Our Lady will be with us
Our Lady’s Message to Mirjana on February 2, 2009
An Unexpected Grace Our Lady is Returning, July 1–5, 2009 To the Field and Bedroom of Apparitions
A Surprise From Heaven
We are living in particular times, having the Mother of God, the same Mother who asked Jesus to perform the miracle of the wine at the wedding feast in Cana, present with us in our world through the apparitions of Medjugorje. And with these apparitions, we sometimes are given an experience similar to what it was like to live with Jesus, Our Lady and those who were His first followers.
Eight Days In the Community of Caritas
On February 13, 2009 one of the young couples in our community, Johnny and Annie, was married. In the midst of all the wedding preparations, two days before the wedding, one of the married couples of the community gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Just three weeks earlier, a baby boy was born to another community mother. It has been a month of beautiful new beginnings in the community. In preparation, as we do with all the marriages here, the community began a 54-day Rosary novena for the couple being married that would end the evening before the wedding day. It was during this novena, on February 11th, the same day little Victoria Maria was born, that the community was given a great surprise that led to a beautiful experience with Our Lady, one never even imagined.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009 Prayer Group
All members of the community, from the youngest to the oldest meet every Wednesday and Friday evenings for prayer group. We gather at various places: the Field, hay barn, the Grotto, on top of the mountain, the Bedroom of Apparitions, etc. This Wednesday night prayer group on February 11th took place amidst the busyness of preparing for the wedding on Friday.
Our founder was gone half of the day but specifically had given instructions to have prayer group in the Bedroom at 5:00 p.m. He had said if he was not back, to not delay but go ahead and begin the Rosary. He had stressed, though we were very busy preparing for the wedding, we would not be Martha, but rather her sister, Mary Magdalene who took the better part and was with Jesus; that our prayer group would not neglect our time in prayer with Our Lady. After the first decade, he finally arrived and stopped us. He told everyone that he wanted us to momentarily get our thoughts away from the wedding preparations and everything that still needed to be done, and to enter into prayer with all our thoughts on Our Lady. He asked us to close our eyes and to meditate on the gift of these new babies born into the community as well as the wedding taking place in the next days. He said it was almost like we’re experiencing Christmas all over again this week with so many special gifts and celebrations.
Before he left, earlier that day, he had prearranged to have a Christmas song played in the Bedroom during the prayer group. He relayed it was to help us realize we are gifted with the presence of Our Lady in our midst when we pray. He told us to close our eyes and meditate on all the gifts we received through Our Lady. After a while, he told us, “Open your eyes.” Gasps and cries of surprise and joy were heard throughout the room. We were shocked. While eyes were closed meditatively, without notice, visionary Marija had slipped in at the foot of the Bed. The founder waited almost a minute thinking someone would open their eyes. Finally, while the song was still playing, he said, “Open your eyes.” Marija Lunetti and her husband Paolo came into view before us. Our founder had picked them up at the airport and they stayed in the kitchen while the founder came on into the Bedroom. Their cue to come in was when they heard the music. When they came in, Marija then tiptoed in through the community members and knelt in her normal place at the foot of the Bed when she is here for the apparitions, and several community members commented that it was almost like having an apparition themselves. They closed their eyes—they were not there. They opened their eyes—and Marija, Paolo and Giovanni, their six-year-old son, suddenly had appeared before them. Seeing Marija as if from nowhere, kneeling, where she has had one-hundred and eleven apparitions over the last 21 years, brought forth many emotions amongst the community. To say it was a very joyful reunion cannot describe what everyone felt. Several in the community said it was “shock and awe.”
Amidst the joy and hugs, we learned that they had come to attend the wedding, but it was kept a secret from everyone in order to add to the joy of this week. As if that surprise and that joy wasn’t enough, we then learned that Our Lady had not appeared to Marija at her normal apparition time, but had waited so that the community could be present in the apparition. The founder, knowing a few days before that they were coming asked Marija to request of Our Lady during her last apparition in Italy to wait until Marija arrived at Caritas. When Marija asked this, Our Lady did not answer Marija. However Our Lady answered by Her actions and in 30 minutes of arriving, we all found ourselves before the Holy Virgin Mary, our Queen, our Hope, our Love. We were stunned with joy. There are not many words that can describe such a moment when an ordinary day, a day with no hint of anything coming, there suddenly comes the news, and within 30 minutes of Marija arriving, you are bowed before the Queen of all creation. It was surreal that from one routine moment to the next a radical change in our spirit transformed us when suddenly the day ended up becoming filled with the most priceless gift of being in Our Lady’s presence. With absolutely no hint of a warning when we woke that morning, the community was kneeling in the Bedroom waiting for Our Lady’s apparition that evening. She allowed us to pray the entire Rosary novena which included two long prayers for the wedding couple, and it was when we had finished these prayers that Our Lady came. She appeared about 5:55 p.m.
