Saturday, June 23, 2007


Wednesday, May 16th
Driving from Medjugorje to Dubrovnik - soooooooooooo beautiful!
To read a little on Bosnia-Herzegovina, please click below,

This is in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina --

and if you look closely in the top left corner, I believe you see the cross from Cross Mountain, Mt. Krizevak

What a great place to live!

WOW! Look at that water! I wanna live there!!!!!!

Awesome how the homes "match"

Okay, so this person decided NOT to match the rest of the homes
(maybe an American?? Or Ivana Trump or Oprah Winfrey since both of them are buying some huge place in Dubrovnik! SMILE!)

I'm pretty sure I could live here!

Look at that water -- it's sooo clear!


Soooo beautiful!
I'd enjoy being on that boat out on the water!

Cruise anyone?
So on our way to Dubrovnik we pass a beautiful bridge that looked so familiar...
but that's not possible, I've never been here before!
WAIT, my poor memory is coming back.
It looks like a bridge in Steubenville, Ohio, going into West Virginia.


HERE'S THE STEUBENVILLE, OHIO BRIDGE -- don't they look a lot alike???

Here's the funny story of WHY I would remember a bridge from our short vacation out to Steubenville.

FIRST, I LOVE WATER, AND I LOVE BRIDGES...but I mostly like "seeing" bridges -- okay, I'm a fair-weathered bridge person. Maybe I saw too many of the documentaries of the bridges swaying and cars falling off in the storms, etc.


Okay, we were out in Ohio for a vacation to see Franciscan Steubenville University and also to spend a week at Catholic Family Land. Upon arrival I see this huge bridge and I think, "Whew, thank goodness we're not going into West Virginia, that bridge looks like it's hanging from THREADS." ha ha

Well one day at camp it was so humid that I decided to drive back to our hotel & shower & take a long nap (who me??). I got slightly turned around leaving the hotel because "I" was driving & not Pat.

So, I'm yaking on my cell phone to, thankfully of all people, Father Avram although he was back in Redding, he lived in Steubenville for years! I say, "I think I took a wrong turn. OH, NO, I'M GOING INTO WEST VIRGINIA & WE'RE HAVING A HORRIBLE DOWNPOUR & THUNDERSTORM! I'M GOING OVER THAT BRIDGE. HELP! WHERE DO I GO? How do I get to Catholic Family Land?"

Too late, I was heading over the bridge in a terrible down pour and I hadn't yet driven the rental car, so I had no clue where the wipers were, I'm on the phone, trying to get directions, and I know I'm headed into another state without my family, and NO CLUE HOW TO GET TO THEM...PLUS I'M GOING ACROSS THAT SCARY LOOKING BRIDGE ALONE IN A STORM!

Well, okay, I'm exaggerating a little on how afraid I am of bridges, but I do prefer looking at them over driving over one in a STORM!

Amazing how certain things stick out in our memories -- like the times that we're practically terrified!


Wednesday, May 16th

What a way to start the day! We were so blessed to be among the pilgrims to see and hear a visionary in person. It's a gift that the visionaries grant to us pilgrims -- a personal visit with them (yes, many groups of pilgrims and with the use of a couple translators).
I had no idea what to expect. What I experienced was much more than I could have ever imagined. I'm sure all of the pilgrims had a variety of experiences in hearing Vicka speak, but for me, it was the PEACE and JOY that just radiated from her. It was infectious to the point of finding myself with a huge smile on my face and leaning forward hanging on every word, or practically leaning on my dear friend next to me for support so I wouldn't fall while being completely mesmerized by Vicka's grace & love!
This is Vicka
(not the best cropped picture, sorry)
but I wanted to try to show you the joy with which she speaks to the pilgrims.
Pilgrims gather to hear Vicka. Unfortunately for us, they had a change of plans and the morning we attended was not translated into English, but thankfully Father Avram would translate some from the Italian & Polish (?). Also once we got into the bus, of course, our wonderful guide Nada told us the message Vicka had for us.
To read more about the visionaries, click below:
A little roadside store next to Vicka's.
Pilgrims & locals hang out and chat. Look closely & you'll see Joe -- wearing jeans and a white shirt and holding his jacket -- he works for Nada (I believe). He is an incredibly wonderful, peaceful, & kind man. Funny, too, Joe's looks reminded me of my dad! It was awesome seeing Joe carrying around his Liturgy of the Hours every day & praying every chance he had. Amazing!

What a great & colorful photo (thanks Mike - our AAAAWESOME PHOTOGRAPHER!)

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Tuesday, May 15th

Ending an eventful, emotional day with a wonderful concert by David Parkes was incredible! He has a beautiful singing voice that allows the Spirit to move through you, and when you hear his testimony of the miracle of Medjugorje that saved his life you realize what a true gift he is to us!
David Parkes and Nada, our beautiful guide!


