November 3, 2014 A.D.
The Cross on Penitentiary Mountain at Caritas, built to consecrate the United States of America to the Cross in 2013, stands as a replica of the Cross in Medjugorje. The Cross on Penitentiary Mountain was unveiled during the apparitions of Our Lady at Caritas’ Five Days of Prayer, July 1-5, 2013. Our Lady appeared to Medjugorje visionary, Marija Lunetti, at the foot of the Cross and blessed it on June 30, 2013. As a Croatian from Medjugorje, Marija has grown up honoring the Cross, understanding it as a strong sign of consecration before God.
There are only two well-known places that significantly celebrate the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross on September 14. Since before the beginning of Our Lady’s apparitions, nowhere on earth has the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross been celebrated as it has been in Medjugorje. After the apparitions began, upwards of 100,000 pilgrims have been drawn together to celebrate this Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. Thousands of Croatian people from all over the region, as well as many from around the world, meet at the foot of the Cross, covering Cross Mountain for a solemn celebration of Holy Mass. There, on that mountain consecrated to God, the world is drawn to the Cross, bringing to life the Bible passage from John:
“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” John 12:32
Not even in Jerusalem, at the site of Jesus’ Crucifixion, is the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross celebrated as it is in Medjugorje. There, in Jerusalem, you would see a small gathering of 20 people or so, the Mass celebrated, and within an hour, everything put away.
Medjugorje visionary, Marija, was moved by her experience in Alabama at the Cross on Penitentiary Mountain in 2013. Marija and Caritas’ founder spoke together a few months afterwards about coming back to Alabama. Marija suggested for the celebration of the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, September 14, 2014. After much prayer and several discussions, it was decided that Marija would come to Alabama for a private visit, as she has sometimes done in the past. In order to prepare spiritually and consecrate our hearts again to Our Lady in Her presence, the Community, with others, began a 33-day consecration to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart that would end on the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross on September 14.
This visit of Marija fell at a time which Caritas’ founder came to see as “providential” for both he and the Caritas Community, as well as the mission, to gather around Our Lady in prayer and petition, seeking Her guidance for what is to come next. After eight years of raising funds and doing the seemingly endless and tiring work of expansion, the mission of Caritas is nearing the completion of the Retooling of The Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages. The mission, through increasing its capacity, is expanding, springing forth in production to be used by Our Lady in bringing ever greater numbers of hearts to conversion. Our Lady has been building this mission even before its founding in 1986, the call of which is first for us in Community to live Her messages ourselves and then spread Her plans and messages throughout the world.
With this private visit of September 2014, reminiscent of the beginning days of the apparitions here, it was the founder’s desire to re-consecrate the lands here to Our Lady for their continued protection. Before Our Lady’s first apparitions at Caritas in 1988, he placed before God the desire to develop the lands, here in this Valley, in such a way that they would always be in harmony with God’s Will. These desires were first manifested into a series of short ardent prayers from the heart, that later were woven into a prayer of consecration just after Our Lady’s first visit in 1988. This prayer of consecration, “The Prayer for the Abode of God,” has been said daily here in the Field of Apparitions since 1989, to give Our Lady the prayers necessary in helping to preserve the lands, just as they are; a Holy Place of conversion. These lands were, therefore, consecrated to Our Lady for Her plans and purposes, even years before the existence of the Community, by the hands, heart, and sacrifices of our founder, his wife and their family.
As planned, Marija arrived at Caritas on the significant date of September 11, 2014. We felt Our Lady’s arrival on September 11, “9/11,” to be a sign, as the Cross at Caritas was built to consecrate the United States to God, binding it to the Cross. Though these days with Our Lady had to be kept a secret at the time to keep it private, we wish to pass on to you the graces received, that you also will be blessed in what Our Lady did during Her visit of September 2014, at Caritas. The days spent with Our Lady were intimate and very beautiful, filled with blessings, graces and even several surprises. As the days unfolded, we found out Our Lady had Her own little secrets planned. Marija calls these surprises “candies” that Our Lady gives us.
The Apparitions of September 11-17, 2014, at Caritas
What follows is a day by day unfolding of Our Lady’s private visit through Medjugorje visionary, Marija, with Caritas’ founder, his family and the Community of Caritas, and a few who joined us.
Apparition on Thursday, September 11, 2014
As many who have visited here before know, when Marija is here at Caritas, our founder always asks Marija, before she comes to Caritas, to ask Our Lady if She will wait for Her daily apparition until Marija arrives. This is so because he, his family and the Community long to be with Our Lady. We all look forward to this first welcome visit of Our Lady. On this September 11, Marija’s apparition should have already happened eight hours before. To our delight, Our Lady had waited to appear until She was received in the Bedroom of Apparitions.
The First Apparition, Thursday, September 11, 2014, in the Bedroom of Apparitions
Marija is gazing at Our Lady, while little children and bigger “children” all kneel around the Bed to greet Our Lady at the moment of apparition. The family Bedroom becomes Our Lady’s Chambers, Her intimate place of gathering. Angels grace the walls, reminding those who know of the many times real angels have come with Our Lady in this room. When Marija kneels at the foot of the Bed, it is always a sign that Our Lady’s arrival is only moments away.
When Marija arrived, the Community gathered to welcome her. As Our Lady did wait for the apparition, it was a great gift and joy for the Community. We don’t take this grace for granted. We know we don’t deserve such a gift; we know that it is God Who permits Our Lady to be with us. Our Lady appeared in the Bedroom with just the Community present.
On this 13th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center, a piece of glass from the Twin Towers, shattered during the attack on September 11, 2001, lies on the Bed of Apparitions, in a wooden box upon a blue velvet bag. The tragedy of 9/11 will always be in the memory of America as a day when we lost the protection of God that our nation's mainland has always enjoyed. The Cross is the remedy in obtaining His protection again.
