Vassula visits Medjugorje International Ecumenical Movement of Prayer for Healing of Mankind by Divine Mercy Maranatha, in Aramaic: Come, Lord! (Rev. 22:20)
October 1– 8, 2016
Vassula was invited by Archbishop Emeritus of Malines-Bruxelles, Msgr. André Léonard Founder of the Maranatha-Conversion Movement and Sabrina Čović Radojičić, Co-Founder, to speak at a Pilgrimage/Retreat they organized in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the theme “International Ecumenical Movement of prayer for Healing of Mankind by Divine Mercy."
The Maranatha-Conversion Movement was initiated in order to create unity of all people of good will, unity which is required to make the healing of mankind possible.
The Pilgrimage was open to all people to come together and spend time of intense prayer, and fasting for the healing of humanity and for the healing of the heart of Man.
We were in total about 220 pilgrims from various nationalities, and 11 clergy including Msgr. Léonard and a Coptic Orthodox Metropolitan, Abba Athanasios Canepa; all of whom spent six wonderful days at the Chosen City of our Lady, Medjugorje. The participants had the opportunity to experience unique moments of meditation, good conversations, fellowship and friendship. We were also very happy to see that many of the Maranatha participants were True Life in God friends, and it was a great pleasure to see them again.
The program began on October 2, with praise songs at Etno Selo, a village style hotel where our Conference meeting for that day was held.
Sabrina warmly welcomed the group and explained that this Pilgrimage was organized for people to pray for a better world and for peace and unity. It was an International Ecumenical and Interreligious Pilgrimage as the program also included a visit to two mosques and a Jewish synagogue.
On the stage Sabrina had the statue of our Virgin Mary, a Cross, which was actually a replica of a special Cross done by a team of people from Sarajevo and was given to the Pope when he went to Sarajevo with 500 delegates and signed a call for peace; a photo of the Pope as a sign of obedience and love to the Roman Church and finally, a photo of Fr. Jacques Hamel, the priest that was assassinated in France on July 26, 2016. Sabrina explained that Fr. Hamel represents all the martyrs of our era; he is a symbol of all the people that were killed for their faith, and that to honor him we would have his photo exposed in all our meetings and during the whole Pilgrimage/Retreat as if he were present with us all the time.
The statue of our Virgin Mary, the special Cross, a photo of the Pope and a photo of Fr. Jacques Hamel
The opening of the meeting was done by Msgr. Léonard. He spoke about the importance of reconciliation and unity among people. He pointed out that we live in evil and difficult times, times of war, terrorism, and other problems, therefore the communion and reconciliation of the Church is essential for the future of humanity. Our Virgin Mary has multiplied her apparitions for us, to bring us to her Son. Msgr. Léonard said that “Mary is the rescue of the Church, look at Mary and you would understand what the Lord wants from us."
Darija – A 17 year old young singer with an angelic voice
After lunch Vassula was invited to speak. She gave an introduction to the messages and explained why Jesus is so anxious to reveal Himself and why He intervenes so powerfully in our times, sending us, as well, His Blessed Mother. That is because Jesus cannot wait until we die to be judged in a state of apostasy. It is out of His ultimate Love for humanity that he comes in this way.
“in these times of Grace, I come with Mercy, and I address you with poetry; My words uttered are religion and virtue; with oil of gladness I anoint all those who approach Me, sealing them on their foreheads; this is My approach to you all in these times; My approach is Redemption, Saving Help, Mercy;” (TLIG messages, May 21, 2001)
Metropolitan Athanasios Canepa with Vassula
Vassula with Tea Sušac
In the morning the pilgrims had the opportunity to a visit the Hill of Apparitions as they were not able to go there the previous day because of the weather conditions. Later on around noon time our busses departed for the Franciscan monastery of Široki Brijeg built in 1846 and the main church in the city of Široki Brijeg, a popular site of religious pilgrimage located an hour away from Medjugorje. The monastery is also well-known because Fr. Jozo Zovko resides there. Fr. Jozo was the Franciscan parish priest of Medjugorje when the apparitions began in June, 1981. As a witness to the Medjugorje apparitions he has become one of the well-known priests in the world. He was later imprisoned for his belief and witness to the phenomenon. Fr. Jozo is also very well-known as he is connected with many miraculous healings, miracles that happened even during the time of his imprisonment.
After lunch we went to the conference hall of the monastery, where Ms. Želika, Fr. Jozo’s collaborator gave us an introduction to the history of the monastery, and about the monks that were brutally assassinated by the communists. In total 66 monks were killed.