Description of Apparition on Wednesday during Prayer Group with the Caritas Community, February 11, 2009:
At the moment of the apparition, Marija recommended to Our Lady the community and Our Lady immediately smiled. After the apparition, Marija, with joy but struggling for words, said “I think Our Lady was surprised too.” Our founder, wondering why Marija said that, asked, “Did Our Lady look surprised?” And Marija tried to find better words to describe and relay Our Lady’s expression, because it wasn’t exactly surprised, but that Our Lady was reacting to our surprise in some way. It was an emotional expression we had never heard used to describe Our Lady before. Our founder then asked, “Was it like She was amused?” And while Marija happily nodded yes, she said it was like joy but different. After discussing Our Lady’s reaction, it was more like an emotion of joy, sharing of the surprise and amusement. We were all in wonderment of Our Lady, this joy and that She was truly with us again. Marija said Our Lady then blessed everyone.
Our founder, knowing tomorrow would be a difficult day to get everyone together because some would be cleaning and decorating the church for the wedding, others would be preparing food and decorations for the reception, the wedding party rehearsal was to take place, etc. So he asked Marija to have Our Lady choose the time for the apparition the next day. Our Lady would know what would be best when all the community could attend Her apparition. Marija asked, and Our Lady astounded us all when She said, “I will come when you pray.” Knowing how hectic the day would be with wedding preparations, the wedding rehearsal and dinner, and everything in-between, She allowed the founder to find the time of the day that would be best for everyone, when we would all be together, so no one would miss the apparition.
Though Marija and Paolo had just arrived, and the wedding was the day after tomorrow, a brand-new community baby had just been born that no one from the community had an opportunity to see yet, besides our founder and his wife, the grandparents of the new little girl. The father and mother of the baby, being at the hospital, were unaware of Marija’s surprise visit. It was suddenly being discussed of bringing them into the surprise by having Paolo and Marija show up at the hospital, when our founder suggested, why not have the whole community go to see the baby and take part in the surprise. We all piled into cars and headed to the hospital. With about 50 of us present, we wondered if we would be stopped by hospital security personnel, but we were greeted with curiosity and smiles as we found our way to the room. Marija, Paolo and Giovanni stayed at the back, while the community filed in and surrounded the bed, greeting Tony and Erin and the new baby. Crouching down so as not to be seen, Marija and Paolo made it up to the hospital bed and then everyone parted as they popped up to give their congratulations as well. The surprise was complete through Marija and Paolo’s sudden appearance on the “birth”day of the newest member of the community. As a result, Marija became part of the inspiration behind the name that was eventually given to the new baby: Victoria Maria. We were thankful the mother did not scream for we knew had she, the whole hospital security, seeing 50 people pass into the room, would be all over us. Instead, the parents were shocked, just staring, not believing their eyes with the mother holding her hand over her mouth, speechless.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Today, again, Marija recommended the community. Our Lady immediately smiled. From 8:00 in the morning, until 9:00 at night, many in the community were coming and going depending on their responsibilities for the wedding. The community was not all together until the end of the night. Despite having last minute details to take care of before turning in for bed that night, including the making of the bride and bridesmaid’s flower bouquets, when the call came to come down to the Bedroom for the apparition everyone was happy to come together to be with Our Lady. Some were just returning from the rehearsal dinner, others came from The Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages, where the reception would be held the next day. Two priests that would be concelebrating the wedding Mass were present, along with family and friends who had come in for the wedding. The surprise of finding Marija here continued, like a wave, as new people arrived and suddenly realized that they too were being given the unexpected honor of being in Our Lady’s presence. As it took some time for everyone to come from so many different locations, we all began gathering in the living room of the home, and Marija joined us as we spoke with excitement of the wedding the next day, and Our Lady’s surprise apparitions. Finally, with everyone present, we entered into the Bedroom. The wedding couple, Johnny and Annie, knelt beside the Bed where they had become engaged, also in the presence of Our Lady, seven month’s earlier. When Our Lady appeared, Marija said that She stood there for some moments, as if She wanted just to stay for a little while, enjoying being with everyone, not in any hurry to leave, almost as if She wanted to say something. Marija asked Our Lady to bless Johnny and Annie for their special day tomorrow and then also presented Our Lady with other intentions, including a blessing for baby Victoria. After these intentions, Marija presented the community to Our Lady. Our Lady immediately smiled and then looked at each face, one by one. Tonight’s apparition was beautiful. It lasted a long time, approximately five minutes. We would learn the next day that when asked when the apparition would be the following day, Our Lady said again, “I will come whenever you pray.” Our Lady again placed the apparition time in the hands of the founder giving us freedom to work out the best time for everyone to be fully prepared for Her presence.
Marija’s Description of the Apparition on February 12, 2009 in the Bedroom:
The moment Our Lady come I recommend all our intentions. In special way I pray for Annie and Johnny and for little Victoria. After, I recommend everyone of us and Our Lady beginning to smile and She pray for everyone. She watch us all.