Present on the Bed for this September 11, “9/11,” apparition was a piece of thick glass recovered from the fallen World Trade Center. It was given to our founder for the Community as a gift during a field trip visit of our school-aged children in May of 2002, eight months after the attack, when we received permission to pray the Patriotic Rosary 1 on the roof of the fire station, which overlooked the site where the Twin Towers had stood. The fire chief in charge of the massive cleanup job was so moved upon hearing this Rosary and the patriotic songs sung by our youth and adults of the Community, that he gave us a piece of glass, referring to it as a “diamond.” He said they called these pieces of glass, “diamonds,” because there were so few actually found, as most had melted or were ground to dust when the World Trade Center fell. We were told that these “diamonds” were given only to the family members of those who had died that September day. We were all moved to receive such a gift, and this relic has become a part of the prayers of remembrance the Community prays on 9/11 each year. We never expected this glass would be in the presence of Our Lady in an apparition on September 11; a piece of glass, which is a witness stone, in real-time, of the moment where 3,000 souls went to their eternal destiny.
One of the Community girls, Faith Marie, watches Marija’s face during the apparition. Faith is growing up with Our Lady’s visits, and is so close as to be able to look at the reflection of Heaven in Marija’s eyes. She is captivated by what Marija sees that she cannot see. Our Lady said, March 25, 1992, “…pray, live my messages and then you will see the miracles of God’s love in your every day life…” What greater miracle than to be in the presence of Our Lady in this time of grace?
Our Lady has arrived, as seen by the children’s faces as they peer into Marija’s eyes, who peers into the eyes of Our Lady. Marija has told us that during her apparitions, the ceiling and walls of the Bedroom disappear and Our Lady is before us in a great expanse without parameters. This is always of great wonderment to the children, who try to grasp how walls disappear and Our Lady enters. During this apparition, Our Lady stayed some time praying over us and Marija said She “watched” us, which is always an endearing thing as Our Lady scans and looks at each face in the room before Her.
Marija’s description of tonight’s September 11, 2014, apparition:
“Our Lady prayed over us and blessed us. I recommended all of us and all of our intentions. Tomorrow night Our Lady said, “I will come when you pray.”
The founder asked Marija:
“Did She say where She would appear tomorrow?”
“She didn’t say. We pray. I think here in the Home. I don’t know, we pray.”
After this sweet greeting of Our Lady, the Community went back to work. Most worked until midnight, with several Community members working into the early morning hours with cleanup and projects still undone.
Friday, September 12, 2014
Friday, September 12, was the first full day of prayer for the small number of people gathered together with the Community for this private visit with Our Lady. Our founder, in speaking of when and where the apparition would be this day, said:
As far as today’s apparition (Friday, September 12, 2014), Our Lady did something a little bit different. Usually She will say, “Same time, same place,” or She will tell us where She is going to appear. She didn’t say any of that, She just said, “When you pray, I will come.”
He then explained how Our Lady has said and done this several times in Her visits with the Community in the past. He said:
“We, through our lives, are a window for Our Lady to transmit the stories of Our Lady's [apparitions] to future generations who are not even in existence at this time.”
Here was something different, a story of Our Lady’s plan, unfolding by Her simply not giving a “place” for the apparition. Yet, there was another unexpected surprise still to come. There was no time schedule to keep. Our Lady would come when we were most ready to receive Her. And because of this, these days with Our Lady were beautiful. The pace of preparation was peaceful, as perhaps the apostles felt with Jesus when they stopped, rested, and were just with Him in the joy of the moment of having time with Him.
It was decided because there were too many people to fit in the Bedroom for each apparition, but not too many to fit in the home, that the apparitions would take place in the living room of the home. The last time Our Lady appeared in the living room of this home was on July 31, 2005. For the next day’s apparition our founder then requested, in regards to the moment we would be with Our Lady, to remember the Cross in our prayers.
“There’s a lot depending on this Cross and this mountain for what’s going to come here in the future, for what’s going to come across the nation, what’s going to come to the world. And we’re already seeing this manifesting. We’re seeing it in our hearts, there is a fire [Our Lady has placed in our hearts for the Cross]. We’re seeing the things Our Lady is doing for us and we know it’s not for something for us, but for God’s plan that He initiated here back in 1988 and even before that…”
The Cross in Jeopardy
Through the course of these days with Our Lady, our founder revealed some news about the Cross. The Cross was under attack and in danger. He said:
“Just because we’re begging God for this mountain and Our Lady for Her intentions…It doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. There are people that went to hell today. That was not God’s intention. He didn’t want that. Our Lady said on August 1, 1985:
“It’s totally dependent on you. She said, “…I need you. I chose you. You are important.” (June 1981) If She can’t do it through us, She can’t do it. She cannot exercise what She wants to do if She can’t motivate us to do what She needs to accomplish through us.
“When we put the Cross on the mountain, we knew we couldn’t purchase the mountain, we knew we didn’t have the money. We didn’t have the capacity to see how we would get the money and we still don’t. Now, we are only a short period of time away from losing the Cross; from the possibility of the Cross even being torn down. We are down to the wire on it and it’s bigger than all of us here can handle really. But you all know this Cross wasn’t built symbolically. This Cross was built through much suffering, innumerable prayers, sacrifices, fasting and this is why we knew it would carry a grace of conversion for all who come before it and for our nation. It is why we can say with confidence we took upon, “a cross for a Cross.” No, it is not symbolic. It is a real, and now blessed Cross, blessed directly by Our Lady Herself. It was literally built for Her intentions, which we gave to Her through our prayers and sacrifices. And now satan wants to wrestle it away from us and from its purpose, ‘For the Soul of America.’ satan knew millions of conversions would come though this Cross. Why? Because it is consecrated for the purpose of conversion and was not built by money, but by suffering, sacrifices and tears, through joy and sorrow. The Cross already has a history - not only in the world, but in Heaven where its greatest Creature, the Holy Virgin Mary has touched it here through Her blessing on June 30, 2013. 2
Our Lady’s Apparition Friday night, September 12, 2014
Everyone began to gather in the intimacy of the family home around 6:00 p.m., filling the living room, the library, the stairwell and up into the loft, just like it had been in 1988.
