, as my wife lay asleep next to me, I felt very much alone, as my mind wandered through thoughts about how I didn’t get much bonding from my own mother. My mom had lived in a tenement house in Boston, and one icy cold early morning, when she was seven months pregnant with me, she stepped outside, slipped on the ice, and fell down a flight of stairs.

She began to hemorrhage severely and was rushed to the hospital. In the emergency room, I was immediately delivered. When the doctors caught sight of all of two pounds of me, lifeless and quiet, they placed me on a table, and left me for dead. Turning all their attention on my mother, they did their best to try to stop her bleeding and keep her alive. After a few minutes passed, they heard a small squeak coming from my direction. “He’s alive!” they realized, as they refocused their attention on me.

Seventy-five years ago, when I was born, there were no antibiotics. There were no incubators. I went through a lot of trauma as a newborn, and I was separated from my mother for the first several months of my life. My mother recovered from her fall, and not having a car, she travelled every day on foot, in ice-cold weather, through the snow, to the hospital, so that she could bring me her breast milk. On her way there and back, she’d talk to Jesus and the Blessed Mother, praying with great faith that they would love me and take care of me.

As I lay in the RV that night, feeling lonely and sad, thinking about the first few months of my life away from my mother, I suddenly saw a vision standing at the end of my bed. It looked like the figure of the Blessed Mother. I could not see her clearly, but could make out her body, which appeared as if in a mist. Lovingly and compassionately, she spoke to me in a clear voice, saying, “You never were away from my presence while you were in the hospital, as well as when your mother fell down the stairs in the cold, snowy, bitter, morning. I was there with you when you coughed, when you were bleeding, when you cried out in fear. I bonded you with me and your mother with me. She got her strength and hope to know that you would survive because you had so much love at your birth.”

I woke up Marie and told her about this immediately after it happened, and she said simply, “Well, you really bonded with the Blessed Mother. That’s why you have such a compassionate heart for the poor and for those who are sick and hurting. You know what they’re going through, and you know the love they need.”

This picture was taken at dusk. Unusual light rays, which weren't present when the picture was taken, showed up in the photograph, landing on both Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Deacon Ken Finn.

It was true. My fifty years of marriage and ministry with my wife had always involved helping the helpless, the lonely, the imprisoned. We  personally befriended Mother Teresa and served alongside her with her Missionaries of Charity sisters in Tijuana, Mexico. We formed a non-profit to give away free Bible studies and pamphlets to prisoners. We led a prayer group, which prays the rosary outside of an abortion center. As a deacon, I loved to preach the Good News and share the love of God with everyone around me.

And ever since birth, I’ve lived with ill health, due to being premature. When I got older, my mother took me every Wednesday to the local cathedral to say a novena, hoping I’d be cured. I never did heal, but I never stopped living either. With half of both my lungs surgically removed and what’s left being diseased tissue, with ongoing lung infections doctors say will kill me, with bronchiectasis and COPD and oxygen strapped to me twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, since 1993, I now go from one health problem to another; but I keep going. I feel I should work as much as I can now, because God has a reason for me being here. A friend of mine once said, “You’re a really nice guy. You’re not a man of your word, though. You’ve been dying for twenty-five years, but you keep on backing out.”

Deacon Ken and Marie Finn on their 50th wedding anniversary

The impetus for the ministry work my wife and I share, and what we had in common when I proposed to her (on our first date!), is our deep affinity for Jesus. I grew up very aware of my love relationship with Jesus, but less aware of my personal relationship with Mary. After the remarkable moment in the RV, when the Blessed Mother reassured me that she had bonded with me as an infant, I felt a deeper respect and appreciation for her, yet I wouldn’t say our relationship suddenly became intimately warm and personal. It wasn’t until something happened at of the annual Medjugorje Peace Conferences in Irvine, California that the Blessed Mother truly entered my heart.

I participated in the conference because, while Jesus remained the focal point of our intimate relationship with God, the appearances of Mother Mary in Medjugorje had greatly affected me and my wife’s spirituality for the better. I had no doubt that the Blessed Mother was alive and present and doing the work of her Son in Medjugorje, and knowing that she was active today, made God’s care for us and the Blessed Mother’s participation in our lives so much more real. Someone can say that so-and-so is alive on earth, or alive in heaven, but what does that mean without that person actively sharing in one’s day-to-day life? With Mother Mary actively participating in the world, now, her aliveness had so much more credibility.

