Lisa – New Jersey
I had this attitude when I was 18 that my parents couldn’t make me go to church anymore. I was old enough to make my own choices. When I was 22, I started to go back to church on my own. Something started to work in my life.
Then I met my husband in 1990 at the restaurant I worked at. We were dating, and within a few weeks he told me that he was leaving for Croatia.
I said, “Oh, what’s over there?”
He said, “I’m going to Medjugorje.”
I really became fervent. I stared to pray the Rosary while he was there.
When my husband came back, he brought a bunch of rosary beads, and to this day we’ve given out 13 pairs of rosary beads to couples who have trouble conceiving children who now have children through God’s will.
My life got busy, and my disease of alcoholism took over. I slowly began to drink somewhere in my marriage with four kids and being away from my mom. I had a lot of pressure in my life. My husband was working on Wall Street from 4:30 in the morning until 6:30 at night.
There were a lot of parties and dinners, a lifestyle that I wasn’t used to but took a liking to.
As my marriage was deteriorating, my drinking picked up gradually, progressively until I got really sick.
Meanwhile, we always had the kids going to church. They went to Catholic school, but I wasn’t praying the Rosary fervently like I had been. I didn’t really know how to pray. I didn’t really know how to talk to God. It wasn’t like I had a close relationship with Him or even Our Lady. I was more curious.
When my mom got sick in 2013, it crushed me.
I was traveling back and forth from New Jersey to Massachusetts every other weekend to help take care of her. She got melanoma. She got cancer. It was really difficult to watch her wither away and die.
After that, my drinking really took off.
In 2015, I blacked out driving. I hit a telephone pole, and I snapped it in half.
My husband was there pounding on the hood of the car, screaming my name because somebody must have told him. It was right around the corner from my house.
After that, I was like, “I need help.”
A few days before, I had a glass of wine in my hand, and I was looking at the crucifix over the mirror in my bedroom. I was like, “Jesus, help me.”
I don’t know if it was a day or a week later that I hit the telephone pole, but I think that’s what I needed. I needed that to happen.
Once I became willing to get help, all these doors started to open in my life. I did go away to rehab for a good 40 something days by my own choice. God put everybody in the right place at the right time. The help was amazing.
I started to go back to church every single day. When I started to do that, I started to feel a presence with me. It was so strong. It still is. The presence is still with me wherever I go.
I’ve been sober for six years.
In 2017, our daughter was studying in Rome, and I said to my husband, “This is it. We’re going to go visit Gabby in Rome, and we’re going to Medjugorje. I’m going over there.”
So we went. I had never been. I was so excited.
We only got to come for a few days. I turned right around and I came back a few months later.
Our Lady gave me a rosary that inspired me to have this prayer group. I went to my bishop and asked him if I could start this prayer group, and I did.
Through Our Lady’s little school of love, She’s teaching me all about the Lord’s love and bringing me close to Him.
We have a Sacred Heart of Jesus picture in my family room that I hung on my wall when I got sober. One day I was singing. I love to sing. I was home, and I was alone. I went up to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and I was singing to Him.
All I remember is that it was Him and I and nobody else. This cry came out of me, a sob. He came into my heart. It was the most healing love I have ever felt in my entire life.
She brought me back here again, and I’m so excited because a couple members of my prayer group are here, Our Lady’s prayer group really. We’re sharing the fruits and sharing the love.
Medjugorje is like a tree, the tree of life that we know from scripture, from the garden of Adam and Eve. People come and they feed off the tree of life, the sacraments that are the miracle here, the confessional, the Eucharist. They go home and share. That’s how the good fruits get spread, the everlasting fruits.
I don’t know where my life would be without Our Lady. I could live without Medjugorje, but I couldn’t live without Our Blessed Mother. My Mother is everywhere with me. I don’t really have to come to Medjugorje, but I do because She calls me here. She fills me with Her graces and Her love, and then I get to go home and share it. I get refreshed here.
I could live without Medjugorje, but I couldn’t live without my Mama.
I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Her because She saved me. I wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for Her. She loved me when I couldn’t love myself, when I didn’t know how. She taught me how to forgive, how to pray. She has never left my side. She’s in my heart.