Elianna – Virginia

I came to Medjugorje not really believing in any of this. On the plane, I told my brother, “I’m going to have to pretend to be Catholic for a week,” and we laughed it off.

Then I got here, and for the first few days, my brother was really the one who was trying to be like, “Yeah, we should go to church. We should do the candle thing.” 

I was just like, “Let’s just skip this and go to the stores. Let’s just skip this thing and go out to eat.” That was the first day or two, and then I started being like, “Okay, I was sent here to get closer to God. I’m going to actually try.” So that’s what I did. I started participating more. 

I went  to see Marija having the apparition of Mary. That was the first moment that I was actually starting to get it. When Mary appeared, it was dead silent. It was stifling heat, and then a breeze came through in the moment that Mary was there. I thought that was really cool.

We saw what I assume is the miracle of the sun. That felt really special. Then later that same day, Fr. Frankie gave me a miraculous medal, and I had been looking for a miraculous medal for a while. I couldn’t find one that I liked, then he handed me one and it was the perfect one. That felt like a personal miracle.

I don’t know if I’m going to be this passionate Catholic. I don’t see myself having that type of thing happen. But I definitely think I’m going to respect the faith that I was raised in a lot more than I have been. I’ve been so, “Oh this is all dumb. I don’t believe in any of this,” but now I’m more open to everything. I feel more at peace.

Last night, I could’t sleep and I just started praying the Rosary. I don’t think I’ve prayed the Rosary like that ever in my life. It’s always been my mom like, “Let’s pray the Rosary,” but I actually prayed the Rosary. 

I’m starting to believe more than I did before. That’s what Medjugorje did for me.

The reason why I ended up in Medjugorje was my grandma just told my brother and I, “You’re going to Medjugorje. You don’t have a choice. You’re going.” 

I saw it as a free vacation. I was like, “Okay, I don’t really believe in this stuff, but it’s a free vacation so whatever.” 

I’m a very anxious individual. I don’t really like change. I don’t like being in new places. But when I got here, I never felt too anxious or like I didn’t belong. When I came to Medjugorje, I just felt at peace. I was like, “This feels like a safe place to be.”

Maybe Mary worked through my grandmother, like not giving me a choice whether to go or not was kind of Mother Mary being like, “Okay listen, you’re coming here. You’re going to come here, and you’re going to experience some things.” 

Before I came to Medjugorje, I didn’t really believe in heaven or hell. I was kind of like, “I’m sure Mary was a real person in history, but I don’t think She has any power. I don’t think She’s a religious figure.” I didn’t really believe in Her as being a Heavenly Mother. 

Now, I’m not really sure 100%. I feel like She is Mother Mary, but I also feel like I have to work, through prayer and going to church more, to fully get my faith back. But coming to Medjugorje really sparked this interest in getting closer to my faith.

At home, I was a little bit arrogant towards my mom. She’s very religious, and I would make jokes about it or comments. I would make remarks that would make my mom feel bad about religion because I was so against people having this belief. But now that I have this respect for it, I’m going to participate more in saying the Rosary with my family, in going to church, especially with my mom because she says constantly, “I’ve failed as a parent if you have lost your faith.” That really made me feel bad. 

Going to Medjugorje, I’m going to bring back more respect, more love, and more compassion for Catholicism and for my mom. 

I was a full on skeptic, and I was kind of forced to come here, but I had an amazing time here. I met amazing people. Amazing things happened. It’s definitely important to come to Medjugorje. I want to come back.