My Medjugorje Story As I recall, I first heard about Medjugorje in St. Augustine, Florida, at the site of the first Catholic church in the United States. At Mass, the homilist told us that after visiting Medjugorje, he experienced the Warning, an illumination of the soul. I will never forget the expression on his face. Back in California I began to consider more and more a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. My wife, Sheila, and I attended a presentation by a woman from Bosnia-Herzegovina on efforts to rebuild the churches in her country. Afterwards, I told her that I was considering coming to Medjugorje. She said, “Come.” That did it. I was now determined to go. Sheila was determined not to go due to the war. My Dad said that he wanted to go. About a week before we were due to leave, he called saying that due to his infirmities, he could not go. Hearing the phone conversation, Sheila declared, “I’ll go.” I was amazed at the sudden change of heart. The Holy Spirit knew what would happen - Medjugorje has changed our lives. Although I was determined to go, I asked for a sign that I would be able to go. I said to Our Lady that although a red rose would be fine, any red flower would do. Shortly thereafter at a weekday Mass, as I was going up for Holy Communion, I noticed a lady in the first pew wearing a baseball cap. There was a red carnation on the front. Passing her on the way back, I turned around and saw printed on the back, “Notre Dame.” God does have a sense of humor! After a three-hour bus ride from Split, we arrived in Medjugorje. We immediately felt a sense of peace and joy. What a contrast from the Los Angeles area from which we came. The strangest thing that happened while we were there was that we kept meeting a mysterious lady dressed in blue. Once she was in our path across an otherwise deserted field. Sheila asked where she was from. The lady mentioned England and Russia. I believe that she was from there and many other places throughout the world. Once when we were attending services in St. James Cathedral, Sheila was on my right and another woman was on my left. The woman on my left asked me to smell her hands! I told her that I liked her rose perfume. She said that she does not wear any perfume or makeup. I turned to Sheila and asked her to smell her hands. She did and then smelled the pew in front of her. She turned to me and exclaimed that she smelled the scent of roses on her hands. I smiled. By the way, my hands did not have the any scent. On Holy Thursday, April 13, 1995, as we were leaving the church around midnight, we noticed people looking up at the sky. We did so too and saw the most beautiful celestial display. A huge white disc was in the center of the full moon. I thought of the Host, Jesus, and Mary. And completely surrounding them was a rainbow! At midnight!! Sheila was not able to walk up Cross Mountain due to a nasty bone spur on the bottom of her heel. At a healing service, Fr. Jozo laid his hands on Sheila. After that she was able to walk without any pain. Subsequent x-rays showed no evidence of the bone spur. After we returned home, I gave a picture of Gospa, our Lady of Medjugorje, to my brother Larry. On June 26th he called to wish us a happy anniversary (we were married two days after the apparitions first started). He then told me that he had placed the picture of Gospa above his nightstand. On his nightstand he places his silver chain with the Miraculous Medal. He told me that he noticed that the chain had changed color. He took it to a jeweler for cleaning. The jeweler examined it and told my brother that his gold chain did not need cleaning! I told him that I had heard of the links of rosaries turning gold, but not chains. When he and his wife came up to go with us to a Marian conference, he had with him a rosary which Sheila had bought in Medjugorje for him. The links of the rosary had turned gold after she had given it to him. I kidded with him that I had been praying the rosary daily since returning from Medjugorje and the links of my rosary, an Irish rosary which had belonged to our mother who had recently passed away, had not turned gold. My big-hearted brother gave me his rosary, The next night while praying the rosary, the links of my rosary turned gold. Medjugorje keeps changing my life. Two years ago coming back to my home in South Phoenix, I stopped by the Shrine of Our Lady of the Sierras near Sierra Vista. I had never heard of the shrine before but had learned that it was built by a couple who had been to Medjugorje. After visiting the shrine, I decided to take a hike in the beautiful mountains. I did not stop until I had reached the top of the tallest mountain, over 9,000 feet. By the time I came back down, I was so exhausted, I decided to spend the night in Sierra Vista. The next morning I attended Mass in Sierra Vista. During Mass, I heard a voice say, “Home.” I did not know where it came from. The second or third time I heard it, the idea came to me that Sierra Vista could be my home. Within a couple of weeks, I had moved here. At the Friday night prayer group at the shrine, I offered prayers for Sheila. I sent Sheila the book, A Call of Urgency, the story about the shrine, http://www.ourladyofthesierras.org/. The next month Sheila called. I had not spoken with her in over a year. I talked about the shrine and the beauty of the area. Within a couple of months, she had moved here.
May the Holy Spirit guide us, Joel