Q: She looked at each person?
M: (nods yes) She watch us and after She pray all together and She give blessing. And in beginning, when Our Lady just come, She stay…and She….like She have time, so I recommend many people in a special way.
In these days we pray for one little boy who is dying. His mother and father is completely atheist, then come to Medjugorje…and have big conversion and his father said, God take him (the boy). And he expecting any moment (to die) and I ask Our Lady tonight to be there when he dies. For 3-4 days he is in coma. He was in terrible pain. He’s really one little son. This moment he’s not more conscious. So I have also tonight this special intention.
Q. Did She give any reaction to that?
M: No, but I recommend.
Q. So, when She was just standing there waiting did you ask if She had anything to say?
Apparition tomorrow: “I will come whenever you pray.”
(Marija learned later that the little boy that she prayed that Our Lady would come and take with Her, died the next day.)
Friday, February 13, 2009
Again, today, Our Lady smiled. On this day, the third wedding in the community took place, all three of which were just over the past three years. All of the engagements took place in the Bedroom, two of which our Lady appeared shortly afterwards and blessed the couple. These new families are now producing the newest generation, who are being brought up in Our Lady’s way, giving more insight into Our Lady’s choosing the Bedroom for Her apparitions. The weddings of the Community of Caritas are truly an extraordinary and spiritual experience unlike any marriage one has ever attended before. The way in which couples are married in the community came through inspiration to our founder from Our Lady. For several years before the first one in 2006, he had prayed about the wedding ceremony and written down everything he had received through prayer or witnessed. When the first ceremony was performed many people at the reception said they wished they could be married all over again. An hour before the wedding Mass begins, everyone attends an hour of Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament. There is a specific purpose for this as part of the wedding ceremony. The purpose of this hour is to give the bride and groom the last hour of the state in life they were born into, to reflect upon their whole life to this point before they change their state in life. Because of the importance of their decision, the last hour of this state they are leaving is spent in council, reviewing their life from childhood to this moment for reflection with the Great Councilor and Healer, Jesus, to give His last and final preparation to each of them. It is a time to first thank Him for what they are about to receive, a sweet, intimate conversation with their Friend, to thank Him for all that He has given them in their past, to say they’re sorry for all sins and consequences of their past and to ask for His blessing in their vocation in marriage. It allows the couple to stop all the hurrying and worrying and anxiety that comes with wedding day preparations in order to reflect and find peace in the presence of God—to invite Him to their marriage ceremony, to make Him their center.
How is it that Adoration happens and the bride and groom do not see each other? The answer was one of the inspirations the founder received one day while he was doing a holy hour himself, asking Jesus how can this be accomplished. The answer was “The Tents of Solitude.” In order for the bride and groom not to see each other before the wedding ceremony begins, two special tents were made by the community to be placed in the Church to keep the couple hidden from each other, as well as out of view from the rest of the congregation, that they can be undisturbed in this hour of prayer and be fully focused on Jesus Christ. The experience of the married couples who experienced this prayer before their weddings was that they were filled with deep peace and joy, having all their cares and burdens lifted so when it came time for the Wedding Mass to begin, they were empty of everything except the love that filled them for their Lord, Our Lady, for each other and all their family and friends who had come to celebrate this day with them. This is the way of life Our Lady gives.
In regards to when Our Lady’s apparition would be on this day, there was felt a heavy weight trying to figure out what would be the best time: at the end of Adoration?, at Communion time?, should we wait until the time of the wedding reception and have all the guests go down to the Field after the wedding? The Founder spoke to Marija. He prayed throughout the night. When he woke, he asked Our Lady to show him what would be the perfect time and for the Holy Spirit to inspire him. Nothing came. He and Marija continued to discuss it. They thought the apparition could occur at the end of Holy Hour and a community member was sent to the veiled part of the tents to tell the bride and groom that this would be the time. But it did not happen because the way the Holy Hour ended, there was not an option for Marija to go up. Marija whispered to the founder, “I will just pray here and have the apparition in the pew.” He responded, “No, Marija. Don’t pray yet. We can’t do that. These people here have Medjugorje in their blood. They will not be aware of Our Lady even coming.” She then suggested after Holy Communion. The founder said he would go talk to the priests to work it out. It was decided that the apparition of Our Lady would be after Holy Communion when Johnny and Annie would go to the statue of Our Lady and consecrate their marriage to Her. During that time the Ave Maria would be sung and when finished, Marija would come up. The couple would separate and Marija would kneel in-between them. There were four priests and one deacon who were present at the wedding Mass, and they knelt on either side of Johnny and Annie. Most of those who attended the wedding were not aware of Marija’s presence. As family and friends arrived, some caught sight of Marija and were just as surprised as the community had been in seeing her here. Just before Mass began an announcement was made regarding the apparition. So another wave of “surprise” swept through those hearts as they began to understand they came to a wedding to find out that Our Lady had come too. You can imagine the excitement and gratitude of those who unexpectedly were being given the gift of being with Our Lady on this special day. It was a beautiful scene. When Our Lady came in the apparition, we learned that She prayed over Annie and then Johnny, with Her hands extended over their heads. She then gave them Her blessing. Marija then recommended everyone in the Church to Our Lady and smiling, She in turn blessed everyone present. When relaying what had taken place after the apparition had ended, Marija greeted everyone and shared with them a little of her connection with the community. For the couple, it will take time to process the great graces that were bestowed upon them in receiving several blessings directly from Our Lady and then having Her pray over them on their wedding day. These gifts reflect not only the purity and prayerfulness in which they approached the Sacrament of Matrimony, but Our Lady was blessing “the way” of formation that young couples in the community are led towards marriage through the inspiration of Her messages. She was blessing this couple, but more importantly, “the way” of entering a Christian marriage that they learned through living the rule of the Caritas Community inspired through Our Lady’s messages from Medjugorje and messages Our Lady has given at Caritas.
