Jarredcame with us to Medjugorje last year. This is part 1 of his interview looking back.
“When I was 14 or 15, I was visiting my mom in Florida for the summer, and my sister was a few years older. She was very devoted in her faith, but I was a 14 year old who wanted to play basketball, hang out with his friends, and go on his skateboard. My sister was incredibly committed to me as her younger brother and would take me every night and plop me in front of this little home altar she had made and she would just pray for me. She would put her hands on my head for 15 minutes at least and would just pray over me and ask the Holy Spirit to come.
This all corresponded with a few events happening in my family that basically all pointed toward Medjugorje. Primarily, my grandmother on my mom’s side was visiting that same summer, and she had gone to Medjugorje in 1987 and had all these experiences and all these encounters.
The graces that my sister was interceding for for me, plus my grandma Jeannie coming to visit, plus reading this book called Visions of the Children, plus these beautiful images that my grandmother took when she was there, all those together were a major catalyst to my faith and conversion and committed to a space of very personal encounter with the Blessed Mother.
I’m still riding the wave of the graces that I experienced that summer. A particular encounter with Our Lady in prayer, I feel like that’s still my north star. She just so impressed her reality on me at this particular time that I can look back on it and it was undeniable. This little summer when I was a kiddo. It’s so funny because I was in Florida of all places, butI felt like the spirit of Medjugorje was almost more alive than I’ve ever experienced it, even in Medjugorje. It speaks to what Vicka says, “Medjugorje is a place of the heart.”
I remember the first time I went to Medjugorje, so to speak, was being a 14 year old in his front yard looking at the sunset trying to see the miracle of the sun and just feeling like I was incredibly in love with this woman and this mission and this place in former Yugoslavia that I had never been to and just hoped to go to.
And so almost ten years later, I got to go with Franciscan University during my study abroad time. I wrote this blog post saying, “I did this for the 14 year old kid who prayed in Florida, who just wanted more than anything to go to Medjugorje and to walk on the stones and be with Our Lady. Then I finally got to do it ten years later.” Then after graduating Franciscan, in the fall of 2019, that’s when I got to live in Medjugorje for two months.”