The candles on the fireplace mantel were lit each evening for Our Lady’s apparition. Gold and amber light reflect the colors of autumn, as well as our desire to create beauty around us worthy of the radiance of the Queen. Like the bridesmaids in Scripture, we lit our lamps, waiting for the Bride to come…longing for Her arrival. Our Lady said, March 2, 2013:
Petitions and roses greet the Mother with love from Her children, at each of Our Lady’s apparitions. We also, from the heart of the Community, did not forget all those whose love and support has sustained Our Lady’s mission here for all these years.
Marija kneels in the living room beneath a picture of Our Lady moments before Our Lady would come.
Before Our Lady arrived on Friday, September 12, all gathered knelt down. Our Lady appeared in the living room of the family home. Though the great majority of Our Lady’s apparitions in this house have taken place in the Bedroom, on a few other occasions, in past years, Our Lady has appeared before the fireplace, a symbol of the warmth and heart of the home. There were also apparitions in several other rooms in 1988-1989. This home, designed over 30 years ago, providentially with no hallways, became another sign of blessing during the apparition, as all could be together with Our Lady and each other in this home consecrated to Her and by Her. From the balcony and loft, down the stairs, from the kitchen and into the library, the heart of the home was filled and most everyone had a vantage point where they could see Marija.
Alarge stone fireplace reminded us that all of Our Lady’s followers are living stones from across the world, many of whom in the past, and those gathered here, have been blessed by the presence of the Mother of the Church. They are among Her apostles, Her witnesses for the renewal of the Church through Medjugorje. Our Lady said January 25, 2013:
Marija’s description of the apparition, Friday, September 12, 2014, that took place in the living room:
“During the moment of apparition, when Our Lady came, I recommended all of us, all of our intentions, and Our Lady prayed over us and She blessed us all. And before, I remember the first time when we (the founder and his family in 1988) were here [in the living room] and people came with many flowers. I always used to say, we need (to pray) here [in the living room] because many times people come also here [to pray overflowing from the Bedroom into the living room], because the reality is that this house becomes, when I gave my kidney to my brother 3 - this house became a chapel – as Our Lady appeared in the living room, the sleeping room (Bedroom) and other rooms…”
Apparition on Saturday, September 13, 2014, Eve of the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross
In preparation for tonight’s apparition that again was taking place in the living room, the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary were started by a Community member beginning at 7:00 p.m., with others joining in to lead each following decade. All gathered were kneeling shoulder to shoulder, flowing into the kitchen, library, loft and stairwell. The prayer again was strong and filled the home. This was the Eve of the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, and within the hearts and minds of the founder and the Community was a wonderment of what Our Lady would do in the apparition. Our Lady has a history in Her visits at Caritas of marking the “eve” of significant dates and apparitions with a surprise for all gathered.
Back in 2013, as stated earlier, Marija had arrived at Caritas a couple days early for the Five Days of Prayer for the Reconciliation of Ourselves, Our Families and Our Nation Back to God, July 1-5, 2013. During the apparition of June 29, 2013, at the request of Caritas’ founder , Marija asked Our Lady to bless the Cross just freshly erected on Penitentiary Mountain. Back then we, in the Bedroom, were shocked with joy, as Our Lady not only said “yes,” that She would bless the Cross, but She told Marija that She would do it at the site of the Cross . The next day, June 30, 2013, the Community climbed to the Cross, praying the Stations of the Cross up the mountain for the first time together. At the Cross, with all gathered before Her, Our Lady appeared to Marija and blessed the Cross.
With this sweet memory of last year fresh in our hearts, there was the hope that Our Lady would again appear at the Cross, blessing it on this special Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, the next day, Sunday, September 14. We all waited in the warmth and beauty of the living room, in prayerful anticipation of what Our Lady would unfold.
For these children of the Community, gathered at Marija’s feet, this moment is one they wait for with each apparition. Who of us wouldn’t wish to be in their spot? Under Our Lady’s mantle, even though they are young, they have been bathed in Our Lady’s presence through several visits since they were infants. Their piety is sincere and humble. They are simple children who are not kneeling in an outward posture of prayer, but who, for the next days, will think and talk about what they observed in Marija this night. When the apparitions will have passed into history, they will testify about what Marija’s eyes did, how her lips moved; if she nodded her head and how many times. But for now, they will go about their play as if this experience was natural, rather than supernatural. Our Lady’s presence is their “normal.” This is the witness of prayer in our children.
After Our Lady left, Marija led all gathered in reciting the Magnificat and the Glory Be. Then, smiling, Marija described what Our Lady did in the apparition, Saturday, September 13, 2014:
“During the moment of apparition when Our Lady came, I recommended all of us, all of our intentions, all that we have in our hearts. Our Lady prayed over us for long time and She blessed us all. I asked also about tomorrow, ‘If it is possible to have some special apparition over at Cross Mountain?'
"So with God’s help, we have also this grace for tomorrow, for the Feast of the Cross… In special way, I asked Our Lady if it is possible to have a special apparition during tomorrow over Cross Mountain because it is the Feast of the Cross. Always I said to Our Lady, the Cross is for us a sign of salvation, and it would make us happy if it is possible that She come and bless.
"Our founder asked Marija: "So She smiled?"