Marija’s Description of the Apparition on February 13, 2009 in Blessed Sacrament Church in Birmingham, Alabama:
In the moment of apparition when Our Lady come, Our Lady pray over Annie and after Our Lady pray over Johnny and after She bless Johnny and Annie together and after She bless all us and all that we have in our hearts, and Our Lady smiling, She make Sign of the Cross for everyone. I am so happy to be here. I am in special way connected with community. Last year Annie have many problems with leg (continues…) Doctor says when we don’t have solution he go cut leg, and so we pray many. And today we have this beautiful joy to see Annie not only with leg but also with husband. (Everyone laughed) The apparition was two minutes and 40 seconds. Our Lady then said “Tomorrow’s apparition will be in the Bedroom at 10:40 a.m.”
Saturday, February 14, 2009.
Our Lady again smiles today. The apparition today was in the Bedroom. The community with many friends of the mission were present. When Our Lady appeared today, Marija immediately asked Our Lady that since it is St. Valentine’s Day, if She would bless all those who are married and those who are not married in a special way. Our Lady immediately smiled at the request and blessed everyone in the Bedroom and also those who were in the Field. Four-day-old Victoria Maria was present in the apparition today. Just before Our Lady appeared, she was laid on the Bed. Marija also asked for a blessing for Victoria. Marija said Our Lady smiled throughout the entire apparition. Our Lady ended the apparition with a third blessing, and said in regards to the apparition tomorrow, Sunday, February 15, that it will be “Same time. Same place.”
Marija’s Description of the Apparition on February 14, 2009 in the Bedroom
In moment of apparition when Our Lady come I have just time to recommend all us. Our Lady stay little bit. (Someone said, “A couple of minutes”). I think, for me, so little and so I said, today is St. Valentine’s Day and I ask Our Lady in special way for all us, who is married and who is not married to have with Our Lady’s blessing, a good companion, is possible to say. And Our Lady smiling and after I recommend, we have little Victoria, she is first time for apparition and so I recommend also Victoria to Our Lady and Our Lady smiling beginning to pray. And She pray all time and after I say also people who is in Field. When Our Lady pray I say also I recommend and ask blessing for all people in Field and Our Lady continue to pray. And after She bless us and She go.
Q: Did She give us one blessing or two?
M: In reality, three blessings.
Q. Did She pray over Victoria?
M: No, all us.
Q. So, she smiled twice, two different times?
M: No, She smiled whole time. In beginning, with St. Valentine’s Day, I have good excuse. I have also little Victoria (everyone is laughing in the room). And Our Lady watch us.
Q: So, She looked at everyone in the room, or just kind of looked? She was looking at everyone’s faces or…”
M: In reality, for Our Lady, room does not exist. You know when it’s the moment of apparition for me, none exist all things. (Questions continued for more than an hour while Marija graciously answered each one.)
The apparition lasted two minutes. Our Lady said concerning the apparition tomorrow: “Same time. Same place.” Our founder then asked Marija to speak to everyone about her apparitions, especially as there were some present who knew little about Medjugorje.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Marija spoke after the apparition today. When the apparition ended, all those present moved to the living room and took whatever space was available, on chairs and couches, on steps leading upstairs, on the floor or leaning against a wall. The living room was filled with very attentive faces.
Marija’s Description of the Apparition on Sunday, February 15, 2009 in the Bedroom
In moment of apparition when Our Lady come I recommend all our intentions and Our Lady pray over us and She bless us all. The apparition lasted one minute and 20 seconds. Our Lady said tomorrow’s apparition would be, “Same time. Same place.”