At the Medjugorje Peace Conference, I was one of the deacons assisting in the Mass. I dressed in an alb and stole, along with the other clerics present, and when it was time for us to sit down, because there were so many of us, we sat in the bleachers at the side of the stage, which supported the altar. At the final part of the Mass, as I stood up amongst the priests and deacons, I was approached by a tiny, elderly woman, dressed in an old style Mexican dress, with a bandana tied around her head. She carried a little basket of spiritual trinkets, crucifixes and little medals and the like, and asked if I would bless them. This seemed so unusual to me because the conference costs money to get into, and one never sees a very poor person there. I took her little basket and blessed it, and then handed it back to her. The woman had tears in her eyes and was literally begging for support. In thanksgiving for her courage, and moved by compassion and a sudden burst in my heart of love for her, I then I kissed her on the forehead and said a little quiet blessing for her. She smiled at me, revealing a set of ugly cracked, black teeth, with even blacker spaces in between them. Then she spontaneously put her head on my chest, wrapped her arms around me, and started to sob softly. I looked down at her and hugged her. She then kissed me on the cheek and walked away from me, disappearing behind a large television camera. A priest standing next to me said, “What was that all about?” I wondered myself. We both waited for the woman to come out from behind the T.V. camera, but she never did, and there was no other way by which she could have left. She just disappeared.

At the conference, a select few people were invited to go into a room upstairs, where the Medjugorje visionary Ivan would have his apparition of the Blessed Mother that evening. I was fortunate to be one of them, so I climbed the stairs and entered the room, where several people knelt and began praying the rosary. I joined them, waiting and watching to experience some personal sign of the Blessed Mother’s presence, but I didn’t see anything happening. I felt tired, sick, and out of breath. I asked Mary to intercede and heal my lungs. But I didn’t feel anything. I asked her for a healing from a hernia. No response. And then I asked her to heal my arthritis. Nothing! I was hurting so badly. The apparition ended, and just before the people in the room left, a woman leaned over to me and said, “Wasn’t that wonderful!”

“No it wasn’t,” I thought, sitting there feeling alone, discouraged, and disappointed, thinking of all my unanswered prayer requests.

Then as soon as I was alone, I heard the strong voice of a young woman talking to me. The hairs on my arms stood straight up. “Why are you so disappointed with me?” said the crystal clear female voice. I was startled and a little afraid. “Did you not recognize me when I put my head on your chest and sobbed softly, because so many people are still rejecting my Son and trying to hurt Him?” When you kissed me on the forehead in your compassion, I then kissed you on the cheek to tell you that my Son loves you very much and is very pleased with you.”

My fear left and turned into excitement and confusion. “Wow! What just happened?” I wondered. I left the room in a daze and shared with a priest, Fr. Steve Barham, what had transpired. He confirmed the reality of what I’d heard, and who it came from. For days, I couldn’t stop thinking and talking about it. The Blessed Mother hadn’t just spoken to me, she had hugged me, in the distressing disguise of a poor, elderly, Mexican woman.

About two weeks later, my wife and I traveled to Tijuana with Serving Hands International to go to the Missionary of Charity houses. There, Marie helped pass out food, blankets, and clothes, while I passed out free Bibles, Bible studies, and rosaries, and blessed each person as they passed through the line. I started telling my friend Brian about the lady I saw at the Medjugorje Peace Conference Mass, as the many people were filing by, taking what they needed. Then I looked over at the line, and at that very moment, I saw the same elderly lady with the same clothes she was wearing at the conference. Our eyes met, but she didn’t say anything to me. She just looked at me and smiled. Excitedly, I told Brian, “That’s her! She’s the one!” She continued to walk through the line, but didn’t take anything that was offered, and then stepped out the side door. Brian and I both ran to the door, which led to an outdoor courtyard, but she wasn’t there. She had disappeared again.

I feel special in the presence of the Blessed Mother now. Ever since she came to me, I have had a much stronger connection to her. If I met her today, I’d say with great hope and excitement, “It’s good to see you again!” Someone I respected very much has become my dear mother.

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.

For more information about the ministries of Deacon Ken and Marie Finn, see stdismas.org.