Marija responded, “[At the moment] When I asked. And after I don’t know. I tried to ask Our Lady if it is possible to have this special blessing. (Marija was referring to Our Lady’s presence by the Cross as the “special blessing.”) Also because we have here the property of the land and we have this Cross who (our founder) decided to place as a sign of Christ over this land, [For the Soul of America, and this Valley as well] over this Community, for all people who pass and who watch and welcome like sign of Jesus’ presence in special way. And so I asked Our Lady also with our prayer, our sacrifice, our life would be really a testimony of peace, of salvation, not only for us, but also salvation for many people who is yet to come; from generation unto generation.
And this is a sign like many Churches. I live in Italy and churches are many times built in difficult times, and it is so beautiful. So the best thing is possible for us to give this Cross, built in a difficult time, (to God) like these churches, this sanctuary of Our Lady 6 of this beautiful sign of our faith, for all people who pass [Cross], who see and who believe.”
Our founder then asked Marija: “So you asked for a blessing for the land and the Cross?”
Marija: “I asked Our Lady’s presence for blessing, yes.”
Our founder: “What did She do?”
Marija: “Our Lady said, ‘Yes, She will come tomorrow’…And after Our Lady prayed over us and She blessed us like always, like when a priest does. She extended Her hands and prayed over us, and after She blessed us with Sign of the Cross. And She left. And every time when She leaves I would like to say, ‘I’ll come with You…’”
After a few more words to those gathered, Marija said:
“Also presence of Our Lady is special sign for us…”
Though we had all kindled hope in our hearts that tomorrow’s apparition would be on the mountain at the Cross, no one had anticipated that Our Lady would choose 3:00 p.m. Our founder was silently stunned and taken aback. He never thought about an apparition at the Cross, on this day, at 3:00 p.m. Community members in turn also said it never crossed their minds that Our Lady would choose such a time. Our Lady knew this would be a “joyous awe moment” for us.
Listening to Marija tell us how she asked Our Lady the question about time and place, seeing Marija’s face suddenly break out into a smile as she said, “3 o’clock,” signaled to us Our Lady’s own joy in giving us such a gift. Her presence at the Cross, at the 3 o’clock hour, the moment of Jesus’ death 2,000 years ago, during our first official celebration of the Feast of the Triumph of our Cross, September 14, 2014, was the stake on Penitentiary Mountain 7 that we believe in faith will release ourselves, our families and our nation from the prison of sin, as inscribed onto the Cross, “From Every Evil, Deliver Us O’ Jesus.” When Marija relayed the time to us of the apparition, everyone was overjoyed, and yes, surprised at Our Lady’s goodness.
Inscribed in the concrete of our Cross on Penitentiary Mountain at Caritas, Alabama, are the same words as on the Cross built on Krizevac(Cross Mountain) in Medjugorje. The villagers of Medjugorje built the Cross in 1933, for the 1,900th anniversary of Christ’s death, as a sign and covenant with God. Also during this time, the area was plagued with hailstorms which were destroying their crops and grape vineyards, so they prayed also for God’s protection over their valley. The top portion of the Cross holds the dedication by the people, “To Jesus Christ the Redeemer of Mankind, As a Sign of Our Faith, Love and Hope.” Then follows the plea calling down God’s protection over them through the Cross, “From Every Evil Deliver Us, O’ Jesus.” After the Cross was erected on Cross Mountain in 1933, there never has been another damaging hailstorm, except for the storm on June 23, 1981, on the Eve of Our Lady’s first apparition in the village, which was so fierce, the villagers thought it was apocalyptic and some panicked. In 1933, the villagers staked their flag, crying out to God. He answered through His protection, and in making the lands holy through this consecration, Our Lady was able to come to this people who had consecrated themselves, their families and their land to the Cross 48 years before (1933-1981). We at Caritas, Alabama, have put up our flag, staking and claiming the Cross on Penitentiary Mountain as a place to beg, pray, and petition for the rebirth of the United States of America to return to its origins and Christian principles. We ask people everywhere to join in crying out to God, petitioning Heaven that God would return His protection once again to our homeland.
Sunday, September 14, 2014, Feast of the Triumph of the Cross
The Community and guests gathered in the Field at 1:30 p.m. to begin the climb up the mountain. It was a hot Sunday in September, much warmer than previous days, and as we climbed praying the fourteen Stations of the Cross, the heat was at its highest point of the day. But everything was grace for all those who climbed the mountain. We were willing to bear whatever sacrifices were asked of us, knowing there were no sacrifices we would offer that could make us worthy to receive the gift Our Lady was giving us in appearing by our Cross on this day, of all days, when Her Son’s Cross is remembered, honored and revered across the world.
With some already kneeling in prayer for an hour, the Rosary was begun around 2:30 p.m. in preparation for Our Lady’s 3:00 p.m. arrival. The steps, unique to this Cross, were designed to provide a place of prayer - kneeling, sitting, or ascending to the Cross.
On top of Penitentiary Mountain, the clouds and brilliant blue sky were a beautiful backdrop to Our Lady’s coming, and She even graced us with pleasant cool breezes every now and then.
Marija’s description of the apparition of September 14, 2014, at the Cross:
“During the moment of apparition when Our Lady came, I recommend to Our Lady all of us, all of our intentions, all that we have in our hearts. Our Lady prayed over us and She blessed us…Our Lady blessed us. And I think it’s beautiful also to be here. Through this Cross, Our Lady and God blessed us with all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, all our life…” *
*“God blessed us with all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, all our life…” Little did we know that on this day, September 14, 2014, Marija was prophetic when She told us this. You will understand when you read about the September 16, 2014, apparition, so keep the above words in mind.
Shortly after Marija’s September visit to Caritas, on October 12, 2014, the Sunday Mass reading spoke of what Marija had stated in the above description of Our Lady’s September 14, 2014, visitation:
It is to God that this Cross was erected on this mountain, as already stated. It is a flag calling down God’s blessing again upon our nation and the world. In Marija’s words describing the encounter with Heaven at the Cross, she said:
“…Through this Cross Our Lady and God blessed us…”
God’s hand rested on Penitentiary Mountain this September day.
