A year ago, I started to feel like I needed to go. But within the past six months, I really had a strong call.

The excitement first of seeing Mirjana welcoming us. Then, once we were settled and got to go into the town, it was very peaceful and beautiful. I was trying to take in the whole culture. The atmosphere was peaceful and welcoming. 

It was definitely a feeling like I had never felt before. I wasn’t worried about anything. It was just complete stress-free and calming. I wanted to take it all in, let down all my worries. 

I felt a sense of relief and pure peacefulness. Mirjana said the Blessed Mother is pure love, and I could feel that presence of Her radiating. Wherever we went, it was like She was there. 

As far as the pilgrims go, as the week went on, they became more like family. I still have a connection with each of them as being a pilgrim family. I believe we all were called on this journey for a reason. We all just connected, each one in a different way, but definitely a connection. 

Then we saw the miracle of the sun our second to the last day there. That was a miracle in itself. I wasn’t expecting to see that, but it was completely miraculous.

It took me a while for my eyes to adjust, but once my eyes focused, the sun condensed really fast, and then the colors behind it were pink to red to yellow, orange, magenta. It would pulsate with the reds that kind of looked like a beating heart. Then at one point I did see a chalice formed underneath the sun, the host. I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. 

I didn’t know if I was imagining it, but [my son] Garrett and Kathleen were also experiencing some of the same things. Kathleen saw the host. Garret had seen a cross. I saw another image of the Blessed Mother at the corner of the sun, like a silhouette.

It was happening so fast. 

The chalice and the host are the most important thing that Jesus is giving us. I felt like that was solidified as knowing what the true importance of the host is. 

The most important spot was probably in church or at Mass. 

When we went to Divine Mercy church, that was very special being blessed with the relics. That’s where we’re getting Jesus. We’re in His home, receiving the sacrament and just spending time with Him in the church. Adoration was powerful too. 

You could feel the prayers of all the locals and all the pilgrims that were there. It was so powerful being at those Masses. I could truly feel that. I was so humbled by everyone’s faith and devotion. 

Go with no expectations. Just let the Spirit bring you closer to whatever the Blessed Mother is calling you there for. Go with an open mind and let the whole atmosphere work it’s miracle through you. 

I believe in how important prayer is and bringing that back home and spreading the word to everyone. Because conversion of sinners was a big reason why I felt a calling to go there. I believe coming back and just experiencing what I felt solidifies the importance of what prayer can do. 

At Mass with Fr. Robert, he was talking about Philip and James asking Jesus about seeing the Father, and Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Then he talked about the importance of the father figure. That really hit home for me because of my childhood. My father was very stern and verbally abusive to my mother. My mother was suffering with cancer, and seeing the struggle that she was going through and him making her cross so much heavier. It was hard to witness that as a child. 

I felt like his sermon was talking to me. I forgave him a long time ago, but I prayed for him to be able to forgive his father. Because he became very bitter with the way his father reared him. I believed me praying for him was something that I was called there also to do. To help my dad let go of the bitterness and hatred that he had built up for so many years. And also for my siblings that have struggled with watching what my dad did with my mom and how hard it was for us kids. I felt like I was that vessel for everyone. It was very emotional. 

I felt like I forgave him, but I really felt like in Medjugorje, I truly forgave him.

To forgive and to know that that’s not our calling to judge because we don’t know what’s in everyone’s heart. I feel like helping others through what I learned there is going to be very powerful. 

It was such an experience. It was not a vacation. It was definitely a pilgrimage for the soul, and I think everybody needs that, especially in today’s world.