Priest showered with the mystical smell of roses, while in Medjugorje

Fr. Neil Buchlein standing to the right of Fr. Jozo Zovko

I traveled to Medjugorje, when I was invited by a tour operator to serve as the spiritual director and priest for a pilgrimage group. I felt truly excited to be there, in a place where one could easily feel the Blessed Mother’s presence. I had read about miraculous things pilgrims had experienced in Medjugorje, such as rosaries turning to gold, the sun spinning, the smell of roses, etc., but I also knew that if I focused on looking for these “signs,” then I would miss out on why I was really there.

Our group’s first full day was a busy one, as we ran between the rain drops, getting acclimated to the village. We ended up at the Risen Christ statue, located a short distance behind St. James Church, and there the guide asked if I would lead the Stations of the Cross. I agreed, hesitantly, since I didn’t have a meditation booklet with me, and asked the Lord to open my heart and give me thoughts to verbalize. As I began, I could no longer feel my body and the words simply flowed from my mouth, as the rain became steadier. When I had finished, people approached me, asking for the name of the booklet I had used, since they found the reflections very meaningful.

The Medjugorje visionary, Vicka, praying over Fr. Neil

On the day we were to climb Cross Mountain, one of the pilgrims came over to me and said that I would smell roses. I chuckled because it was the end of October, and there were no flowers growing. Besides, my sinuses were pretty clogged. I laughed and said, “I hope our Blessed Mother is a good ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor), since I really can’t smell anything right now.”

We began to climb slowly, since there were about forty of us. Every so often the woman would look over at me to see if I had smelled anything, and I would shake my head, “No.” Then the whiff of a sweet fragrance came disappeared, as quickly as it had arrived, as if someone had whisked by me. I nodded, “Yes,” to her and she gave me a “thumbs up.” This happened two other times, as we continued the climb.

Finally we arrived at the top, and I found myself pausing a little past the mark of the fifteenth station of the cross, in order to take in the sacred atmosphere. The group had begun their final ascent up the roughly hewn stairway to the white cross, erected at the peak of the mountain, while I looked and laughed at a beautiful piece of grass, which covered earth, about thirty yards in front of me. Nowhere else on the mountain was there any grass to be found. I thought, “This is a golfer’s dream to hit balls off this mountain,” (although I have never played golf nor ever held a golf club). At that moment, I heard a distinct woman’s voice say, “Neil, come over here.” But none of the women from the group had spoken to me. I walked over and stood in the middle of this plot of green grass and looked up at the cross and then the sun, to see if I would see anything unusual or miraculous. The cross didn’t spin, nor did I see Jesus hanging on it, and the sun didn’t spin, nor did the face of Jesus or Mary appear on it. I threw up my arms and said, “What do you want? Did you call me?” All of a sudden, I was standing in a vacuum of roses. The sweet fragrance was overpowering. I didn’t know if I should be jumping up and down praising God or lying face down in the grass. I called out excitedly to the woman who told me I would experience the smell. She was twelve feet away from me and began to smile and laugh and say, “Do you smell the roses? The Blessed Mother is here.”

I felt extremely sad when the morning came for our departure. Even though I knew that I would somehow be back at least once every year, I still did not want to go home, for this was now “Home.” That trip was in October of 2002, and I have been to Medjugorje nineteen times since, and still look forward to going back.

Fr. Neil Buchlein, Pastor of Ascension Catholic Church in Hurricane, West Virginia (http://www.blessedmotherschildren.com)

Medjugorje miracle of colored lightning, changing sun, and conversions, seen by Fr. John Gibbons, OFM

The first evening I was in Medjugorje, my tour group walked into the town church, Saint James, which was packed with people praying the rosary. I remember walking forward a ways down what was left of the center isle, feeling so much serenity, in the midst of all the hubbub and confusion of thousands of people converging to celebrate the anniversary of the apparitions. There, in that church, I felt the power of the Holy Spirit, fully present. Amidst a crowded situation, which should have been terribly chaotic, in a hot place where strangers sat packed together in the pews, while others came and went, all were blanketed with an incredibly profound spirit of peace. I am not very charismatic, but when I walked into Saint James Church, I dropped to my knees and stayed on them, overwhelmed for a very long time.