Monday, February 16, 2009
Our Lady again smiles today. Among the many pilgrims that came today for the apparition, there were several families with many children. With the children in the community, there were already a bunch of children, but there seemed to be another 15 or so present for the apparition. With all those children, the Rosary wasn’t as “meditative” as some may have liked, but just as Jesus always liked having innocent children around Him, so too Our Lady. Marija presented all the children to Our Lady in the apparition on this day, and Our Lady immediately smiled.
Marija’s Description of the Apparition on February 16, 2009 in the Bedroom
In moment of apparition when Our Lady come, I recommend to Our Lady all of us, in special way, all kids and Our Lady beginning to smile. She pray for long time over us and after She give blessing and She said “Go in peace,” and She leave.
The apparition lasted 4 minutes, 17 seconds. Our Lady again said, “Same time. Same place.” for tomorrow’s apparition. Marija graciously accepted the invitation to speak to the pilgrims and community after the apparition once again. But first, the wife of the founder wanted to get a picture of all the children in the apparition today. These were the little cherubs Our Lady had smiled at and blessed today.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Our Lady smiled today. Our founder and Marija’s husband, Paolo, were out of town early yesterday morning before apparition time. It was a sacrifice to be gone from his home with Our Lady here still appearing. They were scheduled to be back Tuesday morning, but it would be impossible to make it back for the apparition. Their flight was scheduled to arrive in Birmingham at 10:15 a.m., and the apparition was expected at 10:40 a.m. It is normally a 55 minute drive from the airport to Caritas, but can be much longer if traffic is bad, and late morning the roads are usually filled with cars. Our founder had told his wife, in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way, to pray for a long apparition, because it would have to be a “really” long apparition if he had even a slight chance of making it, especially since Our Lady said in yesterday’s apparition, “Same time. Same place.” Though we knew Our Lady could do anything, it was thought to be wishful thinking of any chance of getting back for Our Lady’s apparition today.
Rosary began in the Bedroom at 10:00 a.m. with mostly community members and some pilgrims present. As the time approached 10:40 a.m., Marija got up from kneeling just outside the doorway of the Bedroom and then entered into it. The Rosary continued, with different people praying each decade. It had almost reached ten minutes past apparition time (10:50 a.m.) when we began to notice that Marija gave no sign that apparition time was approaching.
At this point, some in the room began to wonder if Our Lady meant to wait until our founder arrived. Two full Rosary’s were prayed and Our Lady had not appeared! A third Rosary was started while we waited for Marija to go into ecstasy. Some of us began to take notice, began to wonder, questioning ourselves. The daughter of our founder decided to try and call Paolo to see where her dad was. When she reached him, our founder was shocked to find out that Our Lady had not yet appeared. It was 10:55 a.m. He was approx. 15 minutes from home. The 3rd Rosary, remarkably, continued up until the 4th Glorious mystery, when Marija began to pray the Hail Holy Queen. Suddenly Marija interiorly felt Our Lady was coming and that it was time for the apparition. Our hearts sunk because we knew it wasn’t enough time for our founder to make it back yet. Some of us were praying silently that Our Lady would wait, but as Marija began praying the 7,7,7, we knew that after one or two sets Our Lady would come as it was way past the normal time of the apparition, and after all, She had said the day before, “Same time. Same place.” Still we hoped for many sets to be prayed. Our hearts grew hopeful again when still after 3, 4, and 5 more sets, Our Lady hadn’t come. But then suddenly, Marija’s voice disappeared. Our Lady was present. One to two minutes went by and then in the silence of the apparition, everyone heard the kitchen screen door open and slam shut and unbelievably, our founder came running in. He was motioned to come forward. He stopped outside of the Bedroom to kneel down, but we motioned him to go into the Bedroom where an empty spot waited for him beside Marija. Our Lady was still appearing and continued to appear for the second half of the apparition. There were looks of unbelief, of joy, and tears to see that Our Lady waited for 30 minutes after Her normal apparition time which allowed our founder to be present. He, as we, were all very moved.
After the apparition had ended, we wanted to hear from our founder’s perspective what had been going on with him. He told us that in the car coming home, he and Paolo began the Rosary for apparition and in his prayer, he was asking Our Lady to wait for him. Headed toward noon time, Hwy 280 is normally packed with cars. When they had reached just beyond Interstate 459, looking ahead for more than a mile, he was surprised to see not one car on Hwy 280, one of the busiest and most congested highways in the state of Alabama. Traffic was busy in the oncoming lanes, but not their side of the highway. Where was everybody? Most of the traffic lights were green as they came to them. Later, as they neared an intersection that had turned red, the cars ahead went into side lanes, leaving the middle lane cleared of any cars. Even knowing that apparition time had already past, he decided to continue to hope that Our Lady would make it possible for him to make the apparition. Seeing few to no cars on the highway enkindled that hope. Then to receive the call from his daughter Bridget that the apparition hadn’t taken place yet, at 10:55 a.m., he knew it was too much to expect but he still hoped. To come home to find Marija in ecstasy as he entered the Bedroom was too much to take in. It was a lesson in the power of “hope” against hopelessness, when, even when there is no reason to hope, to keep hoping leads to the impossible happening.
