Medjugorje, Bosnia - Hercezgovina - An Oasis of Love
By Doris Stanton

I have returned to the United States following a pilgrimage to Medugorje, Bosnia-Hercezgovina. A pilgrimage to visit the sight of Marian Apparitions to 6 small village children that began in 1981, June 24th to be exact and be with Our Blessed Mother in prayer. I was there at the call of Our Lady as were so many pilgrims from around the world.

When one answers the call to prayer or even to make a pilgrimage, one really doesn't know for what. You are just moved to go to the place requested of you and pray. On September 10th my pilgrimage began with a dear friend Concetta Mazzola, at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City. While waiting to board our airplane in the midst of terrible thunderstorms that we met up with a very famous Friar of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, Fr. Benedict Groeschel. He was very kind to us, blessed us and asked us to pray for a friend who had just lost his brother. We were happy to oblige so very happy to oblige and we felt that in some way this pilgrimage was going to be beautiful in our hearts, after all we had been blessed by this famous Priest to begin it. Fr. Benedict was on his way to Assisi, Italy to give a retreat. Little did either of us know how very different our world would be when we each reached our destinations?

It was while flying on the last leg of the long arduous journey from New York to Bosnia that on a Croatian Airlines flight from Zagreb, Croatia to Split, Croatia we were told of the terrible tragedy that had befallen our countrymen here in the United States. But we didn't believe the young man who informed us that the World Trade Center had disappeared from the world map that day. It was too fantastic to believe. We thought that somehow he had been misinformed or misunderstood some kind of news he had heard. Our hearts were stung to their core when upon our arrival in Medjugorje, that we were made aware of the truth, that some extremist fanatics had indeed blown up not only the World Trade Center but had also hit the Pentagon in Washington DC. It was instantly clear to us why we had been called here to this land so far away from home, prayer, Prayer from the Heart.

Our dear Mother had called Her Prayer Warriors together to this beautiful little but expanding village on the Adriatic Sea to join Her in prayer for the people of this troubled world. She had called each of us at different times to travel to this oasis of love nestled in the mountains of a land itself tortured by war for many years. Rejoice and be glad was the song of my heart to know that I was exactly where God, Our Father wanted me to be at exactly the right moment to be of some small service to His children in a time of need. As we walked to St. James Church, the center of this village the following morning we were met by people from every corner of the world with words of comfort, words of love, words of shock and sorrow to help us and console us in our grief for the people of our country, for the people of the world.

We had many times in the previous months contemplated canceling this trip. There was something not quite right but we couldn't put our fingers on it. But we were compelled to go and be there during this particular week, the week that the world would be tumbled into darkness. We were compelled to not change the date of this pilgrimage although we could have gone the week before September 10th or the week after September 18th but we went during this week, at exactly the right time. My friend Connie as she is affectionately called asked me about changing the week many times but we didn't we went even with trepidation in our hearts knowing that if this call was from Our beloved Mother Mary we had to go. And we did.

Daily and even hourly we were called to pray in the church. We prayed at Holy Mass daily with the pilgrims, who like us could not go home even if we wanted to since all airports all over the world had been shut down for an indeterminate period of time. We joined hands with thousands of people. We joined our hearts for the people of the world to come back to God, Our Father, to experience a conversion of the heart that would forever bring them into the hands of a loving Mother and Father who love them. We climbed Apparition Hill, sight of the first apparition here in 1981 in prayer and climbed down again to pray on the holy ground of this place. We visited the gravesite of a holy Priest Fr. Slavko Barberic who had guided the seer's and pilgrims for many years here in Bosnia. We sought his intercession in bringing peace back to the world.

Prayer, prayer from the heart for a grieving world stunned in its shock and disbelief at such a tragedy, such an affront to humanity, such a crime against everything good in this precious life we live. Our beloved Mother had called and we had answered and our hearts were at peace for love of Her and our world.

Medjugorje, an oasis of love far removed from the luxuries of life, far removed from the hustle and bustle of materialism and greed, from power mad people who would destroy everything dear to our hearts. On Friday September 14th at 10pm on Apparition Hill in the heart of Medjugorje, Our Lady appeared to Ivan Dragicevic one of the seers of this place of peace. As She had many times since 1981 She greeted Her son Ivan but greeted him with tears of sorrow for the loss of so many souls to evil and sin. She wept tears of sorrow for those lost in this terrible tragedy and as She did so She spoke these words: "Peace, Peace, Peace. Pray with your Mother for peace. Thank you for having responded to my call." She then blessed the people of Medjugorje, prayed over all of the people who had come to do Her will and the gentle people who served us here in Her land of love.

In Her apparition to the seer's on August 25th, 2001 Our Lady spoke these words:

"Dear children! Today I call all of you to decide for holiness. May for you, little children, always in your thoughts and in each situation holiness be in the first place, in work and in speech. In this way, you will also put it into practice, little by little, step by step, prayer and a decision for holiness will enter into your family. Be real with yourselves and do not bind yourselves to material things but to God. And do not forget, little children, that your life is as passing as a flower. Thank you for having responded to my call."

We have been given a call from above, a call to come back to God, Our Father in holiness and love, to be His light in the darkness for all mankind. It is our choice to answer that call. As we pray together for the lives lost and the lives forever changed by this monstrous act of terrorism let us each remember that in the end there is not security in self-righteousness and pride, only HOPE in God's mercy and love for us. In the end there is no security in the position you think you have in your community, your church, your company, only HOPE in the power of prayer from the heart. In the end there is no security in the material possessions you have in this life, only HOPE in the promise of Our Lady, our beloved Mother Mary that the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus will Triumph in the end.

My Mother, Our Lady Queen of Peace of Medjugorje thank you for having invited me to Your heart for this time of peace and prayer. Thank you for asking me to respond to Your call to holiness. I will try to be worthy, I will try to answer it each day as I live life.

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