After the apparition, Marija invited everyone to sit down before describing to us what had taken place in the apparition.
After describing what happened in the apparition, and conscious of the hour, Marija extended this invitation to all gathered:
“And it being also 3 o’clock, 3 and 15, it’s possibility also we pray the Chaplet (Chaplet of Divine Mercy). The Chaplet would be beautiful here.”
Kneeling beneath the “fount of mercy,” all gathered prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. We then pronounced the words of our individual consecration to Our Lady, which we had spent the past 33 days preparing for. What people live moments like these - except those who, through Medjugorje, experience a seamless life between Heaven and earth!
As if all the graces so far weren’t enough, a gift that the Community and mission of Caritas had just recently received was revealed to everyone present. During its construction in 2013, our founder had desired to have a relic of the True Cross upon which Jesus died placed within this large cement Cross, that the power of the relic might be an instrument for greater graces of conversion from all who would pray at the Cross from now until the end of time. In the week before Our Lady came, a dear friend of the Community came forward with a surprising gift: a relic of the True Cross with papers from the Vatican. This relic had been in her family for years. It was not an easy sacrifice for her to part with, but she knew in her heart the great blessing this relic would be for so many others. In that realization she found the strength to give up her treasure. Her letter follows:
“I would like to thank you and Caritas for personally inviting me to Caritas this weekend to pray with the Community and Marija Lunetti (Pavlovic). I felt very blessed and humbled by your invitation.
“In our conversation this afternoon we spoke about the offer I made last July 2013 when Caritas installed the Cross on top of the mountain. If I remember correctly, Caritas mentioned that they would like to insert a relic of the True Cross of Jesus into the Cross and I remember with reluctance I stepped forward and spoke to you. Actually the Holy Spirit pushed me.
“I had forgotten about that request until you called this afternoon and we spoke about it on the phone and Caritas’ plans for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.
“In our conversation, I knew you understood how difficult it would be for anyone to give away such a priceless, treasured relic. I have had this relic about 18 years and I remember the first time I received it. It was quite overwhelming knowing that a splinter size relic of the Cross that Jesus was nailed to and died on for our sins and knowing His Mother was at the foot of this splinter of the Cross was beyond explanation. I remembered keeping it under my pillow at night for many weeks afterwards wanting to be close to that splinter.
“I have kept this relic on top of all places, a radiator cover, in a spare bedroom. On top of the radiator cover are statues of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The relic lay between these statues and each night I would kneel in front of the radiator and say my evening prayers.
“To know that this relic will be inserted into the Cross on top of the mountain for me is bitter-sweet. I will miss the relic, of course, and tonight I will place it under my pillow for the last time. Not too many people knew I had this sacred splinter. After having it for many years, it becomes a part of you much like an heirloom. You hold onto something that is handed down through the family because it represents a history of the family. In this case the heirloom that was handed down through my family was my faith and this relic represented that.
“I was not able to climb Cross Mountain at Caritas last year. I had spent four days at Caritas during the first week of July (2013), but felt I should return back to Philly to spend July 4th with my husband.
“With joy I release this relic to Caritas. It was Caritas who brought me to know the Blessed Mother in the Field, under the Tree, on a very cold morning in December of 1991 at 5:00 a.m. praying with a blanket wrapped around my winter coat wondering if I lost my marbles as I watched my breath escape in a mist at every word in the Hail Mary.
“Knowing this precious sacred splinter will have a permanent home at the top of a mountain overlooking a holy valley is as priceless. Thank you for giving me this privilege to give something back to Caritas. Our Lady Queen of Peace, pray for us, and bless Caritas.
With Sincere Gratitude,
Marija, after hearing the story of the gift, suggested that each person come and venerate the relic.
The following are just a few of the meaningful moments spent during the Hour of Mercy, before the True Cross, in the shadow of this Cross, now a living relic, blessed by the Queen of Heaven’s presence.
Behold, a relic of the True Cross, a sliver of wood that held the body of Jesus as He gave His life for the salvation of mankind, offering us in His final moments His last treasure on earth, His Mother who comes anew to us today.
“When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing near, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’” (John 19:26-27)
Beautiful music softly played, maintaining the quiet, prayerful peace that Our Lady had brought from Heaven. For the next several hours, a line formed circling the Cross leading up to the relic; a piece of the wood from the True Cross Jesus bled and died upon.
At the foot of the Cross, just after 3:00 p.m., a mother in the Community holds in her hands a piece of the Cross of Christ, the True Cross sprinkled with the water that sprung forth from Jesus’ side 2,000 years ago. She offers it in her hand to her son, whose pure lips touch the relic. Our Lady said:
October 2, 2014
A father teaches his daughter to bless with the Cross in her hand. He guides her small hand in a reverent gesture of blessing. It was Our Lady’s hands 2,000 years ago Who guided Jesus’ tiny hands, teaching Him also to bless. What lessons are parents teaching children today? What values? Our Lady, the Mother of the World teaches us:
February 13, 1989
The Field of Apparitions, as seen from the Cross on Penitentiary Mountain - all was prayerfully planned and developed, designed intentionally by our founder to preserve what God had created as a spiritual oasis in the way that it is seen in the present, to continue into the future, as a place of conversion for generation unto generation. Buildings, equipment, even the beautiful Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages remain hidden, to protect the peace and organic setting of this place of conversion and beauty - Our Lady’s oasis. Our Lady said July 25, 1999: “…I want to realize here, not only a place of prayer but also a meeting of hearts…” - Hers, Her Son’s, and those hearts you meet here who experience conversion while you walk this Holy ground.