Tuesday, May 15th

This castle will be donated to the Vatican upon completion.

So beautiful! WOW!

Patrick and his wife, Nancy, are building this "castle" because of their love & devotion to Our Blessed Mother in Medjugorje. Patrick had a huge conversion, going from a wealthy workaholic to a man focused on living his faith & spreading the word of Medjugorje. What a story, too! Patrick's story also included how important it is for us to pray constantly for our Holy Priests who have dedicated their lives to serving us and our church. What an amazing couple they are, joyful, loving, peaceful, & devoted.

Simply beautiful!

The flowers in Medjugorje are so beautiful. I was told that most people don't work hard at their flowers because they don't have to...the soil is so wonderful that the flowers & gardens grow very easily.

Friday, June 15, 2007

MEDJUGORJE - APPARITION HILL (Greg's Miracle - Message in a bottle)

Tuesday, May 15th

Apparition Hill - It was on Apparition Hill (formerly the hill of Podbrdo of Mount Crnica) that the children first saw the vision of the Blessed Mother holding the Infant on June 24, 1981, and where the children saw her again the following day with her arms empty.

Beginning our climb up Apparition Hill, on a very hot day!

Padre Avram leading the Joyful Mysteries up Apparition Hill.

What a beautiful view of St. James' steeples from the Apparition Hill climb.

Margie enjoying the climb so far! ;-)

Margie, Mike, & Karen stopped praying the rosary while on the upward climb to the top.

Padre Avram praying on such Holy Ground!

Little did Padre know that my prayer was consecrating him & his Holy Priesthood to Our Blessed Mother for his mother, Judith, on this Holy Ground. {I'm guessing it's no longer a secret?} :0)

Andrew, easily made the climb, it's the "company" that's killing him! Good thing he's such a saint & put up with us for the entire pilgrimage! You are awesome, Andrew!

Greg's Miracle

Message in the Bottle
Miracle you ask? Yep. I think so.
Strange as it may sound when I even attempt to describe what happened.
The 30ish pilgrims were climbing Apparition Hill, on what must've been the hottest day so far in Medjugorje. A few of the men had stopped before beginning the climb and purchased bottled waters. If you've traveled anywhere in Europe (and probably many other places) they don't keep their refrigerated items nearly as cold as we do here in the States.
During the long, hot climb up the hill, stopping all along the way to pray the rosary, Greg didn't notice anything special. He said at one point he noticed that his water bottle seemed "HEAVY" but that's all.
After we'd been on top of Apparition Hill for quite some time for private prayer & reflection.
At the top of the hill Greg slowly begins telling the other pilgrims about his WATER BOTTLE THAT IS NOW PRACTICALLY FULL OF ICE. A SOLID BLOCK OF ICE. NOT WATER. ON A HOT DAY. AFTER CLIMBING FOR ABOUT AN HOUR.
When did it turn to ice?
Why did it turn to ice?

Did Greg realize at this point that he'd been given a "miracle" on Apparition Hill?

Greg reveals his Message in a Bottle miracle to Father Avram.

Okay, who wouldn't laugh? Greg's water bottle turned to practically solid ice on the hottest day so far in Medjugorje. Water that, when purchased, was at best "cool"...

Margie & Karen resting as we stop on the "back" trail from the top of Apparition Hill. One day Our Blessed Mother told the children (visionaries) to go down another way because the Communists were waiting to kill them at the bottom of the hill.

Denny VanLoan & Padre, two pilgrims from our group.

Ever think about the web that God weaves in our lives with people that are in our lives for a short or a long time?

Thinking of that web -- I had to get a picture of this.

I don't know all the details here -- But back when, now Father Avram, was a child, his family would travel to Redding to see their dentist, Dr. Denny VanLoan, and the Brown's were not Catholic from the beginning. Denny is the type of Catholic that truly lives his faith! Did he ever imagine that this young boy, Avram, would one day be sitting on Apparition Hill in Medjugorje as a Holy Priest? Probably not.



Tuesday, May 15th


Just beautiful!
Padre getting a closer look.
Valery touching the weeping knee while Greg & Mike look on.

Greg getting a closer look.
Jennifer wiped the tears, Greg in the background.

Ike & Mary

Judy wiping the tears

Mike & Padre looking deep into the camera -- now, one could ask "Are they looking at Mike's awesome camera & talking camera talk?" or "Are they pondering the whole weeping knee?" We'll never know for sure! ;-)

Pondering ? ?


Our first Holy Mass @ St. James with Father Avram on the altar.

Padre is just on the right of the Easter Candle (and directly under St. Leopold)