Picture of the 66 monks that were brutally assassinated
She also gave an introduction to Fr. Jozo’s life since his first days of his priesthood, his persecutions and imprisonment by the communists. Ms. Želika also presented to us the philanthropic projects that Fr. Jozo was inspired to establish, a true pillar to the needy and to the poor children that were victims of the war, and the miracle of how his inspirations were implemented even though there were no signs of financial support. Unfortunately, Fr. Jozo was out of town and was not able to greet the group in person, yet, on behalf of Ms. Želika he welcomed our group and gave to all of us a rosary.
Vassula was then invited to give her second speech where she talked about the Mercy of God, and that the True Life in God messages are a gift given to us. She also spoke about the importance of repentance. We have to keep repenting until the day we die, Vassula said. By repenting we are making peace with God.
Vassula with Sabrina at the Conference Hall of Široki Brijeg
Vassula at the Conference Hall of Široki Brijeg
She also spoke about unceasing prayer and that when we pray we have to pray with our heart otherwise our prayers do not reach God. Vassula concluded by sharing with the pilgrims God’s utmost desire, the Unity of His Church.
Msgr. Léonard and Abba Athanasios Canepa
There were some in the hall that had never heard of TLIG nor what the messages contained. So it was a gift from above that many got to know for the first time God’s messages. Even the representative of La Maison de Marie à Nazareth, was taken when he heard of these messages and the apostolic work of Vassula. He promised to spread the messages of TLIG in his circles.
The conference ended with wonderful praising songs. We then departed for the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Mary, where the relics of the monks who were slaughtered are placed.
Mass at the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Mary
After Mass the superior of the Church gave us a lecture about the events that took place in this area and about the martyrdom of the monks. Our day ended with the priests' blessing.
In the morning we departed for Mostar a beautiful medieval city that suffered a lot during World War II and during the tensions between the Croats and Bosnians throughout late 1992, where many people were killed and numerous religious buildings, not only Christian churches but mosques as well, were severely damaged.
Mostar a beautiful medieval city and The Old Bridge, built by the Ottomans in the 16th century
Upon our arrival we went to the Franciscan church dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi where Fr. Iko Skoko warmly welcomed our group. We attended Mass which was celebrated by Msgr. Léonard, and as it was the feast of St. Francis of Assisi we felt deeply honored to be there.
Mass at St. Francis Church
Mass celebrated by Msgr. Léonard at St. Francis Church
After Mass our tour guide Tea Susac gave us a brief introduction to the history of the city as well as the story of the Franciscan church and monastery which had been demolished during the war, as well as the slaughter of 35 Franciscan monks by the communists. Our program continued at the conference hall called - “International Gallery of Peace”- of the newly built Franciscan church, which is next to the Mostar Peace Bell Tower, the highest church tower in the region. Marc Fromager, Director of the Aid to the Church in Need organization, gave an extensive presentation of the mission of the organization, which tries to help Catholics in need worldwide, wherever they are repressed, discriminated against or persecuted.
Fr. Iko at the “School for Poor Students” which is still under construction
Our group then departed to visit a mosque in the old city of Mostar, where the Imam warmly welcomed our group and then gave a brief introduction about the architecture of the mosque.
Visit at the Mosque at the old city of Mostar
Our day ended with a wonderful musical concert performed by a well-known clarinet musician, Ms. Rose Bacot who with her music gave praise to our Lord. “Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp.” (Psalm 149:3)
Ms. Rose Bacot well-known clarinet musician
In the morning we departed with our group to St. James Church where we met with our tour guide Tea. Tea gave us a wonderful introduction about St. James Church and the plan that God had for Medjugorje long before the apparitions started. There were many signs given, and only after the apparitions people could put the puzzle together and realize that this revelation was in God's plans for mankind.
Group Picture at the Statue of our Virgin Mary at St. James’s Church
One sign was the name of the church. The church is dedicated to St. James. St. James was not so well-known in former Yugoslavia, so it was strange that the parish priest dedicated the church to St. James who is the patron saint of pilgrims. The second sign was the size of the St. James’s Church. In 1939, when the parish priest decided to build the church, there was nothing around the area but only fields. There was no need to build such a big church with two towers for a community of about 400 people. No one could imagine at that time why the parish priest had this inspiration. The church was finished in 1969, and twelve years later after the apparitions, the church had become too small to fit all the people.