Marija’s Description of the Apparition, February 17, 2009 in the Bedroom
In the moment of the apparition, I recommended all of us. In a special way I recommend Tony and Erin today on their (wedding) anniversary and I said and all families of the community. And Our Lady beginning to smile. And I (then) said (recommended) all families of all (present) and Our Lady beginning to pray, and She pray long (time) and I recommend all people who is in Field and I pray. Our Lady give blessing and She go. The apparition took place at approximately 11:08 a.m. and lasted four minutes. Our founder came about 2 minutes before the apparition ended. Yet another surprise, when asked about apparition tomorrow, Our Lady said, “I will come whenever you pray.”
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Our Lady smiled again today. Today was the last apparition, as Paolo and Marija would be leaving in the morning. Rosary was scheduled for 10:00 a.m. We would only be praying one Rosary and then immediately go into the 7,7,7. Since Our Lady said She would come when we pray, apparition time would be a little earlier, giving time for Paolo, Marija, our founder and his wife to leave for the airport in Atlanta so as not to be so rushed. The community began arriving around 9:30 a.m. and began writing petitions to Our Lady. The names of the supporters of Our Lady’s mission were placed on the Bed, including our extended community members, Mission House supporters, those who have been supporting the retooling of Our Lady’s Tabernacle, Field Angels, mej.com supporters and others who have helped Her mission. We asked Our Lady to bless them all during this apparition. Our founder told Marija that if, today, Our Lady gives time to ask a question in the apparition, he would like her to ask Our Lady to give some sweet words to end Her visit with the community.
Marija’s Description of Apparition, February 18, 2009 in the Bedroom
In moment of apparition, when Our Lady come I recommend like always all us in special way, everyone present today and I ask Our Lady if She has some words to say to us. And Our Lady beginning to smile, said: “I give my love to you, you give it to others.” And after She beginning to pray over us and after She make blessing and She go.
The surprise visit ended as quickly as it had begun, but with so many joys in-between, and a beautiful message in which Our Lady gave to us Her love. Marija, Paolo and son Giovanni, after saying their good-byes to everyone left and returned to Italy. The community stayed behind, returning to the Bedroom to say some final prayers in thanksgiving for Our Lady’s goodness to us through Her surprise visit. Before closing our prayer, as we do each day in the community, we opened randomly to the following message and could not help but smile ourselves at the words Our Lady gave to us upon Her leaving:
October 29, 1983
The petitions that we had all just written before Our Lady’s apparition still lay on the Bed in the grace of Her last blessing She gave in our presence. To receive the words “…you will obtain everything that you ask for…” through prayer and fasting, were such unexpected words of hope. But to also read the words, just after Marija left, “…I cannot stay always with you. You have to get used to it. In the meantime, I wish to be constantly with you, with the heart…” were such sweet words, and were perhaps given in answer to our founder’s request as much as the words She spoke in the apparition this day, “I give my love to you, you give it to others.”
Remarkably, there is one more story to tell before ending the report on Our Lady’s visit. Though the weather was beautiful the morning of Paolo and Marija’s departure, warnings of thunderstorms, heavy winds and tornadoes later on in the day were being reported for much of central Alabama. Coming back from Atlanta after saying good-bye to Marija and Paolo, our founder and his wife found themselves in the middle of a ferocious storm. At one point a whole stretch on interstate 20 from Atlanta to Birmingham was closed due to the storms. There were several multi-car pile ups involving many cars and trucks in different areas. Along I-20, unbelievably straight-line winds were reported blowing at 103 miles per hour. One tractor trailer rig who had passed them, was flipped over on its side five minutes down the road with several other cars that had crashed. The wind piled up hail in many piles as much as two feet thick. Traffic was literally stopped and passengers were strongly encouraged to exit the highway. With the ground-hugging fog from the coolness given off by the piles of hail, the scene looked apocalyptic. One looking at this scene biblically could not help but think of satan and his fury against the Woman he hates so much, who just ended eight beautiful apparitions. Some would say tornados and storms happen all the time. It’s ridiculous to link it to Our Lady’s apparitions at Caritas in Alabama and that is true of the secular. But we are called to be biblical people and to view the world around us with biblical eyes. It is Our Lady who said in Her messages:
March 25, 1990
For the believer, everything speaks to us biblically. A young family from San Antonio, Texas had heard about Caritas from a friend. They had wanted to come for a visit and suddenly felt compelled to drop everything and come now. They were walking around the Field on Sunday, February 15th, when a community member spotted them and asked if they knew Marija was here. They had not known and they were invited to attend the apparition the following day. We received a letter from them after they returned home from their visit.
