The region in and around Medjugorje has been suffering extremely hot temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit and over, everyday for more than 2 and a half weeks. One night at Ivan’s prayer group the temperature was still 98 degrees! As there has been no rain in over a month and a half, the conditions are very dry. It has been common, even on a daily basis, to see fires breaking out in the mountains and valleys surrounding Medjugorje. There have been some fires that have gotten quite close to homes. Several days ago, large billows of smoke could be seen coming from behind Apparition Mountain, indicating that another large fire had broken out. Day by day the fire crept closer. Finally the flames could be seen licking the top of the mountain on Friday night, July 27th. The air was thick with smoke all around Medjugorje, irritating eyes and throats. Saturday night, July 28th, the sky was lit up orange from the flames that had finally crested Apparition Mountain and had begun a downhill descent. There was much concern for Our Lady’s statue on the mountain, the stations of the mysteries of the Rosary, and the area of prayer surrounding the apparition sites. But there seemed little that could be done to stop the fire from progressing. Some were also concerned for those who have homes at the bottom of Apparition Mountain. Everyone went to bed that night seeing the flames slowly progressing across the mountain towards Our Lady’s sanctuary.
Visionary, Marija Lunetti, Saturday night was so concerned that She stayed up all night, watching and checking the fire’s progress which could be seen from her house. At dawn, She knew she had to act. For the last two days she had wanted someone to do something about it. No one did. So at 5:30 a.m., Sunday Morning, July 29th, she saw that the fire would overtake the apparition sites if something didn’t happen soon. She began calling villagers, family, the religious communities of Medjugorje, and many youth that she knows, to meet her on the mountain with anything they had to help put out the fire. Everyone reacted immediately. Water had to be hand carried up the mountain, and while some would make the hard climb time and time again carrying the heavy loads of water, others were pounding out the flames with brooms, shovels and any other material that they could find to do the job. As the sun rose higher in the sky, the temperature increased on the mountain, which made the heat nearly unbearable being near the fire and having to expend so much physical energy to fight it. Marija was right in the middle of it all, fighting the flames, as well as directing the actions of everyone up on the mountain. At one point, feeling exhaustion setting in, Marija approached three young people who were from Slovenia, a young man and two women who were praying. Marija said, “We are tired. Please help us.” The man was stunned, because at the very moment Marija spoke to him, he also heard in his heart the voice of Jesus who said to him very distinctly, “I am very tired. Please help me.” The young man did not recognize Marija and did not know that he was speaking with one of Our Lady’s visionaries. They immediately went into action and became a team of hauling up more water. Marija said later that she was amazed at how hard the three she inducted had worked, never tiring climbing the mountain over and over again to bring the much needed water. The flames stretched out at least one mile. Climbing the mountain once is hard enough, to do it repeatedly and also to transverse the rocks, fighting the fire, was exhausting. The backbreaking work continued as more villagers and pilgrims joined in.
Finally things turned and they began to defeat it. All the flames were extinguished. It was about 9:30 in the morning when they finished the job. Marija then led everyone to the statue of Our Lady after the fire was out to pray in thanksgiving for their success. Ashes and smoke were everywhere, so with the remaining water, they cleaned all around Our Lady’s statue and tidied the area up.
For many who participated, it was a very moving experience, as they did not think when they started to fight the fire that they would be able to stop it. It became for them, a lesson in faith. They were amazed that in only three hours, the fire was put out. It was also moving to see this visionary, who 26 years before saw Our Lady for the first time on this special mountain, take action and send out the rally call to go protect these sacred sites of Our Lady’s apparitions. Marija always acts with great decisiveness and her love for Our Lady and Apparition Mountain, and her spirit, shoulder to shoulder with pilgrims, various communities, villagers, and family, spurred everyone there to fight these flames with all their hearts.
As for the three young people that Marija had asked for help, she approached them once more after it was all over and told them she would like them to come to her apparition. Their joy, at that point, was immediate as they then recognized her as the visionary. Their story upon going back home to Slovenia will certainly be told and retold. What a gift to be given for their act of charity and love.
Amazingly, the very next evening, a very cool wind came into Medjugorje. This morning, July 31st, we awoke to a temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Clouds have moved in as well, and though we have not seen any rain as yet, the fires have stopped and every trace of smoke and ashes has disappeared, replaced by the freshness of the cool air. Perhaps we have all been blessed, here in the region of Medjugorje, for the sacrifice that a few made in putting out the fire on Our Lady’s mountain. And now tonight we are freezing and actually wearing coats.
From the Home Front,
The Community of Caritas