Another sign was a vision that Sr. Briege McKenna, a charismatic Irish nun had when a priest approached her to ask for her advice as he was asked by his superior to go to Medjugorje and minister to the youth. He did not want to go to Medjugorje because at that time nothing was happening there. Sr. Briege prayed over him and told him to go there as she had seen a huge church and a fountain at the church and that many people would drink water from there and never thirst again.
The third sign was the big Cross on the mountain. When the parish priest of Medjugorje asked permission from the Vatican to build the Cross, to his astonishment even though Medjugorje was an “unknown Community," the Vatican not only approved the project, but also gave relics of the True Cross to be placed in the Cross.
Nothing happened by chance. Tea believes that even the fact that Ivanka lost her mother a few months before the actual apparitions began, that as well was in God's plans. Ivanka was permitted to see her deceased mother eight times after the apparitions, and that was perhaps done to witness “life” after our life on earth. The fact that our Virgin Mary gave signs about Heaven, Purgatory and Hell, and so many other teachings, is for us to learn and convert and get closer to God. All these teachings that our Virgin Mary is giving to mankind through the visionaries and to Vassula as well, are given to us out of His utmost love to save us. The biggest weapon Satan has against us is our own ignorance.
Vassula near St. James’s Church
The group continued its schedule program and went to the Blagaj Muslim Sanctuary where the Imam warmly accepted our group. Vassula gave her last speech that day.
In the morning we departed for the conference hall of Etno Selo. The meetings started with praise songs and worship. Then we had a wonderful witness given by Sabrina’s guest, Ms. Yolande Guérette where she shared her conversion and supernatural experience she had with our Lady. She also shared with us some pictures of our Virgin Mary and Jesus that had stains of blood on them and what this meant to her.
Ms. Yolande Guérette
The Icons with the stains of blood
Vassula then was invited to give her speech and she spoke about the Nobility of the Cross. So here is part of what she witnessed. She said that we are all called to be one with God. But to attain this we should allow God to raze us to the ground and drag us into the desert where He drags His anointed ones, so that He brings to our memory in the silence of the desert all our misgivings, and our evil conduct to realize our wretchedness.
God then will strike you with bitter remorse for your indifference towards Him and His Law of Love. Allow Him to do all these things so that this transformation takes place within you. And from thereon He will be your Master, your Educator but your Friend and your Brother as well. Then, with great tenderness He will dress your wounds and lift you to His Heart, while He will utter in your ear these words:
"you must keep secure now all My teachings remembering always the beginning so that you increase your Knowledge of Me your God;" (TLIG messages, May 31, 2003)
Vassula said that, as you will understand, God is raising Apostles for these End of Times for the benefit of the Church. With grace these souls are elevated to the height of their mission filling them with divine love. The Holy Spirit entrusts these souls with missions not according to the measure of their human capacity, but through the power and the help of the Holy Spirit they are able to accomplish these difficult missions.
Then the Lord says, Vassula continued, that the Holy Spirit unites them to an inseparable Union with God the Father, Jesus Christ and Himself to be ready to go even through fire to gain souls for God, for having given them a light of understanding, they would know the value of each soul. They would know through the light of the Holy Spirit that to gain one soul for God surpasses all sorts of services one could render God, for He prizes one soul more than anything else. So an apostolate mission applies to each one of us.
The road to this Union of Divine Love is when you will embrace with love the Cross.
Jesus says: "to embrace Me is to embrace My Cross…" (TLIG messages, November 11, 1998)
"anyone who is united with Me takes the same road I had taken, the road to Calvary; anyone who follows the Supreme Victim becomes part of the Victim;" (TLIG messages, May 30, 1993)
"I, the Lord, am showing you the steps I have taken for My Passion; since you are serving Me, you must follow Me; what do you want Me to say: 'Follow Me but not in My Footprints ?' this cannot be, whoever serves Me will follow My Blood-stained Footprints…" (TLIG messages, June 3, 1993)
"the way, and I would say again, the only way to a union of Divine Love with Me is when you voluntarily embrace, with love My Cross which you know bears its sufferings but its joys as well and which would lead you where your soul will be exalted: to Calvary; in My sweet embrace you will find joys but the greatest joy of all is when you discover that you became a copy of My Passion, and part of Me, the Supreme Victim: another sacrifice of love, another living crucifix, another slave to be sold to the whole world; but being in My embrace your soul will be drawing from Me strength and all the virtues to resemble Me;" (TLIG messages, November 11, 1998)
Vassula at the Conference Hall of Etno Selo
Jesus says that He needs servants to serve Him where love is missing most. Anyone who belongs to Christ must understand that he belongs to His Cross as well. He sends His Mother everywhere to teach us; He is also willing to be re-crucified for our sake. We have to therefore check ourselves and see if we are joined with Christ. This message made people aware of their wretched state and some of them were in tears reflecting on Christ's words.