Dear A Friend of Medjugorje and Family, and Marija and Family,
My family would like to thank you again for inviting us to be witnesses to Our Lady’s divine love. When we arrived to Caritas on Sunday, no one was around. It was strange, but we feel Our Lady wanted it like that. We sat alone as a family on Sunday, February 15, 2009 feeling Our Blessed Mother’s presence as the wind blew, and we read Her message etched on the altar in the Field…”When the wind blows know that I am with you…” dated February 15, 1984. Here we are exactly 25 years later from that date of Her message. She is so here with us all. Thanks for saying “yes” to Our Lord and His Mother, Our Blessed Virgin Mary. She has been instrumental in showing and teaching us how to come to Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Many blessings to you all, and as a family we are spreading Her love to everyone we meet in San Antonio, Texas. We hope to see you again real soon.
Much Love in Jesus and Mary, J.C.
San Antonio, Texas
In a separate letter, the husband of the wife above wrote:
“Our trip to Caritas was unexpected. I wanted to go fishing at the coast to get away, but was compelled to go to Caritas. I only heard of Caritas through my wife, and as soon as I mentioned about going, my wife was already packing. There was a feeling of urgency that we had to go. I just finished a construction project that took us three months to do, including weekends. It was hard…Long story short, we show up on Sunday afternoon and my wife met one of the community and we heard of the surprise. We did not know that Marija had come in…We are very excited that we were in the place where our Blessed Mother had appeared. After coming back home we feel completely different as if we are suppose to pass the graces…Thank you for saying yes to Her and allowing our Mother to bring us closer to our Lord. May God bless you all.
What was it that Our Lady wanted to say to us through Her visit? Maybe it comes down to the simple fact that She is with us, no matter what storms we are going through or will go through in the future. Perhaps what touched us the most in this visit is that She came in and amongst our family, as we were living our family life in the community in a way that She hadn’t done since the first apparitions took place in this home 20 years ago—the birth of a new community baby the day Marija arrived (the first apparition was just hours after Victoria was born), the wedding of a new community couple, the birthday of one of the community youth as well as Marija’s husband’s birthday, the small children and babies of the next generation of the community running in and around the apparitions each day. We really live with Our Lady as part of our active life. She is real. She is available just as a Mother is available in the home, or is supposed to be. She is in our home, not as a guest, but as family, even more so and is no different to us than when Jesus walked the earth and visited Peter’s or Lazarus’ house. She is this much a part of our lives.
One particular morning, after the apparition, the people in the Field were told they could come to the house and listen to Marija speak. Our founder’s wife stood at the top of the stairs watching as more and more people came through her front door. In her arms was her tiny granddaughter, just a few days old. It was reminiscent of the first pilgrims who came to her home in November of 1988, who were packed in, day after day for three months, to be in the presence of Our Lady. Back then she was holding a little baby as well, but instead of her granddaughter, it was her own newborn son, Joseph Michael, who had been born in the midst of the apparitions in her home, on the Feast Day of the Holy Family, December 30, 1988. Our Lady became a part of this family that long ago, and here, 20 years later, She continues to come to share in the intimate moments of this family’s life, choosing the Bed as Her altar for the family. Since then over one-hundred thousand people have come and prayed in the Bedroom. Of all the visits of Our Lady, this one will hold special meaning and joy to us because we feel that She came just for us this time. For whatever reasons She may have had in doing so, one thing She did make clear:
What we receive, we are to give to others. We are confirmed in our calling, in the way of life Our Lady initiated here and continues to guide here through our founder, and in our hope for the future. Our Lady has asked us to give you Her love. We also give you this hope.
With All the love Our Lady has Given to us,
We Wish to Give to You this July 1–5,
The Community of Caritas
The clock on the wall captured the time of the community’s visit to the hospital at 7:00 p.m. The last two hours had been a whirlwind for the community, with the surprise of Paolo and Marija’s sudden appearance, the apparition with Our Lady at 5:55 p.m. and then on to the hospital. Marija, Paolo and Giovanni can be seen creeping up from behind, as community members part to surprise the parents of little Victoria Maria.
“I will come whenever you pray,” were the words of Our Lady the evening before when She was asked for the time of apparition the next day. With everyone going in every direction throughout the day, it was a great grace to be able to choose when to gather together. As it ended up, the community wasn’t all together until the end of the night. We came together for the apparition at 9:00 p.m. What sweet words to hear after the apparition that Our Lady had smiled when Marija presented the community to Her.
Blessed Sacrament Church in Birmingham, Alabama. This church has always been important to the history of the community because it was the childhood church of our founder, where he received all his sacraments, where he was taught the faith by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, where he was married, and where he often came during his initial conversion in Medjugorje to pray. With this history, it has always been the desire of those being married in the community to have their marriage ceremony take place in Blessed Sacrament. This is the third marriage in the community to do so.
One of the “Tents of Solitude” can be seen in the background, in the side aisle of the church. The second tent is located on the opposite side aisle. The couple, though separated in the tents, are fully present amongst their family and friends in this sweet hour of prayer.