All lingered for a long time in prayer and reflection at the Cross. The sun began its descent toward the horizon as the last pilgrims began their descent down the mountain, taking with them an experience of Biblical significance. Our Lady said June 24, 1986, upon Cross Mountain in Medjugorje:
Our Lady’s words, ‘You are on a Tabor…’ are full of meaning. The Bible tells us the following:
We pray and entrust the saving of the Cross at Caritas to the Woman, the Woman of Revelation. We ask you to pray, pray, pray to Her to win this Cross, for the Soul of America, and to accept our offer to bind America to the Cross, bringing it to its knees for its salvation through our repentance.
Monday, September 15, 2014, Community of Caritas School Presentation
Every year our Community school, named, “Our Lady of Victory's Little Schoolhouse,” is transformed to physically reflect a theme Our Lady shows us through prayer, to focus on for the year. Our school presentations witness the way of life lived in the messages at Caritas, and bring the theme to life primarily for the Community, but also for all those who see it reenacted during Caritas retreats throughout the year. This year, however, because we were pressed to finish so many other projects before Our Lady’s visit, there was little time to focus on the school presentation—except for the wee hours of the morning. The night before the school presentation, those involved in the presentation were up very late, while other projects for the following day continued to be worked on. Despite the sacrifice of many sleepless nights, this gift of love unfolded beautifully for our children and all gathered, touching many of those who experienced it.
This is only one of several moving moments in the presentation. Walking with Our Lady’s messages, brought forth into life from a time past, brings conversion; hearts are opened and healed, giving hope and planting the seeds of ideas that will sprout in the lives of those who experienced these days. Would you like to know what’s happening here? Come December 8-12 to Caritas and see it live!
All of Our Lady’s children learn in Our Lady’s “School of Love,” lessons at Caritas through a witness of life in living Her messages, as reflected in the faces of those gathered here. There is a principle taught by Our Lady’s messages in the life of our founder, which is written in the hearts of the children attending Our Lady of Victory's Little Schoolhouse at Caritas. That principle is: “The most important lesson to learn is not from a book, but how to love.”
“How to love” is taught through the way of life lived through the messages in the Community. The children see time and again in real time, how this principle brings all their daily lessons into perspective. As in our mission, our school day begins and ends with prayer. So, too, does the school presentation. Although, the above picture, showing a moment of prayer, is not the end of the presentation…you can come December 8-12, 2014, to see the ending in person.
After the presentation, there was some time to prepare in prayer for another encounter with Our Lady.
Apparition on Monday, September 15, 2014
The apparition later that evening on Monday, September 15, found all gathered together once again—back in the living room with the Community, family and others present. All began gathering at 6:00 p.m., praying in the Bedroom and throughout the house, filling it with silent prayer. The Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary were prayed beginning at 7:00 p.m., with those present offering this Rosary for a particular intention.
With great joy, Marija again described what took place, what our eyes could not see, yet what our spirits beheld. She revealed still yet another surprise Our Lady had for the Community. Marija said when describing the September 15, 2014, Monday apparition
“During the moment of apparition, Our Lady prayed over us the whole time. And She blessed us and then She left. She watched us, and She prayed over us. She watched all of us. No message… But Our Lady’s presence is (message). But Our Lady said tomorrow She would like to be with the Community, 9 o’clock in morning.”
A Friend of Medjugorje, very surprised asked, “Is that right?”
Marija said, “Yes.”
A Friend of Medjugorje: “Did She say where?”
Marija: "'Here.' I said, ‘Tomorrow with Community?’ She (Our Lady) said, 'Community.'"
After the apparition the evening of Monday, September 15, Marija was especially joyful and talked a long while with those present in the home.
Again, this was an unexpected action from Our Lady. Marija explained further that tomorrow’s apparition for Tuesday, September 16, was only for the Community. Not only did Our Lady say, “only the Community,” but She chose an unusual hour for the apparition—9:00 a.m. There was no question where the apparition would be in anyone’s heart. During these days of Her visit, for all of Her apparitions, Our Lady appeared in the living room, so all could be together. However, for this September 16th apparition with the Community, Marija later told our founder it was to be in the “Bedroom.” Our Lady had chosen the intimacy of Her Chambers, the Bedroom, the intimate gathering place of the family, just as She had during Her first visitation there in 1988.
Apparition on Tuesday morning, September 16, 2014
As has become our “tradition,” the members of the Community gathered on the front porch of our founder and his wife’s home an hour and a half before the 9:00 a.m. meeting with Heaven, to write out our own petitions to Our Lady before the Rosary would begin in the Bedroom. This was initiated years ago when our founder realized that often times, because of the work involved in getting ready for Our Lady’s visits, the Community did not have the time to settle in our own hearts the peace of Our Lady until the last days with Her. To have the quiet time to write out our hearts to our Queen, just before being in Her presence, at the end of Her time with us is a precious gift that we all cherish each and every time. While the Community gathered in the Bedroom, those who were visiting Caritas gathered in prayer for the apparition in the Field under the Tree.
ACommunity member writing her heart-felt letter to Our Lady. During Her apparitions, Marija will present these letters directly to Our Lady. It seems surreal to be able to write Our Lady a letter and She comes down from Heaven to receive them, leaving with the words in Her heart! Given in the Bedroom of Apparitions on January 19, 1989, Our Lady stated Her desire:
The hand of a child in the Community places her letter on the Bed. How precious to a mother are the words of her children. Our words to Our Lady, Our Mother, are laid on the Bed, lying beneath Her feet during each apparition. Our Lady said October 2, 2014:
Marija in ecstasy in the Bedroom of Apparitions on September 16, 2014, is speaking to Our Lady, face to face, while the Community gathered around her and the Bed over which Our Lady appears.