Fr. John Gibbons, OFM

It became clear to me during my week in Medjugorje that Mary was appearing there. Twice, she appeared to a visionary in a public apparition, and when this happened, I was near the apparition site on Apparition Hill and again felt a divine peace mixed with a collective excitement. I also saw two miraculous phenomena on two other days of our stay. One afternoon, I could look right at the sun—without squinting, with my eyes fully open and my face completely relaxed. People who had described this Medjugorje occurrence to me generally talked about seeing the sun spinning, but to me it looked more like a vibrating, even bobbling, illuminated, glowing host. When this happened, my friend Caren and I were walking along a road with several other groups of people, and I found it interesting that some of us could see it, and some of us could not. Caren could not even look up at the sun because it was so bright, and I consider her a more fervent Christian than myself. This did not ruin her day, though, because she could sense the excitement in the group; people were pointing to the sky and excitedly commenting to one another about the miracle. I looked at the sun for several seconds and looked away a couple of times, but every time I looked back, it was still bobbling. I stared comfortably into that host-like sun for a long time and didn’t go blind. I still have 20/20 vision.

On our last night there, Mary again appeared on Apparition Hill. I did not go up the hill with many of the other pilgrims to be near the apparition site. Instead, I stayed inside. At the time of the apparition, a lightning storm struck which I could view from the balcony where I was staying. I decided to run outside to better see the storm, and when I looked up, I witnessed lightning coming down in many different colors, blue, green, purple, yellow, red, all over the sky—an amazing and incredibly beautiful sight. Something miraculous was obviously happening, although it looked natural, i.e. it was supernatural but not bizarre. But of course the real miracle was Mary’s appearance and God’s abiding presence. The lightning, I felt, was merely God’s afterthought. With both the miracle of the sun and the lighting, I didn’t feel surprised. I remember thinking, “If Mary is really appearing here, then of course the universe is going to acknowledge that.”

For me, the most powerful sign of the authenticity of Mary’s presence and the Spirit at work in Medjugorje was the conversions that were happening. The conversion that most impressed me happened to a man I had met on the bus ride in. He was the successful businessman type, and he was only there because his wife had been keen on visiting Medjugorje and had connived him and their daughter into accompanying her. During the bus trip he had spent his time rolling his eyes, pooh-poohing the whole thing, throwing doubtful glances at his wife, and questioning her sanity. Well, I ran into them some days later, and now the picture was reversed. His wife and daughter were looking at him with bemused wonder as he preached to anyone who would listen about how Mary had turned his life around and about the importance of prayer and repentance. He was on fire. He had experienced his personal Pentecost and could not stop sharing the Good News with everybody.

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

Click here to read more about Fr. Gibbons and click here to support his Franciscan Mission in Russia.

Medjugorje visionary Vicka on Irish television

On February 18th, 2011, Medjugorje visionary Vicka Ivankovic was a guest of the Late Late Show on Irish television (RTE1), with host Ryan Tubridy and Italian translator Manuella Spinelli. Vicka told the story of the moments leading up to her first apparition of Our Lady, and how she first thought that the other seers had lost it when they told her they were seeing the Mother of God. She spoke of the gift of her own suffering, and how Our Lady wants us to focus more on developing the inner beauty of our souls—to focus on love, and not so much on our outer beauty. She shared how Our Lady took her and the visionary Jacov to heaven and what she saw there and spoke briefly about the third Medjugorje secret. Throughout the interview, Vicka beamed her characteristically radiant smile, giving testimony to the love within her and her desire to share it with the world.

Click on video below to view.

Video of Randall Sullivan sharing his miraculous Medjugorje conversion story on Oprah!

Randall Sullivan in the upcoming television series "Miracle Detectives"

Randall Sullivan is a former agnostic, raised by atheists, an Ivy Leaguer, the writer for The Rolling Stone Magazine, and author of several best-selling books, shared his miraculous moment of conversion in Medjugorje on December 6, 2010, on the Oprah Show. In this video clip, he speaks of how he met with the visionary, Mirjana, in Medjugorje, and then stormed out of her home in a fury—a non-believer for the last time. For just afterwards, he was to experience a transformative miracle on Cross Mountain.

