Leila – Brazil
I knew about Medjugorje since the beginning of the apparitions. I saw on TV a documentary about Medjugorje. It said Our Lady was appearing in Yugoslavia. I thought, “Wow. That’s cool.”
For me it was far away. From Brazil to Yugoslavia, how can you get there? It was like another world, another language and everything.
I knew about Lourdes and Fatima. Our Lady of Aparecida was found. Fishermen were fishing, and suddenly in their net came the body of a statue. It was very strange so they put in their net again and the head came. They said, “Wow, it’s like Our Lady.” She wanted a chapel to be built so they did that. Then miracles happened.
I was Catholic since I was born. I went to Catholic school.
I moved to America in 1984. I was working one day in somebody’s house, and then there was this book, The Message, on top of the dresser. I looked into the book. I remember saying, “That’s the place I saw on TV a long time ago.” I started to read the book, and I became interested. I asked the gentleman, “When you’re done with this book, can I borrow it, please?”
He said, “You can have it now because I’ve already read it.”
I took it home, and then I started to read it quick, to know what’s going on. I said, “Wow, that’s pretty cool, but how can I go to Yugoslavia?”
By the time I was 25 years old, I said, “Well, I’m going to give a gift to myself.”
In my parish there was a flyer that said, “Visit the shrines of Italy.” I said, “Oh that’s nice.” I took the flyer home. I said, “I’m going to look into the pilgrimage.” I typed the pilgrimage into my computer, and a picture of Our Lady of Medjugorje came on my screen. I said, “That’s not what I wanted. I wanted the shrines of Italy.” I typed it again. Again I got the picture. I said, “Wow.”
At the time, a friend of mine had been here so she made a Christmas card with Our Lady of Medjugorje, the statue there. She gave the card to me. I said, “That’s the same one that comes on my screen.” I put it on my dresser.
I said, “Our Lady, do you want me to go there, to Medjugorje? How am I going to go there? If you really want me to go, send me a sign.”
A few days later, a friend of mine came to my house that I hadn’t seen in a long time. He said, “I came to bring a gift from my sister from Brazil. She sent it to you.”
When I opened the package, it was a t-shirt with Our Lady. I said, “She wants me to go to Medjugorje.”
Then I panicked. How am I going to get to Medjugorje? It’s a lot of money. How am I going to afford that?
I said, “Well, Our Lady, I have a couple months to book it. Until then, I’m going to do the effort to go.” I signed up.
I came here in April for the first time in 2007. I came out of curiosity. I was just going to go for five days, the minimum to come.
We got here, and the first thing you look for is the visionaries. Then Slavenka was the guide. She was very good. She explained everything about Medjugorje. Then she said, “Don’t look for signs,” but of course we did out of curiosity.
Every single thing that I read in Wayne’s book, it happened. First thing was the smell of flowers, of roses, right here in front of the church. “Wow, it’s real.” Then you see the sun spin. Everything, just like the book!
Then I went to confession. I went to do all the things here.
The last day, I didn’t want to go back. I said, “Why did I book for five days only? I should be here more. Now I need to come back again.”
That was April. Then in September, I was back here. Since then, I come all the time. This is my fifth time this year. I was here in January. I was here in April for Divine Mercy. I was here in May, then August for the Youth Festival, and I’m here now.
The biggest impact of Medjugorje was healing from my childhood for all the abuse that I suffered, all kinds of abuse.
You find peace here. Here, it’s just like you’re in Heaven. You just pray. You open your heart to Our Lady. You want to give Her more, instead of receiving, you want to give more and more. Love is the main reason in Medjugorje, the love and the peace.
You should come to Medjugorje because in Medjugorje you’re going to find peace, you’re going to find the healing that you need in your life.
Our Lady is really here, no doubt about it.
One place that I go is to Fr. Slavko’s grave to pray.
Fr. Slavko is a great intercessor with Our Lady. Every time you go to his grave and pray a Rosary in his honor and ask him to intercede for you for something, he will do it.
It is powerful. It means a lot to go to the cemetery to pray.
My oldest son was going downhill, trouble, trouble, trouble.
The first time I came to Medjugorje, I asked if he would come. He said, “No.” He wanted nothing to do with the Church, nothing to do with Medjugorje.
Then Mirjana went to a conference in Chicago with Father Mike Lightner. He did his testimony and his mother, Joyce, did her testimony.
I asked her to pray for my son for the same way Father Michael came back to the church. She said, “I’m going to to give you the cross from Medjugorje. You give it to your son.”
When I came home, he said, “Mom, how was the conference?”
I said, “It was great. I have this cross. A lady that gave her testimony gave it to you. This cross is from Medjugorje blessed by Our Lady. It’s for you.”
He said, “When are you going to Medjugorje? I want to go with you.” He was about 23.
First of all, when he got here he was just around the church like, “I’m not going to do confession. Nothing.”
One night he came back home at like 1 o’clock in the morning. He came crying. He said, “Mom, I just want to ask your forgiveness for everything that I did that hurt you in my life.” He cried all night.
The next day, I said, “Go to confession.”
He said, “No. I’m not prepared.”
My group came later and said, “I saw your son coming out of the confessional.”
Since then, he goes every Sunday to Mass. He prays every day. He’s been here three times already.
One interesting thing, Joyce gave this cross to my son. When he came to Medjugorje, we were walking to Mass and we saw Joyce. I told her the story about the cross. She and my son hugged in front of the statue of Our Lady. He had the cross in his pocket. The cross that was given in Chicago, I took it to Tampa, gave it to him, and he brought it here.
I said, “Look, he’s right here! He came! Our Lady called, and he answered the call!”
The power of prayer. It really makes a difference when you pray.