The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary were begun in the Bedroom at 9:00 a.m., with songs sung slowly and with love between each decade. As the moment of the apparition came, Marija moved to the Bed to finish the end of the fifth decade. Just after she knelt, Our Lady came. The prayer paused - the silence, with just the Community present, was beautiful and intimate. As always, after Our Lady left, Marija began reciting the Magnificat.
But this time, again, was different. A ripple of excitement circulated the room as all witnessed Marija motioning to our founder to get paper. Marija got up immediately after Our Lady left, leaving the room before the Magnificat was begun. Taking the gold paper in her hands, she went straight into the library, outside the Bedroom. Our Lady had given a message! We were all overjoyed and filled with anticipation of what Our Lady wanted to say to us. While Marija was writing the message, our founder had the Community pray the seven Our Father’s, Hail Mary’s and Glory Be’s. Being so intent on these prayers, after several minutes, most everyone failed to notice Marija was back standing in the doorway. Repeatedly, with exaggeration, she cleared her throat, a smile on her face, signaling us to stop. We were all solemn, the room dead silent, some with hearts beating fast, others with intense focus upon Marija, readying themselves for every word Marija would pronounce.
Marija, then, with deep emotion, began to explain what happened:
“When Our Lady come, She immediately said, “Today I like to thank you dear children for your every prayer and sacrifice. What you (Marija, emotional with tears, paused here to collect herself) give for my intention.’ Our Lady blessed us all with Her Motherly blessing (Special Blessing) and She pray over us for a long time. She watch all of us (each face). Tomorrow Our Lady said, “I will come, when you pray.”
Later, our founder had Our Lady’s message, written by Marija in Croatian, translated into precise English. Below is the English translation of the words Our Lady said on Tuesday, September 16, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. to the Community of Caritas in the Bedroom of Apparitions:
Marija added that Our Lady prayed a long time over all of us and looked at each of us. “Our Lady was joyful” in this apparition, whereas Her normal disposition during the previous days of Her visit was “tranquil” meaning peaceful. Marija said also that Our Lady gave Her Motherly Special Blessing only to those in the Bedroom, while those praying in the Field received Her regular blessing. For all of the surprises Our Lady gave during the past five days, this was the greatest for the Community. Many in the room broke out in tears. Marija, being so moved reading the message told us the significance of Our Lady’s words. Our founder spoke to the Community afterwards:
Our Lady said, ‘Today...’ that’s how She started it. (Then) ‘...I desire to thank you.’ She didn’t have to say that. She wants us to know, ‘I’ am thanking you. So, what have we been praying for? [What were our] intentions when we’ve prayed the 54 day [Rosary] novenas back to back, and then all the prayers, fasting, the 9-day fast on bread and water we did for this…going up the mountain night after night through [the past months] … the consecrations, all of this adds up to something tangible for Our Lady to act on. The fact that Marija said Our Lady didn’t give the Special Blessing to those out by the Tree is even more significant, not because we’re better than anybody… but She wanted to connotate, “I’m blessing you. I am giving you the blessing specifically for those here in this room.” To me it’s very, very moving and very undeserved no matter what we’ve done… It does not matter [meaning we do not merit this]. But this makes everything worth it, if you look at everything we’ve done in the past two months. Don’t let this pass by…meditate on (Her) every word.”
He continued, explaining that we are building, through the grace of God, “something spiritual that is going to be lasting as a place of conversion…We’ve been asking that for more than 27 years; a daily consecration. There’s got to be an effect from a cause…This message is a confirmation – what was the reason for this? It was for the Cross. ‘...I desire to thank you, dear children, for all of your sacrifices which you are offering for my intentions…’ That’s all She needed to say, but when She adds, ‘…I bless you all with My Motherly blessing (Special Blessing),” Our Lady wanted to make it real clear…She didn’t want any other source, or claim on the message, (that Iasked and prompted the answer by a question) but that it was “She,” the Queen of Heaven who was prompted voluntarily to say, directly to us here living in Community, “‘I’ desire to thank you…” and not because A Friend of Medjugorje was asking for Her words this time.”
Our Lady freely and forwardly gave these precious words without any prompting. We, in the Community, were physically exhausted from months of work, long days, even working through many nights. Even though we were working nonstop, we had increased our prayers and sacrifices throughout this time, not decreased them, because we understood that what we are asking for from Our Lady requires a great amount of prayer and sacrifice—the reconciliation of this nation back to God through the Cross. This meeting with Our Lady was the most moving and tender in piercing our hearts. Our Lady lacerated our hearts with Her love, and as our founder said later:
“Who are we that the Mother of our Lord should come and thank us for only doing our duty?”
Even after receiving this message, none of us believe we have done anything other than our duty. Yet, it was one of the greatest consolations to hear Her sweet words, “Today, ‘I’ desire to thank you…” It is fresh encouragement to keep on giving, praying, sacrificing, and loving. Our founder then told us that Marija had told him tomorrow’s apparition would be, “Whenever you pray, I will come.”
Apparition on Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 7:00 A.M.
The final apparition on September 17 ended this private visit as it had begun, with the Community in the Bedroom. Again, Our Lady had said She would come whenever we prayed. Marija was leaving to return to Italy that morning, so the Community gathered early to write out petitions for almost an hour before praying the Rosary. Then, we all once again, a little sad and happy at the same time, gathered for Our Lady’s last moments with us. Marija prayed and Our Lady stayed for some time with us. Marija said after the apparition:
“Our Lady prayed over us and blessed us one final time.”
After the apparition, Marija asked the Community to kneel once more around the Bed, and offer prayers of thanksgiving to Our Lady for Her prayers, words and presence with us these days.
The Community of Caritas kneels around the Bed to offer prayers of thanksgiving for all the graces received the past days with Our Lady.