After Vassula's speech, our friend Ange from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) asked for a 10-minute witness. He had great news. He said that he went to witness to the Pigmies in Congo, a tribe far away, and who heard about God's messages with great astonishment but with joy as well.
Later then, Sabrina presented her next guest speaker, Terry C. from Alabama, USA, who wishes to be known only as “A Friend of Medjugorje." Terry gave us some information about his background and about his conversion through Medjugorje. He has dedicated his entire life to spreading the messages of Medjugorje and is a true apostle of these revelations which are messages to prepare humankind for the Second Coming.
Terry C. – “A Friend of Medjugorje”
He also said that many people do not pay attention to our Lady’s messages, because they are repetitive and many do not consider them as “high theology." God has given to our Virgin Mary power as never before. This is Her time. Our Lord has entrusted the whole world to our Lady. These are the last apparitions to the world. She will never come back, so this is the time and moment for people to realize this extraordinary gift that is given to mankind.
“I have come to call the world to conversion for the last time. Afterwards I will not appear any more on this earth.” (Medjugorje messages, May 2, 1982)
Our Lady’s messages talk about the importance of conversion, of prayer, fasting, faith, peace and reconciliation. Many people testify that they experience special graces from God and from our Lady by coming to Medjugorje; many pilgrims feel motivated to lead a better life of prayer, a life with love and an open heart for God and people.
Anyone who has read the messages of True Life in God cannot say that what is said in Medjugorje is not said in the messages our Lord gives to Vassula. Our Heavenly Father is giving us so many chances, repeating Himself and also by sending us His Holy Mother to prepare the path of salvation, not only in Medjugorje but in other parts of the world as well. Our Lord is giving us revelations to prepare humankind for the Second Coming. The messages in Medjugorje, talk about the importance of conversion, prayer, fasting, faith, peace and reconciliation; themes that are also covered in the True Life in God messages. Two separate vineyards that have the same cause--to save souls. Yet, both vineyards are equally important and because they are authentic, they are very much persecuted.
“… Satan wishes to destroy my plans and hinder the desires which the Heavenly Father wants realized here [in Medjugorje]." (Medjugorje messages, September 25, 1990)
‘’I will not keep silent as the devil wishes, no, but I will keep raising prophets to announce and denounce, to shine like a lamp where there is darkness; I teach them to be generous and gratify Me by lavishly responding to My Call while held in thought and contemplation in My enamored Arms; I fill their mouth with worship and their spirit with joy; as the blood runs in one's veins continuously with no exterior sound, so has My Holy Spirit, in this tranquil manner been teaching you, Vassula, with Wisdom, for your salvation and for those of others, and if I happened to admonish you now and then, it was for your spiritual growth and your own progress;” (TLIG messages, February 12, 2000)
After Terry’s wonderful speech, we had some praise songs and then Sabrina presented her other two guests, Luc Lagabrielle and Jacques de la Bastide, Directors of the Mary of Nazareth International Center, a non-profit project of the French Association Marie de Nazareth, who help raise the awareness of the Christian faith by the means of contemporary audio-visual techniques. They introduced the group to the spirituality of the icons made by Kasper and Rula Poikans. A very nice introduction of how art can be used to glorify God.
While at the conference hall, Marija from Croatia informed Vassula that a friend of hers who found out that Vassula was in Medjugorje arranged with Fr. Petar to gather a group of people at his parish church and asked Vassula if she could go and give her testimony.
Vassula gladly accepted the invitation. Upon our arrival Fr. Petar warmly welcomed us and led us to the hall where about 25 people were present and eager to hear about the messages. As most of them had never heard about True Life in God, Vassula gave an introduction of how these revelations began, about her mission and what the messages are all about. At the end of her speech people asked her questions and Vassula had a pleasant conversation with them.
Vassula at Fr. Petar’s parish church with Fr. Vincent and Marija
Both Msgr. Léonard and Sabrina were great hosts, always very polite and attentive. What Vassula and I noticed and admired in the Maranatha organizing team, was a spirit of good cooperation between them. They all worked in harmony, with love and respect for each other. We congratulated Sabrina for this challenging Pilgrimage/Retreat she organized in cooperation with Msgr. Léonard and thanked them deeply for inviting us.