Miracle-Detective-Randall-Sullivans-Divine-Intervention-Video

Randall Sullivan is the author of the book, The Miracle Detective, which investigates the Medjugorje phenomenon from a scientific perspective, and as Stephen Ryan, the founder of ministryvalues.com puts it, he “basically grabs you by the throat and asks you to follow his path – take his journey – and then at the end of the voyage, he dares you to call him crazy. But you can’t. You are left with only two conclusions – either God exists – or scientists and atheists still have got some serious explaining to do. There are no other sensible conclusions one can reach. The book, unlike anything ever written, puts the burden back on the folks who think science and logic have all the answers.  He leaves the scientists suffocating, gasping for air.”

Mr. Sullivan will also be featured on the new one hour documentary series for OWN: the Oprah Winfrey Network, called “Miracle Detectives.” She episodes involve two investigators – one a believer (Sullivan), the other a scientist, who travel the globe to uncover answers to mysterious incidents.

Click on these links to read interviews with Randall Sullivan, in which he tells the end of his story, beyond what the Oprah Youtube clip revealed.

http://www.ministryvalues.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1292&Itemid=125

http://www.ministryvalues.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1302&Itemid=125

Man is completely healed of terminal cancer in Medjugorje

Over 600 cases of healings in Medjugorje have been recorded and are kept in the Information center “Mir,” run by the Franciscans of the St. James parish in Medjugorje, along with all the given documentation, which is then forwarded to medical and theological examiners.

Among the hundreds of cases, one that definitely stands out is of Arthur Boyle, an American from Hingham, near Boston. He was diagnosed with kidney cancer, which spread to his lungs. Doctors sadly predicted a speedy death.

“I was diagnosed with cancer in 1999. They removed my kidney. I thought the operation took care of everything, but eight months later during a follow-up exam, doctors found three tumors in my right lung. They gave me a less than a 5% chance that I would survive. Radiation and chemotherapy was out of the question. Only an operation to remove my right lung was possible. At that time, my best friend asked me if I’d heard of Medjugorje,” recollects Arthur Boyle.

Artie Boyle\’s miracle healing in Medjugorje, on ABC NEWS

ABC News | ABC Sports News

“I remembered then how years back my daughter, while studying medicine, had brought me a book from Medjugorje, titled ‘The Messages of Medjugorje.’ My wife read me the messages, but I didn’t pay much attention to it. However, after my friend asked me about Medjugorje, I went home and asked my wife: ‘What is this Medjugorje? What did you tell me about Medjugorje?’ She told me all that she knew about that place of prayer, love, peace, and healing.”

One week later in September of 2000, Arthur Boyle, emotionally crushed by his progressing illness, traveled to Medjugorje. At first, he felt a great power after Confession, then he had an impressive meeting with the visionary, Vicka and father Jozo Zovko at Široki Brijeg, not far from Medjugorje. That gave him the strength to attempt climbing up Cross Mountain.

“It was raining. As I was climbing, I felt tired. I had a strong pain in my legs, and I felt as if everything was getting worse. My chest hurt like never before, but we climbed to the top. We were the only three adult men on Cross Mountain. I prayed with all my heart and soul for God to forgive me and to help me to get well. We cried as we prayed. After that, I called my wife on my cell phone, because my friends and I had a feeling that something strange happened to me up on Cross Mountain. She then told me that she scheduled an operation to remove my right lung four days after my return from Medjugorje. I asked her if she could ask the doctors to examine me one more time before I went into surgery. I also asked her to organize everything, if it was possible, when I got back to America.

Shortly after that, the doctor’s secretary called me and said: “Mr. Boyle, we know that you are in Medjugorje, and we know why. That is really great, but you have cancer, and it’s not going to go away all by itself, believe me. I assure you that you need this operation.” Arthur Boyle told his story.

He arrived home in America convinced that he was healed. “God healed me. I am healed in my heart. I am spiritually healed. All that was rotten and unhealthy in me, I got rid of in Confession in Medjugorje.” he repeated.

He then went to his doctor who showed him the old and new CAT scans. “He [the doctor] told me to wait outside for five minutes, then he called me into his office. He was scratching his beard, while looking stunned. He concluded that the cancer had just disappeared, that it was gone. We called all the attending doctors who had to operate on me and told them about it. Astonished, they all accepted the fact that I was cured,” described Arthur Boyle. That day, September 14, 2000, instead of going into surgery to remove his right lung, he went to play golf.

See Arthur P. Boyle’s new book: Six Months to Live: Three Guys on the Ultimate Quest for a Miracle

Excerpted from an article from ministryvalues.com