Later that Wednesday morning, after Marija had left for the airport, the Community gathered in the Field to continue in the daily life of prayer and sacrifice Our Lady had so recently blessed. How will those in future generations grasp that a people could be so close and so intimate with the Holy Virgin Mary, the Queen of Heaven and go back to their daily routine. How? Because She is part of our life, a Mother who is always on time every day. Will we miss this daily event after the apparitions finish? A final episode of the last apparitions on earth! Yes, we will. Yes, we’ll long for Her. But we will have the memories of giving our all, our sacrifices, our prayers during the time of grace when the world had its Queen and what a treasure those memories will be. However, not only memories but happenings that will go into the annals of history until the end of the world of what the Holy Virgin Mary did in Her last apparitions on earth.
Though the special presence of Our Lady through the apparitions was gone, within a couple of hours our children worked to decorate Her statue, as they often do during our daily Rosary in the Field, honoring Our Lady’s apparition time and waiting to receive Her blessing. Yes, it is hard to believe we will, in the future, look back and wonder how was it that we were in the presence of the Mother of God and went back to work, and the kids to their play, in our daily routine! Yet, it is a simple act of love from pure hearts. On October 2, 2014, Our Lady speaks of the love between pure hearts:
One Final Surprise Unfolds…
It has always been the heart of our founder, his wife and family that whatever graces Our Lady bestows upon him, and now the Community, that those graces are never to be received for ourselves alone, but for all those wanting to be close to Our Lady—to experience Her, to know Her, to love Her, to feel Her touch in their own lives. Our Lady called him to witness with his life the “way” of Her messages, and the Community follows in this witness. Our lives are shared with you - the most intimate moments and the most difficult, the joys and sorrows, the births, the deaths, and the rebirths—all our life is shared to encourage you to follow this path of Our Lady. We shared beautiful days with Our Lady this past September. These days were full of joys and surprises, but were serious days of prayer, as we poured out our hearts to Our Lady with deep concern for the direction our nation and world continue to travel—the path away from Her Son and His Cross. That is why Her words, “Today, ‘I’ desire to thank you…” were so meaningful to us. These words left us with the assurance that Her plan will succeed, if we continue to work, sacrifice and pray for Her intentions. As She said recently on August 2, 2014:
One final surprise from Our Lady was given just 15 days after Our Lady was here in the Community. Our Lady, in Her October 2, 2014, monthly message repeated something profound said to Her at the foot of the Cross, where Jesus “talked” to Her. Our Lady said Jesus literally told Her, just before He died on the Cross:
These words make a connection from the “Mother of the entire world” to the “Mother appearing at the foot of the Cross” on Penitentiary Mountain, September 14, 2014, a Cross that was consecrated for the conversion of the United States which will have an effect on the whole world.
In April of 2012, in the name of Pope Benedict XVI and the Church, the United States' Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, called on the United States to lead the world:
“The Church in the United States should lead the entire Church in the world…(evangelization of the world). This is a great task, but you have the determination and the grace to do it. This I know is the vision of the Holy Father regarding the Church in the United States.”
The United States' Papal Nuncio’s call, for America to lead and change the world, can happen…
It is happening
From the tiny place of Caritas, the “Place of the Cross,” where the flag is staked, we have the flag-banner, the Cross. Our Lady said October 2, 2014:
It is happening
We have the words, our marching orders, given directly from Heaven from the “Battle Field” of Apparitions, July 3, 2012, when Our Lady said:
It is happening
From where the individual and family make up this nation, we have the fragrance of holiness for the family from the Bedroom of Apparitions, “the healing of the family.” In the Bedroom on September 16, 2014, Our Lady thanked us for helping Her with our ‘prayer and sacrifice.’ In the message Our Lady gave to the world on October 2, 2014, a few days later, She asked:
“…help me…” (with your) “…prayer and sacrifice…”
To make the connection clear, Our Lady said in the Bedroom, September 16, 2014, to the Community, thank you for your:
Fifteen days later in Medjugorje on October 2, 2014, Our Lady said enlisted "help" for that which She had thanked us for helping.
“…help me…” (with your) “…prayer and sacrifice…”
Our joy in receiving the words of Our Lady on September 16, 2014, in the Bedroom of Apparitions, only increased as we read Our Lady’s words of October 2, 2014, when She asked Her apostles to: “…help me…”
One would have to be blind and in denial not to see Our Lady has given this nation a gift to save America, and thus help Her lead the world to its salvation.
October 2, 2014
This truth Our Lady spoke on October 2, 2014, “…I am the mother of the entire world…” is not dependent on whether people accept it, or people do not accept it. Jesus said it and it is so. The same Woman who stood at the foot of the Cross in Jerusalem, the Cross that was raised for the intention of salvation, the Cross Her Son died on at three o’clock, is the same Woman who also stood at the foot of the Cross on Penitentiary Mountain, the Cross that was raised for Her intention for the resurrection of a land, experiencing its death. There, on Penitentiary Mountain, where She was present at three o’clock, the same Woman who stood on Calvary 2,000 years ago.
Our Lady has written the script. She reveals further Her plans, beautiful plans! It was She who said, July 24, 1989:
This Community exists for Her plans, however She chooses to use it. In the Community, we saw the ‘help’ Our Lady called for in the October 2, 2014, was acknowledged to us by Her words 15 days earlier in the Bedroom of Apparitions to the Community:
“Today (September 16, 2014), I desire to thank you for all of your prayers and sacrifices, which you are offering for My intentions…”
This recalls Her words on May 25, 1990:
And also recalls to us the sacrifice Our Lady spoke of in the special message on September 16, 2014, regarding the offering of oneself:
July 25, 1987
Our Lady continued in Her message of October 2, 2014:
In the Bitterness of the Cross, and the Sweetness of Our Lady’s Plans,
With a Quenched Thirst, and with Much Love,
Caritas of Birmingham
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