In many weddings, the tradition that the groom doesn’t see the bride on their wedding day until she is walking down the aisle towards him has all but been lost. In going towards convenience in having all the wedding pictures taken before the ceremony, the anticipation, surprise and delight is lost for both the modern bride and groom. Today, commercialism rather than the Holy Sprit, dictates how a wedding unfolds. Special moments of surprise, even if they last only seconds, can bring about deeper conversion of hearts. Surprises bring joy. The “Tents of Solitude” were created and named so as to protect this joy for the bride and groom.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen once wrote, “It takes three to get married.” During their engagement period, the couple chooses a crucifix for their future bedroom. During the wedding ceremony this crucifix is held by the priest, and then by the bride and groom as they state their vows to each other. The crucifix is then hung above their bed as a testimony of these vows and a commitment of prayer before this crucifix in joys, sorrows, and trials will always keep these vows strong in their hearts. The community gives the wedding format free for all those who wish to use it for their wedding.
The crucifix above the bed in the Bedroom of Apparitions has shaped and molded the young people in the community to desire to bring that holiness into their own homes and marriages. Our founder encouraged them each to find a corpus for their crucifixes, but to make the cross themselves. This is one of the cherished traditions that Our Lady inspired among the couples looking toward marriage in the community. To see these young couples search for the perfect piece of wood within our forests, and cut, dry, carve, fashion and mold that piece of wood into a cross, and complete it with the corpus, all the while they are preparing for the day of their marriage, is something very beautiful. The above couple inscribed on the back of the cross for their wedding the following words from Our Lady’s July 25, 1999 message: “…I desire for my, Jesus’ and your heart to become one heart of love and peace…”
For the apparition today, again Our Lady said, “I will come whenever you pray.” The moment of the apparition came just after Holy Communion and the Ave Maria was sung and the couple went before the statue of Our Lady to consecrate their marriage to Her. Their were four priests and one deacon who concelebrated the marriage Mass, who also received the surprise of being before Our Lady in the apparition.
Twenty-three years ago, the Caritas founder knelt before this statue of Our Lady in Blessed Sacrament Church and wrote a petition to Our Lady, asking if the same conversion that was taking place in Medjugorje be allowed to take place here and be divinely spread throughout the entire region. Miraculously, he was given the opportunity to present this question to Our Lady in Medjugorje, through Marija, who at that time, he did not know, and Our Lady told him, “Pray and by your life witness. Not with words but rather through prayer will you attain what your desire is. Therefore, pray more and live in humility.” To have Our Lady appear in this exact location, 23 years later, was a great joy for the whole community. For Our Lady to bless this new couple who have accepted and embraced the “way of salvation” that She originated through the Bedroom and the Field, through the founder and his family, through the community coming together, was a beautiful confirmation of our rule of life, written by our founder, as inspired by Our Lady’s messages.
Many friends who had come for the wedding and planned to stay a few more days were blessed to be present for an apparition. We were all blessed with another smile from Our Lady on this day of St. Valentine’s Day, the day of celebrating love. Marija, in praying for all those who are married and all those who are not married, presented in that category also those who have chosen to live their lives consecrated to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, without marriage. Little Victoria, the granddaughter of our founder, was placed on the Bed for the apparition, her first time with Our Lady.
It became an everyday routine that after the apparition, Marija would go into the living room and tell stories about her experiences with Our Lady. Some, hearing Marija was here and driving all night long to come to the Field, never dreamed they would be picked and invited into the Bedroom for the apparition, or be able to stand so close to Marija and hear her speak.
The apparition on Monday, February 16. Though yesterday’s apparition was much shorter than the other days, today Our Lady graced us with a long apparition. There were many families with their children present today, outside of the community families. When Marija prayed for all the children present, Our Lady immediately smiled.
These were the children whom Our Lady smiled at this day. What other gift could a parent want for their child? Marija, with the wife and daughter in law of our founder help to keep the brood happy for the picture.
Pilgrims continued to hear about Our Lady’s presence and came throughout the week, while the community continued to celebrate special days of birthdays and anniversaries that happened to land in this special week with Our Lady. The parents of Victoria celebrated their 3rd wedding anniversary, and the Bed was decorated as a little surprise for them. Not only special rosaries, medals, pictures are brought into the apparition when Our Lady comes to visit, but even wedding dresses and keepsakes from special celebrations are present in the apparition for Our Lady to bless.
This was the scene of the apparition just before our founder walked through the door. Marija, too, had a surprise when she came out of the apparition. One moment he wasn’t there, the next he was kneeling right beside her. For the members of the community, it was a significant apparition for the obvious sign and also a big joy. The next morning was the last apparition and Our Lady left us with Her sweet words, “I give my love to you, you give it to others.” If the mission of Caritas is important to you please support us in this special time of need for prayers and financial support for the expenses and preparations for July 1–5, 2009 thank you.